American Horror Story /Coven: Episode Four

American-Horror-Story-CovenWe begin with scene of a young African American male child, barely in his teens riding a bike on a nice, residential street in New Orleans.

So????

This was New Orleans in 1961 and based on the racial issues that existed back the , the reasons why this was a scene destined to end horribly are as clear as black is black and white is white. He’s pursued by a truck full of white men, obviously racists, who are hell bent on keeping this lad from riding his bike in what appears to be a white, middle class neighborhood. A couple of the fellows look like inbred rednecks, the other is a Jack Ruby Fedora wearing clone. The teen takes an unfamiliar sidewalk In an attempt to lose Whitey, but finds himself trapped by a dead end.

The next scene is in black and white and it’s a large tree in some field. Anyone with any knowledge of America’s more tragic history knows as sure as a Jim Crow flies, this is a lynching. The large noose confirms it.

His mother runs to the body of her boy and in the crowd stands a very angry Marie Laveaud. Apparently, the child’s mom works for her at her Ninth ward hair salon. This lynching has just been made even more personal.

An angry voodoo queen is a dangerous voodoo queen. Marie goes to the back of her shop, and starts drawing on the floor (we now know that means something bad is about go down) she starts convicting a potion, then sets it on fire in this lovely Horchow urn. She slices and dices up a few snakes, chants as drummers drum and the next thing we know, corpses reanimate from their graves and respond to her revenge spell. They find the lynch mob and kill them all in gruesome ways. And the best part about these AHS zombies??? They’re armed. In fact, they rose from their graves with weapons AND murderous intent. There are zombie farmers with pitchforks, confederate soldiers with muskets, an unscrupulous accountant with a Ponzi scheme.

Well apparently, this starts a ten year war between voodoo witches and the members of the coven, who are all, in some way, direct linear descendants of the original witches who lived in Salem circa 1692.

Then, we go back to last week when Fiona murdered Madison, but this time, we sit unfold from Spaulding, the mute butler, who minutes earlier dropped the needle on his Victrola, so he and his massive doll collection could enjoy tea with background music. He hears a noise, heads downstairs and witnesses Fiona turning Madison into a human Pez dispenser. As he roles up the young witch’s body in a area rug, Fiona hears a noise and goes into the backyard to investigate. It is a very injured Queenie lying in the grass with a bloody, gasping stomach wound. I’m thinking she was gored in the gut by the rutting Minotaur she tried to seduce last week. While still lucid, Queenie rats out her attacker as his silhouette rises out of the ground with ample backlighting and Fiona seems to know what it is and what to do with it without even looking in its direction. She knows it’s Sebastien, Delphine Lalaurie’s slave/houseboy who she killed for bumping stinkies with her horny daughter two centuries ago and Sebastian just happened to be Laveaud’s boyfriend. The Voodoo Witch sent him to the school where Delphine has been staying, working as a maid, in order to exact revenge.

raggedy ann and andyThen there’s a knock on the door and in a hat tip to bewitched, in walks a odd looking trio that comprise The Witches’ Council. They only assemble when there’s trouble brewing in the coven. The council is lead by Mert, played by whacky fashionFrancesConroy_Sml designer, Betsey Johnson. The hair is a chili powder red, rarely seen outside the Raggedy family. It’s actually the actress known as Francis whose last name is something Irish sounding, who portrayed Moira the Older in season one and the black winged Angel of Death last year.

We learn that the council isn’t happy with Fiona in her role as Witch Supreme. She’s a drunk, flakey, vain, self centered and lousy at her job. They believe she had something to so with Madison’s disappearance, just as she did with the missing Supreme she replaced (nice way of saying murdered) in 1971.velma

