Must Be The Season of the Witch: A Recap of "American Horror Story: Coven" Episode 8

Last week's episode of Coven opens with Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) taking a trip to the proverbial "wrong side of the tracks" by order of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). The voodoo queen has instructed the girl to obtain a dark heart in order to begin a spell to strengthen the new recruit's powers. After beating a suspected child rapist under an overpass, she is interrupted by Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison (Emma Roberts) who tracked their former coven member in order to persuade her to return to the Robichaux Academy. Queenie refuses and says that the girls were never her friends and that Laveau has set her straight. After cutting out the unconscious pedophile's heart, Queenie says that the Salem witches are going to lose the coming war.

Elsewhere, in the Axeman's (Danny Huston) love nest, Fiona (Jessica Lange) is lamenting her ailing health. The pain is becoming unbearable and she dreads the fact that she's looking more less like Samantha and more like Endora every day. Smitten with the coven Supreme, the Axeman suggests they run away together and spend what little time Fiona has left together. Fiona refuses, saying that she doesn't want him to see her wither away. She tells him that she fears the constant pain due to her spreading cancer but that she would never give anyone the satisfaction that would come with killing herself. She's convinced that the rapid advancement of her condition is due to the new Supreme gaining strength and she's determined to find out who it is.

The next morning, Joan Ramsey (Patti LuPone) is channeling Margaret White to the best of her abilities as she cleans out Luke's (Alexander Dreymon) wound that he received during the Halloween zombie attack. She insists that the girls are in league with the Devil and he has become unclean in his association with them. Unclean from the inside out. Cue the homemade Comet cleanser enema. Close your eyes and repent to Jesus, Luke.

At the Robichaux Academy, Nan finds out that you don't need to be a clairvoyant to hear Luke's screams from next door. She implores Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and the other girls to help but the headmistress demands that Nan sit down for their "Let's Plot Fiona's Death" meeting. Before General Delia can lay out all of the details, the doorbell rings. Since the mansion seems to be devoid of all hired help, Zoe leaves to answer the door.

Misty Day (Lily Rabe) is on the porch, looking a bit more frazzled than usual and begging Zoe to hide her. The night before, Misty was awoken by the newly resurrected Myrtle (Frances Conroy) who warns the hippie witch that she had noticed an assassin circling the cabin after he nearly stepped on her face as she gestated in the healing mud. The two women make their escape just before the hooded attacker breaks into the cabin and riddles Misty's bed with shotgun blasts. Cordelia comes to the foyer and takes Misty's hand. Visions of Misty's burning at the stake and subsequent regeneration prompt Cordelia to offer the woman immediate asylum and protection.

After she asks for the protection of her friend, also, Misty takes Cordelia and the girls to see Myrtle who has been waiting in the greenhouse. They all seem to be on the same page regarding the elimination of Fiona. Myrtle tells the rest of the coven that resurrection is a feat that is more difficult than any of the Seven Wonders and is convinced that Misty is the new Supreme-to-be.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. The Salem witches decide that it is time to invoke the Sacred Taking, a ritual that is performed to guarantee the protection of the coven if the current Supreme kills herself (thus hastening the selection of the new Supreme). Nan, Madison, and Zoe debate who the new Supreme will be and Cordelia chastises them for taking things so lightly as being the Supreme is more of a burden than a gift. One can't really blame Misty for not wanting the job. After the ritual is complete, Madison begins having doubts that Fiona would actually kill herself to ensure the coven's survival. Cordelia agrees that would be the case without a generous push.

Later that night, after violently vomiting in her bathroom, Fiona returns to the bedroom to see Madison dancing to a soundtrack provided by Donovan. After taunting Fiona with her future plans to redecorate the room and fornicate on her bed, Madison admits to being the next Supreme as evidenced by her resurrection. She offers Fiona the option of a painless death in lieu of the standard witch capital punishment. All she will need to do is swallow a handful of pills and go to sleep.

Madison takes her leave and Fiona begins packing a bag. Suddenly, running off with the Axeman looks pretty damned good. Myrtle is the next "ghost" to visit Fiona. She claims that Madison, in her Supreme generosity (pun intended and it stays), has resurrected her as well. Becoming the Axeman's arm candy was not one of the options, Myrtle reminds her. Fiona can either burn at the stake or overdose on pills. Not particularly moved by Fiona's tears and assertion that she has finally found love, Myrtle conjures up an illusion that shows a future where the Axeman abandons Fiona in a hospital bed after not being able to tolerate Fiona's wasting away.

