Thoughts On American Horror Story: Coven: Week 1


I have been watching  American Horror Story for its entire current two seasons run and have been hopelessly engrossed ever since I realized was the type of progressive show that isn’t afraid to show Dylan McDermott jerk off then cry about it. So, when I heard that this season would take place in New Orleans and revolve around a coven of witches, I was elated. There is a primal fear that this show is able to tap into, all while injecting an equal amount of fun and camp into the mix.

This season will be more light-hearted, the creators said. Well I call bullshit on that, but one thing is clear: this time around the plot seems much more controlled and focused. The première episode of American Horror Story: Coven is aptly named ‘Bitchcraft’ which hints already that this may be my favorite season so far.

  • The episode opens with Kathy Bates as a demented, young-obsessed Madame LaLaurie in 1834 who keeps slaves she tortures in her attic, “because she can.” This opening shows that in Coven, no dark subject matter and no character will remain untouched as Bates smears blood from a harvested pancreas all over her face in some truly fucked-up Elizabeth Bathory shit. Didn’t Kim Kardashian do a blood facial once? Is Kathy Bates’ character based off of Kim K? I feel like I’m onto something here.
  • Season Predictions: Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, and Kathy Bates summon all the Emmys and leave none for anyone else.
  • Taissa Farmiga is back from season 1 as Zoe Benson, who attempts to have sex with her boyfriend and ends up fucking his brains out (seriously, he has a brain aneurism.) Watching this scene sort of reminded me of the first time I had sex. Both times I felt squeamish and slightly uncomfortable.
  •  After her boyfriend is pronounced dead, Zoe is promptly shipped off to New Orleans so she can attend a school for young witches run by Cordelia Foxx (The effervescent Sarah Paulson, who is one of the best things to happen to television in a long while).
  • Zoe acts really upset that her mother is sending her off, but if my mom had fringe bangs like hers I would want to leave. Damn, girl, it is 2013.
  • I see you, Frances Conroy. I see you with that red hair.
  • Zoe’s classmates are the incredible trio of Jamie Brewer (who is clairvoyant) Emma Roberts (who has telekinesis) and Gabourey Sidibe (who is essentially a human voodoo doll, able to inflict pain on others through herself)
  • So here for Sidibe who plays the role of apathetic teen perfectly. Also here for Emma Roberts as the extremely self-absorbed movie star she plays. However, I’m not convinced it is a character. Maybe Ryan Murphy just asked her to keep her own personality. I don’t know Emma, I can’t say…but….
  • If they kill off Lily Rabe in the first episode and she doesn’t come back, I will be furious because my baby Lily Rabe slayed in season 2 and deserves her screen time.
  • Jessica Lange is everything I’ve ever wanted to be as Fiona. From sucking the life out of boys she kisses to her snappy one-liners and flawless appearance (Seriously though, I think I have probably aged more than Lange in the past week than she has in the past decade). Lange is in top form as supreme witch delivering some of the best lines of the episode such as, “Don’t make me drop a house on you.”
  • Jessica Lange seems like she will be facing off against her daughter (Sarah Paulson) and her pupil (Emma Roberts) quite a bit this season, so needless to say I have a fan boner.
  •  “Sloppy Witch Bitch” is going to be my new retort for people who party foul for the rest of the year.
  • Evan Peters plays a sweet but hyper masculine frat boy this season. He is introduced after Taissa and Roberts decide to stop by a frat party they learn of through a tweet (Ryan Murphy wants to remind us he is hip and relevant and knows how kids find out about parties these days) I’ve never been to a frat party before, but judging from this show they’re just as douchey as I imagine they would be. Popped collars and a red solo cups everywhere? Damn, Ryan Murphy, you really nailed the frat-boy archetype there.
  • There is another extremely triggering scene this season that involved Emma Roberts character getting gang raped as it is filmed on iPhones. I have probably only been as uncomfortable one time other time while watching this show, and that was in the school shooting scene of season 1. Maybe the writers took it a little too far with this one.
  • In what one could argue is a pro-feminist move, Roberts uses her powers to flip over the bus of the men who raped her. Killing and critically injuring the others. She then has a very emotional scene in a bathtub that ripped my heart out. Maybe Roberts’ character will end up being my favorite of the entire season. Viewers get the best sense of emotional range from her character this episode.

  • When Taissa goes to the hospital to visit Emma’s attackers, she discovers that Evan Peters’ character has died *cue fan-girl sobs* and that the ringleader of the rapists is still alive. She decides to enact revenge by using her gift and mounting the boy. The last scene we see of her is riding the rapist as blood seeps from his orifices. She ain’t no Sabrina the teenage witch.
  • I’m sure there is a very productive and healthy feminist discussion that can be birthed from talking about Taissa’s character’s man-murdering vagina….but right now I just can’t stop thinking about how it is very much like Teeth. Maybe next week I’ll be up to unpacking what it all means.
  • We need more Angela Bassett, always.
  • The episode ends with Jessica Lange digging up Kathy Bates (who still looks like she did in 1834 and they stride off into the night to have a drink….like what?

All in all, if you didn’t watch the entire episode, mostly what you missed was Jessica Lange reminding the world that she is better than all of us; I agree.

What are your thoughts on the first episode of the season? Sound off in the comments below!

I write this weekly piece as I watch the episode. If you would like to join in next episode and potentially see your input here,  live-tweet with me at @ShawnBinder or use the hashtag #AHS4TC so I can read your lovely thoughts!