As it turns out, I believe I am to assume that based on camera dissolves between past and present, Mert and Fiona were classmates at Miss Robicheaux’s school back in 1971. Back then, Mert was mousy, bookish and homely, not unlike Velma, from “Scooby Doo”. She and Fiona don’t like each other and that’s made crystal clear when it’s announced that the old Supreme is missing and presumed dead, Fiona will assume the throne, providing she can pass seven special tests, based on each power a Supreme is supposed to have. At dinner with a menu no doubt consisting of braised bat wings, tangy toad tandoori and eye of newt, young Mert tells a fellow witch seated to her right that she hates the way Spaulding dotes on Fiona and feels sure he knows that Fiona is involved in some way with the former Supreme’s disappearance. So after dinner Mert goes to her room and recites Latin on coins and ultimately, places a spell on Spaulding’s tongue, rendering it incapable of uttering a lie. This will help Mert in her pursuit of the truth since the next morning, the butler is supposed to testify in front of the Witches’ Council investigating the formers Supreme’s whereabouts.

Spaulding overhears this and later that night, summons Fiona to the bathroom where he tells her, his last words will be that he loves her. He grabs a straight razor and cuts out his tongue. There, problem solved. A tongue can’t lie when it ‘s no longer intact. Now we know why he never speaks and why he seems so mindlessly devoted to Fiona.

We also find out what Fiona did with the Minotaur. She cut off it’s head and sends it, a la Don Corleone, to Marie Laveaud. She opens the box, and screams , especially when the the bloody, severed bovine head winks at her. This gets her crazy mad and once again, she goes to the back room and starts drawing on the floor, chanting, slicing snakes and in the end, sends a well- armed militia of zombies to stand and sway ominously in the front yard outside Miss Robicheaux’s school holding everyone inside captive.

At least I think the blinking cow head was the Minotaur….or it was Elsie, perhaps????    Not sure.

Episode four ends back in Spaulding’s room, an audience of dolls witness him in drag, wearing an antique peignoir and night cap. He goes to his closet and pulls out a very old wedding dress that Vera Wang would HATE, and takes it over to the corner where Madison, in a very advanced state of rigor mortis, is seated in a chair, holding a team up.

What comes next? I’ve nary a clue.

A FEW THINGS OF NOTE:

1) Cordelia’s husband is out of town on business. He picks up a chick who he meets on Craigslist, they have sex, he howls upon climax and then in the middle of a post coital of vending machine soup, he shoots her in the head with a very shiny gun. He’d did tell her that he went as a monster last

ahs spaulding

Halloween. Perhaps he’s reprising that role this year. Not all monsters have gills, tentacles, sharp fangs and eight clawed hands. Not sure what any of that was all about.

2) Spaulding was in the front yard decorating for Halloween. He was assembling what looked like an homage to the Burning Man bonfire mascot. He hugged it after adding the arms, and well, call me a romantic, but I thought that was how he took care of either Madison’s body or that of the Minotaur. Well, in the end we found out that it wan’t Madison under all that burlap.

3) After getting pissed drunk on Maker’s Mark at a local bar with mummy, Cordelia excuses herself and goes into the bathroom to yak. As she’s washing her hands, a very short Druid in the next stall exists with a glass in hand but it contains acid, which is thrown in Cordelia’s face. Huh?????? A voodoo warning of disfigurement????

3) But before the acid attack turns her face into a Dali painting, Cordelia tells her mother and the Witches’ Council that Madison might be missing, but it’s not because she’s the next Witch Supreme. Apparently, the new head witch has to be in perfect health which Madison ain’t. Madison had a heart murmur she mentioned to no one. So, who is the next Supreme? Don’t count out Queenie. Remember when she was in bed, bloody and gored and Cordelia lost her pulse? Fiona breathed life back into her and felt very weak afterwords. The big deal about the transition between Supremes is that the old one feels her power weakening. Keep an eye on Queenie in upcoming episodes. Nan, (Addie from season one), as well. Cordelia could be the right full heir to the throne. Spaulding too.

