“American Horror Story: Coven” review: “Protect The Coven”


In this week’s edition of “How Far Can We Push Marissa Before She Finally Ralphs?,” otherwise known as American Horror Story: Coven, the opening scene is presented in a way that told me I’d need my anti-nausea pills at the ready.

Once again, we are taken back to New Orleans in 1830, with Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) and what seems to be the beginning of her obsession with the blood of slaves. Only what sets it off is a chicken; Madame LaLaurie beheads a chicken to prove a point to her daughter, only to have a somewhat orgasmic reaction to the blood. When she later finds a slave who has crushed his leg upstairs, she knocks him unconscious and claims that she may like it in New Orleans after all. Welp.

Bates’ character is one I’ve struggled with on the show week after week. For some reason unclear to me, this monster of a woman (who was a real person, mind you) was set up for weeks as being sympathetic. She learned from her mistakes! Maybe people of color aren’t all bad! Her relationship with Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) only fueled this weird turn, but was abruptly stopped after Queenie “betrayed” her by giving her to Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). And then, surprise! She’s still a horrible racist.

I’m glad Ryan Murphy seems to have stopped trying to excuse LaLaurie’s behavior, because what that woman did was inexcusable and it’s bad enough the bulk of this season has been spent portraying the characters of color as “bad” and the white characters “less bad.” This is another rant for another time.

LaLaurie’s character has her taste for blood reawakened after a man of color is bleeding and she offers to help, only to tie him up and torture him. She also encounters Spalding (Denis O’Hare), who with his speech returned strikes up a deal with LaLaurie. If she can procure a doll for him, he will give her the antidote to make Marie mortal. He gives her Benadryl. Now, it’s not often Coven can make me laugh, but I will admit I got a good chuckle out of that one. She tries it, and you can assume what happens.

Marie, meanwhile, spends the episode with her new partner Fiona (Jessica Lange) in plotting to fix the witch hunter problem plaguing both of them. After planning a meeting with The Corporation, the two decide to kill all members as opposed to striking a deal. With the aid of Fiona’s boy toy The Axeman (Danny Huston), they engage in an epic bloodbath. Well, Marie enjoys the show, while Fiona takes out the head of The Corporation herself, with her lover’s axe. It’s an incredible scene.

Fiona also spends the episode taking care of her man and dealing with her daughter’s self-inflicted lack of sight (again). Forewarning if you haven’t watched last night’s episode yet, and you don’t do well with “eye stuff”: maybe cover your eyes for the scene following a confrontation between Queenie and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson). Eye things don’t typically bother me, but this one…this one is rough.

Oh right, and Queenie’s not dead. At this point, does anyone expect characters to stay dead? Though, it seems Nan (Jamie Brewer) is going to stay that way. Which is a shame for two reasons: 1) she’s one of the best characters on the show and 2) she didn’t get to come back in “Murder House” either. I call foul, Ryan Murphy. Unless you bring her back, then we cool.

The bizarre sex triangle between Kyle (Evan Peters), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), and Madison (Emma Roberts) lives on a bit longer, but Myrtle (Frances Conroy) gives Zoe bus tickets for her and Kyle and recommends getting the hell out of dodge. Zoe takes her up on the offer, but the situation remains highly suspect as Myrtle’s intentions aren’t completely clear and seeing Zoe and Kyle run off on a bus left my stomach uneasy. Who has ever had a happy ending on this show?

I guess we’ll find out next week.