Ten–No, Fifteen Spooky Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode Four, “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 2.48.53 AM

Better late than never. The reveals and new characters have been coming so quickly, we picked a really bad season of American Horror Story to slip behind in our episode coverage! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list, which we tried to pare down to ten but would have left out too much information, so the hell with it… fifteen it is.

Who doesn’t love a surprise?

 

1.  Well, so much for The Minotaur being “this season’s Bloody Face”* At the very least, the Minotaur–or Bastien, as Marie Laveau called him–is out of commission for a while. Fiona dispatched him in the greenhouse …off camera. Took care of him pretty goddamned fast, too; in the scene where she’s asking for Cordelia’s help with the badly injured Queenie, Fiona wasn’t any more rumpled than she’d been when she discovered Queenie. His head –still living– got delivered to Cornrow City in a cardboard box by Spalding (“Some freak dropped it off and didn’t say a word”). This did not have a beneficial effect on Marie Laveau‘s already-serious resentment towards Fiona.

2. Kyle’s not home. No Kyle. Zoe realized, sadly, that he’s just a collection of sewed-together frat guy parts, with Kyle’s head on top. With a heavy heart, Violet Zoe makes him a snack with rat poison in it… but in the time she took to put his last meal together, he vanished. On Halloween night, where he’s going to blend in.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.09.32 AM

3. Fiona was able to somehow breathe life into Queenie when Cordelia told her that Queenie’s heart had stopped. If this is one of “The Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate before it becomes official, Zoe and Misty are definitely in contention.

Me? I was a monster.

 

4. We saw in the heartbreaking cold open that Marie Laveau can summon and command the dead, if some serious revenge is called for. These aren’t your mainstream zombies that want to eat you and then you wake up wanted to eat people. They want to rip their master’s enemies apart limb from limb when summoned. They can also use tools, unlike mainstream standard zombies. This season, the cold opens just keep topping each other; the scene where Laveau gave those evil, racist assholes the fate they deserved was not only satisfying, but perfectly executed. I especially like the confederate soldier voodoo zombie with the bayonet – and the shot of Laveau in the featured image for this piece.

I must confess, I’ve always enjoyed our little talks together… particularly since you lost your tongue.

 

5. According to Cordelia, Madison couldn’t have been the next Supreme; one of the hallmarks of a rising Supreme is excellent health, and Madison had a heart murmur. If you didn’t catch Jessica Lange’s oh shit! facial expression the first time you watched, it’s priceless enough to re-watch for that alone.

6. Hank is not only a cheater, he’s a cold-blooded killer. In an extremely upfront way.

Yeah, their blood. I used it to paint my day room brick-red.

 

7. The Council is in town! The council is composed of Myrtle Snow (you remember her- she didn’t have much screen time, but definitely made an impression in the season premiere), Quentin (who Fiona greets, not unkindly, as a “vicious old queen”), and the plain, monotone Pembroke. Nan summoned them because she couldn’t hear Madison anymore and was afraid she was dead.

Screen shot 2013-11-30 at 2.50.30 AM

8. The first rule of Witches Council is never talk about the Wi– whoop, sorry, wrong secretive group!  We find out that the Council on Witchcraft assembles “only under the gravest of circumstances”.

9. We learned another very important law of The Counsel: the penalty for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a fellow descendant of Salem is …death. By fire!

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 2.53.40 AM

10. Spalding’s batshit rituals (ar the start of act one. he was hosting an elaborate tea party in the attic, with just him and what looked like 100  at last china dolls dressed to the nines).** just seemed eccentric (and hilarious) at the start of the episode. It started being not even mildly amusing when they gave us the reveal that Spalding had NOT in fact buried Madison as Fiona instructed him to, but had added her body to his doll collection. Forget the fact that he’s wearing a baby bonnet; creepier yet was the fact that though he’d obviously dressed her up (with a strategically-placed, pretty scarf to hide her slashed throat), she was just wearing her bra and panties.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.16.23 AM

11. Myrtle really, REALLY hates Fiona. Fiona’s not too fond of her either, but Myrtle has hated her for roughly 40 years – mainly because she figured out Fiona did something terrible to Anna Leigh (murder, specifically), back in 1971, followed shortly by Spalding being discovered with his tongue laying on the bathroom floor a couple of feet away from him as he lay yelling in horrible pain (and a spray of blood on the mirror …after Myrtle enchanted it to speak only the truth. Also, Fiona was a mean-spirited little bitch to Myrtle. Fiona also sort of took off (all over the world; I think the word Myrtle used was “jet-setting”) after being officially named the Supreme, and didn’t do any of the paperwork (three unsigned ‘Winter Petitions’) or participation in official witch duties and meetings that a Supreme is supposed to.  The last forty years she’s thought that Fiona didn’t deserve to be the Supreme, and now she want to get her convicted by the council and burned at the stake ASAP.

