American Horror Story: Coven

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Continues to change the format of the show to keep it original

Weird tone change has a funnier and lighter season

 
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It’s the Witching Hour!

Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans has a long history in education…primarily of witchcraft.  When Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) develops powers, she find her sent to the school with teen star Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), psychic Nan (Jamie Brewer), and human voodoo doll Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe).  The group’s Supreme Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) leaves the running of the school up to her daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson).  Danger is coming to Miss Robichaux’s Academy, and the war with Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) has reignited along with the return of Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates).  There must be a new Supreme…and the witches are battling for number one!

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Wait…I thought this was The Walking Dead…

American Horror Story:  Coven is the third season in the anthology series that changes the storyline each season with generally recurring actors.  The series aired on FX from October 9, 2013 to January 29, 2014 and won Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Jessica Lange), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Kathy Bates), Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (“Bitchcraft”), and Outstanding Hairstyles for a Miniseries or a Movie with nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Sarah Paulson), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Frances Conroy), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Angela Bassett), Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (“Bitchcraft”), Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (“Bitchcraft”), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie, Outstanding Casting for a  Miniseries, Movie, or a Special, and Outstanding Miniseries.

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Will AHS: Coven make you stab your eyes out? Read on…

The first season of American Horror Story (which later came to be known as American Horror Story:  Murder House) was good and creepy, but suffered from a really awful last episode.  The second season (American Horror Story:  Asylum) had a lot of great stuff going on it but also had some issues with the end.  American Horror Story:  Coven shows a change in tone but still has that weird, post climax moment that just doesn’t feel connected to the story.  It is a lot like the ending of The Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King that just goes on and on.

American Horror Story:  Coven has a lot more humor than the previous entries.  There are a few tense moments, but this season is much more tongue-in-cheek with the horror…almost like an episode of a WB show more than an episode of American Horror Story or even a Tales from the Crypt episode.  It does work in context of the series, but it might not be what everyone expects from American Horror Story.

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Marie Laveau is here to cast her spell…

The cast is strong (like in previous seasons), but there are many standouts.  Jessica Lange continues to make it look easy as she switches from role to role but newcomers Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe also do a great job.  I particularly like the Kathy Bates/Gabourey Sidibe relationship which shows the most growth and development.  A majority of the characters however do have uneven development and never really seem to get fleshed out.  The plot and the limited episodes just don’t allow it.

I don’t like the visuals as much as the other years.  American Horror Story:  Asylum is dark and this is the flipside of it.  It is light, fluffy, and colorful.  It has moments of horror (like the Halloween zombie invasion), but then also has moments where Stevie Nicks shows up and gives a music video…it is a weird, odd looking season.

American Horror Story:  Coven shows that American Horror Story still has tricks up its sleeve.  The series continues to warp and change season to season and that in itself makes it worth coming back to.  You can watch a season and like a season but then not enjoy the next one.  It is a bit of crapshoot, but it still is fun to see it unfold.  American Horror Story:  Coven is followed by American Horror Story:  Freak Show.

American Horror Story:  Coven Complete Episode Guide:

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“Bitchcraft”

3.1       Bitchcraft Airdate:  10/09/13

Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) finds her life turned upside down when she kills her boyfriend during sex and discovers she’s a witch.  Sent by her parents to a school in New Orleans called Miss Robichaux’s Academy, Zoe meets the other witch students telekinesis movie star Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), precognitive Nan (Jamie Brewer), and living voodoo doll Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe).  Sneaking out of the house to go to a frat party, Madison and Zoe meet frat boys who rape Madison…with tragic results.  A witch named Misty Day (Lily Rabe) who can restore life finds herself burned at the stake.  Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) seeks eternal life…by digging up an old victim of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett).

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“Boy Parts”

3.2       Boy Parts Airdate:  10/16/13

Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) is held prisoner by Fiona who questions what Laveau did to her to keep her from aging.  Madison and Zoe seek to right the wrong committed on Kyle (Evan Peters) who tried to stop the attack on Madison by bringing him back from the dead as a living Frankenstein monster…and only Misty Day can help.  Fiona’s daughter Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Hank (Josh Hamilton) decide to resort to dark magic to conceive a child.

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“The Replacements”

3.3       The Replacements Airdate:  10/23/13

Cordelia finds she cannot get pregnant and tries to turn to Marie Laveau for help.  Madame Delphine LaLaurie is forced to work for Queenie, and Queenie discovers LaLaurie’s past mistakes have followed her from the grave in the form of her cursed servant.  Misty Day tries to help Kyle, but Zoe’s attempt to reunite Kyle with his mother Alicia (Mare Winningham) has consequences.  Luke (Alexander Dreymon) and Joan Ramsey (Patti LuPone) move in next to the school, and the religious Joan find herself at odds with Madison and Fiona.  When Madison demonstrates new powers, Fiona takes an interest in her as her own life ticks away due to cancer.

