In last week’s premiere episode, I kind of thought that American Horror Story was changing its style, its form. The first episode of Coven seemed the most “normal” to me of any episode in the anthology series yet. This week, the show got back to its chaotic, frenetic, and quirky ways—and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. We’ll just say the second episode made the show feel typical of the AHS “brand” again.
After Fiona dug up Madame LaLaurie at the end of last week’s premiere episode, we find out that she’s now keeping LaLaurie gagged and tied in her bedroom. Fiona wants answers to how LaLaurie lived 180 years, but really, it wasn’t LaLaurie who had anything to do with it at all. It was voodoo queen Marie Laveau! And now that Fiona knows this and knows that Laveau, too, cast herself a spell of immortality, Fiona is already on her way to find the spell from the sassy Laveau, who now owns a beauty salon in the Ninth Ward and also has kept alive her lover that was abused and mutilated when he was one of LaLaurie’s slaves. Meanwhile, Cordelia is battling her own demons—trying not to cast a spell of fertility on herself because she doesn’t want to become obsessed with power as her mother, Fiona, has become. Finally, Zoe, still distraught over the havoc she and fellow student witches caused at the frat party, goes to the morgue with Madison, who convinces her to sew together Luke’s body and resurrect him from the dead. He comes back to life in a zombified, Frankenstein-esque way.
The acting continues to be spot on for this series. Angela Bassett is playing Marie Laveau in a bit of a campy fashion, but something tells me that’s exactly what the show’s producers are going for.
One really brilliant aspect for me is how all the crazy magic/immortality spells/witchcraft/resurrection of the dead seems completely believable—and I think that’s because New Orleans as a city lends itself to that kind of mystery and power.
A point of confusion for me is how empty the French Quarter always is whenever the characters walk through it. These bitches seem to be in a ghost town (no pun intended)! Y’all ever been to N’awlins? There is ALWAYS something going on in the French Quarter. So, I have to wonder if the desolation of the Quarter is supposed to represent or symbolize something. I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see. Now of course, it could very well just be because the show began filming in the summer…and ain’t nobody got time for NOLA humidity! Also, I didn’t quite catch that Cordelia was married in the first episode. Does he live in the house with her?
The highlight of the episode for me was the opening scene. Not only did it showcase the beauty and power of the Louisiana swamps, but it also was badass fun when the gator poachers got what was coming to them. You can’t have a show about New Orleans without showing some gators!
I have been reading nonstop that this season is “lighter” in tone, but I’d argue that the themes of this season are just as dark as anything explored in the past two seasons—mortality vs. immortality, good vs. evil, obsession with youth, obsession with power. I think Murphy and creators have given us a lot to work with this season, but it still feels well-balance and manageable, unlike the past two seasons—the alien story in season 2, in particular).
Bring on episode 3!