AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN 3.4: “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

ahscoven3041Nothing like an episode with a tense cliff-hanger, and AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN delivered an ending that left me wanting to know what will happen? What kind of powers do the witches have to fend off the undead?

A helluva lot happened in this episode, and we’re only four weeks into the season. I have a feeling the real storyline has barely begun, because there’s so far to go. There seems to be plenty of time for Madison and the minotaur to come back.
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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN 3.3: “The Replacements”

AHSC1It must be difficult for Jessica Lange to choose two shows for her Emmy reel each year because she has so many terrific performances from AMERICAN HORROR STORY to consider, but I think her work this year just got 50 percent easier: This episode absolutely has to be submitted, because we got to see sweet-and-sour Fiona at her finest.

Who are the eponymous Replacements? Take your pick: Madison is Fiona’s replacement; Queenie is Delphine’s replacement; the patchwork Kyle is his own replacement; Alicia thinks Kyle is a replacement for her husband; and Cordelia is unable to create her own replacement.
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AHSC1The Pretty Little Witches take a page out of Mary Shelley by way of The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Delphine LaLaurie is set loose in the modern, integrated Big Easy; and Fiona gets the most sinister haircut since Keri Russell chopped off her locks and got FELICITY canceled — and it’s all in a week’s work for AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN.

The story features three different kinds of immortality: Delphine and Marie Laveau living agelessly, Kyle being revived after death by a mixture of science and magic, and Misty Day resurrecting herself. How ironic that practically everyone around Fiona is immortal when she’s searching for the key to eternal life.
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coven1It may be an odd thing to say, but the premiere of the new cycle of AMERICAN HORROR STORY, dubbed COVEN, seemed… relatively restrained. Not counting the bloody bull’s head used to make a minotaur, of course, or the girl who kills with her vagina.

Yes, AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN is about witches, but witches who seem more like the characters in superhero comics because they each are gifted with one specialized ability; they don’t perform magic per se — reciting spells over bubbling cauldrons, etc. — but rather use their “mutant” abilities, like telekinesis and clairvoyance. It’s an interesting way to go, but makes the series seem envious of the X-Men movies.
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AMERICAN HORROR STORY is probably the most loopy series on TV, so maybe that’s why big names line up to star. (I think the reason there’s a new storyline every season is because all the scenery gets chewed right down to the ground, so they have to start over.) The latest series, COVEN, has attracted three ladies who have won Academy Awards as best actress in a lead role, so there must be some meat to the characters they will be playing.

The cast includes Oscar-winners Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett, as well as Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Patti LuPone, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Lily Rabe and Emma Roberts.

Check out these awesome (and very atmospheric) posters:

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You know what they say: Behind every serial-killer’s mask made out of human skin there’s… well, somebody’s face. In the case of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM, the face behind Bloody Face belongs to Dr. Oliver Thredson. They also say that every old black-and-white newspaper photograph hides the face of somebody still alive today – like Dr. Arden the Nazi mad scientist.

The Thredson/Bloody Face reveal was a little bit surprising, but not really too shocking, given his medical training and exposure to the thought processes of maniacs. It’s almost logical – especially since the pool of suspects was so tiny; who was it going to be – Frank the guard? Monsignor Howard? But a corollary question lingers: Is there more than one Bloody Face?
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One of the clichés that absolutely drives me up the wall (and across the ceiling) is a character saying “There’s a storm coming” as foreshadowing of some big conflict that then occurs when the storm hits. (Yes, I wanted to walk out during The Dark Knight Rises when Selina Kyle/Catwoman whispered that line.) It’s just too on-the-nose for me, and makes me think the character feels smug for using such a brilliant metaphor. Ugh. Don’t characters in movies ever go to the movies, or even watch TV?

However, in this case, as disappointed as I was to hear Sister Mary Eunice utter that line so early in the episode, I could live with it because AHS:A wasted no time distracting me with its trademark weirdness. So, although the storm was constantly harped upon, it didn’t feel like a lame storytelling device. (Maybe the fact that my area had just weathered Superstorm Sandy left me more willing to accept the horrors of nature as a real threat, not just a metaphor.)
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