AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN Recap – “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”

     January 8, 2014


FX’s American Horror Story: Coven made a strong return for the second half of their season, featuring not just one, but two guest stars.  As you can probably guess from the title, singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks guest starred as herself, to the delight of everyone on screen and off.  In much more of an unrecognizable role was guest star Lance Reddick (Fringe) who played the devilish Papa Legba.  The new blood certainly livened up the proceedings, but were the witches still up to their same old tricks?  Hit the jump to find out.

american-horror-story-coven-lily-rabe-stevie-nicksWhen last we left the coven, reigning Supreme Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and head voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) had entered into an uneasy truce due to the threat posed by an ancient order of witch hunters masquerading under the corporate banner of the Delphi Trust.  While the magical madams appear united on the surface, there’s still quite a bit of unrest among the ranks.  Fiona is threatened by the rise of the new Supreme, and the consequential increase in malignancy of her cancer.  And in Coven, just because you died once doesn’t mean you can’t still be the new Supreme, meaning Nan (Jamie Brewer), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), Madison (Emma Roberts) and Misty (Lily Rabe) are still in the running.

Since much of tonight’s plot revolved around the actions of the guest stars, let’s take a look at them first.  Most of Nicks’ screentime was dedicated to her intimate performances at the Academy’s piano, which provided a delightful change of pace to the often frenetic show.  She also shared some screentime with Misty, who had been singing her praises since day one.  It was rather hard to believe, then, that Misty would so easily consider giving up the shawl that the singing legend had gifted her.  Whether this speaks more to Misty’s gullibility or Madison’s growing power remains to be seen (though Misty being locked in a coffin in a mausoleum suggests the latter).

Another power player new to the scene is one Papa Legba (Reddick), a voodoo spirit that serves as a spiritual intermediary between humanity and the other side.  Reddick’s version is a heavily accented, cocaine-snorting purveyor of immortality and collector of innocent souls.  In a flashback sequence, we find that Laveau traded her soul (and her first-born child) for immortality from Legba; she advised Fiona not to repeat her mistakes.  Of course, Fiona does whatever she can to gain immortality, but it’s too bad that she no longer possesses a soul (ha!).

american-horror-story-coven-taissa-farmiga-jamie-brewer-emma-robertsBefore we get into the bad business that Laveau and Fiona did to satisfy Papa Legba’s demands, let’s get caught up with the witches vying to be the next Supreme.  Ditzy Misty’s in a coffin and a resurrected Madison has found new purpose, thanks in part to a cured heart murmur.  But what are Nan and Zoe up to?  Well, Zoe’s only so much set dressing at this point as she merely tags along with the other witches or gets tossed aside when the shit hits the fan.  As far as regular cast members go, this episode was certainly Nan’s time to shine.  While dressed all in white and sporting a white balloon in a festive display of cheer when visiting Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon), Nan was the epitome of good magic, saying more than once that if she were the Supreme she would only do good.  That didn’t last long, as Nan used her newfound powers to get Luke’s murderous mom to chug a bottle of bleach.

The bleach may have purified Mrs. Ramsey, but it put a slight stain on Nan’s soul.  This was a brief sticking point when, to the shock of this particular viewer, Laveau and Fiona teamed up to drown the young witch.  When Legba arrives to claim the soul, he quibbles over the quality of it, but eventually concedes.  Presumably, Laveau has satisfied her debt to the spirit and Fiona has eliminated one of the contending Supremes.  Now, if only that pesky Delphi Trust would just leave the witches alone…

This episode wisely took advantage of Coven’s magical premise and showed a variety of spells, conjurings, potions and powers, and the strength of the guest stars certainly helped to fill in the blanks.  It’s still anyone’s guess who will rise to become the new Supreme – and for that matter, just how the Delphi Trust will eventually be taken down – but we’ve only got three episodes left to sort it all out, so expect things to get wild over the next few weeks!

Grade: A-

Quotes & Miscellanea:

american-horror-story-coven-posterLaveau to the baby: “Shut up, or I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Fiona to Misty: “I don’t think you fully appreciate the power of the throne. It’s a skeleton key. You can have anything you want in the world.”

Madison on Queenie: “She could be at the soup plantation. You know how much that bitch loves a bottomless bowl.”

Stevie Nicks sings “Rhiannon” and “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You”

Nan to Madison, showing off her powers: “Put out that cigarette. Now stick it in your vagina.”

That funeral march through the streets of New Orleans was hauntingly beautiful, and I’m glad they finally shot a scene at the iconic graveyards.

Madison: “Players only love you when they’re playin’.”

Myrtle – crazy Myrtle – and her advice cracked me up.

Myrtle: “Don’t be a hater dear. It’s a theremin.”

Renard: “Get our people on the phone. Call a senator. Call Bernanke.”

Papa Legba: “You broke out the good stuff.”

Papa Legba: “I don’t give a donkey shit about title. I want only one thing: your soul.”

Fiona: “Haven’t you heard? I have no soul. I’ll just kill ‘em all.”

Fiona on Nan: “She’s innocent! Mostly… She killed a neighbor but that bitch had it coming.”

Fiona: “I’ve always loved that song. The perfect ending to a long day.”