TV: ‘American Horror Story’ returns in the “nick” of time

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX
Rating: 5/5


American Horror Story: Coven is back and more murder-y and surprising than ever. Ryan Murphy has continuously said around episode 10 is when everyone starts to die, and it’s true. In episode 10 of the first season, we discovered the major game changer that Violet had not survived her suicide attempt. In the second season, both Sister Mary Eunice and Dr. Arden say goodbye in episode 10. The moment of truth has come; it truly is the last few episodes of each season where all the craziness happens. I can’t wait to see what else we’re in store for. For now, let’s go over the insanity that happened tonight in “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks.”

Fiona (Jessica Lange) welcomes Marie (Angela Bassett) into the safety of the academy. It is her kindness that has brought Marie to tears, not the fact that her entire salon full of friends and acquaintances was just shot down by Hank (Josh Hamilton). This was actually a beautiful monologue. I’ll explain it ten times over, but Bassett was the MVP of tonight’s episode. Sure her sass has been incredibly satisfying all season but we finally got to see more from her character and it was moving and amazing.

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROGAside from the emotional truths discovered about Marie, we also finally got an answer to some general questions we’ve been asking since episode one: how has she remained immortal and how did she make LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) immortal too? The answer is simple: Sell your soul. But not to just anyone. It has to be to Papa Legba ( Lance Reddick), you know, the Disney villain from The Princess and the Frog. Just kidding. That’s not actually him but he sure looks like Dr. Facilier. Marie sold her soul to Papa Legba, but in return, she must provide an innocent soul every year; in other words, she’s been kidnapping a lot of babies.

Here is where we learn the most about Marie. Her immortality only began once she gave up her own child, a price she regretted accepting the moment it happened. It’s so easy to see how Marie became the sassy BAMF we know today. She had to give up her own child, get used to handing over hundreds of innocent souls and become accustomed to succeeding the lives of her family and friends over and over again. I will always and forever love Jessica Lange on this show more than anything but I have to say that Angela Bassett has given the best performance this season. She plays her character so perfectly, and who doesn’t love that Cajun accent? “Weeeeetch.” It’s amazing.

Even though they bonded two episodes ago over LaLaurie’s head in the box, Fiona and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) are no longer on good(ish) terms. Fiona is furious but more so upset and disappointed in Cordelia for essentially bringing in a witch hunter into their home. This dynamic is incredible to watch not only between these two characters in this season but also between the actors and the characters they’ve played throughout the whole series. In the first season, they were friends and in the second season, they were at first enemies who then ended up relying on one another for survival. Now, they play such an interesting mother-daughter dynamic. I never saw them as ever going to be friends because with the comfort of finally having a loving mother, Cordelia could grow stronger and that’s the last thing Fiona wants. She needs to be the Supreme in every way and having people be essentially willing subordinate certainly makes that feeling achieved easier.

As you have heard from the buzz — and if you simply looked at the title of tonight’s episode — you know that Stevie Nicks made her cameo in this episode. She was used as a ploy to show Misty (Lily Rabe) the positives of being the Supreme. So not only can you do the Seven Wonders but you can also apparently conjure up any celebrity you want. Hmmm, I’m thinking Zachary Levi on my doorstep wouldn’t be too shabby. Folks, major plot twist. I’m the new Supreme. Zach, I’ll be waiting.

Though I loved having Stevie sing “Rhiannon,” I don’t see her cameo as anything more than a stunt Ryan Murphy felt like pulling. She didn’t do anything besides say, “I’m Stevie Nicks” and sing. If you’re going to bring her on, put her to good use! This could have been an amazing opportunity for Misty to talk to the “white witch,” the only witch who had kept her company until she found the coven. They could have made her actually be a witch and do some badass sorcery. They could have done a lot more than what they did.

In all the glory of getting Stevie Nicks to come on the show, the writers still managed to poke fun at its absurdity. “I’m a huge Eminem fan, when does he get here?” Madison (Emma Roberts) asks Fiona. “Marshall? You’re not his type,” Fiona retorts. The writing is genius every week.

Fiona, Cordelia and Marie discover Delphi Trust, and Fiona sets up a spell to ruin the business. Fiona chants an incantation and a scene of the police raiding the building parallels a maze with mice running its corridors. In the end, the business has essentially collapsed and Hank Sr. (Michael Cristofer) is not pleased.

The race to discover the new Supreme is heating up as Nan (Jamie Brewer) becomes more of a potential candidate with her new found ability of mind control. But a more interesting turn was taken when Madison reveals she no longer has a heart murmur as she did in her “first life.” Can a revived person really be the next Supreme? If she’s technically already dead, would a new Supreme ever happen again since she wouldn’t really die? It’s an incredibly interesting and theory-provoking discovery.

tumblr_mz5w4lxS0v1qcbk34o2_250Since she’s back in the game, Madison is out to get Misty. The two follow a funeral parade down a street as they talk about the consequences of the powers of the Supreme; everything comes at a cost. They go all the way to the graveyard where Madison says she’ll prove she’s just as powerful as Misty and can raise the dead too. She opens the casket of the man whose funeral they’re crashing and revives him. He gets out of the casket and Misty stares into the empty space. Madison tells her to be her own witch, not a copy of Stevie Nicks, but the advice is cut short when Madison then hits Misty over the head with a brick and knocks her into the casket. She’s locked in a casket but I’m not sure if that means she’s dead. Who knows with this show? But can I just say that I did NOT see that coming.

But wait, there are even more surprises and twists. I know. I can barely handle just thinking about them again.

Nan discovers Luke has died so she and Zoe go over to Joan’s (Patti LuPone) to figure out where his body is so they can get Misty to bring him back. It turns out there’s more than one problem with that plan. Luke was cremated. Sweet, wonderful Nan flips at the news and forces Joan to “cleanse” herself and drink a gallon of bleach. That’s going to do terrible things to her vocal chords! Don’t mess with Patti’s voice — even if it’s pretend! I can also say that I did not see Nan as a murderer. This episode probably had the most twists and turns yet.

Fiona summons Papa Legba with some nice cocaine (I’m not kidding) and asks for the same deal as Marie, regardless of the cost. She accepts the price to give up someone she loves each year but the transaction cannot be completed. “You have no soul,” Papa Legba tells her. With no other option for survival, Fiona states, “I’ll just kill them all.” I don’t doubt her either.

Nan finds the baby Marie stole for this year’s payment to Papa Legba; the voodoo queen apparently couldn’t give it up. Fiona hatches up a plan to kill two birds with one stone. They drown Nan in the tub, handing her over as Marie’s innocent soul and helping Fiona by eliminating one more possibility for Supreme.

Twist after twist. My heart and mind cannot take it.

The episode ends with one last usage of Stevie Nicks and she sings — did Fiona just glue her to that piano for a day?! — to Fiona a song about giving a song to someone in their darkest hours. Fitting.

The amazingly thrilling rollercoaster of AHS has really just begun and I cannot wait to see which twists, turns and bumps in the road we face next.

Don’t you think Papa Legba is Murphy’s version of Dr. Facilier? Who do you think the next Supreme is? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl


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