Note: Do not read on unless you've seen "American Horror Story: Coven," Episode 8, titled "The Sacred Taking."
Halle-freakin'-lujah, dear readers, it's all coming together.
After the last two episodes of "American Horror Story: Coven" nearly lulled me into a coma (except for the always-stellar work of the veteran cast), finally, finally, everything is starting to make sense. As Queenie says at the beginning of the episode, a war is coming, and not just a straightforward war between voodoo and witchcraft: Fiona promises vengeance on her own coven, Madison is jealous of FrankenKyle and Zoe, Queenie feels sympathy for a caged LaLaurie, Nan is pissed at her coven for not thinking that she could possibly be the next Supreme, and Hank the witchhunter is out to kill. Deceit runs deep, and resentment boils over. None of this is going to go how we think it's going to go.
The episode starts with a sinister tone, as we witness Queenie rip a heart out of a man's chest, much to the horror of Zoe and Madison. Queenie's on an errand for Marie, who needs a "dark heart" -- and despite all of Zoe and Madison's protests, Queenie refuses to abandon Marie and the voodoo sect, fully believing that she'll be better off. No one likes a ship-jumper, Queenie! This decision will probably not work out for her. Hell, even once-gentle Delia claims that Queenie is dead to her. Ouch.
Speaking of ouch, watching Fiona battle cancer has been tough, probably because Jessica Lange brings home an amazing performance every time. I have been absolutely loving her little voiceover monologues this season, and her soliloquy about the cancer infesting her body was no exception. Wonderful writing -- and they even include another "Bewitched" reference: "I'm starting to look less Samantha and more Endora." Fiona reveals she has spinal cancer, and we see her tell Delia, who brushes it off and wishes death upon her. Nice! Not quite what Fiona was expecting.
I certainly wasn't expecting Myrtle to be back and breathing so quickly, but I'm ecstatic about it. Every single line she delivers in this episode is perfection, and I nearly spit out my drink when she says she was awoken from her earthy grave by a skulking Hank when he stepped on her face. Her warning saves Misty from Hank (imagine waking up to a sod-covered Myrtle standing beside your bed? Not exactly soothing). Misty and Myrtle venture over to Robichaux to find a safe haven. Myrtle believes that Misty is the new Supreme (which probably means she's not), and the rest of the coven, mostly for their own selfish reasons, only kinda-sorta believes it.
Delia's had enough of Fiona and her scheming, murderous ways, so she gathers the girls to come up with a battle plan, and I have to admit, the plan is pretty great. Making a very sick Fiona believe that the resurrected Madison has the power of resurgence is clever, and then the double-whammy of having a burnt, theatrical Myrtle appear in her room drives the point home. After the witches hold a Sacred Taking (which has only been done three times in their coven's history), they fully expect Fiona to do the right thing and sacrifice herself for the sake of the coven. They get Fiona, all right -- and she chooses to overdose on pills rather than be burned at the stake. So she applies makeup, puts on her best fur, pops the pills and lies down to die gracefully (didn't she look beautiful lying there? Wow). A smug Myrtle, believing she's done her job, heads downstairs to depress everyone with her sombre piano playing.
The crazy neighbours, the Ramseys, are back too. We haven't seen them since "Evil Dead" was reenacted on the Robichaux lawn, and it's still the same ol' Joan and Luke. Luke defends the witches, and Joan freaks out about it and pleads with her son to embrace the love of Jesus. She punishes him and locks him, bound and gagged, in the closet. Nan -- angry with her coven sisters ("You suck balls!") and eager to help Luke -- rushes over to the house, saves him from the closet, and then both Joan and Luke are shot through their front door by Hank. Luke saves Nan by pulling her out of harm's way, and then ... Nan yells something about the Supreme. (I rewound this and re-watched four times, and I just can't make out what Nan yelled here. Any help? I heard "I wanna be Supreme!" and "No, don't leave me. You're the next Supreme!") In any case, Joan dies (for about five minutes, and is resurrected by Misty) and Luke is taken to the hospital.
Another glorious return happens when ghost Spalding appears at Fiona's side. Not unlike the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future all in one, Spalding sets Fiona straight on everything. She learns the truth about Misty, Madison and the whole plan, and downs some Ipecac to vomit up all the pills. She's back, witches! Fiona heads downstairs, promising vengeance on her coven for attempting to kill her and for murdering her confidant, Spalding. But the rest of the coven doesn't know that yet.
In zombie threesome news, it seems like FrankenKyle is wholly interested in sex, which has rekindled his desire to live. Also, he moans less, which is great news for everyone. After spending some time online teaching himself how to read/speak again, he professes to Zoe that he loves her. A jealous Madison overhears and cries to herself -- this won't end well.
In one of my favourite scenes so far this season, Delia and Fiona bond over their mutual witchiness. I heartily enjoyed the flipped convention of mother-daughter love and respect, only brought out by Fiona's aggressiveness and Delia's attempt to murder her mother. That's love, y'all. (Unfortunately for Delia, she doesn't know that Fiona is ultimately planning to destroy them.)
We end the episode with the delivery of LaLaurie's head in a box (was it the same as the Minotaur head box?). The war is on, folks, and we're just getting started.
Witch, Please: (every week I'm going to award the witchiest witch of them all) It's Fiona again, guys. It's not really surprising, since she's Supreme. But this episode, she does a lot of mind controlling, and basically dominates the coven. All of them. And she lights her cigarette just by looking at it, which is highly, highly enjoyable every single time.
- Everyone say it together now: Bleach enema. From your mother. Worst nightmare?
- Every single one of Myrtle's lines tonight was epic. It's a toss-up between her comment about her hair ("I've been buying in bulk from Korea for years!") or the one about the poor Salem witches who had to travel to New Orleans ("Can you imagine those poor Salem witches travelling all the way down here in covered wagons, without the proper charcuterie, platter or bidet? Absolutely savage!").
- All right, so who's the next Supreme? Not Madison, not Queenie, probably not Misty. That leaves Nan, Zoe, Delia, and possibly, depending on what Nan said at the neighbours' house -- Luke?
- Let's hear it for a "Myrtle & Misty" spinoff. I'd watch.
- I feel like the resurrected Madison is better than the original Madison. I'm still on the fence about her character -- I don't know if I like her or not -- but she delivered some pretty great lines herself this week. (To Nan: "Because you have no style and your pits smell like fish sticks.")
- A talking Kathy Bates head. Best Christmas gift ever.