“American Horror Story: Coven”: Worst. BBQ. Ever.


Before we light up the Char-Broil and get down to bidness with this week’s episode of American Horror Story, did everyone see the clip of hottie neighbor Luke making out with Doctor Who? Of course everyone did. Now let’s roast us a witch!

It’s 1833 – do you know where your children are? If you’re Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), you sure do: they’re in the cages in your attic! Okay, so it’s good to have a reminder of just how horrible a racist, sadistic, murderous psycho this woman was before they gave her the Maid to Order treatment and turned her into a goofy uniformed sad sack. But let’s give credit where it’s due: girlfriend really does it up for Halloween!

Also, what in the hell is her daughter’s name? Boquita? Martika? Morcheeba? Anyway, the daughters aren’t keen on momma’s slave-entrail Halloween decor, so they muse about taking her down – which of course lands them “upstairs” and scheduled for a Christmas morning shit sandwich.

Back in the present, the girls are back in town and ready to repay their mother for Christmas brunch. Full-scale zombie invasion on Halloween? GORGEOUS.

Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), meanwhile, is still in the midst of having her face burned off at the hotel bar, and Fiona (Jessica Lange)  sees a black-cloaked figure scurry away in the fray. She gets wasted in the hospital waiting room and sasses back to a doctor who tells her that Cordelia is blind, and that it was probably something like sulfuric acid. Fiona attacks him. Hey, FiFi – when all else fails, BLAME OBAMACARE.

Back at Hogwarts, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) gets her Rick Grimes on and rallies the troops against the zombie attackers. Queenie is still weak from her Minotaur booty-call but strong enough to chirp, “Tell it to the army of darkness!” to the disbelievers in the room. Acr0ss town, Marie Motherf*cking Laveau (Angela Bassett) floats above the floor in a white-eyed trance. I bet she also sleeps above her sheets. Like, four feet above her sheets.

Next-door hottie Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon) goes outside to reason with the zombies, believing them to be trick-or-treaters with exceptional costume budgets. While he’s out there, Marie remotely activates the zombies to attack, and a few trick-or-treaters get slaughtered on the lawn. (Even worse, the house before this one handed out Mary Janes!)  Luke tries to run but he gets a hatchet in the back. Eesh! Although I can’t blame the zombies – he does look quite tasty, and I’d probably start with the back first myself.

Inside, Zoe wants to retreat to the attic but Spalding (Denis O’Hare) is adamantly against it, as he only has matching tea service for 8. And that dead chick. When Nan (Jamie Brewer) realizes that Luke is in peril, she runs outside and carries him – BLESS – to the safety of a car. This chick rocks – she’s serving Linda Blair from Hell Night realness and I am gagging on it.

Back at the hospital, Cordelia’s face looks like boiled meat. It’s not a good look for her, what with her fair hair. Fiona, apparently out of pills, wanders the halls of the seemingly empty, strobe-lit, cantilevered hospital until she finds the dispensary, where she refills her stocks. She then sees the figure in black darting past, and a crazy old guy who might be leftover from Season 2 murmurs something ominous to her.

Fiona finds a woman on a blood-soaked bed near a table holding a stillborn baby. Here we go again… but the scene is actually pretty amazing – Fiona gives the woman her baby and makes her speak to it (“I’ll be your mother until you die”), eventually bringing the dead baby back to life and wandering away. Whew! All in a boozed-up, pill-addled, doctor-attacking candystriper witch’s day’s work.

Okay, sorry to break from the show, but what the EFF is up with this new FX show CHOZEN that they’re advertising?! An overweight white gay male rapper cartoon?! They’ve now officially done everything – we can all just pack up and go home.

Back at Professor Xavier’s Home for Zombie-Ridden Witch Chicks, Zoe bangs pots together (“POP OFF!”) to distract the monsters from Nan and Luke before getting cornered in an alley. This scene is so Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, and I could not be happier – and neither could Zoe when she spots something apparently useful on the ground.

Upstairs, Queenie yells for a Coke, and Delphine goes downstairs, where she sees one of her daughters through the kitchen window. So clearly the kitchen is the most cursed room in this house – they should really get some cafe curtains or something to keep random monsters from peeping in like that. Delphine lets Morquita (Moschino? Taquito?) in and Martika promptly grabs her.

Upstairs, moments later, Martika brains Spalding with a candlestick – let’s just go ahead and put those away in a cabinet at this point, shall we? – and Queenie tries her voodoo doll powers on her, but they don’t work. But Delphine pops up with a fireplace poker to spear her daughter from behind, noting, “She had a monster for a mother.” Well, she said it. Queenie comforts her. Awwww! Nice to see them bury the hatchet somewhere other than in Luke.


Speaking of, Nan carries Luke to the house and it looks like they’re about to be overtaken until someone appears with a chainsaw to start slicing zombie ass – it’s Zoe! Okay, I like her again. She kicks into full Evil Dead mode and starts hacking apart zombies left and right in the most wonderfully over-the-top fashion – this is a scene I honestly never expected to see on AHS and I can’t believe how perfect it is.

One zombie almost gets the best of Zoe but at the last minute she finds the power to cast some spell on it, which also causes Marie Motherf*cking Laveau to drop to the floor across town. Marie is equal parts miffed and impressed, noting, “they got some real power in that witch house.” She also should probably take an Advil and see a chiropractor.

