American Horror Story Coven – I’m the Next Supreme

Due to our ridiculously busy schedules, Sydney and I were unable to keep up with our weekly recap of American Horror Story.  This may have been for the best as the show descended into a pretty big disappointment.  Ryan Murphy, where did you go wrong?  I tried to condense all my feels into four main points.  We’ll see how that goes.

1. We Need Some Rules

When they first started dropping hints about Season 3 toward the end of Asylum, I sent prayers to the voodoo gods* for a focus on witchcraft, voodoo and New Orleans.  I guess the old saying is true – you don’t f**k with voodoo.  Clearly, wishes always come with a catch or I should have been more specific.

Coven was rife with possibility, but what Ryan Murphy doesn’t understand about horror is RULES ARE IMPORTANT.  In fact, rules are essential.  Coven should have set the rules for its world in the first two to three episodes.

There seemed to be some structure within the witch world, but it was never clearly outlined for us.  Rules that were seemingly established were broken with little to no explanation.  By the time we got to the finale, which revolved around who was the next supreme, I frankly didn’t care.  Plus, despite the fact that they had stated rather bluntly that each witch had one main power with a couple of others possibly manifesting for very talented witches, it seems like every candidate for supremacy could easily perform every task, but one.  Also, if Madison wasn’t such a bitch, would she have been like the Vice Supreme or something?  It just seems like there should be a consolation price of some kind for a witch that could do six of the seven wonders except reading a bunch of pebbles.  Also, after Zoe was resurrected wouldn’t she have been reentered into the race?  I’m pretty sure we saw her do all of the seven wonders at some point.  Is she the next supreme after Cordelia?  Nevermind, don’t care.

2. So Many Missed Opportunities

There were so many times that I got excited, because the show seemed to be going in new and exciting places.

For a while, I thought the larger story arc was going to be about the voodoo community and the coven uniting to defeat the witch hunters, but then they had the least interesting male character (and that is saying something in a season with Kyle and whatever Nan’s boyfriend’s name was) kill off practically all the voodoos and the witch hunters were defeated in about two episodes with, to quote Fiona, about as much effort as it takes her to make a Rob Roy.

LaLaurie started out as one of the most interesting characters.  As her storyline progressed, she became almost sympathetic.  I liked her and I felt bad about it, because of all the awful things she had done. But then all of her progress was thrown out for seemingly no reason.  It would have been much more interesting had Delphine learned the error in her racist ways, but perhaps couldn’t overcome her lust for blood.  How would Queenie have reacted if she had found her new friend (assuming that they got back to being friends and Queenie didn’t just carry her around on a leash) gleefully torturing a white man?

I could probably run through every character this way – Zoe never really became more than a doe-eyed Mary Sue type, Madison who showed early potential to actually evolve as a character was stuck as the quick quipping Mean Girl, Myrtle became more and more a character of herself, etc. – but I think the most tragic missed opportunity is Cordelia.

I have been Team Cordelia since Day 1. She started off so sad and meek with the worst powers.  When she was blinded it seemed like she was starting to come into herself, embracing her powers and moving forward on the road to supremacy.  And then she just…didn’t.  She reverted back to her pathetic self until a very random feeling last minute twist.

I got exactly what I wanted, but I was completely dissatisfied, because it wasn’t EARNED.  Thanks a lot, Ryan Murphy!

3. Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should

Look, I’m fine with the first Stevie Nicks cameo.  It actually (kind of) made sense with the plot.  It should have been shorter, but whatever.  It’s the second cameo that really drove this home.  You do not need seven minutes of Stevie Nicks “singing” about the Seven Wonders in the episode where you need to WRAP EVERYTHING UP.  You need every precious second of your finale and this was just a waste.

