American Horror Story: Coven – The Dead, review

At the halfway point of the season for American Horror Story: Coven, the show is still full of chilling surprises!

On tonight’s American Horror Story: Coven new alliances are formed, bonds are broken, and things are, shall we say, shared? This season has been teaming with opposing forces and conflicting personalities and its been a joy to watch the main cast scramble to choose sides in a war of witches. With the help of resurrection, all of the coven is back under one roof, but personal goals and grudges are just aching to tear them apart. Tonight’s episode mainly paired most of the main cast in teams of two to varying degrees of entertainment.

For the most part, it seemed that the main theme of “The Dead” was feeling a sense of belonging. As witches, our heroines are essentially outcasts to the world outside, but there’s more to it then that. Queenie struggles with belonging on account of her race, Delphine with being a woman out of her time, Kyle and Madison with being back from the blackness of death, and Cordelia with the fact that her kin, mother and husband, are far from who they claim to be. Even the seemingly heartless Fiona longs to be longed for by another human. Life is all about just trying to fit in, and tonight’s AHS shows just how difficult it can be.

After a cold open that reveals more of Kyle’s fratty backstory, Madison delivers a chilling monologue about what it’s like to be back from the grave. Before her death, I found Madison to be a one-note character and one of the show’s weaker players, but isn’t it funny what an eternity of nothingness can do for one’s character? Now, she’s one of the more interesting people on screen, coming to grips with the fact that she can no longer feel a thing and struggling with the idea of whether or not she was better off dead. Now with someone who can actually relay what Kyle’s feeling, it strengthens two of the series’ weaker characters, and it’s a move by writer Brad Falchuk that I must applaud.

Out of all the pairings on screen, I really enjoyed Queenie and Delphine’s scenes together. To watch the former immediate enemies begin to bond was heartwarming, but you can never be too cozy on this show. Queenie, feeling isolated by her sisters, seeks the advice of Marie Laveau who promises Queenie that she can come join her, but only if she hands over her new friend first. For a moment, it seemed Queenie wouldn’t turn her back on the reformed racist, but after Delphine’s truly devious story about the murdering of one of her slaves’ babies, Queenie leads Delphine right into the lions den.

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Cordelia and Zoe conspire together to get rid of Fiona. With her second sight, Cordelia is aware that Fiona was behind Madison’s murder and she tells Zoe that the two of them must take her down. At first, Zoe doesn’t get right onboard, but after finding Spalding’s tongue and reinserting it back into his mouth to learn the truth, she disposes of Spalding and comes to the realization that Cordelia is right.

The weirdest pairing was Fiona and the Axman. After spending the night together, the Axman reveals to Fiona that he is a spirit and that he’s been watching and helping Fiona throughout the years. Rightfully so, Fiona is distressed by the news, but eventually warms to the idea of having such a formidable lover in her corner. The scenes weren’t particularly popping, but Jessica Lange and Danny Huston have an undeniable chemistry, both of them clearly having fun hamming it up.

With new bonds formed and sides drawn, I’m patiently waiting for the cauldron to start boiling over. We’ve reached the halfway point of the season and I’m really hoping that after another stellar episode that things aren’t all downhill from here.

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4 out of 5