TV: ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ will leave you craving more after its midseason finale

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
American Horror Story will return to FX on January 8th
Rating: 5/5

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The winter finale of American Horror Story: Coven aired tonight and I’m already aching for more. Ryan Murphy wasn’t kidding in an interview with Entertainment Weekly when he called it “some of the best work of the season.” This season of AHS is hands-down my favorite of all of them so far. The acting has been Emmy-worthy in nearly every aspect of every episode; the camera angles are interesting enough that even I notice them; and the dialogue is smart, sassy, hilarious and dark all at the same time. I’m absolutely in love with this season.

So many defining moments in these characters’ lives happened in this episode and I cannot wait to see how they unfold when the show returns in January. Join me as sit in anticipation until then. In the mean time, let’s talk about the insanity that happened tonight.

It’s 1991; say hello to baby Hank. In the time-honored tradition, his father takes him out on his first hunt. Except, it’s not for deer; it’s for witches. Young Hank hesitates, just enough time for the witch to throw a literal line of fire at him. His father pushes him aside as he shoots the witch, but he gets burned in the process. “Never forget what they are,” he says to his son.

Foreshadowing, kids. This show is great at it. I personally never realize it in the moment so the reviews are not only an outlet for my criticism, but also a way in which I can look back and analyze the story better.

Hank’s father (Michael Cristofer) — Jerry from Smash — runs Delphi Trust, a front company for the witch hunters who call themselves the Corporation. His father yells at him for essentially everything he’s done. He isn’t supposed to be a man of action; he’s supposed to just be on the inside. In all fairness, he has been with Cordelia (Paulson) for quite some time and hasn’t managed to do anything. Not even killing Alexandra Breckenridge’s character was correct because he left a lot of loose ends. Silly Hank. We also find out that the witch hunters were the ones who threw the acid at Cordelia!!

I like that ultimately it’s the witch hunters who are the main villains. Before the season premiered, we heard spoilers about The Axeman and The Minotaur being the sort of Rubber Man and Bloody Face of this season. Instead of one supernatural/ out of this world creature causing trouble, it’s a whole world against the characters we’re rooting for. I’m glad they changed it up.

Fiona (Jessica Lange) brings LaLaurie’s (Kathy Bates) head to Marie (Angela Bassett). “I have six more heads up front. That one you can keep.” The dialogue in this episode was spectacular. Fiona didn’t come to just drop off the old help. She wants to form an alliance with Marie’s tribe. But, as one would assume, Marie shrugs off the old white woman, to which Fiona responds, “You’re kidding yourself if, after us, you think they’re not coming for you.” Foreshadowing everywhere.

Myrtle (Frances Conroy) needlessly worries that Cordelia thinks she really did throw the acid in her face, but Delia assures her that she knows she would never hurt her, especially since she’s been like a mother to her.

The Council has returned and Myrtle makes them dinner, with melon balls to start. I guessed it from the moment this scene started: she puts something in their food and paralyzes them. But she won’t kill them until after the key lime pie, of course — Conroy’s monologue was absolutely delicious (no pun intended). But before she goes, she takes the melon scooper and scoops out one eye from each Council member!!!!

ahs_eyesThe eyes aren’t for toppings for the dessert though; she nabbed them so Cordelia could see again. But with the gift of regular sight, Cordelia has lost her “second sight” abilities and no longer has those visions when she touches another person. And Myrtle isn’t as nice as she seems. She ended up chopping up the Council members and melting their parts in acid.

This is absolutely the best role Ryan Murphy has given to Frances Conroy. Her resurgence was brilliant. I like her much more now than I ever did before. Now she has that sultry voice, is a thousand times sassier and is just more interesting. I love it.

Nan (Jamie Brewer) has been waiting at the hospital all night for Luke (Alexander Dreymon) but Joan (Patti LuPone) won’t let her see him. She does get in and tries to prove her clairvoyance to Joan by saying what Luke is telling her. Eventually, Joan believes her and sings the spiritual song Luke mentally requested. Way to work in a way for LuPone to sing!!!! Definitely required.

