American Horror Story: Coven continues to soar on its broom to greater heights. The first two episodes of this season were passable at best, but last week’s scare tactics and body count helped to pick up the pace. This week’s episode doesn’t rely on cheap gimmicks or shock value to increase interest. American Horror Story: Coven took the opportunity to build on its mythology and add another formidable older woman into the mix of battling witches this week.
This week’s episode continued avoiding Zoe’s storyline, which helps. Tonight we only got a few brief moments with Tasissa Farmiga and her big, deer-in-the-headlights eyes, and it’s the right move. When you have actresses like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Basset chewing up all the scenery they can get their hands on, it just doesn’t bode well to waste time with Zoe and her Warm Bodies but creepier plot. I think Evan Peters is doing the best he can as the zombie-like Kyle, but it still seems all a bit hokey and uninteresting. I’m glad we didn’t delve deeper into what’s happening with those two. I started to get excited when Zoe made the move to poison Kyle, hoping that this would either end or ramp up their little story, but Kyle just disappears, and instead of looking for him, Zoe just ends up back at the mansion dishing with the other girls about the supposed whereabouts of the oh-so-dead Madison.
Real sparks were flying tonight with Fiona and her surprise visit from the Witches Council. The introduction of the Witches Council in and of itself is a cool idea. It expands the universe and mythology of the show and adds a sense of order to the world. With the Council, it now explains why a witch like Fiona isn’t using her powers endlessly, wreaking havoc whenever she likes. The real meaty part of all of this is when the show dives into the backstory of Fiona and Council member Myrtle Snow, portrayed by AHS alum Francis Conroy. The mean-girl/tattletale dynamic of their youth was really fun to see, and it helped shed some like on Spalding’s past, who, by the way, is really desperate for company at his tea parties. Just when you thought Fiona had enough problems with other witches, we add one more to the cauldron for good measure.
Perhaps the most surprising and welcome addition to the show was the revelation that Hank, Cordelia’s husband, isn’t all that he seems to be. Pretending to be away on business, Hank shacks up with a cute redhead, and just when she confesses her feelings for him, he shoots her right in the head. It’s not all witches this year. It looks like we have another serial killer on our hands.
Speaking of Cordelia, she had a rough go of things this week. Not only does she seem incompetent in front of the Council, I fear she chooses the wrong side again (after last week being told what side she’s on by Marie Laveau) by siding with her mother against Myrtle. Her defense of Fiona creates a nice bonding moment for the two, and they share some drinks and secrets and actually seem like a healthy mother and daughter. Things take a turn for the worse though when Cordelia cannot handle her booze and ends up puking in the bathroom. When she emerges from the stall, she’s giving the full on Harvey Dent treatment and has her face soaked in an acid bath by a cloaked figure. My first instinct was to believe it was Laveau’s doing, but something tells me it’s actually Myrtle enacting some revenge.
The only thing I didn’t quite enjoy was the introduction of some zombies this week. AHS should leave the walking dead to that, erm, other show. Regardless, the episode ended with LaLaurie’s zombie daughters and a horde of others surrounding Miss Robichaux’s Academy. It seems a full on war has started, and I can’t wait to see what this bewitching show has in store.