American Horror Story: Coven - Boy Parts

American Horror Story: Coven - Boy Parts

Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen American Horror Story: Coven, Season 3 Ep. 2 – Boy Parts.

I’m Fiona Goode. I’m in charge everywhere.” – Fiona

It’s strange, but once again I’m inclined to suggest that not much happened in this episode.  I know that’s ridiculous because a lot happened this episode, but when compared to the previous two installments of AHS, this feels more like a brisk walk though a graveyard than a never ending plunge into hell.

As far as all that happened; Lily Rabe made her triumphant return as Misty Day, the Stevie Nicks loving necromancer with a soft spot for alligators and lonely young girls. With her help Madison and Zoe succeeded in resurrecting Kyle. Well, at least parts of him… and some other people’s parts. Apparently witch school doesn’t make Frankenstein required reading or they would know this probably won’t end well.

Cordelia revealed her deepest desire is to be a mother, but traditional methods have failed her and her husband. But what’s the good of being a witch if you can’t call on magic to pick up where modern medicine leaves off? And if the spell to get pregnant involves fiery sex and snakes, all the better. Besides, what would American Horror Story be without a pregnancy of questionable origins and certain disastrous results?

Perhaps what makes Coven feel slower paced is that the evil of the season has yet to be revealed. With Murder House it was clear fairly early that the house was the root of all the problems (and that was without the helpful subtitle) and similarly while Asylum teased quite a few evils the actual asylum linked them all together. There has been plenty of evil on display already, yet there has yet to be an inciting incident to set one of these evils apart.

Coven may well boil down to magic versus magic; the witches against the voodoo. It’s clear that at the very least Coven is using these dueling magical factions as an allegory towards race relations in America. AHS has a long (well, three seasons anyway) of using horror tropes as a way to speak to real horrors people commit everyday. Usually these are focused on the marginalized; women, gays, and minorities. Coven seems particularly interested in looking at the ways white culture as appropriated black culture. Fiona and Marie Laveau (Angela Basset) may have been talking about magic being stolen from one culture, but they were actually talking about a lot more.

I can’t say AHS always pulls off these allegories successfully, but they attempt them and that’s more than a lot of shows can say. In the weeks to come that message will undoubtedly take a backseat to explicit sex, gory violence and disturbing images, but it is in the bones of the story from here on out.

For now, the surface looks like one witch in search of everlasting youth, a voodoo queen with a beast headed lover looking for vengeance and whole lot of other witches causing a lot of trouble. The picture may not be exactly clear yet, but the more they put Jessica Lange, Angela Basset, and Kathy Bates in scenes together, the more I’m convinced this will be the best American Horror Story yet.

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