American Horror Story really has issues with finishing. The previous iterations of the show both started equally strong and intriguing before dragging themselves across the finish line in frustrating, ill-conceived fashions. American Horror Story: Coven seems to be no different. The last two episodes have seen a stark dip in quality, and tonight’s effort is no different. The plot at this point is generally incomprehensible, and character motivations are almost nonexistent. In the early moments of “Protect the Coven,” Delphine cuts the head off a chicken in what could be a metaphor for this entire season – a chicken running around with its head cut off, no brains in sight.
The first fifteen minutes or so of “Protect the Coven” are dedicated to explaining exactly what drew Delphine to her torturous hobby. If you’re into seeing more blood and mutilation, then this probably excited you, but from a story standpoint, it seemed like a waste. Did we really need to create a backstory for Delphine’s murderous impulses, or was it scarier leaving the whole thing unexplained? An even better question is whether or not this backstory is even any good. So Delphine got some chicken blood on her hands and then decides she wants to create a torture chamber in her attic? Hmm, ok, I guess. This is American Horror Story, after all, and stranger things have happened.
Yes, Delphine is prominently featured in this episode after being nonexistent in the last two episodes, I believe. You know who else is featured? Queenie! Yes, Queenie, who shot herself in the head to kill Hank and who was seemingly dead after Marie Laveau told the Coven no one had survived, and who had the last two episodes off, pops back up as well! This proves my theory that no one on this show stays dead, and therefore, there are pretty much zero stakes. How long until Nan is resurrected for some dumb plot purpose? I’d give it maybe a week. Oh, Kyle is back this week too, after disappearing completely, and so is Spalding. Either these actors had limited time to film their appearances, or some writer is having a hard time working all of these players into the picture.
My other main issue with this show, the fact that you can never tell who is angry at who, came back into focus this week when Madison decided that she’s had enough with everyone, again, and that she’s going to kill Zoe and Kyle, the two people she was having a polyamorous relationship with just last week. And if I can go back to my point about this show having no stakes and not being able to stick to it’s shake ups in the plot, Cordelia re-removed her eyes this week. Why did she even get her eyesight back in the first place? So, we could get a scene of her brutality gouging her eyes out? Yeah, probably.
As far as who the main antagonist is now, your guess is as good as mine, because the Witch Hunters have been snuffed out (but who knows, they could just be resurrected next week). The building war between the Coven and DelPhi was probably the last thing keeping me engaged with this show, but the whole DelPhi clan is unceremoniously hacked to death by the Ax Man in one swoop. Sure, seeing Danny Huston go all Patrick Bateman on the DelPhi ranks was pretty awesome, but it all just happened so quickly, and now I’m left seriously wondering what all of this is leading up to.
In other news, Myrtle convinces Zoe to flee with Kyle and Spalding tricks Delphine into getting Marie Laveau out of the picture so he can keep her baby. If you didn’t watch this show and just read this recap to yourself, you’d no doubt think all of this sounds completely hokey, confusing, and dumb, and guess what? You wouldn’t be wrong.