American Horror Story: Coven Episode 1 Recap/Review
Before we jump into this review, here’s quick recaps on the first two seasons of American Horror Story. For those who have yet to see them, each season is a stand alone story. You can read the third reason’s recaps without having anything spoiled from the previous two!
American Horror Story: Murder House, is set in 2011. An average American family moves into a beautiful house in L.A. only to later find out it’s known as the Murder House. Many historically famous murders occur here and its victims continue to reside here. Many die, few survive, and everything you don’t want to happen, happens.
American Horror Story: Asylum takes place in 1964 and 2012. A mysterious incident occurs where a young man’s wife disappears and is blamed for her death. He is sent to an asylum for the criminally insane. There is much going on in this facility including demon possessions, alien encounters, and human experimentation. The stories are those of some of the facility’s residents and staff which have practically nothing to do with one another.Too much goes on, some of which makes no sense, but it did have a very good ending.
Here we are on season three of American Horror Story: Coven. This time around we’re entering the world of witchcraft as implied by the the title. So far I believe this season is making great headway and quickly recovering from the hot mess that was Asylum. Episode one is charmingly called ‘Bitchcraft.” It already sounds delightful!
The show begins in the middle of a party held by Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) in New Orleans 1834, where he introduces her daughters to possible suitors. We’re lead to believe there is some romance between her youngest daughter and one of her servants (Scandalous!). Cut to later that evening, we see the Madame smearing what appears to be blood all over her face (Historically inaccurate. Perhaps the writers want to add a touch of Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed to the Madame?). The servant is caught and accused of taking advantage of the daughter. An enraged Madame adds him to her collection of tortured and mutilated slaves. She punishes him by adorning him with the head of a bull she just so happened to have lying around.
We continue the story to today, 2013, with a young couple exploring the wonders of their bodies when the young man suddenly beings to bleed from his facial orifices (I’m pretty sure every other possible entry and exit of his body is also experiencing this. Let that thought simmer there for a bit.). Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) just killed her first love with her vagina. Her mother informs her that they have a cursed bloodline and immediately sends her off to
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. She is escorted there by and odd entourage led by an eccentric redhead named Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy).
The school is a majestic mansion located in New Orleans with the color white dominating the inside and outside of the structure. After a teasing prank, we meet the rest of the student-witches. Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a movie star with telekinetic powers. Nan (Jamie Brewer) with the gift of clairvoyance. And last but not least, Preci-Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe). Queenie has voodoo powers and declares herself to be a human voodoo doll. Since characters are being introduced, the headmistress of the school, Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson), makes her entrance. They all gather in the Ancestor Room and Cordelia explains that in every generation there is a Supreme Witch, a special witch that holds great power. She also tells us the history of the school and the reason for its existence. They are there to learn how to control their powers in addition to being careful so as not to be discovered. Which leads to her prime example: Misty Day (Lily Rabe).
A few months ago, Misty is at what appears to be a protest of some religious sort. She spots a dead bird and discovers her powers by magically bringing it to life. Someone witnesses the event and accuses her of witchcraft. The group immediately restrain her and have themselves and old fashioned witch burning.
Now we meet Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange). As it usually goes for this actress’s characters in past seasons, this is one has serious issues. She does! She is desperately seeking a way to remain young, possibly gain immortality and invested a great deal of money in research for a rejuvenating serum. Having passed its first testing trial, she wants the serum that moment but is denied by the scientist. Later that evening she invites him to her hotel to try and change his mind once more. The plan fails and she casts him out a window.
The girls are enjoying their first dinner together and talk about their virginities, powers, and all things Cosmo while being served by Spalding (Denis O’Hare), the school’s butler. After a quick scuffle between Queenie and Madison, Nan and Queenie go for a walk so Queenie can cool off. Madison suggests she and Zoe go to a party.
Cordelia is hard at work in her lab (I’m assuming she’s the potions/herbology teacher as well). In walks her mother and Supreme, Fiona! They simply sass each other up. End of scene.
Kyle Spencer (Evan Peters) is giving a pep talk to his fellow frat brothers on the bus on being DD for the evening so they can all party as hard as they want. But not too hard. Zoe and Madison arrive to the party and all the attention is immediately on Madison (Movie star after all.) except for Kyle’s. He and Zoe immediately hit it off while Madison encounters the rest of the fraternity. They drug her and take turns raping her as they document the act with their iPhones. Zoe is worried of the extent of Madison’s absence and Kyle helps her look for her. He discovers the ongoing event and orders everyone to stop and delete whatever they have recorded. The frat panics and they all run back to the bus to make a get away. The girls stumble out in time to see the bus drive away. Madison takes her revenge by flipping the bus and killing everyone inside, including Kyle!
The following morning, they hear on the news that two of the boys survived but didn’t mention which two. Fiona knows they’re responsible and calls Madison sloppy with her bus-flipping trick (I’d call it impressive, but that’s just me.). Fiona decides to take them all out on a field trip to Madame LaLaurie’s Mansion which is now a museum. But first they must all dress in black before they head out because they’re clearly there learn how NOT to draw attention to themselves.
While blending in with the crowd, they learn more about Madam LaLaurie’s past and the grotesque tortures she performed. The tour guide tells the girls about the demise of Madame LaLaurie. Turns out that the Minotaur she created was originally Marie Laveau’s lover, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.
-Back to 1834-
The Madame demands for fresh blood and has it extracted from one of her slaves (Which is particularly odd to me. She deeply despises the African race, why would she want their blood on her skin? If it goes back to the Blood Countess, it would have been better suited if the writers had her use blood from young slave girls.) and poured straight into her goblet. The following day she receives a visit from Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) who claims to have the cure to her husband’s infidelity, a love potion. Happily, the Madame allows her in and takes her potion. She drinks up every last drop and quickly realizes that something is wrong. She collapses and the Voodoo Queen sits proudly on the Madame’s chair. Revenge has been taken.
-Return to 2013-
It seems that Nan can “hear” someone from the ground and shows Fiona the exact location of the source. After the trip, Zoe visits the hospital, hoping that Kyle is one of the survivors. Dismally, he is not. The survivor she found instead was the douche that lead the rape. Maddened at the unfairness, she sets her Vagina of Death to work after quickly fluffing the comatose survivor. Once more she leaves behind a corpse bleeding through every orifice.
That night, Fiona returns to the museum with two bewitched gentlemen. She has them unearth a coffin and sends them off while erasing their memories (Being Supreme has its perks!). She pops open the coffin to discover none other than Madame LaLaurie! Just as young and alive as when she was poisoned. The episode ends with Fiona walking away as she says to the Madame, “Come on Mary Todd Lincoln. I’ll buy you a drink.”
Fantastic start to this season! Despite some inaccuracies, small ones at that, it was a very good episode. There have been quite a few deaths in this episode. The total count was 15 people give or take one person. It was a bit difficult counting all the fraternity members!