Sometimes I'm just not sure what to make of "American Horror Story: Coven." Last week, it was a kill-a-ganza with soothing music provided by Stevie Nicks, and this week it's an episode that's just as bloody and possibly even more frantic (I blame the lack of a rock icon).
Initially, it seems it's going to be Madame LaLaurie's episode through which to chew. When Queenie pops up at Nan's funeral with LaLaurie on a leash, it looks like we'll be rehashing LaLaurie's previous gig of grudgingly cleaning toilets and passing judgment on her tormenters. Sure, we'd seen it all before, but watching Kathy Bates grump around the house is still good fun.
But when an injured African-American gardener reminds LaLaurie of her old passion for blood-letting, we discover that 1) no one is keeping a very close eye on Crazypants and 2) she must do an amazing job of getting blood stains out of uniforms. I'll admit I flinched when LaLaurie decided to start lopping off the toes of the poor gardener, though at least the chicken-beheading gave me fair warning of blood-letting to come.
I have to hand it to Murphy and Falchuk for never letting LaLaurie become fully rehabilitated, despite Queenie's best efforts. By reminding us that, no matter how much fun she can sometimes be, LaLaurie is, at heart, a sociopath, it made the betrayal by Spaulding (who isn't a very active ghost, but when he wants to get into the mix really does so) a much more cutting joke. Benadryl? Do not speak its name!
I suppose no one's keeping an eye on LaLaurie simply because everything's going to hell in a hand basket for the rest of the witches. I'm sure Myrtle, who loves the everlasting racist's cooking so much (and really provides so much of the show's loopy humor), would eventually notice she's off somewhere, getting into trouble instead of making biscuits, but she's probably the only one. Though the young witches are being picked off by the older ones (R.I.P., Nan), that's hardly bringing them together as a unit.
Madison is still mightily pissed that Kyle likes Zoe more than he likes her, and sure that she's the next Supreme she isn't shy about hiding her feelings about it -- or anything else. Madison did get the best line of the episode when she called Myrtle "a dried-up old Hot Pocket," but her threat to take Kyle apart bit by bit weren't exactly funny.
Before we get to how Zoe and Kyle ended the episode (which I really don't trust as a plot twist), I would be remiss not to recap the uglier moments in the show. When Delia chose to blind herself, I saw the purpose but man, I hated seeing a perfectly good set of borrowed eyes put to waste. Where is Myrtle going to find a replacement set now? I know, I know, Delia's sacrifice will allow the one good-hearted witch (with the exceptions of Zoe and Myrtle, maybe) to ferret out the evil in the coven. The problem is, of course, everyone left (with, again, the exceptions of Zoe and Myrtle) is evil. So, what's Delia to do with that information? Kill everybody? Oh, wait, this is "American Horror Story," so that could totally happen.
Speaking of killing everybody, I still admittedly enjoy Fiona and Marie working together as a team, at least when that doesn't involve drowning another witch. That Fiona is able to bring in the Ax Man for an evening of the score between the witches and the Delphi Trust was a gory triumph that not only served to cement the friendship between one couple (Marie and Fiona) and the romance between another (Fiona and the Ax Man) but, at least temporarily, took care of a shared enemy. I doubt Fiona and the Ax Man will get their happily ever after milking cows and drinking tea on the porch, but they are cute together in a Bonnie and Clyde, "Natural Born Killers" kind of way. Marie taking pictures of the blood bath with her phone? Priceless.
The only truly upsetting moment is when Spaulding, who has tricked LaLaurie into getting him an expensive and rare doll for his collection, is revealed to have another purpose for the clothes -- dressing up Marie's stolen baby. Of course, his goal in manipulating LaLaurie, despite all his protestations about Fiona's failings, is to get Marie out of the way so he can get this "living doll" for his own. It was a creepy, upsetting moment, but when "AHS" throws an innocent into the path of the plot's speeding, often runaway, train, it's always jarring.
And that leaves us with Myrtle's impassioned plea to Zoe to take Kyle and get the hell out of dodge (I love that she got them tickets to Epcot, don't you?). It takes a good, hard slap to get Zoe to realize she's an idiot to stick around, and fortunately it takes less than that to convince Kyle. Of course, his concern that he'll do something to hurt Zoe or someone else seems serious enough, and I have to wonder how far the star-crossed lovers will get on their bus ride to Orlando. My guess? Not far. But then, it would be awfully fun to see a bunch of witches running wild at Epcot, too.
What do you think Delia's going to do now that she can "see"? What do you think is going to happen to the baby? And do you think Zoe and Kyle can really get out of town?