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.
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.