TV: To “hell” and back, ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ will take you on quite a thrill ride

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
American Horror Story: Coven’s season finale will air January 29 at 10 p.m. on FX
Rating: 4/5

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I may have gasped and shouted at my TV more tonight than any other time I’ve sat in awe at American Horror Story: Coven. We finally know what the Seven Wonders are; we saw resurrections; we saw death; and we saw hell. “Go to Hell” was intense, and I loved most of it. I do have to say there were a few moments that disappointed and disgruntled me.

The night began unconventionally as we saw a 1920s-esque silent film that explained the Seven Wonders. The text on the screen was quite small — or that may have just been my miniscule TV — but the old effects were fun to watch, and it was a really cool way to open the episode while also introducing an important plot element in a creative way. The Seven Wonders are telekinesis (levitation and moving things with your mind), concilium (mind control), transmutation (aka teleportation), divination (“seeing” things), Vitalium Vitalis (power of resurgence/ “breath of life”), descensum (going back and forth between the afterlife and the present) and pyrokinesis (lighting stuff on fire with your mind).

sevenwIn other words, all the powers you’ve already seen done on the show — Cordelia’s (Sarah Paulson) second sight; Misty’s (Lily Rabe) resurgence power; and Nan’s (Jamie Brewer) clairvoyance. I was surprised there wasn’t anything new we hadn’t already seen. However, one power has still yet to be explained. What on earth happened with Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) when she killed the last zombie in “Burn, Witch. Burn!” What was that?! Explain!!

I’d also like to announce the return of the flawlessness of Jessica Lange. To be honest, I haven’t felt as compelled by her performance lately as I typically am — and you all know how much I love this lady. But, my fears are gone, for she came back as her badass self again and ruled this episode. That ever-biting wit returned full force, and I was reminded why I love her so dearly.

Towards the end of the Seven Wonders educational film, Fiona (Lange) remarks how performing them can get you killed, but if you do them, then you’re the next Supreme. I don’t understand how attempting to do these things could kill you. A nosebleed maybe, but death? I guess we’ll see next week.

However, there is an important note to be made. While Madison (Emma Roberts) is hopping around the room using her newfound transmutation abilities, Cordelia states that in times of crisis, witches’ powers can spike, so developing new gifts doesn’t mean you’ll be the next Supreme. Sort of wipes the slate clean then doesn’t it?

Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) uses her descensum powers to travel to hell to visit Dr. Facilier Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) to talk about Marie. But there aren’t flames surrounding her or even the expected presence of Hitler or OJ Simpson’s lawyer — it’s a Book of Mormon joke, relax. Instead, it’s her hell: the old fried chicken shack she used to work at, where she felt like she had no future and was treated terribly. Queenie presses Legba to figure out what happened to Marie, but he only starts to care when he realizes Marie’s absence and probable dissection at LaLaurie’s (Kathy Bates) hand means his deal could no longer be filled.

Proving her power, Queenie manages to return to the real world and heads to LaLaurie’s old home-turned-historic-site. Except that charming Southern woman is no longer in charge, the old matriarch of the house is. That’s right LaLaurie herself is giving tours of her home. She’s even adorned a new modern attire and haircut (aka allowing Kathy Bates to just look like herself) to fit in more. Along with the new style is a new format for the tour: she claims nothing bad happened at the home and will not allow anyone up to the chamber of horrors.

That decision is for good reason since she’s hiding the old tour guide up there in a cage. Queenie discovers this and pleads for LaLaurie to finally repent. Here, we have an outstanding monologue from LaLaurie about the underlying falsity to all public apologies and how that small moment where we thought she felt bad for her past actions was actually her just weeping for a world run by lies.

I know we’re not supposed to like LaLaurie, but I still really really do.

