‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Recap: The Salem Witches Council Confronts Fiona, Laveau Sets Zombies On Robichaux's
American Horror Story: Coven flashed back to 1961 in the opening sequence of “Fearful Pranks Ensue." Marie Laveau (Angela Basset), working on a woman’s hair in her 9th Ward salon, openly disapproves of one of her coworker’s decisions to send her son to a newly desegregated “white” school. Witnessing ample racism in her protracted life, Laveau fears that Louisiana isn’t ready for so much comingling of the races. One day soon after, that woman’s son is murdered by a band of racists. Instead of haughtily whispering an “I told you so,” Laveau sets some zombies on the culprits.
Flash-forward to the present, Spalding sits in a low-ceilinged room surrounded by tens of pristine dolls, sharing tea with a select few. For once, the manservant appears to be at peace (albeit creepily), but then he hears shouting and makes for the door. As he nears the stars, it’s clear that he’s hearing the combating voices of Fiona (Jessica Lange) and Madison (Emma Roberts) in last week’s final gruesome scene. Spalding watches on as Fiona, after failing to get Madison to kill her, turns the knife on the young witch, slicing her throat. When Spalding approaches, Fiona tries to justify the killing while smoking a cigarette and accepting an adult beverage. When she hears a noise, Fiona instructs Spalding to deal with the dead girl while she sees what’s going on.
Following the source of the noise leads Fiona to the greenhouse, where Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) lies bloodied in the aftermath of her seduction-turned-trampling confrontation with the Minotaur Bastian. Fiona manages to get Queenie up to a bed and summons her daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) to help her save the young witch. The two swap admonitions about visiting Voodoo Queen Laveau – one for youth, and the other for fertility. When they turn to Queenie, they realize she’s not breathing. Fiona, still bestowed with the powers of The Supreme, breaths life back into the girl. The next day at her salon, Laveau meets the severed Minotaur head of her beloved Bastian, and shows her vulnerability for the first time.
Also in the 9th Ward is Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), who’s still trying to deal with the mixed-part Kyle (Evan Peters). He’s still bloody from killing his incestuous rapist of a mother and is slamming his head against the bathtub. Zoe decides that maybe what Kyle needs is some tuna fish. While in the kitchen, she gets inspiration from a lone box of rat poisoning, believing it’s the missing ingredient. However, before she can feed Kyle his fatal lunch, he goes missing.
Back at Robichaux’s, Fiona summons Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) for some assistance dressing in her Halloween best. After LaLaurie dates herself talking about the end of Harvest rituals of yore, she begins to compliment Fiona. Before she can get out that she looks beautiful, Fiona assumes she was going to say younger. Nevermind outside compliments, Fiona looks herself up and down in the mirror and hisses, “Who’s the baddest witch in town?” cementing the parallels to the Snow White narrative. Who’s going to give Madison the kiss of life then?
Laveau, in the back room of her salon, is preparing a spell, which one of her fellow priestesses warns her not to go through with. Courtesy of another flashback, it’s revealed that the Voodoo witches and the descendants of the Salem witches have been operating under a truce since 1971, when Supreme Anna Lee – the one Fiona murdered – was still at the head of the Salem coven. Laveau insists the era of peace has ended.
Still clinging to the normalcy she’s tried to weave into her witchy existence, Cordelia phones her husband who’s on a “business trip” in Baton Rouge. The two swap cordialities until Hank gets a knock at the door. Instead of a business associate on the other side of the suite door, there’s a young red head named Kayley. The two engage in rough sex and then wake up to share a flirty breakfast. Kayley, whom he met through an online dating site, expresses her growing feelings for him. Hank allays Kayley's concerns about him hurting her feelings by putting a bullet through her head.
Cordelia, meanwhile, is summoned downstairs by Nan, who informs her that the Council of Witches – Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), Pembroke (Robin Bartlett) and Quentin (Leslie Jordan) –– has popped by. Delia begins confessing things they knew not of and care not about before they inform her that they’re worried about the fate of Madison, which they were alerted to by Nan (Jamie Brewer), who can no longer hear her thoughts. Nan also lets the council know that Madison had recently come into pyrokinetic powers. When Fiona shows up, she silences her daughter and sits down smugly across from the council. Myrtle Snow, who is carrying around some ill feelings towards Fiona, clearly wants blood. A flashback shows she knows Fiona murdered Anna Lee and suspects she had Spalding's tongue cut out to hide the truth. In actuality, the lovelorn Spalding cut his own tongue out.
In the middle of the old guard hashing out the details of the forty-year-old murder of a Supreme and the suspected one that occurred the previous night, Cordelia speaks up from the shadows. Madison, Cordelia claims, was not the next Supreme. "The hallmark of any rising Supreme is glowing, radiant health,” she says. “Madison had a heart murmur. She kept it secret." Fiona’s facial reaction is a mixture of regret at having killed the girl unnecessarily and worry about who is actually the witch that’s sucking her powers from her.
As evening falls, its time for trick or treaters. LaLaurie, tasked with giving the children candy, is piqued by their general greediness. Queenie, Zoe and Nan, meanwhile are upstairs trying to determine exactly what became of Madison and if they should go out searching for her. In his doll infested attic apartments, Spalding has turned his attention to his latest addition – the heavily makeup-ed and adorned corpse of Hollywood starlet witch Madison Montgomery. Missing from Robichaux’s were mother and daughter witches Fiona and Cordelia, who decided to take the night off to bond over shots. When Delia goes to the bathroom to throw up the excessive libations, a cloaked figure throws a burning liquid in her eyes.
Back at Robichaux’s, the handsome young Christian neighbors stops by to return the gift of baked goods to Nan. Then another knock sounds at the door. LaLaurie goes to answer it. Three ghoulish looking girls stand on the other side. They’re her daughters. LaLaurie slams the door shut in shock and fear as an army of the undead march on the grounds of the school for witches.
American Horror Story: Coven will return with part 2 of its Halloween special on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 10/9c.
– Chelsea Regan
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