Forget being sworn enemies – Fiona (Jessica Lange) and Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) are totally besties as soon as they put aside their differences. Naturally since this is American Horror Story, their union means big trouble for everyone else.
Let’s bitch it out…After a brief holiday hiatus the lovely ladies of Coven are back, but they’re all acting quite naughty. Following the shoot-out that ended 3×09 ‘Head’, Marie Laveau is staying at Robichaux and she and Fiona are fast friends. The most amazing thing about this episode (aside from the bunch of homicides everyone commits) is how well the former antagonists compliment each other. In between preparing tea and detoxifying the air for each other, they’re staying up late, swapping tales and secrets about eternal life and murdering young witches. Their exchange with Papa Legba (an unrecognizable Lance Reddick) after drowning Nan (Jamie Brewer) is indicative of their newfound friendship: the pair look like naughty little girls who have been caught doing mischief by a disapproving adult (see picture at top). It would be hilarious if they hadn’t just killed someone.
Alas they have. In fact they’ve killed my favourite character. WTF ladies! Rest in peace Nan: you were getting a little cocky and murderous (more on that in below), but you also had the best quips on the show. If we’re being completely honest Nan was also the most tolerable of the younger generation: Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) remains far too passive and dull and Madison’s (Emma Roberts) bitch-on-wheels antics have become predictable (meanwhile no one knows if Gabourey Sibide’s Queenie is dead or alive).
Oh Madison. Of all the Coven characters, she’s the most divisive to me. Sometimes I love her bitch on wheels attitude and other times I want Fiona to have a second go at her neck with a sharp object. The problem is that the character isn’t very interesting: sure she gives good attitude (among other things, mmhmmm), but she’s pretty much the same, selfish, power-hungry asshole from the first episode. And everyone knows it, but she still somehow manages to get away with things! I mean, was anyone surprised by the “sneak” attack on Misty (Lily Rabe)? Madison’s suggestion that people will trade goods for future favours from the next Supreme probably isn’t completely off base. Still, “the old brick to the back of the head into the empty coffin” ruse is exasperating (and SO fresh! Looney Tunes called and wants their gag back). Let’s be honest, we all know that Misty is either A) knocked out and semi-trapped in the crypt or B) dead and on the verge of resurrection (she told Fiona that she has a plan prepped earlier in the episode). Clearly this is not the last we’ve seen or heard of the swamp witch. The fact that Madison thinks otherwise just proves how exceedingly dumb (and aggravating) she is.
- I get that both Ryan Murphy and Lily Rabe/Misty Day are big fans, but the Stevie Nicks cameo doesn’t work for me. It feels more like concert footage that someone allowed to hijack the story. Clearly everyone involved behind the scenes wanted to do right by the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman, but they put her appearance above the needs of the show. One musical sequence is enough; two is indulgent
- There are a number of really gorgeous long takes in this episode, including the aforementioned Nicks performances. My favourite, however, is the slow tracking shot of the New Orleans funeral that eventually reveals Madison and Misty en route to the cemetery.
- Oh hey Danny Huston. I pretty much completely forgot about your Axeman character…so yeah…good to see you again <exits hastily>
- After playing so many prim and proper characters, it’s clear that Frances Conroy is loving the role of Myrtle Snow. Her tonal inflection in this episode (as she plays horror movie theme music on her theremin) is hilarious, as is her recommendation that a distraught Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) mass produce her coriander condiment (Side Note: if that was someone’s response to my mid-life crisis, I would probably break an Erlenmeyer flask or two, as well. Smash the pain away, Cordy!)
- It’s clear that we’re only a few episodes away from the season finale because the bodies have begun to pile up. Does anyone else think it’s odd that all of the girls are suddenly crazy powerful? Since when can Madison randomly raise the dead? And when did Nan learn how to control people? And when did Zoe…ah eff it – Zoe’s got nothing aside from the skidmarks where she slid across the kitchen floor
- I get that Nan is upset about Luke’s sudden death-by-mom-suffocation, but killing her (with foamy bleach no less!) is way harsh, Tai (embrace the Clueless references, folks). It also seems like a waste of Patti Lupone, no?
- Finally, just in case all the shizz with the rise of the new Supreme, the oft mentioned seven wonders test and the inter-coven feuding hasn’t given us enough to chew on, there’s also those pesky witch hunters. In a well-executed montage Fiona and Laveau ‘voodoo’ a bunch of mice to duplicate the actions of the government raid they’ve executed on Renard and Delphi Trust. I guess this means war (Side Note: I like how Renard and his board room are shot in confronting close-ups from low angles. He’s a powerful, intimidating man and the camera knows it!)
- Nan (proving she has mind-control): “Put out that cigarette”. Madison does. “Now stick it in your vagina.”
- Fiona (when Laveau inquires why they don’t act): “Yeah well before we hop on our broomsticks. Let’s think it through.”
- Myrtle (when Cordelia insults her theremin): “Don’t be a hater, dear”
- Fiona (commenting on Nan’s purity to Papa Legba): “She’s innocent…mostly. She killed the neighbour lady, but the bitch had it coming.”
Your turn: what are your thoughts on Stevie Nicks’ guest role? Were you pleased with Fiona and Laveau acting like schoolgirl chums? Surprised by all the death? Wondering where the eff LaLaurie or Kyle are? Sound off below
American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FX