They say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so it's safe to wager that goes for double when she's a practitioner of witchcraft or a voodoo queen. That appears to be the central message of the latest clip promoting the upcoming season of American Horror Story, outfitted with the evocative subtitle of Coven: tangle with a witch, and you'll meet your demise either at the business end of a hungry alligator, or chained up in a basement, stuck wearing a gruesome bull's head.
Point being, of course, that getting on the bad side of any of the leading ladies in Coven is ill-advised. Following up on last week's full trailer, simply dubbed "Burn", which put greater emphasis on American Horror Story fixture Jessica Lange's character, this frenetic little teaser, titled "Mythology", spreads the love around and gives the spotlight instead to her co-stars, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett, respectively playing Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau - two figures with decidedly real historical basis.
Knowing showrunners Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, accuracy ought to go right out the window in favor of the trademark creeps, chills, thrills, and "WTF" moments that define American Horror Story. All that aside, the presence of Delphine and Marie here pushes the second of Coven's major story focal points; whereas "Burn" mostly revolves around the dangers witches must face from outsiders, "Mythology" concerns itself with the war brewing within their own ranks. Is this an ideological struggle or a clash of personalities?
Months ago, before we'd even seen the scantest of footage from American Horror Story's third installment, Murphy noted that Bates had signed on to play Lange's nemesis. Here, the impression is given that everybody is at odds with each other, confirming the notion that Coven deals heavily in the conflict that unfolds between Salem witches, fled from the North following the trials of the 1690s, and the voodoo priestesses of New Orleans, which serves as the show's primary setting. Maybe the latter group just doesn't want to share territory with the former, or maybe - like water and oil - witchcraft and voodoo make for a bad mix.
True, there's some repeat material here - Lange's warning to her students, notably, and Lily Rabe being menaced with a torch - but mostly, this is new stuff, so feast your eyes and enjoy. (Fair warning: there's a shot or two, both admittedly brief, that could be potential spoilers for specific character fates.) Only a few days remain until American Horror Story: Coven premieres; check back with us next week to read up on our reaction to the first episode.
_____American Horror Story: Coven runs on FX starting October 9th, 2013.