Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: American Horror Story: Coven "The Dead"

Non Spoiler Review:
The Dead returns the focus to Kyle as he begins to reconstruct his memories and is reintroduced to Maddie, who herself is coming to terms with her return from the dead. Queenie begins to doubt her place among the Salem witches. Fiona's past catches up to her at the school, while she finds herself drawn to the Axeman.

The Dead was a mixed bag, still setting up new pieces in the storyline for future pay off. The Kyle subplot looks like it's finally getting somewhere and Marie returns to prominence, as well. It just felt a bit off and unexciting, but nothing surprising as American Horror Story tends to suffer from these lulls here and there between major developments.

Spoilers Now!
In a flashback to Kyle when he was still alive and hanging with his friends at the tattoo parlor, Kyle has big plans to make something of his life. He wants to be an engineer to insure disasters like Katrina never happen again, and he doesn't want a tattoo that's going to make someone judge him. In the present, chained up in the greenhouse, he's horrified to find his ankle has his frat brother's tattoo. Zoe arrives, holding a gun behind her back.

Zoe explains he knows how this has to end and she should have let him go. The only way she knows to fix it is to kill him. Unfortunately Kyle grabs the gun and puts it in his mouth. Zoe struggles with him and it fires through the ceiling, and she break down, admitting she doesn't want him to die.

Meanwhile, Madison, who has been numb to the world all her life, wants to be able to feel something. That includes taking any poison she can find, to no effect. Even fire doesn't hurt her now, and she can eat all she wants.

Delphine finds Queenie in the kitchen so they go to the drive-thru and enjoy a late night snack. While discussing their odd situations, Delphine suggests the other girls will never see Queenie as her sister because she's black.

Hank calls Delia in the middle of the night wanting to come home. She hangs up, but he promises to see her soon as he sits among an assortment of high powered weapons. Delia gets up and goes in search of Delphine but hears a noise behind her. Madison grabs her before she stumbles on the stairs and Delia gets a flash of her death, including her mother killing her.

Fiona has gone to the Axeman's apartment where he puts on some jazz and gets them a drink. In the bathroom she finds she's starting to lose her hair, but seems to miss the bloodied corpse of the apartment's real owner behind the shower curtain. After a kiss she decides it's a mistake for her and moves to leave. He suggests it's her destiny, but she turns on him. She's a miserable human being, she admits, and he should want nothing to do with her. He offers sex instead of love and manages to seduce her.

In the morning Zoe chains Kyle up in her room and tries to train him to speak. He gets frustrated and Madison comes in, asking who it is. Zoe questions if she remembers it's Kyle given she killed him. Maddie says Delia wants to see her so she'll look after him. When she's gone she asks Kyle if he saw a light when he was dead. She didn't. But they both came back. They're both wondering now if it's been worth the trouble.

Queenie arrives at Marie's salon. She's surprised it took her so long to come see her. Queenie doesn't think the Salem witches like her, but Marie suggests they care plenty. They care about her power, though they'll never be welcome here. Marie reveals they have evil under their roof—she buried Delphine and Fiona dug her up. Queenie doesn't think she's so bad but Marie challenges her to ask her what she's done. If Queenie ever wants to join her, the only price is Madame LaLaurie. As she leaves, she wonder what Marie will do to Delphine. Marie tells her not to worry about that.

Delia confides in Zoe that she sees everything now despite her blindness. The Axeman is a bad spirit that Zoe sent packing, which means she's very powerful and she now has a bulls eye on her back and Fiona is her biggest enemy. She admits her mother has only ever been on her own side. If Fiona concludes Zoe's the supreme, she'll try to kill her, just like she killed Maddie. Fiona is growing weaker but that makes her dangerous. They have to kill her. Zoe returns to her bedroom to find Kyle and Maddie having sex.

Fiona dresses to leave but the Axeman wants her to stay. Fiona suggests the dead body in his bathtub will start stinking up the place. She's no angel either, he says, but she always had someone to tidy up after her. She's called the police and they're on the way, she counters. He knows she'd never do that. She doesn't care to hear anything more about him. He's been watching over her since she was eight, he explains.

In a flashback young Fiona uses her abilities to retaliate against older bully Helen. After Fiona is pushed to the ground it was the Axeman who knocked a shelf down on Helen. Fiona demands to know what he is. He admits he saw her as a daughter at first, but she grew into a fearsome woman and he fell in love. Fiona doesn't believe in ghosts. He just wants to give her pleasure. She tells him to keep his distance and haunt someone else.

Spalding wakes up in his room tied to his bed and Zoe waiting for him, asking how he is. He says he's feeling fine, stunned that he can talk and has his tongue back. She found it in the alcove hidden in a box, still alive because someone enchanted it. He admits it was Myrtle Snow's magic, and that's why he cut it out. She kept it, but Myrtle wasn't powerful enough to restore it. Zoe is. All she wants is the truth, the one thing he can't refuse her. He confesses he didn't kill Maddie and it was Fiona. His family has served the coven for ten generations, he protests. Not anymore, Zoe replies, and stabs him to death.

Queenie goes to Delphine to ask her about the worst thing she ever did. The older woman says the past is best left buried. But Queenie claims she wants to be a true friend and has to see the ugly as well as the good.

Delphine recounts the story of her slave Sally, who gave birth to a baby with a light complexion, obviously her husband's. Delphine decided to make her her new handmaiden to help with her beauty treatments. In her bedroom Delphine explains her own beauty concoction is the only potion that works and asks Sally to guess the ingredients. Sally thinks it's blood. But there's something extra special, Delphine teases, from a boy newly born. She knows who the father is and she needn't bother giving the baby a name. Queenie is mortified and Delphine says she couldn't have a bastard growing up in her house. Sally killed herself the next morning and they buried her with her baby. Delphine points out it was a different time and a different world. She's grateful to have a true friend to guide her.

Zoe showers up to clean off the blood. Madison asks what she's been up to and knows she's upset a little about what happened between her and Kyle. Zoe realizes they can't be together anyway, but Madison suggests otherwise given he's already died once. Being with him is the only thing that made Maddie feel anything, but Zoe doesn't have to give him up either. She takes Zoe to the bedroom where Kyle is sitting and the two welcome her into their bed.

Fiona turns up at the Axeman's bar waiting for him to finish playing. She offers to buy him a drink.

Queenie takes Delphine out to get a new hair style. Delphine is nervous at the prospect, but is excited when they enter the salon, unaware that it's Marie Laveau's, who appears behind her welcoming her back. Delphine tells Queenie she doesn't know what Marie will do to her. But she does, Queenie replies, and Delphine is chained up. Marie suggests Queenie make the first cut and hands her the knife. She'd love to. Afterwards Marie applies the fresh blood to her face. Beautiful, she says.

The Verdict:
The Dead didn't offer anything memorable this week, and played to expectations. Queenie has shifted loyalties to Marie as I thought she would, though how solid that is remains to be seen.

The question of what lies after death continues, and I'm wondering if it will become a major theme as the series progresses. Is there a reason Fiona doesn't believe in ghosts? Is the Axeman more than a ghost? Did the witches do something to him that allow him now to walk the world in a physical form?

While Kyle's storyline hasn't been my favorite, at least there's been advancement on that front. When Zoe indulged in her undead threesome my first reaction was that it was totally out of character. But then I realized it does suit her given she kills everyone she's with. What better sexual companions than two undead ones?

Here's hoping that Spalding breaks the resurrection chain and stays dead.

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