4. Cut your darlings!  (Or integrate them)

Patti Lupone almost falls into category 3, but thinking about it I think she fits better here.  With both Patti and Mare Winningham it was clear that Ryan Murphy wanted to work with them more than had a clear idea of what their character would be and how it would function into the story as a whole.  Winningham made for a fantastic unexpected villain who got about half an episode.  That’s totally fine if the consequences of her actions had any bearing what so ever on the rest of the plot.  Sadly, it didn’t.  So I say cut it.

Lupone (who full disclosure I do not like at all) could have added an interesting outside element for the coven to battle – religious fundamentalism.  There could have been interesting commentary on religious tolerance or religious hypocrisy.  Instead she gave her son an enema, sang off key, killed her husband with some bees, killed her son with a pillow and was promptly choked on some bleach.  Had Nan not died a few minutes later, perhaps her actions would have had some bearing on the plot.  Wouldn’t it have been so much more interesting had Fiona and Marie thought Nan was innocent, but when they tried to offer her as an innocent soul Papa Legba rejected her, because she killed Lupone?  Serious, any connection to the rest of the plot would have helped.

But what’s done is done.  I didn’t hate it.  I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted (expected) to.

Time to say goodbye (or good riddance) to Coven and brace ourselves for Season 4.

* This is false.  I am a good New Orleans girl and I would never mess with voodoo for such silly reasons.

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American Horror Story – Episode 8 – Blessed Bullets and Enemas

All Ryan Murphy shows get a little wonky in the middle.  He has a lot of great ideas and usually by the end they’ve all together, but generally right around this point it’s a bit of a mess.  Sadly, Coven is no exception.  The episode was uneven, but there were some highlights.

Not so much…

  • Zoe continues to be lame.

Can we just be done with Zoe?  I mean I know no one dies on this show, but can we just kill her in some permanent way or she needs to become the Supreme and be a total badass.  Something needs to happen.  Right now she just bores me.

  • Patti Lupone is the worst.

Not a huge Patti Lupone fan.  My wife was unable to understand Sweeney Todd the first time we saw it due to her unintelligible singing, and I have yet to forgive her.  But really I don’t think any actress could have pulled off that incredibly awkward scene.  I mean what is Ryan Murphy trying to say about single mothers? (I’m sure he’s not trying to say anything it just seems weird that both single mothers abuse their sons, sexually or emotionally.)

 Love it!

  • Misty finally joins the Coven!

Even though Lily Rabe’s accent makes me want to stab my inner ears with a sharpened candy cane (seriously has she never met a Cajun person?!) I enjoy Misty Day and am happy to get her out of the swamp and interacting with people other than Zoe.

  • Fiona’s Attempted Murder

I liked how this was handled, perfectly playing on all Fiona’s worst fears and deepest desires, but what I really loved was how Fiona was practically glowing with pride that her daughter witched up and started to become the badass we all know she is meant to be.

  • Patti LuPone dying

I giggled.  I know that makes me a bad person.  I also yelled at the TV when they brought her back.  Boo!

  • Head in a Box

I guess this was kind of spoiled on the cover of Entertainment Weekly a couple of weeks ago, but still a fun reveal.

American Horror Story – Episode 5 – Burn, Baby, Burn

My favorite time of week is here again!  American Horror Story has made Wednesdays delightful and Laura’s well-deserved win yesterday (TEAM LAURA!!!!) has put me in an excellent mood.  So let’s get cracking, shall we?

WTF Moments

  • NOOOOOO SARAH PAULSON’S FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on, Ryan Murphy, seeing Sarah Paulson in silk blouses, pencil skirts and pearls was such a treat after her drab outfits for the majority of last season!  Why do we have to scar her beautiful face?  At least now she can see how gross and lame her husband is.

  • The Seediest Hospital in all of New Orleans

What the hell was up with that hospital?  Having been to a few hospitals in New Orleans, I can say with 100% authority that all the lights work regularly, there aren’t boil-covered weirdos wandering the halls and they don’t leave bleeding mothers alone in their rooms with their still-born babies.  Well at least not all of them.

