“Fearful Pranks Ensue” on ‘American Horror Story: Coven’

WooIt was all about the past on last night’s American Horror Story: Coven, and boy, not much has changed in the lives of these ladies since the 60s and 70s. “Fearful Pranks Ensue” opened and closed with a new AHS addition: full-on, limb-tearing zombies, courtesy of Marie Laveau. Back in 1961, she used a spell to exhume the bodies of the long-dead that forced them on three white men who murdered the son of Cora, one of her hairdressers. Needless to say, each man died a painful, violent death. Back in the present, she starts preparing the same spell after receiving Bastien’s still-blinking head in a box, presumably from the gang over at Miss Robichaux’s. Exactly how they managed to decapitate him, we don’t know. Anyway, Marie wails, overcome with grief and anger and bitterness. One of her hairdressers tries to convince her to stay true to the pact she signed with Annalee a few decades ago, but that truce, Marie said, is over. They’ve moved into life-or-death territory. The zombies – including the body of one of Delphine’s daughters – rise and surround Miss Robichaux’s. Marie sure does revenge well.

It turns out Fiona and Myrtle Snow, played fabulously by Frances Conroy, have some history, too. After Annalee’s murder, Fiona was examined by the witches’ council. She cried and cried and fashioned a story about the former Supreme leaving with a fine bottle of wine, perhaps as a peace offering; she’s trying to throw Marie’s name into the suspect ring, and she succeeds. She also receives some news: Fiona is the new Supreme, but she already knew that, of course. When it’s announced in front of the rest of the school later on, Myrtle is not happy. She knows what Fiona did, and she has the perfect plan to expose her. Spalding has a hearing with the council scheduled for the next day. He’s always “cleaning up Fiona’s messes,” so Myrtle is sure he knows the truth – and she makes it impossible to reveal anything but by casting a spell on his tongue. Somehow, though, he knew. He has Fiona meet him in a bathroom, where he says he wants his last words to be a declaration of love; he cuts out his own tongue so as not to betray Fiona.

Forty years later, the women find themselves in a similar situation. Nan hasn’t been able to hear Madison’s thoughts, so naturally, she suspected the worst. The council swoops in to investigate, which is exactly what Fiona wanted to avoid. She even healed Queenie herself rather than take her to a hospital in order to deflect attention from the school. Queenie, though, should have been the least of Fiona’s worries; the council was coming regardless. Cordelia, completely blind to Madison’s situation, is the first person to speak to Myrtle, Quinten, and Pembroke. She assumes they’re investigating Queenie’s injury, but that’s not it. She then jumps to her visit with Marie, but – surprise! – that isn’t it either. Fiona enters just before Cordelia can dig herself into a deeper hole, and each girl is questioned. They ask about Madison’s powers (How many has she demonstrated? Is she proficient?), and the gears in Myrtle’s mind start turning again.

It’s time to question Fiona. Myrtle, letting out decades worth of frustration, rips into Fiona. She’s a poor Supreme. She neglects her duties and regularly leaves the coven. She needs to pay for every crime she’s committed, and Myrtle is fully prepared to have her burned at the stake for murdering Madison to preserve her title. Cordelia, though, doesn’t believe it. Madison (whose corpse is now in Spalding’s room among his dolls, enjoying a tea party) can’t be the Supreme, as each has a perfectly spotless bill of health; she had a heart murmur. I suspected last week that Madison wasn’t the true Supreme. A scene earlier this episode all but convinced me: Delphine starts to tell Fiona she looks beautiful, but Fiona interrupts her with the word “younger” before she can get there. Delphine politely says “No,” signifying that Fiona maaaaybe got this one wrong.

Who is the new Supreme? Cordelia and Fiona play a question game while drinking at a bar, but neither has (or wants to reveal) an answer. The obvious choice might be Zoe, who in this episode mixed some rat poison into Kyle’s food only to find him gone among the trick-or-treaters when she goes to feed him. I have a feeling it might be Nan. She is certainly the most cunning of the group, and she also seems to have bewitched (HAHA GET IT) Luke. He barely acknowledged Madison during last week’s visit to the Ramsey home, and he brought over cookies for Nan this week. This hearkens back to Fiona’s speech about the “dance” she was so expert at. She sensed that Madison inherited it during their night out, but maybe – just maybe – Nan is the one with that particular gift. Whether or not it means she’s the Supreme remains unknown, but something is definitely brewing (LIKE A POTION).

While at the bar, Cordelia also asks her mother why she hates Hank. He “reeks of bullshit,” and we learned why. Cordelia believes he’s on a business trip, but he’s actually carrying on an affair with a woman he met online in a Thomas Kinkade forum. She asks him what he was for Halloween last year, and the way he smirks and snarls “monster” suggested that something was awry. Sure enough, he shoots her, and it feels like he’s done this before. If and hopefully when Fiona and Cordelia discover his secret life, perhaps they’ll take a page from Marie’s book when it comes to exacting revenge – though something tells me Fiona might have it under control.

About Sam Sciarrotta

Hi there! I'm Sam. I like baseball, Bruce Springsteen, tomato pie, and most other things. I'm looking at you, but I'm thinking about Breaking Bad. 2012 college graduate and budding journalist.

Posted on October 31, 2013, in Cable, Drama, FX, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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