His Dark Materials
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"Unholy Night" makes up for its transitional storyline and unanswered questions with a welcome return to the grotesque and a standout scary performance from new cast member Ian McShane.
I guess it was time for an episodic bridge, an installment with dialogue set to soap-opera music (and an instrumental of the creepiest carol, "Hark How the Bells"), but it seemed a little bit on the nose compared to weeks past.
We sure saw a fair volume of [blood] spilled in this twisted Christmas spectacular!
It was by far the most season-one-esque episode of the season so far, with little unifying material to tie it together and a bunch of storylines that didn't join together so much as just travel parallel to each other until they simply stopped.
The thematic notes that "Unholy Night" rang hard and loud like a Salvation Army bell: Broken promises, hypocrisy, deceit.
After last week's relatively tame episode, we're back to the kind of snappy, rapey dialogue that makes me simultaneously want to giggle and cry.
Featuring Ian McShane (Deadwood) as a deranged Santa Claus, tonight's episode wasn't just a fantastic addition to the series so far, but a stand-alone dark holiday classic.
Instead of focusing on the scary, the story has shifted into a battle between good and evil with the sides becoming more clearly developed.
It seems a bit slight to call this episode a fun romp, seeing as how bloody and unhinged it was, but watching McShane chew up the set and slash at people with glass tree-toppers was just gruesome enough to make me giddy.
Often confusing but never boring mess.
Leave it to American Horror Story to want us needing more.
The good news is that on this episode of "AHS" Santa is played with sadistic glee by Ian McShane ("Deadwood"). No matter how bad his Santa is, that's still pretty damn good.
In American Horror Story land, murderous Santa psychopaths just scream heartwarming, heart-stabbing holiday special, and that's why I love this sick, twisted, brilliant programme.