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American Horror Story: Coven Recap: “Go To Hell” and “The Seven Wonders” (Season 3, Episode 12 and 13)

I went to Florida for a wedding, then found myself wrapped up in other media blitzes: the Golden Globes and subsequent Woody Allen scandal (which, sorry, I’m not touching with a 10-foot pole); the Super Bowl and the “controversial” Coke commercial; and finally, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death. In all that cray, I got woefully behind on my American Horror Story recaps. Oh well. There are far more important things.

This series always seems to flounder a bit mid-season, then speed to a feverish velocity of weird before leaping over an abrupt edge in the final episodes. Hell, up until episode 11 the writers were still introducing integral new information. In “Go to Hell,” we finally learn what the Seven Wonders entail. Before the credits roll, the episode dives headfirst into a flickering silent film behind which Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major plays softly. (This reminded me very strongly of Waltz in A flat major, which, because it featured prominently in Welcome to the Dollhouse, added an extra layer of weirdness for me). ANYWAY. The film depicts Salem-era witches undergoing a theatrical version of the test of the Seven Wonders, thus explaining succinctly to the audience what we’re in for.

"You walked into the wrong house." Photo courtesy Michele K. Short/FX.

“You walked into the wrong house.” Photo courtesy Michele K. Short/FX.

“Go to Hell” gives Gabourey Sidibe the chance to shine (and yeah, I realize she’s hidden in the above photo – sigh); Queenie defies Fiona and gets a small comeuppance, and in her search for Marie LaVeau she gets to take care of Delphine LaLaurie once and for all. Delphine had apparently murdered the tour guide at her old home and whisked Marie into her attic torture chamber to show her who’s really boss. Delphine underestimates Queenie, of course – black people, man! – and Queenie kills her for good. Honestly, I don’t remember why Queenie was able to kill an immortal; does it matter? Unfortunately, the amazing Sidibe either gave up the ghost as a result of the terrible writing, or she’s just no match for Lange and Bassett’s scenery-chewing. At one point she mutters, “You’re Papa Legba. You live in a chicken shack?” and her deadpan voice and total lack of expression reveal she’s pretty grossed out she has to recite these lines. Read more