Was “The Sacred Taking” American Horror Story’s weakest episode of the season? Probably, but given how strong Coven has been this season, the weak link still held its own. It felt a little jumbled, but it certainly helped set up the series’ five remaining episodes and next week’s last new episode until 2014. Let’s take a look at what went down.
The episode opened with what I initially thought was a flashback. Queenie is wandering around a shoddy area late at night and completely alone – until she’s approached by a man who threatens her with rape and murder. Our girl is scared, but not for long. She picks up a board with several nails pushed clean through and jabs it into her hand, incapacitating and confusing the man long enough for her to overpower him. She’s stopped, though, as Zoe and Madison show up. This was also the moment I realized that this was a present-day incident and not one that took place in Detroit. They want her to come back to Miss Robichaux’s, but Queenie is on a mission. Her encounter with the homeless man was no accident. Marie Laveau sent her out in pursuit of an evil heart, and this man just happens to have raped a number of young girls. The heart is an ingredient in a potion Marie is supposedly brewing to make Queenie a stronger voudon, something Queenie suggests Fiona would never do for the other witches. She’s right, as Fiona is wont to do pretty much the opposite. Queenie cuts the man’s heart out and holds it up, still beating, as she lets the girls know this town ain’t big enough for the both of them. It’s war.
Resurrection is running wild on American Horror Story: Coven, even without the inimitable Misty Day. In the fittingly-titled “The Dead,” Kyle and Madison get it on walking dead-style, the Axeman is back, and Zoe brings back Spalding’s tongue from beyond the grave – all while Queenie leads the recently exhumed Madame LaLaurie straight into Laveau’s eager arms. Let’s see how we got there.
The episode opens with Kyle discovering exactly who (or, rather, what) he is by taking us back to a tattoo parlor at an unspecified time. We see one brother get some ink on his leg, while another gets a tattoo on his arm. Both of these limbs, we learn, are now attached to Kyle, who notices the irregularities and cries out. He examines his body and holds up to his face his hands that appear to be just a smidge too large for his body – a nice touch, whether it was done intentionally or not.
It 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.
I watched the most recent episode of American Horror Story: Coven, “The Replacements,” about an hour after it aired. Prior to that, I noticed several Facebook/Twitter/what-have-you posts that all echoed the same sentiment: “WTF did I just watch?!” So I prepared myself for a doozy and settled in to watch. Everything seemed relatively normal and I thought, “Hmm, this isn’t so bad,” but halfway through the episode, the freakout began.
Kyle is back at home after Zoe moved him from the second coming of Stevie Nicks’ cabin to his own home where she felt he’d heal better under his mother’s care. Misty, undoubtedly lonely in the woods, grew attached to Kyle and is not totally ready for him to leave, but Zoe takes him anyway. Back at Kyle’s, Mommie Dearest greets him in bed. Earlier, she walked in on him in the shower and noticed his new body parts. Wait, did she just glance down south? Back in the bed, she kisses him and kisses him some more and OH MY GOD THIS IS TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE. SHE’S REACHING UNDER THE COVERS. OH. OKAY. So, Kyle’s mom has been sexually abusing him for an undisclosed amount of time, which is something Zoe might have known had she actually, you know, known him. This continues later on in the episode, giving us Kyle’s first words since his resurrection: he screams “No” over and over again while beating his mom’s face in with an old trophy.
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven opened up against a classic Louisiana landscape: the bayou. Two poachers hunting gators are hauling a catch up to their camp when they noticed a woman we know as (the recently burned-at-the-stake) Misty Day wandering around. As Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” served as the background music, Day, looking very Nicks-ish herself (more on that later), examines several of their previous kills and lets the hunters know how she feels about their hobby. Given her power of resurrection, it was easy to see where this was going. She brings all of the gators back to life, and they decimate the two men, guilty of murdering innocent creatures for their own personal gain. When we last saw Misty, she was called a necromancer and burned by her God-fearing peers. Now, she’s mentally and physically reborn.
Back at the school, Cordelia gets the girls up and ready for the day. Zoe is still mourning Kyle, but Madison feels he’s just as guilty as his fraternity brothers. Zoe can’t accept that, but Madison assures her he would have died anyway because of Zoe’s power. Fiona, meanwhile, has Madame LaLaurie tied up and gagged in her room. Fiona warns her not to scream, but of course she does. I’m still not exactly sure what she thought this would accomplish. She obviously wants to be helped, but I’d imagine it would be difficult for someone who’s been buried alive for 180 years to navigate the present.
After American Horror Story’s disjointed, cluttered second season, I wasn’t too sure I’d be back for season three. It took such a nosedive after a stellar inaugural season that I didn’t think recovery was possible. I changed my mind with the release of each 15ish-second preview and after the cast was announced. It looked creepy, fresh, and fierce – and it acted the part in “Bitchcraft,” the premiere episode.
The show opens in 1834 New Orleans. Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) hosts some kind of formal gathering in her home. Once all of her guests leave, she heads upstairs to start her nightly beauty routine: rubbing a mixture of blood and a human pancreas on her face like any self-respecting woman would. She’s disrupted, though, when she learns that her daughter was found copulating with a servant. Furious, she has him taken to the attic, where slaves are kept in crates in various states of torture; one man’s eyes and mouth are sewn shut, a woman’s skin has been peeled from her face. Delphine has a child bring in a bull’s head, which she puts over the slave’s like a mask because she’s “always loved the minotaur.” Later, she receives a visit from Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), a priestess claiming to have a potion for Delphine that will curb her husband’s craving for younger women. She gladly takes it but soon discovers it’s poison. Marie sought revenge against Delphine, as her lover was the one who was fitted with a new head. Delphine died, and her body was never found.