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American Horror Story: Coven “The Sacred Taking” Review (3×08)

4 Dec

americanhorrorstorycoven08When you die, you usually, you know, stay dead. I get that this is American Horror Story, but the lack of a sense of danger is really detrimental to the show right now; it’s an hour every week of “anything goes”, but it’s hard to sit back and enjoy the ride when we’re skeptical of that mantra. Every “death” now feels like a ploy to mess with the audience, not something that will shake up the storyline; just bring ’em back!

That’s a shame, considering the first half of this episode is pretty strong, focusing on an intriguing Cordelia vs. Fiona plot that feels like it’s leading up to something…until it’s not. I mean, a Kathy Bates head in a box isn’t all that shocking anymore, Murphy; I just hope the next episode involves everyone dangling cheeseburgers just out of reach of her chomping mouth.

Anyway, the episode feels like it’s stitched together like Zoe and Madison did to Kyle. The abstractness of the plot hearkens back to Season 1 days, but even those episodes had a bit more coherence than recent ones have. Coven is intentionally trying to make this a crazy, dark comedy, whereas Asylum let the comedy arise organically from the focused plot. Coven is falling into the “Great Cast Trap”, not allowing each character to shine due to its persistent audience pandering and misguided notions of race and feminism.

Frankly, I’m bored, which is something I never thought I’d say about this show. A great embodiment of why can be seen through the character of Queenie. There’s potential there in the team-up with LaLaurie, but they erased a lot of that with LaLaurie’s imprisonment. I understand her being conflicted, but it just feels like the first scene–atrociously acted by all three actresses–and the burger one are thrown in there as obligatory “Oh, these are the two sides she’s on!” reminders. Queenie’s all over the place right now and the writers have no idea what to do with her. It’s the same with Kyle; I love Evan Peters’ performance, but why do we need to see this many episodes of him learning how to function?

Also, for the biggie: why do we need to spend time with characters we don’t care about? The only character I really sympathize with is Misty; yes, the point may not be “You should sympathize with everyone”, but I want to at least be invested in their stories. When Jessica Lange gives her big monologue, it’s brilliantly delivered, but at the same time, it’s emotionally detached from the audience. She then goes into an unnecessary dream sequence involving Spalding; there has to be a better way of conveying the fact that Fiona’s a person that may actually desire a community about her.

Everything just isn’t gelling like it was last year, and while the show’s entertaining as hell, it doesn’t quite draw me in.

GRADE: C+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Kyle’s reaction to the headphones is perfect.

-Frances Conroy is awesome here, with “I was told it started with a tingle in the cooch.” and “Oh little bird, I’ve ordered in bulk from North Korea for years!”

-“Why can’t it be me?” “Because you have no style and your pits smell like fishsticks.”

-“Those poor Salem witches – traveling all the way down here in covered wagons, without a proper charcuterie platter, or a bidet! Absolute savagery.”

-“Oh boo-hoo. Some girls were mean to you and now you’re mad. I had my throat slit and you don’t see me bitching about it.”

-An enema. I should’ve known. If you’re going to be on a Ryan Murphy show, it’s a good idea not to have a mother.

-The Justified, Americans, and Archer promos are fabulous. Oh God, that Americans promo. It’s amazing. Can it be January/February already?

Credit to FX and American Horror Story for all pictures. I own nothing.

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3 Responses to “American Horror Story: Coven “The Sacred Taking” Review (3×08)”

  1. ironhawk22 December 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    This review was amazingly hilarious. Awesome work.

    • polarbears16 December 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Thank you! I could say the same about your Homeland rant; I do think the season’s improved recently, but you nailed all the problems season 3 had early on.

      • ironhawk22 December 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

        Thanks. I’m halfway through the latest episode and it’s a definite improvement, needs more badass spy Brody all the time, but this season hasn’t been doing much for me. I’m still very entertained by Coven, but once I begin to think about it my brain begins to hurt.

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