At the hospital, Fiona and Darrin Hank (Joshua Hamilton) have words, with Hank flat-out calling Fiona “a piece of shit.”  Fiona gives him a few minutes alone with his wife, about whom he seems to be genuinely concerned, unlike that chick he banged to death last week. He touches Cordelia, and she abruptly wakes up to a vision of Hank’s hotel room escapades. Whoopsies! Okay, last week I predicted that this “acid” might be a potion that allows her to see the truth – could this be the case? In either case, I think Hank is pretty effed.

The next morning, Fiona makes Nan and Zoe burn the zombies. Fiona says Luke can stay until he recovers, and tells Zoe that she likes a witch who can fight. Fiona and Delphine start the local chapter of the Lousy Mothers Club and nearly hug it out before Fiona reminds Delphine that she’s just the maid.

The council returns and demands that Fiona abdicate her supremacy. Fiona, in turn, accuses Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) of throwing the poison at Cordelia, and we see in her flashback that she saw Myrtle in the elevator at the hospital in the black gown. Hmm. Fiona rips off Myrtle’s glove to reveal burns on her hand, and tells the council that Myrtle has been living in the city for weeks in a motel and has been stalking her – and shows the photos for proof.


The council agrees that Myrtle must be burned. Myrtle, finally giving up after all these years, goes proudly to her death, which involves jive music and gasoline and takes place at a conveniently empty nearby quarry. The girls – decked out in their finest haute funeral wear – assume that this must all be some elaborate symbolic ritual, not an actual execution. They tie Myrtle to the stake and she calls them all frogs boiling in Fiona’s cauldron – “I’d rather burn than boil!” Fiona lights the flame with her bitchstick and Myrtle goes up in seconds. Zoe stares in disbelief.

Later, Queenie confronts Fiona – turns out she gave Myrtle the burns at Fiona’s request (Ooooooooh!) but had no idea it would lead to her death. Fiona touches her face and assures her that it’s all okay and that maybe she’s the supreme, noting that it would be amazing to have “a Supreme of… color.” She then notably wipes the racism off her hands.

Upstairs, Spalding – in his best bonnet and high-heeled boots – is having a Lysol party. He checks in on Madison’s corpse (yep, still dead!) and accidentally breaks off her arm. Now she’ll never play the violin!

Back at the quarry, the amazing Misty Day (Lily Rabe) appears, drawn to the site of the burning like Stevie Nicks to a scarf-festooned microphone. She kneels before the charred corpse of Myrtle Snow, who opens her eyes.


Whew! Let’s unpack this suitcase of crazy, shall we?


Notably Dead: Myrtle Snow, some trick-or-treaters, Spalding’s Glade Plug-Ins budget

Notably Undead: Myrtle Snow, a stillborn baby

Notably Absent: Frank-N-Fratter, Joan Ramsey

Notably Effed: Hank Foxx, you got some ’splainin’ to do!

Shriek of the Week: For the second week running, Myrtle Snow takes the prize for her barbecue battlecry.

Blood – 10/10

This episode was a full-on gross-out, what with the eyeballs and the guts and the decapitations and Zoe cutting a zombie down the middle like a ciabatta. Loved it.

Beasts – 1/10

Zombies can be a bit beastly, but otherwise there were no critters to be had this week. What gives?

Buns – 0/10

Not a pooper in sight. C’mon, AHS – you can do better than that!

Constance Comment of the Week

Fiona had quite a night, but I think her best line was when she told Hank he was “no better than the men who stand outside Home Depot.” Hey, I’m always standing outside of Home Depot – though it’s usually because I can’t remember where I parked.

Witchslap of the Week

I’m gonna have to give the WS to Delphine this week. When will she learn not to open that damned kitchen door?! Next week I’m betting it’ll be the Landshark.


For me, this was the best episode of the season so far. It careened wildly between over-the-top gore, comedy, brutality, and gut-wrenching emotional moments, and had plenty of unexpected shocks. It’s everything I want this show to be.  A few things I’m left wondering…

  • How did LaLaurie get away from Martika’s Kitchen? One minute she’s being throttled, the next she’s running upstairs to save Queenie. Did her daughter realize that her mother couldn’t be killed and move on?
  • So do we think it really was Myrtle who dosed Cordelia? If it really was some kind of truth-seeing potion, it would be consistent with Myrtle’s cursing Spalding’s tongue to only tell the truth…
  • Why on earth would they just leave Myrtle lying out in the open like that? And would there really be that much of her left after a burning? Let’s add “litterbuggery” to their list of offenses.
  • Are we wondering what Kyle has been up to? No? Didn’t think so.
  • Considering what happened to poor Addie in Season 1, I am THRILLED that Jamie Brewer is playing a kickass, self-assured action hero this year.
  • If Queenie ever gets burned at the stake (God forbid!), I hope they at least have the sense to bill it as a “Queenie Roast”
  • Do we think that Zoe’s taking down of Marie’s remote-controlled zombies makes her the next Supreme? My money at this point is on Mary Wilson.
  • I wasn’t too hot on last week’s episode, but this second half totally stuck the landing for me. I just wish that it had aired in time for Halloween!

So those are my thoughts. What’d you kids think?

In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.