Welcome back, murder fiends. Between all the resurrection spells and racial discourse in this episode of American Horror Story: Coven, there's a lot to unpack. Let's dive in.
We open in the Louisiana bayou on a couple of (likely legit) alligator hunters bringing their haul back to camp. (New Englanders will learn that gator hunting isn't all that different from crabbing, except it also involves handguns.) Lily Rabe's Misty Day appears, apparently no longer burnt as badly as a Denny's Moons Over My Hammy platter at 3 a.m.. With her tousled mane, Anthropologie dress, and militant stance on animal rights, the guys naturally think she's from PETA. But, neither Misty nor PETA have a sense of humor. The camera gets all Vaseline-y; "The Edge of Seventeen" swells. Misty reanimates a couple of gators, who do away with our citizens in a manner surely ripped from the script of the Betty White vehicle Lake Placid.
Talk about a cold open.
Soon enough, we're back at Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptionally Sociopathic Teen Witches. Zoe's still weepy over the very-dead Kyle, who was killed when Madison exacted her bus-flipping revenge during the previous episode. It doesn't matter if Kyle was a United Way volunteer; Madison tells her all frat dudes are basically rapists at heart. "It's guilt by association," Madison admits. (Hey, at least Emily Yoffe's got one fan left.) Madison does, however, make a good point that Zoe's deadly vagina would've killed off Kyle anyway. So, she kind of did her a favor.
Down the hall there's some parent-child role reversal going on, with Cordelia giving mother Fiona the third degree about the strange smell coming from her room. Nope, it's not reefer — it's the oddly undead body of Madame LaLaurie. At the end of the last episode, Fiona dug up the bewildered Madame and offered to buy her a drink. Now LaLaurie's bound and gagged. Witches get into to some freaky business, apparently.
Two cops show up to question Madison and Zoe over the bus accident. Zoe can only stand about .02 seconds of interrogation before breaking down into Classic Taissa Cry-Face and spilling her yellow guts. Fiona barges in to clean up the girls' mess. She pulls out some more of her Jedi mind-trickery on the detectives, who leave with their noses bloodied and memories erased. Upstairs, she magically wall-slams the girls and chastises Zoe for her weakness. "I couldn't toast a piece of bread with the heat they were putting on you," she says, channelling David Mamet via Betty Crocker.
With the help of some romantic lighting and demonic sigils, Zoe and Madison assemble their Build-A-Boyfriend kit. Screaming and Lynchian blue lightning follow. Madison pledges her body and soul to the dark angel Azazel. Kyle's unmoved. Madison orders him to return to "the mortal coil," which probably doesn't sound all that appealing to a dead person. You'd think that an actress would've read her Hamlet.
Madison gets bored and shuffles off to spark a spliff, just as the coroner shows up. Still inside, Zoe's getting all weepy over Kyle's rag-doll corpse. She leans in for a kiss, which turns out to be exactly the trite ingredient missing from their demonic invocation party. Kyle wakes up and bludgeons the poor coroner to death with his (or someone else's?) bare fists.
Back in Cordelia World, the good witch and her husband Hank, played by Josh Hamilton, are trying to get pregnant. With their fertility treatments having failed, her hubby guilt-trips her into black-magicking up a baby instead. In Miss Robichaux's garden, Cordelia charms some herbs and snake eggs for a conception spell. She and Hank take the action upstairs, where they speak in a dead language, smear blood on each other's faces, and bang in the company of multiple serpents. This might be the most romantic sex scene ever depicted on American Horror Story.
Meanwhile, Madame LaLaurie's still tied up. Fiona brings her a plate of fried chicken and grills her on how she looks so good for someone a couple centuries old. Turns out, Marie Laveau didn't kill her back in the mid-1800s; she just doped her with an immortality potion. We find out that, in retaliation for all of LaLaurie's wretched slave torture, Laveau killed the Madame's family and sealed her up in a coffin for eternity. Fair's fair.
Nan, however, can't stand the voices LaLaurie's presence is putting in her head, so she sets her free. On her way out the door, LaLaurie calls Queenie a slave and brains her with a candlestick. Rude?
Fiona heads to Cornrow City, a 9th Ward salon that the still-alive Marie Laveau operates. We get some thinly-veiled metaphors about systemic racism and also wigs. "Your kind and my kind have been going after each other for centuries," says Fiona. (In the Coven universe, voodoo is a black thing and witchery a white thing, apparently.) "Maybe you didn't hear the news about civilization starting in Africa," Marie retorts. "It's nice to see you doing so well after all these years," says Fiona. "Maybe in another century you could have two s**thole salons." Dialogue = fostered.
Back at the morgue, Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters resume their Season One, she's-dead-he's-alive thing. Zoe drags Kyle's patchwork corpse into a car. Misty Day sneaks into Zoe's rear seat and directs them to her backwoods shack, where she smears a poultice of Spanish moss and gator crap on Kyle's many, many wounds. "Rhiannon" plays in the background. As a hippie witch, Misty's naturally obsessed with Stevie Nicks. Could a magical mound of cocaine be far behind?
We cut back to Marie Laveau, whose bull-headed lover is also still alive. After 180 years of boring bedroom antics, they've apparently incorporated the bull's head and shackles into their sexy-times. Ain't no party like a Foucauldian master-slave sex fetishism party, right? Back in town, Fiona gets on her high horse about murder and takes LaLaurie to task for her very vile crimes. This, if you recall, is coming from a woman who sucked out the living soul of a biochemist for a bit of witch's Botox.
American Horror Story: Morally centered and perennially sensitive.
Next week: Kathy Bates dons her Dolores Claiborne costume once again, as Madame LaLaurie gets hired as a maid at Miss Robichaux's. Patti Lupone goes mano-a-mano with Madison. The bull's head becomes a recurring motif. More witchery, etc.
Missed last week's episode? Catch the recap, here.