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TV Review/Recap: “American Horror Story: Coven” Season Finale

There you have it. American Horror Story: Coven has come to a close and the new Supreme was crowned! All hail the legacy candidate, the reigning Supreme’s own daughter, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson)! Admittedly, Cordelia’s ascension to Supreme was a bit anti-climactic. I kept waiting for Patti Lupone’s shocking return, where she would perform the Seven Wonders in seconds while belting “Don’t Cry For Me New Orleans”. However, when all is said and done, I wasn’t disappointed. Besides Misty, Cordelia was my favorite character and was the glue that held the story lines (and the girls) together this season. Not to mention, I am never one to bemoan Sarah Paulson worshiping. As opposed to last season’s more subtle finale, I also appreciated that Coven brought the drama! I would watch a whole series centered around the events that follow the fade to black.

My favorite part of American Horror Story: Coven has been the inclusion of Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks songs and the random cameos by Stevie. So what if the cameos (at times) seem out of place. Who isn’t hypnotized by the beautiful music and spinning sorcery of Stevie? Unsurprisingly, the final episode begins with a strange music video-esque version of Fleetwood Mac’s aptly named “Seven Wonders” (nice forward thinking Ryan Murphy). Stevie again cameos as herself, walking through the mansion, lipsyncing the song as each Supreme contender – Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), Misty (Lily Rabe), and Madison (Emma Roberts) – is shown practicing her powers.

misty passing out stevie nicks american horror story coven
Credit: Giphy

Recap: The reigning Supreme, Fiona (Jessica Lange), was murdered by the Axeman (Danny Huston), so there needs to be an immediate Seven Wonders test to determine the next leader of the coven. Each of the four contenders for Supreme must perform all seven magical tasks in order to be crowned.

Usually the Seven Wonders are performed from easiest to hardest, however, Myrtle (Frances Conroy), the Mistress of Ceremonies, decides to start with her favorite, Telekinesis. Everyone easily passes. Next up is mind control, another easy challenge, but one that creates some hostility, particularly when Madison decides to use her powers to make Zoe’s zombie(ish) boyfriend Kyle (Evan Peters) kiss her. Not to be outdone, Zoe makes Kyle kiss her back. The situation quickly escalates when Madison makes Kyle strangle Zoe. Cordelia is forced to step in and breaks up the girls with a flick of her wrist, thus demonstrating her immense power.

The third test is one of the hardest, requiring each girls’s spirit to descend into the netherworld, or Hell. If their spirit doesn’t reconnect with their body by dawn they will be lost forever (aka: dead). “Hell” is different for each girl. For example, Queenie’s consists of being stuck taking orders at Chubbie’s Chicken forever and Madison, in typical fashion, throws shade at NBC’s Sound Of Music, claiming her Hell was being cast as Liesel in a live television broadcast (she wasn’t even Maria!). Unfortunately, Misty, whose nightmare was being forced to kill a frog in a high-school anatomy class, becomes forever stuck in the netherworld. Weird, I thought Misty’s hell, like mine, would be the death of Stevie Nicks. Now there are three.

American horror story coven case emma roberts sarah paulson evan peters lily rabe
Courtesy of FX

Transmutation and Resurrection are the fourth and fifth tests, respectively. The three remaining contenders are able to easily disappear and reappear around the house in a witchy game of transmutation tag. Much to the chagrin of Cordelia, the game quickly gets out of hand and Zoe is killed after she somehow impales herself onto the fence. When Queenie tries to resurrect Zoe and can’t, she is also knocked out of consideration. Madison, however, demonstrates that she has the ability to resurrect the dead, she just chooses not to help Zoe. Now there is one… or is there?