Tonight I’m gonna let the whole world in, get a good look at me.

 

12. We also learned via flashback (1971) that  Spalding voluntarily cut out his own tongue to protect Fiona. The night before he was to testify officially, he sent young Fiona note to meet him in some upstairs bathroom. He thanks he politely for coming, then told her, “These are my last words, Miss Fiona. I have always loved you.” Then he used a straight razor to slice his tongue out. Maybe Myrtle should have looked around at dinner earlier that night to make sure that Spalding wasn’t, oh, standing directly the fuck behind her before confiding to a friend that she put a spell on his tongue so he could speaking nothing but the truth.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 5.48.56 AM

13. Unfortunately for Cordelia, she has a low alcohol tolerance (though more than three shots of Maker’s Mark and I’d start feeling like I might need to run to the nearest ladies room to puke, too).  She was enjoyed a nice Halloween night out for cocktails with Fiona, and they were even getting along fine. After she was done being violently sick she went to splash some water on her face, and got taken off guard by a hooded, robed figure in black who tossed sulphuric acid at her face… right in her eyes. She shrieks in horror and pain at the top of her lungs, as loud as… well, probably as loudly as any of us would if we were minding our own business in what we thought was a safe restroom and had blinding acid tossed directly in our eyes. Eeeeek.

14. In yet another stunningly-lensed flashback, we learn that after over a decade of bloodshed and heartbreak, Marie Laveau  (Angela Basset ROCKING a Pam Grier-style early 70s ‘fro) sat down across from Anna Leigh Leighton and an actual peace treaty was brokered between the Salem Witches and the Voodoo Witches in 170, 1971 at the latest. “They had their territory, we had ours,” says Chantal, Marie’s closest (human) friend. Neither side crossed into the others. “No more bloodshed at one another’s hands. The rest of the world was cruel enough.” (Hear hear).

Is your seatbelt fastened?

 

15. Chantal was telling Marie Laveau this because Laveau was going to do something that shattered the decades-long truce (apparently sending them the Minotaur’s/her former lover’s head in a box, probably no good to her without his corresponding body –which I assume the witches burned, dismembered, or otherwise destroyed–was the last straw). This plan involved elaborate chalk drawings on the floor,  baskets of extremely substantial snakes,* what looked like an old noose or series of knots, and the sacrifice of one unfortunate snake (we saw a blood-soaked rooster head in the next episode in a continuation of the same scene).  Yup, she’s summoning what looks to be at least twenty her zombie slaves to attack her enemies again. This time they include the fat racist from the prologue, a decayed bride, and in my favorite reveal of the night–actually, maybe the most frightening sight so far of the season– Delphine LaLaurie’s three (un)dead daughters. Marie opens the door to what she assumes to be trick-or-treaters and is greeted by the sight of their swaying, absolutely ghastly corpses standing on her doorstep.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.04.53 AM

Stray thoughts:

  • The Academy sure had a lot more students back in 1971.
  • If you were in charge of handling the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night… well, I don’t know about you, but I’d damn sure check the peephole after an ominous, measured pounding on the door like that.
  • The last official witch-burning decreed by The Council was in 1926.
  • The final shot of the episode where the camera tracked back and back to reveal the veritable army of Laveau’s shambling zombie slaves just took my breath away, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Halloween cliff-hanger.
  • Ryan Murphy has very recently teased that the season finale will include the “Test of the Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate to the Council in order to officially be declared. In this episode, we heard during a dinner conversation that two of the seven wonders were pyrokinesis and transmutation (Fiona “aced” them both).  You’re probably already well aware the first is the ability to start fires with your mind; the second is defined by Google as “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form”. That sounds like it’s going to be quite interesting to see…Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.07.47 AM

*In several interviews to promote the season, Ryan Murphy said that Season 3 would feature two “Big Bads” – The Minotaur and The Axeman. The jury’s still out on The Axeman – we do have a theory that connects The Axeman to something shocking Fiona did, but that’s for later.

**There was something about that first scene that just made me giggle; maybe the matter-of-fact way Denis O’Hare played it, like it was a completely normal way to relax after he was off duty and in his quarters. Put on antique, quaint record of innocent little music? Check. Pour tea carefully for dolls at table? Check.  Get out fancy lace napkin and prepare to–hey, is that someone arguing downstairs? Guess I should get dressed and go see what’s up.

