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The Playlist

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire,' Season 4, Episode 11, ‘Havre De Grace’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 17, 2013 10:00 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4
Out of the gloomy, dark fog, voices and the faint outlines of faces appear. Chalky White (Michael K. Williams) and Daughter Maitland (Margot Robbie) are once again in the backseat of a car. But this time, instead of driving to their would-be demise (as they almost did at the climax of last week’s episode, a harrowing conclusion that saw the injured Chalky escape death by a hair’s breadth), they’re being taken to safety. Though you might not know it from the icy demeanor of their chauffeurs.

Recap: Danny Huston's Axeman Visits 'American Horror Story: Coven,' As More Secrets Are Revealed

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 14, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If last week's episode of "American Horror Story: Coven" proved one thing, it's that the tensions between the coven of New Orleans witches and the more soulful practitioners of voodoo are reaching the proverbial boiling point, you know, like in a cauldron. Vengeance was taken for the acid attack on Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and a small army of zombies (a platoon?) was unleashed on Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies courtesie of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), an act that resulted in much "Evil Dead" referencing and the potential reveal of our next Supreme, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga). This week's episode, "The Axeman Cometh," deals with the fallout from those events and, in "American Horror Story" terms at least, was altogether quieter. It also showed that the male characters could be just as slippery and evil as the witches.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire,' Season 4, Episode 10, ‘White Horse Pike’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 10, 2013 10:41 PM
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  • 9 Comments
White Horse Pike, Boardwalk Empire
Entertainment Weekly added “Boardwalk Empire” to the lesser half of its “Fall TV Winners & Losers” section in the magazine this week, The Hollywood Reporter griped about the show at the beginning of the season, and, to be totally transparent, this writer did the same. But what’s become incredibly apparent with the 4th season of HBO’s engrossing Atlantic City-based mobsters and bootleggers drama is that, sure, while the show is typically slow to get moving, once the momentum begins to build, the carefully crafted narrative begins to tighten and all the pieces fall into place. Once this occurs, you can get as hooked as Gillian Darmody was to smack. Those without the patience to absorb the full breadth of what has revealed itself to be a terrifically played-out season are poorer for it. So full mea culpas all around.

Recap: Things Get Hot In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 5, "Burn, Witch. Burn!"

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • November 7, 2013 11:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
One of the greatest, gore-soaked magic tricks of "American Horror Story" is the way that creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have so many balls in the air, that even when some mysteries or scenarios are put to bed, ten more spring up. It's like the nighttime soap opera horror equivalent of a hydra; cut one head off and three appear. This was certainly the case with the fifth fiery episode of "American Horror Story: Coven," "Burn, Witch. Burn!," in which mysteries were seemingly laid to rest while others gleefully popped up in their place. To quote the great American poet Nelly: it's getting hot in here.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4, Episode 9 ‘Marriage and Hunting’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 3, 2013 9:45 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Boardwalk Empire, Hunting and Marriage, Season 4
In the blink of an eye, fortunes change. One week you’re up, the next week you’re down. It’s strange to see a seemingly unassailable man like Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) down on his luck, but that’s exactly where we find the Manhattan gangster in this episode. It’s perhaps a shock just to hear through dialogue that Rothstein’s empire is crumbling, but the writing has been on the wall for a few months now, especially as revealed in “All In,” the episode where the gambler lost his shirt in one of Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi’s) Atlantic City clubs.

Recap: Witches Get Suspicious In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Halloween Episode 'Fearful Pranks Ensue'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 31, 2013 4:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment
There are some television shows (among them "Roseanne," "The Simpsons" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") that make a very big deal out of their Halloween episode. Just as the holiday celebrates slipping out of your skin and into someone else's, these episodes often break from the formula of the rest of the series, offering a wildly divergent path into some very strange waters. With "American Horror Story," since the entire series plays a post-trick-or-treating fever dream, the Halloween episodes are an even more heightened homage to the things that go bump in the night, where the entire country takes on the show's eerie glow. They are also widely considered to be some of the series' very best episodes. The third season's Halloween offering is no different.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4, Episode 8 ‘The Old Ship Of Zion’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 27, 2013 10:19 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Boardwalk Empire, Season 4
Yes, “Boardwalk Empire” takes a long time to coalesce, but we’ll admit, when its early chess piece moves begin to fall into place, and you can see the forest for the trees on the board, boy does it get good. In tonight’s absorbing episode, Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi) latest booze shipment from Florida arrives with some unexpected cargo. It’s Sally Wheet (Patricia Arquette), Nucky’s lady in the Sunshine State who is overseeing the business. She's the mercurial firecracker who got into a fistfight with Nuck and then made love to him in the season's sixth episode, “North Star.” Arriving unannounced, she throws Nucky for a bit of a loop. And what’s more, she’s hard to pin down and seems to be in no mood to pick up where Nucky and her last left off. In fact, Atlantic City underling gangster Mickey Doyle (Paul Sparks) appears to be taking a shine to her, and she doesn’t seem to mind the attention. Nucky doesn’t really know where he stands and he doesn’t like it. Several threads simmering all season come to a boil tonight.

Recap: Mother/Daughter Relationships Get Complicated In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 'The Replacements'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 24, 2013 6:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
American Horror Story
Many of the critics of "American Horror Story: Coven" claim that its rococo stylization is both unnecessary and over-the-top. Tonight's episode, "The Replacements," certainly won't silence those critics, although it might prove that, at the very least, when the show's runaway outrageousness is corralled by someone like director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, it can be both purposeful on a narrative level and powerful on an emotional one. This was, after all, an hour of the show when a teenage girl masturbated in front of a cow-headed monster. What's more shocking than the moment itself was that it turned out to be the emotional center of the entire hour. Now that's messed up.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4, Episode 7 ‘William Wilson’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • October 21, 2013 10:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There are traitors in our midst and they are myriad. Named after the Edgar Allen Poe poem that appears in William Thompson’s (Ben Rosenfield) college lecture, “Boardwalk Empire” episode “William Wilson” centers thematically on duplicity, doppelgangers, and those who are not what they appear to be.

Recap: Things Get Stitched Together In 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 2, 'Boy Parts'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 17, 2013 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
American Horror Story: Coven
If there's a downside to the spin-the-wheel, anything goes anthologized approach Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have taken with "American Horror Story," it's that the first episode of each new season has to cover serious ground. That initial episode has to act as a pilot of sorts to the whole new show that will unfold over the course of the season, burdened by lots of exposition and the introduction of a whole host of characters both human and supernatural. Last week's premiere of "American Horror Story: Coven," the show's new iteration, gave us witches, voodoo priestesses, murderous New Orleans socialites, rape, and a young girl who kills people with her vagina. Now that all of that is out of the way, on episode two, things are allowed to get really weird.

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