American Horror Story: Coven ‘The Sacred Taking’ Recap- Episode 03.08

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After a peaceful Thanksgiving hiatus, our favorite horror drama returns.  We are greeted with the pleasant image of Queenie ripping the heart out of a very bad man in the poorly lit street in New Orleans. Zoey and Madison approach her and want her to come back. She works with Marie now. There’s no going back. She plans to take his black heart back to Laveau.

Fiona, dying of cancer, is in a terrible amount of pain. She makes Breaking Bad look like a cake walk. Since one of the themes of this season is aging, dying, and the prospect of immortality, it comes as no surprise that this is the nadir of Fiona’s trajectory. She tells us that there are tumors in her spine, and she reflects on how her daughter was so cruel to her she didn’t even care that her mother might be dead before Thanksgiving. Harsh.

The Sacred Taking

But at least she has the Axeman to keep her company. They lie in bed together all sexy-like and smoke cigarettes. She seems quite honest about her impending death, and he suggests she just kill herself, maybe so she can be with him forever, since he’s a ghost and all. How sweet. But she says she will stay alive just to spite them. Good for her. A spiteful trooper until the very end.

Remember that hottie neighbor guy? The one Madison tried to hit on and failed and burned down his living room? Well he’s back, and his crazy Christian mother is forcing him to perform painful cleansing rituals for his sins and it’s terrible and disgusting and I wish some things I could be unseen but they can’t. Not sure what the point was of any of this, except that it makes us squirm and creeps us out. So mission accomplished?

Back in the house, Nan can hear his cries. She’s distressed. She’s in love with this guy, after all, or the show’s writers are just trying to give her character more context and story lines. But Cordelia tells the coven that losing Queenie was a failure. The house is falling apart.  But she still feels good about their plan… and there’s a knock on the door! It’s Misty Day and she’s running away from someone.

The Sacred Taking

She relays to the coven how she was sleeping in her swamp house when a disfigured Myrtle appeared above her warning her of a man creeping around the garden. This scene is definitely one of the scariest of the season. Sure enough a man bursts into her home and fires at her with a shotgun. Misty and Myrtle were barely able to escape. Having heard this, Cordelia offers both witches asylum and welcomes them into the house. Wait, didn’t Myrtle throw acid at Cordelia’s face? I’m getting very confused. Oh wait. Fiona set up Myrtle for Cordelia’s blinding by having Queenie fake Myrtle’s hand burns. But then who actually blinded Cordelia, because it sure as hell couldn’t have been Marie, since such a craven act is way below her power range.

Anyway. They all throw on their red robes and stick with the plan. They decide to have a séance in order to convince Fiona to kill herself. If Fiona kills herself then the new Supreme will immediately take over.  Oh, before this séance there’s a scene where Kyle is in the bedroom being a zombie as usual and I guess this scene exists just to remind us that he’s still around. But really, I find that the character has been grossly underused in the season. At this point he’s quite arbitrary.

So they partake in their sacred sermon dating back from Salem. The idea is to get Fiona to kill herself so Madison appears to the dying woman and taunts her while wearing a slinky red dress. She says everyone knows that Fiona killed her. She also says a bunch of stuff about how she’s so young and hot and Fiona is so old and dying. But Fiona isn’t buying it. But then Myrtle appears to her and pretty much ALMOST convinces her to kill herself by showing her how the Axeman is going to bounce once he sees her shriveled up and bald, dying painfully in a hospital bed. Remember how Fiona once said to a doctor several episodes ago that all she wanted was someone to love? Well this makes sense for the character. She takes a bunch of pills and prepares for death.

The Sacred Taking

But Spalding comes back and convinces her not to give up, and since he was killed by Zoey, we must assume he’s a ghost. In any case, he tells her that his clan has always been a group of  “watchers”, and that she has been tricked, and he gives Fiona some medicine, and she comes back! And boy is she pissed.

We cut to Marie Laveau’s home. She still holds Daphne as a prisoner in her cage. Queenie brings her fast food and appears very sympathetic to her. But then Marie brushes her out of the way and proceeds to torture Daphne by cutting off her arm.

Things get a bit confusing from here. Fiona visits the home of the hottie neighbor guy and suddenly Misty is there? Fiona refers to her as a “swamp witch”. Someone shoots the Christian mother to death and Misty tries to bring her back, when the masked shooter (whom I believe to be Hank, Cordelia’s estranged psycho husband) aims at the witches once again.

Back at the house, Kyle tells Zoey that he loves her. Isn’t that what she’s always wanted? She is happy. But we see Madison overhearing them from behind the door, and she’s crying because she clearly loves him, too. This is a plot point that will definitely return in the next, and final, episode.

Lastly, Cordelia and Fiona make up. Fiona, now in an advanced state of empowerment and convalescence, tells her daughter that she’s proud of her. Cordelia makes a funny remark about how if she had known that that was all it took, she would have made an attempt on her life a long time ago. Fiona says she needs her help.

The last scene involves a package on the doorstep. Automatically, I think, “It’s a head!”, because anytime there’s an unmarked mysterious box on MY doorstep it’s a human head. Not really, but in movies this always seems to be the case. Sure enough, it’s Daphne’s head! Can’t all them witches just get along?

 

I have some issues with this episode. As happy as I am to see all our friends finally bonding together once again to defeat the now seemingly nefarious Marie Laveau, the reconciliation between Fiona and Cordelia seems forced, as does Madison’s emotional range involving her love for Kyle. I think Laveau and Queenie have been underused these past two episodes, the role of the neighbor mother and her son completely unnecessary, and bringing Myrtle back wasn’t the most necessary plot shift either. I mean, why can’t a single character die and just remain dead? The necromancer thing got old several episodes ago.

Regardless, we must gives props to the show’s originality and consistent ability to frighten us. There’s been a substantial amount of gruesome torture scenes but not nearly as much as Season 2, and like many horror films, I often find that gratuitous torture scenes distract from the more frightening elements of the story. That being said, we only have one more episode, and I will be sad to say goodbye to the Coven, a season that has provided us with so many unique characters and twists, and a wholly subversive and modern outlook on American witchcraft and magic. What a kick-ass way to round up 2013.

Oh, and did I mention next Friday is the 13th?

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About the Author

Patricia Marquez
is a writer and film enthusiast newly relocated from Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, her work has been published in Pacifica Literary Review and the York University Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. A horror buff at heart, she now lives in Austin, Texas with her demon cat named Pim.
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