If American Horror Story:Coven
were a reality show, say something like five witches picked to live in a house, then this episode is where they stop being polite and start being real--real dangerous. It seemed like every character was either scheming against their fellow witch or having their own crisis of self-doubt and by the end of it all it becomes that much more clear that the warring factions storyline was a total line of bullshit in the first place to use the first season of AHS
's favorite word.
I think that any fan would struggle to be able to define the plotline of Coven without mentioning the talent competition of finding the next Supreme. So it makes sense that the majority of the episode dealt with the girls all gradually coming to realize that this isn't RuPaul's Best Buddy Race, bitch. Someone's going to have to win and that means there will be casualties when the title brings with it more than perks but a sense of self-validation unlike any other. It's no wonder that Madison the insecure young actress is chasing the throne like a part in potential blockbuster film franchise. She's also playing a game similar to the one Fiona did years go by using vicious means to try to gain it. I have a hard time not enjoying Madison even when she does things I loathe like try to harm precious Misty Day, Emma Roberts has such an infectious mean girl sense of cruel fun that it's hard not to chuckle when she ends up taking Misty's genuine Stevie Nicks shawl to give it a victory twirl. Part of me wants her to win this little game by taking out her competitors to prove that she at least wants it, just look at how pointless every moment of Zoe's screentime was tonight. She really doesn't have much to do when Kyle isn't around or when she's forced to be some sort of voice of reason that no one listens to.
Poor Nan left the running tonight when Fiona and Marie both found reason to team up to take her down. At least she had one grand moment when she took revenge on Joan Ramsey for killing her son, Luke but then that act becomes an issue of why the hell did Misty even bring Joan back in the first place if that was all there was. I don't really think that Patti LuPone singing a spiritual was worth the effort and the idea of a darker Nan never got to be explored because well with so few episodes left in a self-contained series some people should start dying. I guess that's where most of my issue with how Coven
has played out lies. Most of these characters were never allowed to grow beyond a simple one sentence description. It isn't like in Asylum where everyone started out as an archetype figure and slowly their characters were given so much life that they felt like real people. Now, I've been given a load of extensive background on Madame LaLaurie as well as Fiona but if you actually sit down and write out a list of everything that's definitely known about say Cordelia or Nan the list is embarrassingly short. I guess that's why all the damn screentime lavishing over Fiona continues to rankle me so.
This episode found a way to include things that are encouraging about Fiona as well as the very things that
stop the storytelling progression dead in its tracks. When she's a take charge witch with motivation that extends beyond herself, she's a very compelling character. The scenes with she and Marie performing the ritual against the Delphi Corporation were exciting to behold. This Fiona I could get behind back in the earlier Coven episodes. Then all of her I'm dying and I'm decaying angst began and not only that but those self-indulgent character moments took up large parts of episodes where literally any other kind of character development could happen. I mean, why on earth did it take us this long to learn more about Marie and her deal with the voodoo version of the Devil, Papa Legba (menacingly played by the great Lance Reddick)?
The minimization of the entire voodoo part of the story has been a disappointment this season. There's so much they could have played with there instead of just folding Marie into the overall story of the Coven because they just didn't have anything else for her to do except team up with Fiona. The timing of the Papa Legba story also just goes with how this season is the Fiona show as it provided her a last gasp of sorts to remain young and vital forever without just offing the very witches she was so concerned about earlier on. I guess the destruction of the coven only matters if it's by the hands of men and not because Fiona wants to be a forever Supreme.
One of the big draws of this episode was the guest starring role by the actual Stevie Nicks. Her performances were lovely and especially during 'Rhiannon' when her number one fan Misty Day got to twirl and swoon over the woman who makes sense of the world for her like no one else. One thing I'm endlessly grateful for about Coven is that it gave Lily Rabe the kind of fandom recognition she's deserved since she stole scenes back in season one. I'm already looking forward to her next character for whatever season four may be (hearing some kind of carnival/circus theme and I'm beyond stoked to see American Horror Story tackle that world). Honestly I'm ready for Coven to conclude, I want to know the Supreme and move onto the next story. Nothing's gone down in terms of technical quality but the characters have just been, for the most part, so underwritten and I have a hard time caring for long when that occurs. I will miss the fashion though, it has been a fabulous year for that at least.
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