But the good times don’t last. Soon, Luke has Nan tell the story of how he knows Joan is the reason his father is dead. She knew her husband was cheating on her and that he wanted to leave so she put bees in his car since he’s allergic to them and killed him. After that cheerful story, Joan kicks Nan out. Later in the episode, Luke wakes up crying with that realization. Joan hushes him to go back to sleep and then she smothers him with a pillow!!!! Wasn’t the cleaning fluid enema enough? It pains me to say it but Patti’s character is not OK! I was rooting for LuPone’s guest appearance so much but she’s only brought sadness. She plays the villain very well. I was not expecting this storyline to take this turn. It kills me to think of how Nan will react. I also have to say how much I like that they didn’t make her character’s reaction all about associating witchcraft with Satan. That religious angle has been done and done. This was all about her reaction to the powers themselves and how they can expose her for her true self. Original and I like it.

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 3.53.20 AMInstead of throwing away LaLaurie’s head, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) puts it on a TV stand upstairs and decides to teach her a lesson in black history and respect. How do you do that? Make her watch the entire miniseries, Roots.

How Kathy Bates managed to make this one of my favorite scenes of all time is beyond me. It is just her head on a side table and yet it goes to show you how great of an actress Bates is. Who else could really pull off that kind of scene? That “Dixie land” song she sang as she tried to drown out the TV was hilarious. I know I shouldn’t like LaLaurie but I really do.

Hank returns to the house to plead with Delia. “All I’ve ever wanted is to protect you,” he tells her. The worst thing is that I believe it. No wonder he hasn’t done anything for the Corporation. He has actual feelings for his wife. Thankfully — because she has sense — Cordelia tells him she wants a divorce.

Fiona has gotten a new female guard dog since females are more loyal and aggressive when it comes to protecting their families. Do I sense some double entendre?

dogThe dog ends up finding Kyle (Evan Peters) and runs to him as Kyle plays with his toys on the floor. He says “Dog” as the dog licks his face and he beams like a child. Fiona thinks he’s just another one of the girls’ boy toys until Kyle accidentally breaks the dog’s neck. I can never handle any scene where a dog is injured. I am never OK with it. It makes me sadder than anything. Also, that was an adorable moment and the adorableness was just shattered. Harumph.

Fiona ends up “sprucing” Kyle up so that he’s functioning again — enough to even play gin rummy with her — so that he can be the new guard dog and “attack on command.” I cannot wait to see how this unfolds. Yes he has regained much more functionality than before but he’s still not himself. I really wonder what Fiona did to him and how she’ll use it. Plus, now that he’s fully conscious, what is going to happen between him, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison (Emma Roberts)?!

I’m also absolutely in love with seeing Peters and Lange together on screen again. Just seeing them makes my heart happy.

Queenie returns to find LaLaurie is unchanged. This time she puts on video of the Civil Rights fights and marches set to a spiritual gospel. We see LaLaurie being affected by the material — she even cries — but this scene is intermixed with Hank going on a killing spree in Cornrow City. YUP. He burst in the door and shot everyone, including Queenie. He almost killed Marie but Queenie was able to use her voodoo powers one last time to save her.

This scene was so much more powerful with the parallel to the Civil Rights video. It was quite unsettling to see the historical footage of blacks being hosed down while Hank shoots them down in the present. This is the first mass of killings that is definite. Before, everyone who died was simply brought back by Misty, but that won’t be happening this time. I’m pretty sure Queenie is probably gone for good. But, she was shot in the stomach so there’s hope.

Marie shows up at the academy, seeking help — just as she had mocked Fiona for doing so before.

Waiting until January 8th is going to be excruciating. Let me know what theories you concoct in the mean time! Tweet them to me @buzzlightmeryl

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