We’ve reached part one of American Horror Story: Coven‘s two part Halloween double shot. Considering the madcap shenanigans on this show, however, it’s unclear how we’re meant to distinguish this pumpkin outing from any other episode.
Let’s bitch it out…I kid, I kid. We know this is Halloween because there are some people in costume and Kathy Bates’ Madame LaLaurie is spouting her usual stranger-in-a-strange-time nonsense about the harvest and being wary of fearful pranks. Hmm…wait…maybe this is basically just a “business as usual” episode of AHS after all.
Whether or not this merits the honour of being the series’ Halloween episode doesn’t matter. All that matters is that this is yet another satisfactory sojourn into batsh*t crazy-ville with a side dish of WTF. That last ingredient is actually mostly absent this week, replaced instead with bitchy sarcastiness courtesy of both Fiona (Jessica Lange) and Nan (Jaime Brewer). So…um…yeah, this really is business as usual!
We pick up more or less immediately after the abrupt murder of teen star/dumb slut Madison (Emma Roberts, appearing briefly to unceremoniously recreate her murder from another camera angle and phone in a homage to that chick who dies in Black Christmas and ends up in a rocking chair in the attic for the rest of the film). Almost as soon as Madison’s bejeweled heels have been hidden away the Council, fronted by orange haired Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy, clearly cutting loose), descends upon the house to investigate Madison’s disappearance. Faster than you can say “Supreme!” they’ve lined up a series of interviews whose sole purpose seems to be to expose that Fiona and Myrtle don’t exactly like each other and confirm that Fiona is a sucky Supreme (no big shock there).
The banter in all of these scenes is deliciously catty and helpfully serves to fill in some backstory on not only Myrtle, but also Spalding (Denis O’Hare). Turns out the lovable butler has been sporting a major crush on Fiona since the seventies when he cut out his own tongue to keep the murder of former Supreme, Anna-Leigh (Christine Ebersole), quiet. Clearly rolling Madison up in a rug and stashing her half naked body in a rocking chair and getting his drag on in front of a hundred creepy dolls is no big deal for Spalding. This show, you guys!
Naturally it eventually turns out that none of this is necessary. After hilariously observing that her rug is missing, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) sets Myrtle straight: Madison wasn’t the new Supreme, which means Fiona has no incentive to murder her as Myrtle suspects. Never mind that this is, of course, exactly what Fiona did – that plot point is immaterial because we’re already off and running trying to determine who’s in line for the top job. Anyone else fearful that it’s going to be – ugh – Zoe (Taissa Farmiga)? <shudder>
- Remember how Queenie (Gabourey Sibide) initiated some not-so-hot bestiality last week? Well, as we feared things didn’t go well for her and she effectively dies. Fiona ressurects her, but like all shows that use magic, there’s a price to pay. I wonder if Lange’s been fitted for a bald cap for later this season for when Fiona’s hair falls out
- Meanwhile on “the other side of town” as Fiona puts it, Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) is none too pleased to receive a box full-o-lovah (Fiona’s response to the Minotaur sex). Laveau promptly gets to work raising an army of undead to take out the witches at Mrs. Robichaux’s. This would play much better had we not already seen her perform this spell in the cold-open. Despite this law of diminishing returns, I’ve got to say that Bassett is killing this role
- Also killer: that Afro that Laveau wears to strike the truce with Anna-Leigh. FIERCE! WORK! OTHER RuPAUL SLOGAN!
- I love that the term for tattle-tale/teacher’s pet in this world is “guardian of the vernacular”. Also, I likely won’t get tired of Myrtle’s amazingly cartoonish fashion sense. Every character is having so much fun you just know that Sarah Paulson is looking at her character (and beyond bland wardrobe) and wishing she was back in S2
- FrankenKyle (Evan Peters) escapes before Zoe can kill him with rat poisoned tuna. Or maybe he just couldn’t take her sad, whiny, bad fashion sense and booked it out of the house
- I decree that this episode features too little Nan. As much as I appreciate the focus on the adults, I need my weekly Nan fix
- Also, as amusing as Kathy Bates is, I can’t believe that the writers brought her onboard to do so little. Either this is a crazy slow-burn until she gets to go insane, or Bates took this role so that she could get drunk in the French Quarter and go on gator tours
- Finally, what the eff is going on with Cordelia’s husband, Hank (Josh Hamilton)? He’s lying about going on business, banging some chick (AHS: Original Flavour vet Alexandra Breckenridge) and then blowing her head off. Is he also a witch? Serial killer? Really unfamiliar with the rules of internet hook-ups?
- Fiona (to Spalding): “I’ve always enjoyed our little talks…especially since you lost your tongue.”
- Fiona (asking LaLaurie to do up her dress and stop talking): “Oh Christ, just zip it”
What are your thoughts on Part 1 of the doubleheader? Should we be concerned about the zombies? Did we really see Cordelia get a face full of acid in the bathroom (maybe it was Asparagus pee)? Will Fiona’s murder of Madison be discovered? Who is the new Supreme? And where the hell is Misty Day (Lily Rabe)? Sound off below
American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FX