***Wonder who in the cast has a phobia of snakes (if anyone)? For Angela Bassett’s sake, I sure hope she’s not scared of them (since she seems to have all the snake-handling scenes). If she is scared of them (say, the way I’m scared of spiders; unless the job paid well enough for me to retire very comfortably on, and involved a large supply of Xanax, I’m not even sure I could pick them up, let alone let them crawl on any part of me) then my respect for her acting ability just hit a new high, because she remains regal and composed in all her scenes with live snakes.

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.12.35 AM

Advertisements

Ten Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven’s Premiere, “Bitchcraft” (SPOILERS Included)!

Zoe: What do we do if we can’t get in?
Fiona: Tear the wall down.

Another season (or ‘Volume’, as Ryan Murphy said he wanted to refer to them-we think it fits and sounds awesome) of American Horror Story, an entire new twisted, fun, and scary world for Murphy and Brad Falchuck to explore and reveal to us! Hold onto your broomsticks and voodoo dolls, ’cause American Horror Story Coven is going to be one fun, fucked-up flight! So, what did we learn? Here’s ten items, dive in. Oh, and we’re adding a new feature to these weekly companion pieces: besides “stray thoughts” that Mrs. Horror Boom wanted to mention* but couldn’t squeeze into the top ten, we’re adding “Predictions and Speculations” (until we come up with a snappier name). As always, we’d love to hear your opinions on them, and your own predictions. Plus, HEADS UP! PLOT SPOILERS (spilled by Ryan Murphy and the cast to TV Guide) for upcoming episodes given at the end of this particular piece.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.56.02 AM

1.   Hey guys, don’t have sex with Zoe until she learns to control her power, unless you’re suicidal. It’ll hurt and you’ll start bleeding from every orifice that can be shown on basic cable. I see plenty of theories (or declarations) that Zoe has teeth in a specific part of her anatomy, but since her first lover’s death was deemed a brain aneurism with no mention of “penis also apparently chewed off”, we don’t think that’s it.

“I’ll have what she’s having!”

2. Jessica Lange‘s character continues the tradition of getting all the best lines, from “Don’t make me drop a house on you” to “the world’s not gonna miss a bunch of assholes in Ed Hardy T-shirts”. We look forward to many more.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.36.56 AM

3.  Murphy sure wasn’t kidding when he said Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters would once again be cast as “star-crossed lovers“.  Let’s see, she can’t have traditional sex with a male lover (and who knows if there’s a, er, workaround that’s not fatal), and he was killed by a telekinetic bus accident shortly after meeting his love interest, well before the end of the episode. We see in the previews for the upcoming episode “Boy Parts” (heh) that Madison plans to help Zoe bring him back… in a pretty messy, work-intensive method. The couple –and the writers– definitely have their work cut out for them (so to speak).

Tell us about this accident… and don’t spare us any of the gory details.

4.  Fiona will stop at nothing to get “an infusion of vitality, of youth,” as she puts it to her pet scientist in Los Angeles whose research to discover an anti-aging medication/serum she has funded with her late husband’s money. He tells her they’ll be ready for human trials as early as two years from now – Fiona tells him she wants it now.  The next time we catch up with her, she’s blasting Iron Butterfly and doing rails of coke in her very lavish, rock superstar-quality hotel suite, dancing, doing more coke**, nervously seeing a checking her appearance repeatedly in the mirror** . When she insists he visit her, we learn he’s been injecting her with it (at her insistence and probably threats to cut off funding) for five days, and “nothing, NOTHING has changed!” she yells at him despite his protests that he’s already not supposed to be giving her the drug. “Double the dosage,” she whispers, then practically roars, “GIVE ME MORE!”  He tells her human bodies are organic in nature– “We rot. We die”, then resigns. Fiona slams and locks the doors and tosses him across the room with a very mild hand gesture, then starts giving him a very passionate kiss, so passionate, in fact, that she sucks the life out of him (every review I’ve read compares the way he rapidly ages and shrivels to the scene at the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where the villain drinks from the Holy Grail). She looks decades younger briefly, then sees her age returning and smashes the mirror in fury. At the tail end of the episode, she digs up Delphine LaLaurie seemingly for the sole purpose of discovering how someone who was buried alive in 1834 seemingly hasn’t aged a day.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.46.52 AM

From Episode 2, “Boy Parts”.

