So last night I peeped the season premiere of American Horror Story: Coven. I’ve been pumped since the summer, when I first heard about the all-star cast (Angela Basset, Cathy Bates, Gabourey Sidibe, and Emma Roberts are new faces to the show). I confess; while I watched faithfully season one, I fell off the wagon on season two.
However, I love that each season the scenario changes but they keep the same actors. It took me a minute to catch on. (When they introduced Taissa Farmiga’s character, Zoe I kept thinking, “I know her from her somewhere.”) It’s refreshing and a great way to keep the story-lines intriguing. (Plus, the cast can show off their acting chops.)
But seriously, let’s talk about last night! The episode was aptly titled Bitchcraft. For those who didn’t watch, I’ll give you the set up:
Zoe is a teenage witch but doesn’t learn of her powers until her first sexual encounter with her boyfriend. Apparently, she can’t have sex without killing her partner (Ouch!). After the situation, her mother informs her that she comes from a bloodline of witches. Zoe is then promptly sent off to a boarding school for witches (like a Hogwarts only a billion times creepier) in New Orleans. The class consists of three girls: Madison (Emma Roberts), Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) and Nan (Jamie Brewer). Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) is their headmistress and teaches them how to suppress their powers in order to survive but her mother Fiona (the brilliant Jessica Lange), has other plans. Oh, and somehow an undead woman from the 1800s who tortured her slaves (Kathy Bates) and a voodoo lady (Angela Bassett) enter the equation.
So what taboo wasn’t broken last night? There was slavery, gross torture (an imprisoned slave had his mouth stuffed with feces and sewn up), gang rape and necrophilia, all within the first episode! It made the witchcraft seem tame in comparison.
A few observations:
That music in the opening credits. It sounds like the soundtrack to my worst nightmares.
Kathy Bates. This season Kathy Bates is giving Jessica Lange a run for the “crazy bitch” title. She’s so good at playing these creepy, sick, evil characters (Misery)… too good.
The setting. Is there a creepier place to set a horror show than New Orleans? Zoe called it the “new Salem” and I have to agree. From the opening scene, all I could think of was Skeleton Key (one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen).
Feminism? I always feel the need to allude to my Women’s Studies courses when watching shows... it makes me feel like my excessive television watching serves a purpose. (Damn that Pop Culture class that I loved so much!) I was definitely picking up a feminist vibe during Bitchcraft. These “witches” are all women and they have amazing powers. The cast is dominated by strong, outspoken female characters and I'm loving it! Speaking of which...
The girls' powers/abilities. Nan has down syndrome but is ironically, clairvoyant. Queenie is a human voodoo doll. Madison has the ability to move things without touching them. (She flips over a bus, filled with frat brothers who drugged and raped her.) Zoe goes to the hospital to see the surviving frat boy and decides to have sex with him, which inevitably kills him.
Fiona. Fiona is seeking the fountain of youth. Despite her powers, she can not grant herself immortality. She funds the research of a scientist but when he fails, she kisses the youth right out of him and he decays into dust. Pretty horrible but also kind of bad-ass.
I’m disgusted, enraged, freaked out, and definitely intrigued.
Catch American Horror Story: Coven Wednesdays at 10 PM ET on FX.