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TV Review: American Horror Story: Coven (Season 3, Episode 9: December 11, 2013)

12.12.2013by: Jake Dee


THE SCOOP: We finally learn who the hell mangled Cordelia's eyesight. Meanwhile, Fiona has decided to join dark forces with Marie Laveau in order to save her own immortality. But will she remain loyal?

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 receiving that precious package last week, Fiona boldly waltz's back into Marie Laveau's salon to return Delphine's severed "Head." That's the name of the game this episode, which I thought was pretty solid for the most part (I love seeing Lange with Bassett), but not as compelling or suspenseful as you might expect or desire from a midseason finale. I certainly like the direction we're moving, even if it's at a snail's pace at times. This week we open in Chattahoochee National Forest, 1991. A flashback of a prepubescent Hank, who turns out to be a witch-hunter in training, but a pretty damn inept one. This proves vital later on, as Hank soon learns (as we do) that his witch-hunting elders are responsible for blinding Cordelia. Hank flips the f*ck out over this news, as you might expect, and is sent into a violent tailspin that culminates in a episode-ending bloodbath!

My favorite part of the episode - aside from the final shot of Marie Leveau seeking refuge with Fiona at the academy (the look on Lange's face!) - was the hilarious dynamic between Queenie and Delphine. First off, the latter's severed head is still able to talk, and talk her vintage sass. When Queen is ordered to take the severed head out back and burn it to a char, she instead takes the chance to educate the uncouth racist southern-belle on the horrific history of African Americans. Queenie props Delphine's head in front of the tube, lines up ROOTS, MANDINGO, THE COLOR PURPLE and B.A.P.S, then leaves the room. Delphine curses in agony, forced to take it. Shite's comedy! But that's as far as the dark, perverse humor is taken, which is a shame since it's what I love most about the show. Other than that, I really dug the entire witch-hunter angle (Josh Hamilton rules!) and hope that is not only continues moving forward, but is paid off in a truly satisfying manner come series end.

Other goings on this week include Myrtle's manipulation of the Council. She poisons the Crumps to comatose state. She wants to protect Cordelia as the next Supreme, blandishing her to win back her love and trust. She even goes so far as to restore Cordelia's eyesight. Fiona shows up and detests this immediately and threatens to rid Myrtle for good. Meanwhile, is Misty no longer in the running for next Supreme? In one scene she's referred to as a "swamp-witch", and in another later on she's being trained by Cordelia in the greenhouse. What gives? Wait, no, I'll tell you what gives. Luke's mom. Yikes! Turns out Luke survived the gunshot wound last week, Nan is at the hospital visiting him. Zoe and Maddie show up to ridicule the mom, but she goes off on some eerie sing-song thing that just felt lame and out of place. Even more out of place then when the mom puts a pillow over her son's face and suffocates him to death. WTF?!

And speaking of WTF, back to that blood-soaked ender. Man, Hank really went balls deep, no? After being hit with a nasty voodoo-hex from Marie - getting his wrist slit, his leg snapped and his stomach gouged out - he exacts a Charlie Bronson amount of bloody revenge. Wow. Dude strolls in the salon, guns hot, and cowboys his way through the joint like he was Earp in the west. Handguns, the long-nose, the semi-squirter...dude unloads! You know what that means though, his ass his grass. Green grass. Once Fiona and Cordelia learn from Marie Laveau that Hank is a witch-hunter...it's motherf*cking on. Book it!

So with a whole lot to clarify, push forward and setup for a midseason return in January, Episode 9 of "American Horror Story: Coven" did a pretty good job of throwing down the gauntlet, at the same time foreshadowing a cool new storyline or two that should definitely keep us intrigued during the season's final four entries. And while I wish this episode was a little darker, a little seedier,a little more sordid (the way I like the show), I appreciated the way new allegiances were forged, a few ancillary characters were subtracted, and how a whole new breed of baddie is lurking in the Louisiana mist. Time's-a-ticking!

KILL OF THE WEEK: How can you not go with that cowboy killing spree Hank went on. Jesus!

BLOOD & GORE: A severed head speaks. Human arms and legs are butchered up and thrown in a stew. Via voodoo, Hank gets his wrist slit, his leg broken, and his stomach gouged out. Shotgun blast to the chest, one to the head, handgun to the stomach (x2).

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Many WTF character moments this week, but if I had to single one out, what is up with Kyle? What are Fiona's motives by "fixing" him? How will reap the benefit?

MOST BIZZARE SCENE: Usually, the more bizarre the better. That's what I really like about this show, when it's weird and warped and deeply depraved. And while I don't think the whole hospital scene with Luke's mom singing worked very well in the larger context of the episode, the flashback sequence in the scene was pretty bizarre. A man, allergic to bees, gets locked in his car with an angry wasp's nest.


Extra Tidbit: Believe it or not, this episode was directed by Howard Deutch, of PRETTY IN PINK and THE GREAT OUTDOORS fame.



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