5. The one thing that distracts Fiona from her coke-fueled frenzy while she not-so-patiently waits for visible results from the experimental anti-aging drugs is a news story on candlelight vigils for the young witch (her character is named ‘Misty Day’ and played by Lily Rabe) who has gone missing and rumored to have been burned at the stake–Fiona looks genuinely concerned, probably with good reason (see prediction section for more on that).

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.39.00 AM

6.  The relationship between the supreme Fiona and her ‘sole offspring,’ daughter Cordelia Foxx, is strained …at best. During a scene between them where Fiona visits Cordelia working in her absolutely beautiful, lush greenhouse/lab, Cordelia is soon calling Fiona a bitch to her face. The conflict seems to be Delia’s teaching philosophy as Headmistress; Fiona thinks her daughter should take a more direct, assertive approach and prepare the girls for the coming storm (especially with the royal blood running in her veins), instead of teaching them to ‘cower and hide in the shadows’.  Surprisingly, most of the spite seems to come from Cordelia’s end. When she turns to her mother and asks, “When are you going to die and stop ruining my life?”, Fiona is visibly hurt, but replies evenly, “I’m here. I’m staying. So why don’t we make the best of it?” We hope they do–they’re going to need everything they’ve got when a pissed-off Marie Laveau shows up looking for Delphine Lalaurie.

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 7.45.23 PM

7.  Things sure liven up at dinner time. Also, maybe it would be a good idea to ban sharp objects. Spoiled telekinetic movie star Madison Montgomery, human voodoo doll Queenie, clairvoyant Nan, and Zoe are served dinner by Spalding. Queenie tells Madison to be nice to Spalding (after she calls him ‘Jeeves’) because he has no tongue. Madison immediately responds by asking him if he used his tongue for something wicked, ‘or maybe you just really suck at going down’. They snipe at each other (Zoe barely gets a word in and just stares with her jaw hung open) with Queenie calling Madison a “D-list, botox bimbo,” and Madison using her mind to flip Queenie’s soup all over her shirt. Queenie jams a fork into her own hand and twists it; Madison squeals in pain as her hand bleeds. Nan has to finally talk Queenie into going for a walk to cool down after Queenie holds a huge knife to her own throat and threatening to cut it. “Well,” Madison sniffs, “that was disturbing.”

There’s a storm coming….

 

8. Fiona knows how to throw a sick field trip. (“Jesus. Go change your clothes. Wear something… black.”) She takes the current group of students–who (except for Nan) don’t know that Fiona is the Supreme until Nan mentions it and she confirms it–for a breezy stroll, filling them in on some New Orléans history and places such as the Popp Fountain that were declared a safety hazard after Hurricane Katrina and closed it off. “What do we do if we can’t get in?” Zoe asks. “Tear the wall down,” Fiona replies. In one of the few scenes where Fiona isn’t lighting a cigarette, smoking, or stubbing out a cigarette, they crash the Lalaurie Mansion tour***  after Nan hears a voice she later tells Fiona belongs to “the lady of the house” whispering help me.

“To our future together.” -Marie Laveau

9. Don’t piss off Marie Laveau. The backstory (also told by the tour guide) that ties her to LaLaurie is that one of her lovers was tortured and killed by LaLaurie. Marie pretended to offer a love potion to LaLaurie that will stop her husband’s ‘infidelities’,  and she makes the mistake of inviting Marie Laveau into her mansion and gulping down the potion, which is a potion, but not one having to do with any kind of love. After LaLaurie chokes and falls to the floor appearing to be dead, we only hear that her body was never found. That’s because Laveau had her chained up and buried alive (probably because death was too good for her), leaving her soul to burn in hell–in the preview for Episode 2, “Boy Parts”, we briefly see LaLaurie assuring Fiona that hell is real, because she’s been there.

“The light hit him  just fine.”

