Devil babies, frankenboys, and things that make you throw food

Spoiler content – minor for American Horror Story: Coven

I just caught up with episode two of American Horror Story and was pleased to find it so much better than the first. Mainly because of the performances, but the lack of magical killer girlbits was also welcome. Plus I was delighted right in the first three minutes, when they dressed Lily Rabe like Stevie Nicks while playing Stevie Nicks in the background. (Would’ve been better if she didn’t have a speech about Nicks later, but you know, you’re not coming to AHS for subtlety.) The life-death focus of each storyline made this episode feel more cohesive. But some of those storylines were stronger than others.

Frankentate, I don’t even know what to do with that.

Cordelia’s infertility thing just made me ask a lot of questions, especially about that husband who came out of nowhere. Because I thought she lived at the school? She must if she’s waking the girls up in the morning right? Surely they don’t just keep sleeping until she gets up, showers, has breakfast, then commutes? So does the husband live there with her, but he’s mostly invisible unless needed for a sex ritual? How does that work, an adult unaffiliated with the school, still getting to live there among the children? This is just like how I used to obsess about whether Hogwarts teachers could get married and have families or not. I mean, you can’t apparate onto the grounds, so the commute… Anyway. Assuming she got pregnant from that ritual, will this be a devil baby? Please if it is, can we pretty please have a guest visit from Sister Mary Satan, raised from the dead to be his nanny?

And then there’s the big thread, the one that delivers not only Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates, but also the overall premise. Which seems to be that the Salem witches were real, except not the ones who were actually convicted, except for Tituba, who is the one who taught them witchcraft in the first place, only to be betrayed by them and turned in, so the witch-types and the voodoo-types have hated each other ever since. Okay, whatever. Convoluted and bizarre and demonstrating a complete disregard for all sorts of facts, but high marks for creativity, with extra points for delivering the exposition in that truly marvelous salon scene. When Fiona paused mid-catfight to wave Marie off with a quick “no more spray,” I almost choked on my tea. So much win. And Kathy Bates, as hoped, is making Madame LaLaurie more engaging to watch than she has any right to be. The chemistry between Lange and both Bassett and Bates is as good as their individual performances. Honestly, I could watch these three all day.

In fact, I’d love to see more of them in exchange for less doe-eyed, open-mouthed Taissa Farmiga. Really Zoe, is it that much to ask for you to think faster than a cauliflower on occasion, and also breathe through your nose? You know that nasal breathing has major health benefits, right? I quite liked Farmiga in the first season so I have to assume this is bad direction and not her fault, or else that it’s intentional because they really want me to throw cookies at my TV out of frustration at my inability to punch her in the face.

Either way, I’ll keep watching this week. I’ll just maybe eat the cookies beforehand.


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