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.