Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen American Horror Story: Coven Season 3, Ep. 5 – “Burn, Witch. Burn!”.
“Oh yes, you will beg, but you will not be pardoned, Myrtle Snow.” – Fiona
It was bound to happen and yet I still feel disappointed now that it has. Coven started out so strongly, but this week it faltered the only way AHS knows how to falter: supremely.
It’s the same complaint that can always be lodged at AHS, there’s just too damn much going on. This week we were treated zombie attacks and hit over the head with a heavy-handed mommy issues theme, but in the end, where have we gotten?
We learned Madame LaLaurie wasn’t so much a sadistic racist as a sadistic person who happened to target the weakest people around her, including her own daughters. We were reminded that Fiona is a ruthless witch who will stoop to terrifying levels to protect her power, including enlisting a young girl to help her frame and murder and innocent rival. Cordelia’s acid blindness has brought her a new, different kind of sight and Zoe also found some new powers that support the theory she is the new supreme.
But where is Franken-Kyle? What brought Misty Day to Myrtle’s stake side? How will these two storylines work themselves back into whatever the main storyline is? And most importantly, when is Patti Lupone gonna get the screen time she deserves?
AHS likes to throw as many storylines at the wall and see what sticks, but the problem with that tactic is that it’s hard to develop any sort of connection with so many competing characters and stories.
I want to root for Fiona, but mostly because of the depth Jessica Lange gives her. In reality Fiona is pretty terrible what with burning an innocent woman over a schoolgirl rivalry. I want to root for Misty Day because we share an innate love of Stevie Nicks, but she’s kinda creepy whenever she actually gets screen time. I want to root for Zoe, but she hasn’t really done much besides kill people with her magic lady bits and now her incomprehensible spells. I even want to root for Marie, mostly because I’m scared of what she’d do if I didn’t.
But for a show built around matriarchy and depictions of female power, its gone out of its way to only show women who respond very poorly to that power. It looks empowering at first glance with all the insult slinging and zombie splitting, but what is it actually saying about woman and power? That it brings out the very worst? That the women who have it don’t deserve it and the ones that do don’t know what to do with it? Or perhaps its just saying women should wear more hats because it looks super badass.
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