American Horror Story: Coven ‘Bitchcraft’ Recap – Episode 03.01

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Breakdown

BitchcraftThe season premiere opens in 1834 in New Orleans.  Madame LaLaurie is hosting a party where she introduces her daughters to rich eligible gentlemen.  She speaks about the talents that each of her daughters possess, but when she comes to Pauline she says, “Her talent has yet to reveal itself.” Pauline pipes in, “Perhaps my talent is in the boudoir.”  After the party, Madame LaLaurie retires to her bedroom where instead of using cold cream, she applies blood to her face.  She complains, “This blood’s not fresh.” Her husband enters and tells her “Something’s happened at the dinner party.”

Madame LaLaurie goes downstairs where she confronts one of her daughters, Pauline who has seduced the houseman.  The houseman tells them that Pauline came on to him, that he belongs to someone else. Madame LaLaurie smacks Pauline and instructs her husband to take the houseman upstairs.

BitchcraftThe attic is a chamber of horrors, filled with Madame LaLaurie’s “pets.”  They are all slaves and have all been disfigured.  One man has his eyes and mouth sewed shut, after LaLaurie filled it with shit.  One man’s face is literally torn open, and Madame LaLaurie is upset because she see maggots on the open wounds and says, “Now we going to have flies up here.”

LaLaurie approaches the houseman who is now chained to the rafters.  She tells him, “You want to rut like a beast, then we’re going to treat you like one.”  A young slave brings her a bull’s head and they put it one him.  Now she has one of her favorite mythological creatures, a minotaur.

All of this happens before the opening credits, which in and of themselves are filled with disturbing images.  Flash forward to the present time.  Zoe guides a boy inside her house to her bedroom.  They start making love.  It’s her first time and he wants to be gentle with her.  Shortly after he enters her he has a brain aneurism and dies.  Her mother tells her it’s not her fault.  She informs her that she’s a witch and it runs in her family.  They arrange for her to go to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in New Orleans, a boarding school for witches.  Myrtle Snow and her henchmen show up and haul a protesting Zoe away and take her by train to the school.

Upon arriving the 3 other young witches that live there greet her by pretending to place her on a table for sacrifice.  Madison, a former movie star, tells her, “Relax girl, we’re just messing with you.”

BitchcraftCordeila Fox, the head mistress, enters and introduces herself.  She tells Zoe about the origin of the school and how it became a safe haven for young witches.  She tells her that a “Supreme” witch has countless gifts, while ordinary witches each has a few powers.  She talks about the need for witches to be prepared so they don’t get into dangerous situations. She cites Misty Day, a pour Cajun girl who was burned alive after a group of religious zealots discovered she had “the power of resurgence” and could bring dead things back to life.

Fiona Goode, who is a Supreme, visits a research facility that her late husband’s money has funded for their research in aging reversal.  The director David, shows her a video of an old crippled monkey before treatment with an experimental drug and then after.  The monkey has become completely well and youthful.  Fiona says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”  The director tells her they’ll be ready to try it on humans in two years.  Fiona wants it right now.  She wants an infusion of vitality and youth.

She goes home and snorts some cocaine.  She summons David and complains that despite being injected with the serum, nothing is happening.  She wants him to double the dosage and he refuses.  She uses witchcraft to lock the door and turn down the lights, then she slams David against the wall.  While he’s laying against the wall she sucks the life out of him with a French kiss.

BitchcraftAt dinner, Madison asks Zoe, “What are you in for?”  Before she can answer,  clairvoyant Nan says, “Her boyfriend.”  Madison wants to know if Zoe killed her boyfriend?  She tells her it was an accident and Nan confirms it.  Then she tells Zoe shes going to find a “strange and unexpected love.”

Zoe asks Madison why she is there, and she tells her because of an intervention that her agent set up. Nan interrupts and says, “But you did it, you killed the man.”  Madison used her telekinetic powers to drop a heavy light on a directors head.

Madison gets into an argument with Queenie, “a human voodoo doll” who sticks a fork in her own hand, which causes pain in Madison’s arm. Nan pulls the fork out and she and Queenie leave the room. Madison gets a text, inviting her to a frat party.  She decides to take Zoe with her.

BitchcraftCordelia is in her lab and her mother, Fiona, and offers her a potion to pick her up after her flight from L.A.  Fiona, realizing the potion would put her in a coma, pours it into the cats dish.  She tells Cordelia that she is there to help her after she saw a news report about the disappearance of Misty Day.  Cordelia doesn’t want her help and asks her, “When are you going to die and stop ruining my life?”  Fiona is not leaving and suggest they make the best of it.

