“Milkmaids” is an impressively evil piece of work American Horror Stories continues its course of form.
This American Horror Stories Season 2 Episode 4, “Milkmaids” synopsis contains spoilers.
The beauty – although “beauty” might not be the right word in this case – about the horror genre is that it can be so many different things. haunted houses? Demonic Possession? No problem! Masked serial killers, haunted cars, evil dogs, psychotic fans of pop fiction? If one comes, all come. Small-town religious bigotry, sexism, and drinking smallpox? Secure!
Summary of American Horror Stories Season 2 Episode 4
Enter “milkmaid”. American Horror Stories is on an unexpectedly good run this season, and the latest episode, which got a late release on Hulu due to technical difficulties, much to the fan base’s uproar, is quite possibly the best of the series yet. It’s certainly the most disgusting thing, which is the selling point here anyway.
This is New England in 1757 and smallpox is rampant. Everyone dies, and everyone who doesn’t turns to increasingly drastic measures to ward off the possibility. In this climate, Celeste, milkmaid and part-time prostitute, has more to offer than just her body. She is adorned with boils, but never got sick; She’s adamant that the pus they’re passing is a gift of healing from Saint Lazarus and that the men she’s, um, “nursed” who fed on the boils live long and healthy lives to lead.
The naked rogue Pastor Walter does not let it take it. He’s a man of stuff, so he doesn’t want Celeste for her healing properties, just for sex. He also, thanks largely to the rumor mill, dangerously descends into cannibalism, so much so that he manipulates the entire town into digging up their dead and eating their hearts. He thinks this is the true cure for smallpox, not realizing – or frankly, not wanting to realize – that it was Celeste’s pus that actually boosted his immune system (she’s not a healer, but it’s a long story with a cow). .
So that’s the central tension, but there’s a lot more to it, including a rift developing between Walter and his partner Thomas, the lineage of Thomas’s oddball son Edward, and many ingrained systemic prejudices that lead in a roundabout way to a miserable, but oddly satisfying twist ending. Sometimes it’s just nice to say, “I told you so.”
Still, “Milkmaids” weaves its story together impressively, shifting between types of horror – pus-drinking and heart-eating, prehistoric belief systems, ingrained social prejudices, the corrupting contagion of power — to consistently surprising effect. It sets up a great atmosphere, leads to some fun locations, and consistently delivers at just about every level a horror fan would want.
You can stream American Horror Stories Season 2 Episode 4, “Milkmaids” exclusively on Hulu.
https://readysteadycut.com/2022/08/11/american-horror-stories-season-2-episode-4-recap-milkmaids/ American Horror Stories season 2, episode 4 recap