By Jason Reed
Mena Suvari guest stars this week as Elizabeth Short, a real life murder victim from 1947 best known as the Black Dahlia. Short was a young actress whose body was found mutilated and cut in half, but her murder went unsolved. This makes it perfect material to fold into the universe of American Horror Story.
The bodies are piling up in Murder House and it’s starting to get crowded. Hayden is spending more time visible and interacting with people. She seduces Constance’s toy boy Travis, only to turn around and kill him. This means there is another trapped soul to hang around the house.
This also seems to be breaking the rules of who can do what to whom, as Hayden explores just what she is capable of. She seems to have graduated to a similar level of ability as Tate and Moira, where she can have an effect on people. The link between the three of them seems to be sex with the living.
I am often quick to criticise much in this show, however, the flashback scene of Ben and Hayden’s initial flirtation in a bar was warm and heartfelt. Both actors came across naturally and it’s one of Dylan McDermott’s best performances in the series so far.
The final scene in this episode was meant to carry the most gravitas, with a chilling prediction from Constance’s psychic Billie Dean. She spoke about the Pope’s Box, describing the apparently real details of a new pope’s induction, where he is given the key to a box, inside of which is the secret to the end of the world. If that isn’t melodramatic enough, she goes on to say that Tate’s child with Vivien will be the antichrist and will bring about the end of days.
This “perversion of the natural order” would be worrying if it could be taken seriously. Sarah Paulson gives a perfectly reasonable performance as Billie Dean, but she has such implausible material to work with, it is hard to take it seriously.
Whilst I appreciate the writers bringing in real historical characters, couldn’t they have come up with a better title than Spooky Little Girl? Titles can be fun or add an extra layer of meaning, but this is just superficial and doesn’t particularly allude to Elizabeth Short, unless they’re using Little as a play on Short. Why not Cut Short or maybe Dead Famous?