4)  Zooey goes back to Incest Manor and finds Kyle the Human Quilt still bloody and zombie eyed from kill his mother lover last week, so he’s banging his head against the toilet.    She decides that’s a fine time to go in the kitchen and make him tuna salad.   Just as she’s adding enough Hellman’s to make it nummy, she looks up and spies a big ol’ box of rat poison.    She will kill the very thing she helped bewitch and stitch together.   When she brings him a bowl of the tainted tuna, he’s gone.  She runs to the front porch and sees nothing, just a bunch of people   in costumes.   It is Halloween, after all.    Kyle will just fit in with everybody else.

5) And lastly, why were the members of the Coven dressed in various shades of black and white throughout the entire episode? Was this to stress the age old concept of good (white) versus evil (black) and that each member can at any given time, possess their share of both traits???

See ya next Wednesday for episode five. As previews indicate, there’s a lot at stake for one witch….literally. She’s tied to one and Cordelia looks poised to light it, with a cigarette. Please oh please, let the ciggie be a Salem.

American Horror Story: Coven/Season 3, Episode 3

American-Horror-Story-Coven-Season-3-Banner

Where to begin???

Let’s start with the weird slanted “Batman” camera angles.     What was that all about?

And secondly, wasn’t this, the third installment of this third season ripe with  naughties?

We begin in Misty Day’s bayou boudoir.  She’s the Stevie Nicks wanna be witch who’s a wiz at necromancy.    And for those of you wondering what’s the connection between Misty  and Stevie?   Well, I seem to remember reading somewhere that  La Nicks believes she is a reincarnated witch…or something like that.  Her hit song, “Rhiannon” is supposedly about a Welsh witch….or Danish….Huguenot, maybe?    I can’t remember.  But not only is the banged, curly-haired  look a full on copy, but the twirling around with the lace scarf poised at mid-body is vintage Stevie.  Plus, almost every time Misty is on-screen, a Nicks song plays.     Something tells me we’ll be hearing a lot from the “Rumors”  album this season.

Anyway, Misty is playing nurse maid to Kyle, the Human Quilt/Golem that Madison and Zoey witched and stitched back together in the morgue last week.   Her elixir is that good ol’ “loosiana’ swamp mud,  where magic and mudbugs  thrive, and is capable of healing all his body part attachment  stitches to eventually  resemble mere cat scratches.  Virtually scar free.    Now, he still can’t talk and just sits there, zombie- like.    Zoey arrives at Misty’s and takes Kyle with her, much to Misty’s dismay.   They’re heading to Kyle’s home, where sheThe-Replacements paid his Mama a sympathy visit  earlier and knows  that  she’s   just   a missin’ her boy somethin’ fierce.    Mom is   played by the talented, but currently paunchy Mare Winningham, who can dress down to crack pipe smoking white trash level better than any actress currently in Tinsel Town.       Zoey takes Kyle to the porch, knocks on the door and runs to hide behind a tree to witness the reunion.   Since Kyle is still unsteady on someone else’s feet , he loses his balance and does a header into the center pane of the glass paneled front door.     Mama answers it , rejoicing that her baby is back.  He stumbles in her arms.

She welcomes him in and life resumes as normal.   She doesn’t even seem to mind that he hasn’t uttered a word since he arrived.

He takes a shower, but Mom throws  opens the curtain to offer him a towel, stares down at his silent manliness and creepily admits she can tell his body is ‘different’.        In the next scene, they’re in his bed together and

BOOM,  THERE IT IS!!!!!

Incest.

Just when you thought last season was as weird as it could possibly get—-naaaaaaaah.    But wait, it gets even worse.

Or better, if these are the kinds of things that get you through the night.

