It’s season finale time on American Horror Story: Coven, which means that the long gestating “Who is the Supreme?” storyline comes to a head. So who is the lucky gal and who makes it out of the finale alive?
Let’s bitch it out…Perhaps the better question is “who cares?”
Now that we’ve come to the finale of Coven, I feel completely comfortable admitting that this season has been a complete disappointment – a hot mess of ideas that unlike previous seasons never gelled or came together, never formed a meaningful argument and certainly didn’t pay off all of its misdirection. S1’s Murder House was a bit too spastic for me and although S2’s Asylum had too much thrown in, at least it actually made you care and feel for the characters.
At the end of Coven all I feel is relief. Thank goodness this half-baked experiment in populace entertainment is over (at the start of the season Ryan Murphy said this season would be more humourous and accessible). Hopefully the creative team will go back to the drawing board in preparation of their 50s McCarthyism season in the fall and figure out a story worth telling.
After 13 episodes, I can’t honestly say that I understand what Coven is about. Is it the aborted witches vs hunters narrative that only really gained momentum 2/3 of the way through the season and ended a few episodes later in an entertaining but pointless climax? Is it about punishing women who abuse their power or wield it over other women (notice that all of the “bad girls” – Jessica Lange’s Fiona, Emma Roberts’ Madison, Angela Bassett’s Laveau and Kathy Bates’ Delphine – have been killed). Or is it simply meant to be an allegory of witchcraft as a “coming out” tale (wherein powers are a stand-in for any oppressed group, with the most obvious proxy being female empowerment and gays)? At the end of the day any and all of these themes are applicable – the problem is that none of these were addressed in a satisfying way.
The mantra for Coven appears to have been “let’s have fun” and do things that are cool and create divalicious characters that are dressed in fabulous black outfits all of the time. These kind of surface level considerations took precedent when what Coven needed to do was find a story that needed to be told and tell it in its usual outlandish and visually stimulating way. Unfortunately the end result proved to be a scattershot, all-over-the-place narrative that entertained in a very fleeting fashion but ultimately didn’t satisfy. Ultimately we as viewers deserved far better than this. Let’s hope the writers take note for S4.
- The minute Stevie Nicks showed up again, I knew the finale was doomed. Like, seriously, what the hell is the point of bringing her back? I can watch a Fleetwood Mac concert DVD if I really care that much.
- With that said, there is admittedly a great deal of energy during the ‘Seven Wonders’ test that almost made me wonder if the finale would pull out something big. Alas the tests are the highlight.
- The lack of stakes was a big problem going into the finale and ‘The Seven Wonders’ suffers as a result. When Misty (Lily Rabe) dies, it’s meant to be a “big moment” but Coven can’t even bring itself to care (Madison wants to move on and we do). By this point we’ve seen every character except Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia die and return (naturally it’s Cordelia who ends up being Supreme). Dying doesn’t matter on this show + final episode of the season = collective shrug over Misty’s high school Biology purgatory. And I say this as someone who liked the character!
- Ditto Myrtle Snow’s (Frances Conroy) decision to go up in flames. She gives good soundbite, but meh…we’ve already seen this once.
- We all knew that Fiona would return…and lo and behold she does. I spent her entire scene with Cordelia wondering if/when she would try to kill her. I actually think we were supposed to care that Fiona was dying. Mission not accomplished.
- Was I supposed to cheer when Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) died? Because I did. Does it make it ok if I say that I knew she would be revived? (They always come back!)
- Did we ever learn who threw acid in Cordelia’s face? Was it Hank? Do we care? I’ve asked before, but why couldn’t Cordelia heal herself before now?
- Watching Evan Peters (Kyle) strangle Emma Roberts feels uncomfortably close to real life considering the couple’s real life domestic issues (she allegedly beat him). I suppose we’re meant to see the symmetry as Kyle becomes the new Spalding (Denis O’Hare) but really this just served to remind me how dumb the whole Franken-Kyle stuff is and how all of the male characters were terrible.
- The most interesting aspect of the finale for me is the scene when
LanaCordelia outs herself on TV. It feels like a fun homage to Asylum, but it also strikes me as another missed opportunity. Many commenters have suggested that a Robichaux Hogwarts series would have been far more enjoyable to watch because watching an army of young witches get trained would have been fascinating. Instead we got Jessica Lange courting a serial killing Jazz player (Danny Huston) and a neighbour who gives bleach enemas. Ugh.
- Summing up the season in a quip: Steve Nicks and bitchy quotes. Moving on!
- Madison (describing the underworld): “I was on a live network musical of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t even the lead. I was Liesl.”
- Gabourey Sibide’s Queenie (when Madison insists she’s not stupid): “Yes you are”
What are your thoughts on S3? Did it work for you? Were you satisfied with the finale? Did you expect Cordelia to come out on top? Were you surprised Fiona came back? Would you have preferred a different storyline for the season? Are you still excited for S4? Comment away below
American Horror Story has finished airing its third season. It returns in the fall for a new standalone season