10. Don’t piss off any of the women on the show, or get in their way, and even if you’re another female character, watch your mouth around Fiona and sure as hell don’t call her a hag. She’ll casually flick her wrist (without even looking up) and the next thing you know, your back is slamming into a wall across the room. Don’t tell Madison she’s not “hitting her mark” if you’re directing her; she’ll cause a lighting rig to drop on your head and kill you.  Though she’s got a more even temper, we know Queenie can fuck you up. I think Nan was trying to help out in general when she clued in Fiona to the fact she could dig up LaLaurie and make her Fiona’s bitch slave. Piss Cordelia off, she can slip you a ‘restorative potion’ that would put you in a coma for a few days (or weeks) as Fiona caught her doing. Zoe has only killed one man on purpose with her, er, female power, and boy did he deserve it (as did every frat boy on the bus who participated in gang-raping Madison– I cheered when she flipped that bus over, though partially because it was such a cool, seamless effect), but I’m pretty sure she’s going to become a force to be reckoned with. All you had to do to be tortured/killed by LaLaurie was A. be the wrong color and B. show up.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.42.23 AM

Stray Thoughts:

  • I was bummed out when it was revealed Denis O’Hare’s character has no tongue (since he got so many great lines as Larry in Season One), but Murphy has assured us that he will be speaking later on.
  • I also hope nothing horrible happens to Cordelia’s cat; Fiona didn’t seem to care for the pet much.
  • The show’s writers did their research on Delphine LaLaurie, even getting her daughter’s names and nicknames right. At the time the story takes place, she’s on her third marriage (and we wonder if the show will mention rumors that foul play was suspected in her first two husband’s deaths, adding “Black Widow” to her monstrous resume), and her husband, a doctor, was involved in her crimes. I’d go into more specifics that were depicted as faithfully as possible, but in the last two weeks I’ve read details about LaLaurie’s sadistic crimes that I sincerely wish I could UN-read as of this writing.  The Minotaur is a creation of the AHS writers–and Murphy assures us he’ll return as one of Coven’s two seasonal monsters–but may shown in the cold open of “Bitchcraft”, such as the flayed faces, oddly shaped cages containing slaves whose limbs had been broken and re-formed to resemble animals, and lips sewn shut, among others, were all too real. As I said, I’m on information overload right now from the research I did, so that’s enough of that.

Predictions/Speculations:

  • We’re pretty sure ‘Misty Day’ (the witch with the power of resurgence) will turn up again, and unburned. In the scenes we saw of her actually being burned alive, Cordelia was simply recounting her story to the students. The news report that Fiona saw (and brought her back to New Orléans)  mentioned she was missing and only rumored to have been burned alive. Also, she’s shown in some PR shots released for the October 16th episode. Keep your fingers crossed for more Lily Rabe!
  • Marie Leveau will bring back her dead lover who was killed by suffocating inside a severed bull’s head placed/sewn onto his shoulders… and that’ll be “The Minotaur” monster Ryan Murphy brought up (as this year’s Rubberman/Bloody Face), who will terrorize the Academy.
  • Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 7.52.33 PM

And here’s a couple spoilers I uncovered today I just couldn’t keep to myself (source: TVGuide), so SPOILER ALERT FOR FUTURE EPISODES BEGINNING HERE!

  • Zoe is going to constantly struggle with the decision–and consequences of– bringing Kyle back from the dead in kind of a Frankenstein-like state (which I guess is better than, say, a Pet Semetary or a Monkey’s Paw-like state) over the next several episodes. Worse yet, he won’t be able to communicate verbally.
  • The group of young witches-in-training will drop from four to three when [REDACTED] is killed by {REDACTED]
  • We’re going to get Queenie’s backstory in Episode 2 (Boy Parts) and got-damn, it should be good!
  • Jessica Lange will make LaLaurie her slave, and as a sort of poetic justice, give her to Queenie as a slave. All fucking hell is going to break loose (AKA: War between witch and Voodoo royalty)  when Marie Laveau wants her ‘property’ back from Fiona. Those were just the highlights; click here to read the entire juicy article from TV Guide for plenty more yummy details and teasers.   (END SPOILERS)

There you have it…and we promise to not wait until practically the last minute before posting these from now on. Thanks for reading AND for being so patient.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.43.50 AM

*Mrs. Horror Boom is the only one on the Horror Boom ‘staff’ (of two) that’ll watch it, after I told my husband about certain nasty plot details from Asylum last year, he got scared off… with good reason.

**I predict black nail polish is about to get even more popular, and this spring I was already seeing soccer moms at my nail salon casually getting pedicures with it.

***This tour of the interior does not actually exist, and if I missed it in my research and it does, it certainly doesn’t exist in the form shown in “Bitchcraft,” where the last stop on the tour is the ‘attic of horror’ with most of the torture chamber intact and the tour guide shares the information that Delphine Lalaurie’s beauty treatment wasn’t just slave’s blood, it was a poultice made from the pancreas of her victims–the beauty treatment and the Marie Laveau revenge are all creations of the writers… though Nicholas Cage really did purchase the home. You can read more about the history of the mansion here. Pleasant dreams…

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 5.52.04 AM