Even with all of the evidence, Myrtle doesn’t believe the bitchy, Hollywood starlet Madison is the Supreme. Instead, she convinces Cordelia that she is the rightful leader so she must try to perform the Seven Wonders herself. Cordelia quickly (and more powerfully) performs every previous wonder (except resurrection). The dissent into the netherworld, is particularly amusing since she claims her Hell was constantly searching for her mother’s approval and “getting bitch slapped for it.” Now she and Madison battle it out in pyrokinesis and divination. Both women can easily start a fire with their mind, a la Drew Barrymore in Firestarter. However, while Cordelia is able to quickly tap into her divination powers, Madison cannot, thus proving she is also not the Supreme. This revelation causes her to storm off to her room, threatening to tell TMZ all about the coven. That threat, however, doesn’t go too far. Because Madison wouldn’t save Zoe earlier, Kyle takes revenge and strangles her to death. Why she couldn’t use her mind control power and make him stop like she did 30 minutes earlier is a plot hole mystery.

sarah paulson supreme american horror story coven
Courtesy of FX

Now all Cordelia has to do to prove she is Supreme is resurrect Zoe from the dead, a feat she quickly accomplishes, thus proving she is QUEEN… Supreme! More importantly, she THANKFULLY gets her eyeballs back. Can we also take a moment to discuss how amazing Sarah Paulson looks when she becomes Supreme?! Get this woman the cover of Vogue AND an Emmy. Cut to a few months later. In True Blood fashion, Cordelia has taken the coven (and witchcraft) out of the shadows and onto the public stage. She believes putting a face to witchcraft and gaining public support will stop hate crimes. This important decision really pays off, and the coven thrives like never before.

However, in case you forgot, Cordelia’s right hand woman, and mother figure, Myrtle killed previous witch council members to give Cordelia eyes. To avoid Cordelia getting caught up in a public scandal, Myrtle demands to be burned at the stake for her crime. She doesn’t want to cause the downfall of her “daughter” or the coven. Despite Cordelia’s pleas, Myrtle is taken to the quarry and burned at the stake, all to the glorious tune of “Silver Spring”. Her last words were (of course), “Balenciaga!” By the way, is anyone else getting a Grace Coddington vibe from Myrtle or is that just me?

With her most trusted adviser now dead, Cordelia names Queenie and Zoe to the witch council and Kyle is the new butler. Everything is going great until, on cue, Fiona arises from the “grave” to finish things with her daughter.  Unfortunately, now Fiona is extremely weak and has lost all of her beautiful Jessica Lange hair. It turns out, Fiona planted fake memories in Axeman’s brain, so she could wait and see the newly crowned Supreme; therefore, she would know who to kill.  Unfortunately, the Supreme ended up being her daughter and although Fiona admits she would have killed Cordelia to survive, she is no match for her ultra-powerful daughter. Finally, Mommie Dearest Fiona states (as only Jessica Lange can) “You will fulfill your destiny and lead this coven. God knows you’ll do a better job than I ever did… though you won’t look half as good doing it.” She dies in her daughter’s arms and awakens in the netherworld, trapped in a Groundhog Day cycle made up of log cabin living, Axeman, and catfish.

The season ends showing the next class of student witches moving into Miss Robichaux’s School; clearly Cordelia’s efforts to protect and educate the witch population worked. The students are met by Cordelia, Queenie and Zoe. When one student asks what a Supreme is, a smile creeps on Cordelia’s face and we fade to black. Surprisingly there was no surprise… no shocking resurrection of Marie Laveau  or Delphine LaLaurie. The season was wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Now that the American Horror Story: Coven is over, I can admit that although it was fun, I was slightly disappointed. There was a lot more Ryan Murphy and Co. could do with the “witch” theme, instead of randomly introducing story lines about zombies and “Frankenstein’s” monster. However, I was genuinely entertained (especially by the last few episodes) AND it featured some great Fleetwood Mac music. On plot/entertainment value alone, I would rank Coven second in the American Horror series, slightly below Murder House and above Asylum. I just can’t wait to see what Murphy has in store for us next season. He said it will take place in the 1950s. Any guesses? I hope it’s not this clown theory. :shivers:

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