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“Fearful Pranks Ensue”

3.4       Fearful Pranks Ensue Airdate:  10/30/13

It is Halloween and the attack on Queenie threatens to reignite the war with Marie Laveau.  Fiona’s killing of Madison doesn’t go unnoticed when Nan contacts the council for an official investigation and Fiona’s long-time rival Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) sets out to stop her.  Zoe tries to clean up the mess created by Kyle and questions what to do with him.  Cordelia’s husband Hank shows a dark side on his business trip, and Cordelia suffers an attack.  A spell by Leveau could mean danger for the school when the dead rise from the graves.

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“Burn, Witch, Burn”

3.5       Burn, Witch, Burn! Airdate:  11/06/13

The dead are attacking the school, injuring Luke and bringing out new power in Zoe.  Cordelia finds herself blinded but develops a second sight to uncover her husband’s secret.  The council returns to challenge Fiona’s control of the coven and Fiona finds herself at a battle of wits with Myrtle which leads to an untimely death.

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“The Axeman Cometh”

3.6       The Axeman Cometh Airdate:  11/13/13

The New Orleans Axeman is killed by the coven in 1919, but an attempt by Zoe to locate Madison puts him back on a path toward freedom.  Fiona battles chemotherapy and questions the direction of her life.  Misty Day works to revive Myrtle and is recruited by Zoe to restore Madison to life.  Cordelia’s second sight causes problems for her husband which forces him to go to his secret benefactor.  The Axeman sets his sights on a new target.

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“The Dead”

3.7       The Dead Airdate:  11/20/13

Things heat up between the Axeman and Fiona, and Fiona learns that the Axeman has been part of her life for a long time.  Cordelia discovers Madison and learns who is responsible for her death.  Zoe seeks the truth about Madison’s murder from Spalding (Denis O’Hare), and Madison begins to cause trouble between Zoe and Kyle.  As Queenie and LaLaurie grow closer, a visit to Marie Laveau makes Queenie consider switching sides.

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“The Sacred Taking”

3.8       The Sacred Taking Airdate:  12/04/13

Queenie has turned to voodoo with her surrendering of LaLaurie to Laveau but begins to question her decision.  Misty comes to the witches with claims she is being hunted and reveals that she has revived Myrtle.  With Misty’s powers growing, Cordelia realizes that Misty must be the next Supreme…leading her to make a decision about her mother’s faltering health.  Nan finds Luke is a prisoner of his mother and tries to save him.  Kyle works to regain his intelligence as the relationship between Zoe and Madison causing tension.  Cordelia realizes a witch-hunter has come to New Orleans and that all the witches could be in danger.

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“Head”

3.9       Head Airdate:  12/11/13

LaLaurie has been beheaded by Marie Laveau, and now Queenie is secretly trying to educate her on the ways of her people.  Cordelia is given new sight by Myrtle when Myrtle enacts her revenge on the council, but finds her second sight is gone.  Hank finds himself pressured by his father Harrison Renard (Michael Cristofer) to end the covens in Louisiana and learns that he’s no welcomed by Cordelia.  Nan tries to help Luke at the hospital and uncovers a shocking secret about his mother.  Fiona discovers Kyle and works to build him into the coven’s protector.  A tragedy forces Laveau to reassess her relationship with Fiona’s coven.

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“The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”

3.10     The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks Airdate:  01/08/14

Fiona begins to groom Misty to be the Supreme which includes a visit from her idol Stevie Nicks…and the wrath of Madison.  The fallout of Hank’s shooting of Laveau’s salon forces Laveau into the school and an attack on the company of Hank’s father.  The secret to Marie Laveau’s eternal youth is revealed, and Fiona tries to use the source herself.  Nan sets out for revenge against Joan for Luke’s murder and makes herself a target.  Laveau’s benefactor Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) demands a sacrifice, and Fiona and Laveau are willing to provide one.

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“Protect the Coven”

3.11     Protect the Coven Airdate:  01/15/14

Nan is buried but the coven discovers that Queenie has survived and could be a contender for Supreme.  LaLaurie makes a move on Laveau with the help of Spalding’s ghost, but learns that Spalding might not be as helpful as she thought.  Laveau and Fiona set out to end the war with the witch-hunters once and for all.  Kyle and Zoe plan to leave the school and head out into the world.

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“Go to Hell”

3.12     Go to Hell Airdate:  01/22/14

Queenie prepares to face the Seven Wonders but questions the disappearance of Marie Laveau…leading to a trip to Hell.  Madame LaLaurie tries to reestablish her life by giving tours of her own home but her actions against Laveau could damn her forever.  Misty’s location is uncovered and a confrontation with the Axeman exposes a shocking turn in his relationship with Fiona.

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“The Seven Wonders”

3.13     The Seven Wonders Airdate:  01/29/14

Queenie, Misty, Madison, and Zoe prepare to perform the Seven Wonders to see which of them is the next Supreme.  With only one Supreme, a surprise late entry into the contest could change the game and the future of the school forever…and reveal the true fate of Fiona.

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Related Links:

American Horror Story:  Murder House (Season 1)

American Horror Story:  Asylum (Season 2)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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