But that doesn’t fly for Queenie, so she sends LaLaurie to hell. I wish when I said, “Go to hell” that it actually worked like that. The world would be so much better. LaLaurie’s hell consists of her being locked in one of her own cages, with her daughter in another, while Marie (Angela Bassett) tortures them. Marie becomes conscious and realizes where she is, mad that she’s in hell even though she can’t die. Legba informs her she spent many years bringing him innocent babies so it’s only right she’s where she is.

I have to say that I never thought this is where this storyline would end up. I thought it would be interesting to see Kathy Bates looking like herself — not crazy LaLaurie or even Annie Wilkes-esque — and just being a crazy serial killer. On the other hand, why didn’t they explain where LaLaurie had put Marie? They never showed that. Queenie heard Marie but we never saw what happened. Plot holes, Ryan Murphy, fix them!

Fiona prepares for her final days and calls Cordelia in to give her a necklace that belonged to Fiona’s mother, one that is very important to her. Before she can give it to her though, the two fight over Cordelia’s self-mutilation. Fiona yells that a power is always inside of you and that she was foolish to do such an act.

As Fiona puts the necklace on her, Cordelia finally has a vision. We’re walked through the academy, which is now decorated with the dead bodies of all the young witches, including Cordelia. We then see Fiona take back the necklace.

I full on screamed at my television. I always thought Fiona would just kill everyone and there would never be a new Supreme. That was always a plausible storyline.

Cordelia takes this news to the Axeman (Danny Huston). She also tells him Fiona never planned to run away with him, that she has an airplane ticket to leave in the next few days.

“That empty, heartbroken feeling – that’s what it’s like to get close to Fiona,” she tells him.

mistyContinuing her winning streak of suddenly being able to see all the visions, Cordelia uses her renewed powers to find Misty and, after Queenie telekinetically frees her and uses Vitalium Vitalis to restore her, brings her back to the academy, much to Madison’s dismay. The two engage in fisticuffs, and it’s awesome. “I don’t want to waste the magic,” Misty states as she kicks Madison around the whole school. Yaaaaassss Misty, yaaaasssss. Snaps for you.

Zoe and Kyle (Evan Peters) have also unshockingly returned from Florida after Kyle couldn’t control himself and killed a man whom Zoe had to bring back using Vitalium Vitalis. So everyone can do this now???!!!! She also thinks she’s the new Supreme. Honey, everyone thinks she is the next Supreme. Get in line.

That was my biggest problem with this episode. I was so unimpressed with the Seven Wonders because I have seen them all done at one point or another, and I saw them all done at least once in this episode. I understand the “power surge in crisis time” clause, but I think it’s ridiculous how they can all suddenly restore someone’s life or use telekinesis.

To add to my apathy about their powers, they all use telekinesis together when the Axeman comes running toward them, throwing him back down the hallway. He didn’t hit anyone but there’s still blood on his face.

And IT’S FIONA’S BLOOD. HE KILLED FIONA. She came over for a booty call, he called her out for lying, she shrugged it all off and then he stabbed her in the back with his axe multiple times! He chopped her up and fed her to the gators. I never thought that was how Fiona’s storyline would end. Never ever. Obviously, once Cordelia ratted her mother out to him, I wondered if he would kill her out of anger, but before that, I never thought he would be her end. Don’t piss of your boyfriends, especially not if they’re serial killers.

The witches then all grab knives and stabbed him repeatedly — a bit over kill if you ask me — just as the witches had done those many years ago.

The academy mourns her death as they hang her portrait on the wall with all the other Supremes. However, they must deal with the biggest question at hand: Who is the next Supreme? Since Fiona never identified her successor, they must ALL perform the Seven Wonders. Duh duh duuhhhhhhhh.

Which power would you like to have? Who do you think is the next Supreme? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl

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1 comment
  1. Howard said:

    “On the other hand, why didn’t they explain where LaLaurie had put Marie? They never showed that. Queenie heard Marie but we never saw what happened. Plot holes, Ryan Murphy, fix them!”

    I THINK that the idea was that her voice was coming from the blood??

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