“It’s this century. It still does perplex me so.”
“You think I’m any less perplexed? I dragged my ass all the way here from Detroit to be with my, quote, “sister witches.” And instead I’m sitting in a fast-food parking lot at 3 in the morning with an immortal racist. How’d that happen?”
Coven is the third instalment of American Horror Story. We follow the Coven of Salem descendants who reside within Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans. We’re immediately introduced to Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) – unfortunately she’s the dull and underwhelming actress who played Violet from the debut season, and our supposed main character for this series – who discovers she has a sinister magical ability to cause a brain haemorrhage in any man she has sex with. She’s sent to the Academy and upon arrival meets her fellow sisters; a telekinetic recovering drug addict and former child star, Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a cryptic clairvoyant who can hear others thoughts, Nan (Jamie Brewer) and a descendant of Salem with the power to inflict wounds on others by harming herself, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe).
The “Supreme” of the Coven is Fiona Goode (Jessice Lange), a Supreme is a witch born every generation who embodies countless gifts and magical abilities – they deduce who that is by performing the Seven Wonders Of Witchcraft trials. The Academy is run by her daughter, who’s forever living in Fiona’s shadow, Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson). The Academy is also looked after by Spalding (Denis O’Hare), a mute butler who has a mysterious relationship with Fiona. Although the Coven is not left to its own devices as they’re constantly under the assessment of the Council which includes Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), Fiona’s old rival and Cordelia’s mother figure.
After meeting her sisters, Zoe attends a party with Madison. She meets fraternity president Kyle Spencer (Evan Peters) who takes a liking to her. Unfortunately, his depraved frat brothers take advantage of Madison and brutally gang-rape her. Madison uses her powers to get her revenge by flipping over their vehicle, as they drive away. Kyle is killed, along with six of his “brothers”, but two survive in critical condition. Zoe visits the hospital and kills the remaining rapist with her dark power. Madison acquires Kyle’s body and the body parts of one of his “brothers” so she can repay Zoe, using the severed limbs and a resurrection spell, she brings Kyle back to life, but not as he once was. Kyle’s confused and fragile. Using this spell attracts another witch, Misty Day (Lily Rabe) who previously resurrected herself. And she’s not the only one to have tried to extend her life, as we’re introduced to Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), who has gained immortality through dealing with the voodoo devil Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) and her prisoner, 19th century slave killer Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). Both of which bring an interesting dynamic to the story.
Coven is the least memorable American Horror Story, in my opinion. That statement is completely insane considering the amount of captivating aspects to the show, but it’s true. I believe it’s down to the main characters and how dragged out the season felt, which is usually the case with most AHS seasons. It always seems as if the series should end one or two episodes sooner than it does, but it felt much worse for Coven than all the rest. The predominant storylines that should have ended sooner were: the Coven trying to figure out who the new Supreme is, an unnecessary love triangle, and the constant killing and reviving of characters.
American Horror Story always seems to have the same issues for me, but luckily it’s always saved by some positives and great characters (albeit this season had the least likeable characters):
Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) has an incredibly sick and twisted past that also continues in her future life, but there are moments of humanity and remorse that deepen her character. We see her and Queenie develop some kind of relationship and that almost makes you feel pity for her. Until she completely backtracks and is drawn back in once again by her lust for human suffering…
Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) is the perfect Voodoo Priestess, holding all the cards with her secret to immortality. She keeps Delphine as an immortal slave for good reasons, but Marie has an atrocious promise to the voodoo devil that makes you see how heartless she has really become.
Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) is probably the best character, her dynamic with Delphine is unusual and thought-provoking. She manages to make an extreme racist funny, and her power is unique.
There aren’t any honourable mentions because all the other characters were really annoying or not memorable. Unlike Hotel where there was a plethora of characters I loved, this season was unfortunately not the same.
I didn’t think I could give the same score as Freakshow to another series but this season was just overrun by boring parts and as I recall dragged out for so long. There were definite stages where I just wanted characters to die already and stop whining so much. Additionally people kept linking this season with feminism, which is completely nonsensical because there was no sense of sisterhood or equality and every woman fucked each other over to climb to the top. Coven is definitely my least favourite for sure, even Evan Peters was bad which is impressive and I hope they never use Taissa Farmiga again because she’s so boring.
American Horror Story – Coven