Friday, October 25, 2013

03 "The Replacements" (American Horror Story: Coven) [SPOILERS]

Jesus Christ

I'm holding fast to my "NO SPOILERS ABOVE THE LINE" POLICY, so as not to spoil the episode for anyone who hasn't a) seen it, and b) deliberately clicked on this page, BUT WOW.

American Horror Story has ALWAYS BEEN UNAFRAID TO PUSH BOUNDARIES, it's one reason it's one of the most innovative and exciting shows on TV (possibly taking the top spot, now Breaking Bad is done). EACH SERIES IT PUSHES A LITTLE FURTHER, goes a little further into the taboo, SHINES THE LIGHT A LITTLE BRIGHTER down the darkened corridor.

And Coven had already done that. SEXY, WEIRD, SURPRISING. The first two episodes had already satisfied my need for continual progression. I really WASN'T EXPECTING ANOTHER GREAT HEAVE IN THE THIRD EPISODE.

American Horror Story: Coven really is THE SHOW THAT (EARLY) TRUE BLOOD WISHED IT WAS.

So where do I start? Well, we have A LOT MORE CHARACTERISATION OF FIONA HERE. The revelation -- through perfectly pitched flashbacks to her teenage years in the Academy -- that the EMERGENCE OF A NEW SUPREME DRAINS THE POWER AND LIFE FROM THE OLD ONE shines a new light on her quest for immortality. As Madison seems to be growing into the new supreme, Fiona is LITERALLY STARING DEATH IN THE FACE. It gives her et more chance to shine, and underscores WHAT A LOSS TO AHS IT WILL BEafter season 4.

And Cordelia's BABY QUEST GOES ALL WEIRD AND VOODOO -- from the more European style of weird and sexy in "Boy Parts". VISITING MARIE LAVEAU in search of a fertility ritual shows us another side of the show's magic, involving CHILLI PEPPERS, DANCING, AND FRESH GOAT being spilt all over Cordelia. And as before, ANGELA BASSETT IS FANTASTIC. Any voodoo queen who LOUNGES ON HER THRONE PLAYING SOLITAIRE ON AN IPAD, and uses PHRASES SUCH AS "BABY GRAVY" is going to get my vote.

Delphine LALAURIE'S REACTION TO OBAMA IS FRANKLY PERFECT, and when she ends up as a "slave" to Queenie the dialogue really LETS GABOUREY SIDIBE SHOW HER ACTING TALENT. And when Bastiene -- yeah, he's STILL A MINOTAUR, and no we AREN'T TOLD HOW that happened -- shows up, QUEENIE TRYING TO SEDUCE HIM (I think?) is ONE OF THE WEIRDER EDGES of this episode.

NOT THE WEIRDEST PART, THOUGH. No, that belongs to the ZOE/KYLE/KYLE'S MOTHER/MISTY DAY (SLIGHTLY) STORYLINE. Misty has worked her magic on Kyle and although HE'S STILL MUTE, he's looking LESS LIKE FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER. Once she's liberated him from Misty's weepy, Fleetwood Mac playing clutches, Zoe TAKES HIM BACK TO HIS MOTHER. Why? God knows. It seems like a CATASTROPHICALLY STUPID IDEA, and aside from "she's missing him", it's NOT REALLY EXPLAINED.

What is powerful though is the situation that Zoe has unwittingly sent him into. The scene where it's shown that HIS MOTHER HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSING HIM for who knows how long is GENUINELY SHOCKING AND DISTRESSING. It gets under the skin and MAKES YOU FEEL DIRTY JUST WATCHING it. NOT MANY SERIES WOULD DARE TO GO THERE. Even in previous series of AHS, this would have been a step too far.

MANY VIEWERS, I WOULD IMAGINE, WON'T LIKE IT. But if you're watching a show called American Horror Story and are EXPECTING A HEART-WARMING FAMILY-FRIENDLY sTORY you NEED TO RETHINK YOUR LIFE. The final scene, of a BLOOD-DRENCHED KYLE having snapped and bludgeoned his mother to death, GRABS YOU BY THE STOMACH AND SQUEEZES.

I'm also realising WHAT A FEMALE-CENTRIC SHOW THIS IS. I made the "WITCHES, BITCHES!" banner at the top because it rhymes, it's funny, and I was still recovering from a Breaking Bad addiction. But it's INCREASINGLY SEEMING TO HAVE A POINT. This has SOME OF THE BEST FEMALE CHARACTERS on TV, TAKING STEREOTYPES AND BLOWING THEM APART on the rocks of excellent writing and acting.

If you're NOT WATCHING this show, YOU NEED TO FIX THAT. And soon.
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