At the fraternity party Zoe meets a nice kid, Kyle,  while Madison meets another one, Brenner, who spikes her drink with a date rape drug.  He takes her into a bedroom and he and some of his fraternity buddies gang rape her.  After chatting with Kyle for a while, Zoe and Kyle go looking for Madison.  Kyle finds her and tries to break up the gang bang.  He chases the other boys out of the room, and Zoe enters and tells her to stay in the room.  She says, “I’m not going to let them get away with this.” The boys all run outside and to the bus they took to the party.   Kyle follows and gets into a fight with Brenner.  He tries to get the camera from him that Brenner used to take pictures of the unconscious Madison during the rape.  Brenner knocks him unconscious and instructs all of the boys to delete the videos from their cameras.  He instructs his fraternity brothers to get the driver off the bus, and then they drive off.  Zoe chases the bus but can’t catch up.  Madison joins her and makes the bus flip over and it catches fire.  Seven of the Nine boys on the bus die, the other two are hospitalized.

BitchcraftFiona introduces herself to the student witches.  Madison mouths off to her and Fiona slams her into a wall telekinetically.  She tells the girls she’s going to take them on a field trip and to “wear something black.”  Fiona takes them to Pop’s Fountain, “a kind of holy place for our order.”  It’s been closed since Katrina.  Nan wanders off to Madame LaLaurie’s home where a tour is in progress.   The others find her and enter as a tour is in progress.  Fiona uses her powers to persuade the tour guide to include them for free.  The guide tells them the Madame LaLaurie’s code for handling slaves spawned 179 years of hauntings.

We’re back in the 1800’s and Madame LaLaurie instructs one of her daughters to get her some fresh blood.  She tells her she has to apply this to her face to stay youthful so her husband won’t cheat on her with younger women.  The daughter goes up to the attic and takes a blade to the houseman and cuts him to collect his pancreas for her mother’s youth serum.  Marie Laveau shows up and offers Madame LaLaurie a love potion that will help her keep her husband attracted to her, instead of young ladies.  LaLaurie drinks the sweet tasting potion and then writhing in pain, collapse to the floor.  The houseman was Marie Laveau’s lover.

The tour guide says that “to this day, no one knows the final resting place of Madame LaLaurie.  Fiona goes out to the back of the house and Nan is sitting in a courtyard.  She tells Fiona she hears the lady of the house and she’s looking down at the brick courtyard in front of them.

Zoe goes to the hospital to see if Kyle was one of the survivors.  She sees that he isn’t, but Brenner is still alive.  He is unconscious and she closes the door to the room, and goes to his bed.  She fondles him until he is erect, climbs on the bed, and kills him with her lethal vagina.

Fiona has exhumed the casket containing Madame LaLaurie.  Madame LaLaurie is still alive and after casting off her chains and removing the gag on her mouth, she leaves with Fiona who offers to buy her a drink.

 Analysis

Bitchcraft The first thing you notice about the season premiere of American Horror Story:Coven is that like season two, at least a half dozen of the actors in previous seasons return for new parts.  I think this is unique to a returning series.  Jessica Lange is a stand-out in each of the roles she plays.  In season one she was the dangerous, devious neighbor.  In season two she was the sadistic and also dangerous head nun of the asylum.  This year she is the “Supreme” witch, powerful, sexual in a milfy sort of way, and full of schemes yet to be disclosed.  She is at odds with her daughter Cordelia, and one of the best lines of the episode is what she says when her daughter wants her to leave and threatens to change the locks.  She tells her, “Don’t make me drop a house on you.”  She’s also funny when she exhumes Madame LaLaurie and looks at her 19th century garb, and refers to her as Mary Todd Lincoln.

The action in this episode is non-stop, and so fast moving it reminded me of the first Indian Jones movie.  It’s filled with sex, violence, murders, with enemies set up to do battle with one another in future episodes.  It contains enough disturbing images to fill dozens of nightmares, and has characters like Zoe that are basically good who we root far, as well as its share of villains like Madame LaLaurie.

Angela Bassett, in the role of Marie Laveau, never looked sexier, or more dangerous.  We know she’s not through with Madame LaLaurie, and how she will fare against Fiona will be fun to watch.

This is the type of show that viewers will either love or hate immediately.  Some may not even want to try it.  Others, who have latched on to it from the start will be very satisfied with what this season has to offer.

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About the Author

Stu Cassell
was a stand-up comic and joke writer for Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. Former weekly columnist for HIghlands Today. Free lance writer, author of Comic's Bedpan: A Lobotomy Patient's Guide To Joke Writing, Performing, and Selling - available CHEAP at amazon.com (shameless plug). Reformed chocoholic.
  • N. Retah

    That scene in the hospital was….I don’t know what to say about it. She literally rode him to death. Wow.

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