[This is a review of American Horror Story: Coven, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]
It's hard to imagine that Marie Laveau would need to engage in the kind of radical skincare routine that she does at the end of 'The Dead,' but perhaps the restorative effects of spreading what we can only assume is the blood of Madame Delphine LaLaurie across her stern, yet pleased, visage has more to do with the sense of invigoration that comes from enacting vengeance in such a potent manner.
In that sense, American Horror Story: Coven brings one of its many storylines full-circle by placing Delphine back in Marie's clutches. The twist is the episode does so by introducing the notion that Queenie's loyalties may have shifted away from her coven, as it is she who deceptively delivers Delphine to her bloody, uncertain fate. Of course, Delphine is an unabashed racist and murderer, and the relationship between the two has served as the springboard for the season's desire to discuss the notion of race – in as much as American Horror Story actually discusses things, as opposed to just bluntly delivering broad statements. That is to say that while the show is eager to bring up all sorts of relevant, important social topics worthy of discussion, what exactly the storyline wishes to convey in bringing them up isn't entirely clear.
But then again, what the show is getting at with the rest of its subplots is only now becoming apparent, so there's still a chance something will come of what Murphy and Falchuk are getting at with the overarching premise of the season. In that regard, with all the disparate plot threads going on, and the constant complications being added to each one, 'The Dead' to organize things a little by drawing a line in the sand. The suggestion, then, is that allegiances need to be made by these characters if anything is to amount from their storylines. At present, it seems clear that Cordelia's new gift has set her on a collision course with her mother, which means recruiting apparent Supreme-to-be Zoe to fight alongside her and help plot Fiona's demise.
For her part, Zoe is certainly coming into her own as a witch following the implication of "real power" that she displayed against the horde of the undead Marie unleashed on Miss Robichaux's Academy on Halloween. Addiitonally, having dealt with Spalding by giving him back his tongue (literally), and then taking his life after the enchantment Myrtle placed on it proved effective enough he unwillingly admitted to seeing Fiona murder Madison demonstrated Zoe's fortitude for what Cordelia has planned.
Meanwhile, Fiona spent all of 'The Dead' in the company of Danny Huston's hilariously over-the-top and determined Axeman, who can seemingly think only of playing the sax and getting Fiona into bed. Huston's terrifically demented leer gives a whole new dimension to his twisted tale of watching Fiona as she grew up, only to form a romantic interest in her that finally came to fruition when Zoe set his spirit free.
At this point, the series has several potential discussions on the table, but hasn't yet decided which, if any, will be the one to receive the attention that it needs. There's certainly plenty of implication in the season's subtext, but so far that has been the extent of the conversation. Hopefully, now that the storylines seem to be converging more and more on dealing with Fiona and the future of the coven, everything else will find a similar focus before the season is over.
American Horror Story: Coven returns on Wednesday, December 4 with 'The Sacred Taking' @10pm on FX. Check out a preview below:
Photos: Michele K. Short/FX