Onward…

patti-lupone-denis-ohareThe girls are on the shool’s second floor balcony and the spy some fresh meat below.   A  handsome lad sans shirt is in  the yard next door.   He and his very  buttoned up mother played by Patti Lupone, who I swear is wearing almost the  exact same blue striped the dress worn by  Bobbi Mohan Culp ( half of the untalented   duo  that teaches music at Altadena Middle School  in that bobbi mohannow famous skit on Saturday Night Live).  The  pair has just moved to the neighborhood.   Mom senses evil and can because she’s a hard-core Christian.       Madison, the former child actress coke whore  witch, likes what she sees in Sonny Boy, so she and Addie from Season One (can’t remember her character name) bake a cake and decide to be neighborly by taking it next door to  welcome the new fam to the block.    One thing leads to another and Mama Neighbor  announces she and Sonny are about to head to  their weekly Bible Study which  enrages Madison and a fight ensues.   Words are exchanged a knife mysteriously sails across the room and gets lodged in the wall,  thanks to Madison’s witchery, which was previously limited to Carrie-like telekinesis.   Mom orders them out of the house but not before Madison mentally sets ablaze the absolutely hideous dark velveteen living room  curtains.     Seems fire starting and a discerning decorating style are two talents she didn’t know she had.

Fiona (Jessica Lange) has a confrontation with Mama Neighbor who’s LIVID   that these tarts are even breathing and she informs Fiona  of Madison’s fiery exit.   The reigning Witch Supreme  senses that  something is happening, within the Coven and within herself.  She feels weak and earlier,  while seeking yet another face lift,  is told by the surgeon that  she has inoperable cancer with maybe  one year to live.

So, witches aren’t immortal.  They apparently die in ways beyond drowning and burning at the stake.

Fiona is dying and part of the reason why is…….Madison.    

As we learned earlier in this episode in a flashback scene from 1971,  Fiona was ascending to her position as witch Supreme in her nubile 20′s,  just  as the current Witch Supreme (played by Christine Ebersol)  was dying.     Diabetes, high blood pressure, anal warts, you name it.     But instead of waiting to assume the position in the natural process of succession by natural  death,   power-mad Fiona speeds up the process by greedily cutting the throat of the reigning Witch Supreme and becomes head honchette  way too early in her career.   She’s too immature,  too vain, too mean—all the things that a good Witch Supreme aren’t supposed to be.      So  now all these years later, she starting to feel she’s being usurped, the same way her predecessor did, thank you, Madison.

More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, back at Incest Manor,  after seducing her boy yet again, Mama calls Zoey , telling her Kyle isn’t dead, but very much alive, but also very different.   Zoey  heads over.     In the meantime, Mom goes to Kyle’s room and says she knows its time to give up her control over him and end their taboo relationship–but not without one more romp.   So, she rubs up against him, he gets angry and screams NO!!!!! , then grabs a nearby Emmy that neither will win in 2014 and beats her head in, leaving her lying in a bloody heap on the floor.      Zoey will find the corpse later, entitling Mare Winningham to a one episode  SAG credit.    She’ll discover an equally  bloody Kyle standing in a darkened  kitchen later on.

Cordelia, Fiona’s daughter and the school’s headmistress, is told by her doctor that not only is she not pregnant, she never will be.   So a forlorn and desperate  witchC goes  to the Ninth Ward hair salon that we  were introduced to last week and meets with its owner,angela-bassett-ahs-coven   Marie “Voodoo” Laveau, played by the stunning, Angela  Basset.  She’s  in a backroom, sitting one leg over the arm of her thrown, surrounding by witchy things and playing solitaire on her Ipad with a tragically gorgeous set of French tips..    Cordelia knows of  a very powerful fertility spell that only Laveau can perform and is willing to shell out 50 grand for the honors.   It is, as the Voodoo Queen explains, very involved.      Then, we’re  treated to a  foreshadowing  ritual scene.

It’s someone’s back yard, illuminated by a large fire.   Cordelia is dressed in a red negligee bearing in her hands–as per instructed–a Mason jar filled with her husband’s (and I quote) “baby gravy”.   It’s then put directly on the fire.    This is happening as painted- faced drummers are drumming and women are gyrating to the beat.    Marie is dancing hypnotically too and eats a hot Roma Tomatoes,  straight off the grill or so it seemed from my vantage point.    I enjoyed this part because of the costume design.    Marie and the whole lot of voo-dooers were  dressed in these fabulous white Vera Wang cotton outfits, with stunning turquoise necklaces and what have you.    LOVED IT!!!!

