Last night’s episode of Coven begins with a pair of grizzly alligator hunters in the Louisiana swamp. They seem to be enjoying their jobs way too much, especially the part where they hang the poor reptilian beasts up in the trees. Who do they encounter none other than Misty Day (Lily Rabe) the show’s aforementioned necromancer. She’s back from the dead! She wasn’t burned alive after all! She also appears to be an animal lover. In a predictable yet still awesome sequence, she brings the dead gators back to life and they proceed to chomp on their sadistic captors’ faces.
And then we get our opening sequence. Why is the opening sequence to AHS always so scary?? Anyone else get chills when that emaciated winged bat creature enters the screen for a brief second?
We jump into headmistress Cordelia Foxx (great name) rounding up the girls for breakfast. Spoiled starlet Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) is chipper as ever. She seems to be back to her old bitchy self after that night she suffered a horrific date-rape and embarked on subsequent mass murdering. She even offers to attend breakfast in her underwear! Unfortunately, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) is not faring so well. She’s devastated by the death of college heartthrob Kyle (Evan Peters) and also hanging on to major guilt factors, none of which seem to bother the superficial Madison. Making matters worse for Zoe, two detectives visit the school inquiring about the bus accident and Zoe’s involvement in the death of the date rapist at the hospital. They know that he flat-lined after she visited, and that her boyfriend died the exact same way. Zoe totally loses it and admits to the cops that they are all witches and implicated in the deaths of the frat boys. Don’t be stupid, Zoe!
Thankfully, Jessica Lange’s Supreme comes to the rescue. She hypnotizes the detectives, erasing their memories with some spit-water magic potion. Whew that was a close one. Now she’s pissed. She visits Zoe and Madison’s room and gives them hell after flinging them against the wall with her powers. She calls Zoe an idiot and reminds them that even the weakest of them all (Zoe) is still better than all the rest who are not witches like them. Point taken. Don’t f’ with the Supreme.
Speaking of Fiona the Supreme, she is now harboring immortal sadist Delphine LaLaurie in her bedroom. LaLaurie has been locked up below ground for 180 years. Cell phones frighten her. It’s obvious Fiona wants to use her to find the secret to immortality. But how will she go about this?
In the style of past seasons of AHS, we get some back story of minor characters. Gabourey Sidibe’s “human voodoo doll” Queenie was working at a Detroit fast-food place when she scalded her arm in boiling oil, punishing a rude customer for calling her fat. We also learn that Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) really wanted to have a baby but couldn’t conceive. There’s a really disturbing gratuitous sex scene involving baby snakes -turned- giant snakes and candles.
For some reason that’s not entirely clear, Madison coerces Zoe to the morgue to construct a Frankenstein boyfriend for her new friend. “Why does she want to help Zoe?” I asked my partner during the commercials. “Because she likes causing trouble,” answered my partner. Good answer.
And trouble she makes. After stitching the inexplicably dismembered Kyle back together with some other jocks’ appendages, the girls proceed with a magical chant to summon him from the dead. At first the magic doesn’t work. Madison is annoyed and leaves. She smokes a joint outside her car and sees a morgue attendant approaching, so she ditches Zoe who’s still inside and drives away. Such a great friend, this girl!
Inside, Zoe says sorry to Kyle for crashing his party and causing his death, and kisses him goodbye on the mouth. Ew. But then the morgue attendant comes and we are certain she is busted, until Kyle, probably summoned by the magical kiss, rises and strangles the mortician to death. Now Zoe is driving all panicky with her rotting cursed zombie boyfriend to god knows where. Luckily, Misty Day appears in the backseat! They all go to her cozy little cottage in the wooded swamp. Misty is going to help our protagonist heal Kyle like new (his sutures look disgusting and he’s neither doing well nor barely looking human) and maybe even serve as a mentor/friend for young, confused Zoe. Oh, we also find out that Misty is a natural remedy enthusiast and that she wasn’t killed in the fire after all, of course. She most likely brought herself back to life.
In the mean time, Fiona pays a visit to the immortal Marie Laveau (Angela Basset, looking so gorgeous and ageless the actress might be immortal herself). These two women don’t exactly get along. Marie owns a hair salon which is clearly a cover for some underground voodoo pad. Fiona tells Marie that she wants her secret to immortality. They discuss how each of their kind have been at each other’s throats for centuries. Some of the beef lies in the fact that Marie’s style of African-derived witchcraft was copy-catted by the Salem witches in the 17th century. Makes sense. But Fiona has “something” Marie wants, and she leaves it at that. This “something” is obviously LaLaurie, who Marie cursed to spend the rest of her existence awake and alive, buried underground, after killing LaLaurie’s entire family.
That pretty much covers the second episode. Like previous AHS seasons, this one also moves along super quickly and covers various characters’ stories, making for an entertaining viewing experience. I might be wrong, but it seems like the consensus among AHS fans is that the first season remains the best. I can see that. Season 1 was campier than the 2nd, Asylum, and even more so than Coven. Could it be that each season is becoming more serious than the last?
One important element of Coven is that the show doesn’t allow us to forget who the true heroine of the story is: Zoe, the inadvertent young witch, constantly struggles with her own waning sense of right and wrong. Let’s hope she continues to want to do the morally right thing in a world full of black magic.