As Myrtle and Fiona continue their suicide tug-of-war in the bedroom, Nan storms out of the house after Zoe and Madison fail to say whether or not they believe she could be the next Supreme. As she crosses over to Luke's house, Cordelia's husband and witch hunter extraordinaire, Hank (Josh Hamilton), watches her from his car. Nan finds Luke bound and gagged in a closet and praying to a creepy statue of St. Sebastian.

The mind games seem to have worked and Fiona has accepted the idea of killing herself. With Myrtle's help, she gussies herself up for death. After the Council head agrees to watch after Cordelia and hang Fiona's portrait in the designated place, Fiona downs her pills and lies down in bed. Relieved that the task is finally done, Myrtle nonchalantly empties Fiona's jewelry box into her purse and leaves the bedroom.

In true Charles Dickens fashion, Fiona is visited by one more ghost, Spalding (Denis O'Hare). After telling her about his murder, he implores Fiona to swallow some ipecac syrup and purge the pills because she's been hoodwinked by the coven. The secrets of Madison and Myrtle's resurrection, Misty Day's existence, and the plans to drive Fiona to suicide are all aired like so much dirty laundry. Fiona swallows the ipecac and, after throwing up the medication, vows to avenge not only Spalding's death, but her own as well.

Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) is still caged in the backroom of Marie Laveau's salon. Obviously feeling a bit of remorse for her part in the woman's capture, Queenie brings her a cheeseburger from the restaurant they had visited together. LaLaurie begs for Queenie's help in escaping but Marie Laveau enters and scolds Queenie for "feeding the animals". Laveau's attempts to taunt Delphine have little impact because, as LaLaurie points out, she is immortal. Not being one to have her imagination questioned when it comes to torture, Laveau cuts off one of Delphine's hands.

Nan has successfully gotten Luke untied and freed from the closet but the couple are prevented from leaving by Joan who has called the police and reported Nan as an intruder. Before she can make good on the threats she makes to her son, Joan is shot by a sniper from outside. Luke is also hit when he attempts to shield Nan from the gunfire.

At the academy, Myrtle plays a melancholic tune on the piano as the coven waits for Fiona to die. To their shock and dismay, the Supreme comes downstairs, lights up a cigarette, and demands the whereabouts of the swamp witch, who appears to have left the room, unnoticed.

It turns out that Misty has gone next door where paramedics are taking Luke away on a stretcher with Nan following close behind. Fiona enters the house and uses her power of persuasion on a police officer to get details on the shooting. Still curious as to whether or not Misty could be the next Supreme, Fiona challenges her to resurrect Joan. Crouching down over the bible thumper's body, Misty reanimates Joan and immediately collapses, unconscious.

As she and the rest of the girls make their way over to the Ramsey house, Cordelia finds a bullet in one of the bushes outside. A quick touch and a vision later reveals all she needs to know about the shooting and the attacker... the bullet was meant for a witch.

Kyle (Evan Peters) has been having a rough few days. Zoe has been homeschooling him in her room. Apparently there IS an app. for everything... including Zombie Hooked on Phonics. His homework is interrupted when Zoe returns from the Ramsey home and tells him that they are under attack. He stammers out that he loves her to which she replies the same. Unbeknownst to the couple, Madison (the third member of their undead romance) is out in the hallway listening to every word.

Morning finds Cordelia fearing the worst since her carefully planned scheme to bring down her mother failed. To her surprise, Fiona actually applauds Cordelia's grit and tells her daughter that she's proud of her. With the prospect of being stalked by a witch hunter, Cordelia tells Fiona that the coven needs her now more than ever. The doorbell rings (seriously, where are the servants in this place?). Fiona goes to the front porch and finds an unlabeled box waiting to be picked up. She takes the box back inside, opens it, and is shocked to see the decapitated head of Delphine LaLaurie... still very much alive and mouthing the words "Help me".

Next episode: Cordelia's eyesight returns and Fiona seeks an alliace with Marie Laveau.

 

 

Shaun N.'s picture
on December 11, 2013

A Marvel fanboy whose super powers include throwing side-eye, drinking whiskey, and re-reading back issues of "Alpha Flight."

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