TV Review: American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3, Episode 8: December 4, 2013)

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EPISODE: The Sacred Taking

THE SCOOP: Queenie officially pledges allegiance to Marie Laveau, while Cordelia feels empowered enough to overtake the Academy. A gargantuan battle is brewing!

The Following May Contain Minor-To-Major Spoilers. If You've Not Seen This Episode, It Might be Wisest To Stop Reading Here!

THE SKINNY: After a one-week hiatus, sinister shenanigans are once again afoot at the Robichaux Academy. When we last left off, a cauldron of things were bubbling under the surface. Queenie was being lured in by Marie Laveau, who indentured Madam LaLaurie in her dungeon. Cordelia was gaining confidence in her new powers, Fiona was growing sicker, while Zoe was acting awfully defiant. Well, this week even more momentum was built toward the impending battle between both sides of darkness - The Academy and Marie's Laveau's - but also, a bit more internal friction within the coven took place as well. I quite dug the overall direction of the episode, entitled "The Sacred Talking", mainly because the entire intentional through-line of this season, or the macro-arc if you will, was echoed loud and clear. Not only were many chess pieces advanced this week, some key ones receded, but one thing was made clear...we're damn sure to crown a new Supreme witch in the coven any nefarious night now. Meanwhile, the overarching war between Robichaux and Marie's side of the river is starting to heat to a motherf*cking boil!

You can't really front on the way this week's episode kicked off. Queenie gets accosted by a homeless man under a bridge, but she brains the sucker with a spiked-board, carves his chest open and rips his heart out. Gnarly on its own, no doubt, but it also symbolizes her growing allegiance to Marie Laveau, who needs a black-heart for her voodoo powers. Queenie has no doubt defected, which is a dynamic I like a lot. Meanwhile, operation Kill Fiona is alive and well at the academy. Cordelia has rounded up Zoe, Maddie and Nan to do the job right, presumably so Cordelia can become the new Supreme witch. But all that is thrown for a loop when Misty and Myrtle show up to the mansion. You see, Misty helped regenerate Myrtle back to the living realm, and because of this, Myrtle has nominated that Misty be the next Supreme. Well, witches will be witches, and Cordelia is none too pleased. Next thing you know, "The Sacred Taking" - a red-robed séance between the witches that is "the most hallowed sacrifice a supreme can make" - is creepily going down. A decision to feed an overdose of pills to Fiona is made (which she of course survives), but who's going to naturally ascend as the next goddamn Supreme?!

Another major storyline this week involved the perverted neighbors, Luke and his mom. I realize it served to reinforce the escalating row between the Robichaux clan and that of Marie Laveau's, but it also felt a bit out of place for an otherwise pretty tight and focused episode. The hilariously tasteless scene of the mother making her grown son bathe in front of her aside, I wasn't really feeling the whole Nan "abduction" subplot and what transpired with the Luke. A sniper, who ends up being identified by Cordelia's soothsaying, blasts him and his sick mama to death, a move sure to incite impending warfare between the two respective sides. While my money's on the academy to reign victorious in the end, part of me really wants to see Marie, Queenie and their crew take it down!

Speaking of, how about that finale? Wow. I guess there's no more Kathy Bates huh? Nah, remember, her character's already a ghost, an immortal. So seeing her head chopped off and served in a box for Fiona and the rest of the young witches to witness...yup, game on for sure...but not the end of LaLaurie. Rather, I wonder what'll happen if Fiona supports the idea of Misty becoming the next Supreme instead of her daughter Cordelia. Hell, I'd like to see Cordelia team up with Queenie and Laveau to wage a fairer fight between the sides. Who knows, that may happen, as we know that newfound love between the mama and daughter can't last (I love how Fiona said she was proud that Cordelia had the balls to try to kill her). Twisted shite!

All in all, "The Sacred Taking" was a pretty solid episode. It loudly reiterated the show's larger narrative of the warring factions in town (the macro), but also the interpersonal politicking inside the coven itself (the micro). Queenie is all in with Marie Laveau, who sent a firm message to Fiona and the girls that the shite is about to hit the fan. But is Fiona stable enough in her own home with all the backstabbing bitchery afoot? And what about her deteriorating health? Should make for an awfully fun final five hours between now and the season finale!

KILL OF THE WEEK: A homeless man gets beaten with a spiked 2x4, gets his chest cut open with a large knife and his beating heart ripped out.

BLOOD & GORE: A spiked 2x4 beating. A chest is cut open with a large knife, a hand pulls out a beating heart. A black & white Salem Witch sacrifice. A hand gets lopped up from the wrist, blood squirts. Two gunshot wounds to the torso. A head is decapitated and sent as a gift in a box.

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Pretty baffling was the way Fiona acted afted almost being drugged to death by Cordelia and the girls. Was she really proud of her daughter's wicked ways, or was she playing coy while she can plan something even more dastardly down the road?

MOST BIZARRE SCENE: I actually thought the sacrifice ritual and the corresponding flashback to Salem in the 1600s was the most bizarre. The witches were oddly arousing in their black-veils and red-robes, but the images of witchcraft and sacrificial violence were countervailing and off-putting.


Extra Tidbit: Who do you think will be the next Supreme?



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