American Horror Story: Coven – Good, Bad and Ugly

What lies between a masterpiece and a mess?

I continue to be frustrated by American Horror Story: Coven. The show has loads of talent, creative writing, and a great cast. But still…

The good:

The writers are not afraid to give us complicated villains and complex heroes. Jessica Lange’s Fiona Good, the supreme leader of the struggling New Orleans coven, is  basically evil. She killed the previous supreme to usurp her powers, and she killed a young witch who threatened to challenge her standing. But lately we’ve seen Fiona struggle with terminal cancer. Maybe it’s due to Jessica Lange’s talent, but I actually felt sorry for Fiona. And now that there are new villains on the scene (the witch hunters), we might actually see a heroic Fiona.

And then there’s Zoe Benson, the young witch, and the hero of the story, or at least the character that the writers have used for the audience to identify with. She’s always been led into iffy situations (resurrecting Kit Walker Frankenstein-style), but now she’s killed Spalding, Fiona’s henchman. Yes, he was bad, but Zoe didn’t flinch. That doesn’t bode well for her, but it sure makes her a lot more interesting.

The bad:

Let’s stick with Zoe killing Spalding. It would have been nice to see a consequence for her (as a person). There was none. Then again, death seems to be irrelevant. Madison Montgomery was killed. She’s “alive” again. Myrtle Snow was burned at the stake and now she’s back. Can Madame Delphine ever die? (Please?) Death is no longer shocking or interesting.

And what about rules? When a writer constructs a universe, the rules should be clear and consistent. In American Horror Story: Coven they are not. Kit was brought back to life several episodes ago but he can still barely talk; everyone else resurrected was fine after a day or so. Madison said there was nothing after death, just blackness. But we’ve seen two spirit entities so far: the Axeman and Spalding. So something must exist after death.

So much for rules.

And the ugly:

Sometimes less is more. Tell that to the writers. Every scene involving the over-the-top Jesus freak next door neighbor Joan Ramsey and her dopey, cardboard son Luke make me want to change the channel. An enema as punishment? Death by bees? Really?

And get rid of Madame Delphine. She’s served her purpose.

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