Pagan TV Club: American Horror Story Coven – The Replacements

Pagan TV Club: American Horror Story Coven – The Replacements October 24, 2013

(Every late Wednesday night I’ll be posting my thoughts, 500 words or so, on American Horror Story: Coven. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the show in the comments section! This isn’t a review, just some thoughts on the second episode, and it contains spoilers. To understand it, you also probably have to watch the show.)

With a title like “The Replacements” you knew going in that AHS Coven’s third episode was going to deal with matters of power and leadership. What completely took me by surprise was the cold open showing how Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) laid claim to the title of Supreme . . . . with murder! Thank the gods real Witches only engage in Witch Wars and bitch at each other online.

Even more surprising was Goode killing (albeit perhaps accidentally) Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts). On AHS death doesn’t mean all that much, but judging from the previews for next week it looks like this death might stick. I sort of hope not, the show’s version of Witch School is already lacking in students. If Madison stays dead they’ll be down to just three, not that any of these students is ever shown learning how to use their talents.

I probably over analyze every TV show I watch, but that’s because I desperately want the people who inhabit television’s fictionalized landscape to kind of at least sort of behave like real people. Watching Fiona lament about how horrible of a Supreme she is had me wondering about coven oversight. Shouldn’t there be other witches telling her to shape up or ship out?

Gabourey Sidibe (Queenie) had a breakout performance this evening. Watching her boss around Delphine LaLaurie was absolutely delightful, and then she tops it all off by giving herself to the Minotaur! Of course they don’t tell you how her romantic rendezvous with the horned one ends, but I’m going to guess it all works out. (Not surprisingly I’m in the corner of the guy with the horns on his head.) Seriously, Sidibe has had some great scenes so far in this show, but tonight she was the best thing about this seventy minute episode. (Jamie Brewer’s Nan had some good moments tonight too, especially the joke with the headphones.)

Tonight’s Voodoo Ritual hit a little too close to home. The outfits, the guy dressed up as Baron Samedi, I’ve even read about goat sacrifices that weren’t all that different from what I saw tonight, heck it might be the most accurate looking Voodoo ritual I’ve ever seen on a scripted television show. As a result I both loved and hated it. I love seeing Voodoo portrayed as a powerful living spiritual tradition, I hate that it’s something people feel completely comfortable distorting to fit a fictional context. Haven’t Afro-Caribbean religions been put through the ringer enough over the last 500 years?

Kyle “Frankenboyfriend” Spencer’s (Evan Peters) Mother might be the scariest person on American Horror Story. I know this show delights in pushing boundaries and making its audience uncomfortable, but that incest scene was a little much. Of course as soon as I typed that sentence Frankenboyfriend killed his mother with an old sports trophy. Of course in this show she could be back next week, who knows? Speaking of horrible neighbors . . . witch academy has Evangelicals living next door! That should be fun!

I thought tonight’s episode was kind of a letdown after the first two solid outings. Maybe tonight was all about setting up a few plot lines, but there wasn’t enough in it that I’m going to want to watch it a second or third time.

(Speaking of sci-fi/fantasy TV, let’s just say The Walking Dead has really turned its self around over the last two seasons, and this year has started off especially strong. The premiere’s “Zombies falling from the sky” sequence was over the top awesome, and this year has me actually caring about the characters. I was freaking out at the end of last week’s episode, worried that Carol was going to get bit as she watched someone die. I’ve also decided that if Daryl dies I’m done with this show. I have a few friends who swore off The Walking Dead after the lackluster second season, but if you are one of those it’s time to get back on board.)

Random Observations:

Let’s hope Lily Rabe (she plays Misty Day on the show) gets the nod as Stevie Nicks if anyone decides to make a Fleetwood Mac bio-pic in the next couple of years.

The racism of Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) in tonight’s episode towards Barack Obama (not to mention Queenie) had me contemplating a Tea Party joke, but I’m going to stop myself.

Favorite Lines:

“If I’m going to commit to the butchery I want to see exactly how the sausage is made.”

“There’s nothing I hate more than a racist.” (Fiona Goode might be a murderer, but at least she’s not a racist, and she voted for Obama twice!)

“You can’t be your best self until you find your tribe.”

” . . .why wait for some phony happily ever after when you can have your piece now I say.”

“You know I’ve never understood you Bible thumpers and your hypocrisy towards sex. I know, behind closed doors, you are the biggest perverts of all.”

“This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme, it needs a new rug.”

For more on American Horror Story: COVEN from Patheos writers, check out the show’s topic page on the Patheos Entertainment channel.

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