Well,  once the jar o’guy gak  starts to boil, Cordelia lies down  on  the ground and pulls up her gown, exposing a bare, but somewhat pixilated mons pubis,  while a goat with graffiti written all over it is held above her.   It’s neck is slashed and there she is, writhing around on the now scarlet  earth, while  rubbing her nasty bits with the blood.

Or rather, that’s how it WOULD have gone down , but Marie refuses to help Cordelia because she knows that she’s Fiona’s daughter and she hates Fiona and feels a witchy turf war is about to begin.   Plus, she hates Fiona and knows she’s harboring something.

Or someone.

If you remember, Fiona unearthed the  buried, but very much alive  early 1800′s New Orleans socialite and sadist , Madame Delphine Lalaurie (again,  lovely last name) and is now holding her hostage  at the school.   Fiona is dying (literally) to know what it is that has given her eternal life.   Delphine knows only its something that Marie Laveau had given her in retaliation for killing Laveau’s then boyfriend,  Sebastian, the House Boy  for sexing up one of the Lalaurie daughters.   Delphine takes him to the murderous  basement en Le Maison Lalaurie,  ties him up and kills him while  making him where this odd black cow head mask thing.

You see, Delphine is a product of her early American environment and a racist (she tortured and killed every slave she ever owned) and in one scene we see her watching an Obama speech on the TV or as she calls it “that magic box”.    Well, Delphine is appalled that a “Negro” is president.    As she sits there thinking, “there goes the neighborhood”, Fiona walks in and announces that because she hasn’t yet learned all she can from Delphine (played by Oscar winner, Kathy Bates who’s contract probably runs the full season anyway)  so for the   foreseeable future, she’s  the new maid.   ahs e covenThis means serving meals to the students, one of which is Queenie ( portrayed by Oscar nominee, Giborey Sibide), the school’s token African-American  witch who loves love, but hates whitey crackers as much as Delphine  hates darkies.      So, Delphine finally reckons with her  fate as a servant and is in the kitchen with Queenie who learns that she’s the infamous Madame Lalaurie, re-purposed by Fiona.     So as they converse about history and Peach Cobbler,   Delphine catches a shadowy glimpse of something just outside the kitchen window.   She looks out.

Good lord, its Sebastian, the House Boy now as this  Minotaur- like creature;   bovine head, man’s body, snorting, hooves….the whole nine yards.     Delphine is terrified,  convinced he’s back for revenge.      Queenie tells her to hide, she’ll  care of the situation.

She confronts Sebastian in the back yard and then remembers the story that Delphine had told her about the reasons behind his murder .   Queenie thinks this cow man is just misunderstood and craving lovin’ as she does, so what does one do when confronting an angry, vengeful  Minotaur in the backyard of a Garden District Greco Roman manse on a foggy spring night?    You hike up your skirt and  and start  to diddle yourself , which is exactly what Queenie does.     Sebastian is watching thisy and like any horny creature in Roman mythology, he positions himself behind her.      Just  when we think the shock of mother/son incest will be replaced by partial bestiality, he puts a hoof over her face……and the damn thing goes to commercial.

In the meantime, a very jealous Fiona takes Madison to a pool hall and they drink a lot.    She keeps seeing herself in the young witch and you can just tell there’s an assload of jealousy building up.  They go back to the school where Fiona tells Madison she knows she’s the next Witch Supreme and should kill her as she did the Witch Supreme she replaced back in the sixties.   Fiona gives her the same knife, there’s a struggle, Madison doesn’t want to kill or be the new Witch Supreme and  thank you O.J., Fiona slits her throat.   Intentionally.  The young witch falls dead on the floor.    Really?  Emma Roberts’character Madison killed off in the third episode????   Her agent must suck!      

Fiona it seems, will remain  the Witch Supreme.

This pleases her.  She ain’t going nowhere.   She starts to feel her power and life being restored as Madison lies there, oozing life.     She doesn’t care.

Fiona makes this clear by closing out the show with this bit of pithy dialog:  “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme, just a new rug”.  

Yeah, baby.