American Horror Story Coven ‘Protect the Coven’ Recap- Episode 3.11

Protect the Coven
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At the end of this episode, Zoey and Kyle manage to run away from the Coven, boarding a bus to Orlando at Myrtle’s advice.

How I wish I could join them for the rest of the season.

Our episode (the second to last of what feels like the longest running season of any television show ever) opens on Daphne back at her estate, being racist as always and enjoying the blood oozing from a decapitated chicken. She tortures another poor slave again, horribly. Later in the episode, at the house, she also tortures an innocent kindly gardener name James for pure, psychopathic entertainment. I suppose these sequences are meant to add characterization to Kathy Bates’s role. Daphne’s voice-over explains that she realized “her childlike curiosity” was missing in her life, since she used to cut up cats and play with body parts and organs. Oh, she also thinks the sound of agony is “musical”. Basically, these difficult-to-watch scenes are meant to add backstory to a character who was absent from the show for awhile and who underwent a seemingly spiritual change when Queenie showed her images of the Civil Rights era, but who now has returned with little explanation as the same old character with no development whatsoever. In other words, I don’t see the point.

Protect the Coven

but this sort of meandering and redundant and cyclical plot progression is making watching this show increasingly more difficult and less enjoyable with each passing episode.

Take the second scene. All of our old friends stand together to pay respects to poor deceased Nan, whom Fiona and Marie killed in the bathtub. Queenie rolls up to the cemetery with Daphne on a leash. First of all, we saw Queenie shoot herself in the last episode in December, sacrificing herself to save Marie from Hank the gunman. Secondly, Daphne was once only a head and now she has a body. Oh, these facts are explained, of course. Queenie said she’s just super powerful and evaded the bullet. “Maybe I’m the next Supreme,” she says. And she “put” Daphne “back together”. Daphne is relegated to a maid again. She hates that she has to take care of an African-American baby and takes frequent berating from Marie Laveau.

Protect the Coven

At the funeral, Fiona mentions how none of them are safe, that Delphi is still after them. We see a little bit of the Delphi big-wigs talking outside their building, plotting to destroy the Coven. This is intended to prepare us for the killing fiasco at the end of the episode…

Zoey finds out that Fiona and Marie killed Nan. Madison is jealous of Zoey and Kyle’s relationship. Kyle rejects her because he loves Zoey and only Zoey. Madison gets angry and starts thrashing everything in the room and being the brat she is. Myrtle enters and scolds her. Basically Madison tells Myrtle that she’s going to destroy her. She threatens Kyle, too, saying “Putting you together was fun. Taking you apart is going to be even more fun.”

Madison is still one of the best characters, in my opinions. I just wish the show’s writers would allow her to carry through with her threats.

The Axe-man is back. He and Fiona are holed up in his dingy little room like love-birds, talking about moving to a farm and starting over. Their relationship looks quite nice and normative, until you realize he’s the ghost of a serial killer and she’s a sociopathic murderous black-magic witch. She asks him to do something for her…

Protect the Coven

Spalding also comes back. During Daphne’s torturing of the gardener in Spalding’s room (filled with dolls of course), he tells her that he’s a ghost and that he was murdered in this room. He says Fiona has become confused and that Marie must die. Of course Marie can’t die because she’s immortal, but Spalding assures Daphne that she can by magic. He says she must kill her.

Cut to Cordelia. She makes a potion and might be making herself blind. It doesn’t work so she gouges out her own eyes. Lovely.

Fiona runs up the stairs worried about Cordelia. Myrtle says she ok. She tells Fiona that her girl is a hero, for taking her own eyes in order to protect the Coven. Basically Cordelia did this to regain the second sight, as if we didn’t already know this.

Spalding is obsessed with his “doll babies”, as Daphne calls them. “It’s unsavory,” she says. Well put. He’s the biggest creep ever.

Protect the Coven

Myrtle encourages Zoey to leave the Coven with Kyle. She says she can tell they are in love and quotes Keats, yay. She reiterates to Zoey that if she stays she’s in danger. She gives her tickets and tells her to pack her bags and go.

And now for our climax. The Delphi guys meet with Fiona and Marie in a conference room of sorts in order to negotiate a truce. There’s a butler. Fiona orders a martini, filthy. Marie orders a Diet Sprite. For some reason I found this hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing.

But there are talks of a 100 year old truce. Fiona demands that they promise to never hurt another witch again, and that she wants a house and private jet. Of course they laugh in her face, and so Fiona says, “Or you can all just die…” And then, whack! The butler was the Axe-man!  Axe-man wrecks havoc and kills everyone. Fiona and Marie love every second of it. Their plan goes amazingly smoothly. They save the boss of Delphi until the very end. His last words are “Go to hell witch bitch”, and then the Axe-man takes him down. The witches have won.

Protect the Coven

Everything seems great for our two witches. Back at the house, Marie and Fiona celebrate and Marie gets wasted. She lets herself get stabbed by the murderous Daphne. As she heads to the staircase she gets whacked on the head by Spalding-ghost (with a doll, of course), tumbles down, and although not dead, is now vulnerable to being buried for eternity by Daphne. Oh, and then we see why Spalding went through all this trouble. He now has the little baby as part of his collection. A real baby. Ugh.

We end with Zoey and Kyle packing. For a minute he says he’s not leaving, because he’s afraid of hurting her, but then she hugs him and reassures him she’s not afraid of him, but then he decides ok sure why not, and they happily board the bus.

Guys, it’s so bad. I’ve endured the slow disintegration of an awesome show for months now, as each passing episode got worse and worse. There was a glimmer of hope with “Head”, when Hank shot everyone and Queenie took her own life. There once were secrets we wished to uncover, but now that everything is uncovered, the show lags along painfully when it should have ended weeks ago. Characters don’t know what to do with themselves. Even Marie Laveau has ceased to be frightening and enigmatic.

I think the best word for this show would be “misguided”. It wallows along aimlessly with purely sensationalist pieces and tangents. It’s a terribly developed show. But you know what? It still has great acting, high production quality, and interesting side stories, albeit only a view. The dialogue is still funny and sharp, such as when Fiona says Nan “fell in the tub” during the funeral scene.

I only wish it was more taut. Two more episodes left. Let’s see about that final showdown.

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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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