  • Zoe’s Outfits

Who the hell styles this girl?  Why does she have so many hats?  Once she becomes the supreme will her sense of style get better?  Is that one of the seven wonders?  Please.

Favorite Moments

  • LaLaurie’s Chamber of Horrors

Oh how truly despicable 1880’s LaLaurie is.  She is downright evil even to her own children, but Kathy Bates does an incredible job making 2013 LaLaurie sympathetic and actually almost likeable.  She is clearly a woman who spent 200 years in a box thinking about what she did.  I know I fangirled out last episode too, but I can’t get over what an amazing job she’s doing.  Bravo, Ms. Bates!  Let’s get you another Emmy before we talk about the Grammy and Tony that’ll round out your EGOT.

  • Zoe channels Ash

I’ve had a feeling that Zoe was the next Supreme (as was heavily implied in this episode) since the beginning, and, for the most part, I am not on board.  However, when she showed up with that chainsaw and started mowing down zombies with a ferocity that would make Bruce Campbell’s chin quiver with pride, I may have cheered a bit.  Let’s continue on this character development path, please.

  • Myrtle Snow Burns

Maybe it’s just Frances Conroy’s stint on this horrible season of How I Met Your Mother, but I was happy to see her burn.  The weirdly upbeat music didn’t help. My favorite part of this storyline though, was the twist that Fiona framed her using Queenie’s human voodoo doll gift.  Inspired writing.

  • Nobody really dies on this show…well except for Madison

I was hoping that Madison Montgomery would make a comeback (perhaps via Lily Rabe’s Stevie Nicks loving Cajun necromancer like Myrtle Snow), but I have to say I totally loved the moment with Spaulding where her arm came off.  I’m not sure if it’s building to something bigger or if it’s just a funny gag, but I’m looking forward to it popping up at least a couple more times before season’s end.

American Horror Story – Episode 4 – Cat Got Your Tongue

I worry with Ryan Murphy shows.  Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge Ryan Murphy fan.  Last year, when The New Normal was on, my wife and I used to watch the Ryan Murphy trifecta.  However, his shows tend to get a little…muddy around the middle.  That being said I am happy to report that as of Episode 4 Coven continues to be one of the best shows on TV.  Tonight’s episode was just as strong if not stronger than the past three and from the looks of the preview things are only going to get better!

WTF Moments:

  • Cordelia’s husband is a serial killer?

I felt a range of emotions during the scene with Cordelia’s husband (what’s his name? Frank?) – first I was horrified that anyone would cheat on Sarah Paulson then excited to see Alexandra Breckenridge then disgusted by the extremely intense sex scene (boys are gross) then bored then shocked and delighted.  What’s his deal?  Is he a serial killer?  Is he a warlock?  Why is he so lame?  Why do we care?  Okay, I’m kind of invested.  Now don’t let me down.

  • Spaulding cuts out his own tongue!

I think everyone saw this coming, but it doesn’t make it any less well executed.  I hope we get to see more as to why Spaulding loves Fiona.

  • Cordelia acid face?

NO, SARAH PAULSON’S PRETTY FACE!!!

Favorite Moments:

  • Zombies!

Zombies are the flavor of the moment, but I think that they are integrated here in a new and really organic way.  I very much enjoyed the zombies tearing those racist assholes limb from limb in the cold open and the reveal of LaLaurie’s three daughters at the door was just perfect.

  • Madison is not the next supreme!

Again, I think we all saw this one coming, but I liked the way it was revealed.  I was kind of hoping that Cordelia was the next supreme and that she would kick her mother’s ass, but I think the mention of the supreme being picture perfect health has put a fork in that.  I’m really hoping it’s not Zoe, because, while I am fully in support of her having more powers than just the power to sex people to death, I think she’s totally lame.

  • Kathy Bates

I love everything about Kathy Bates’ performance.  She makes LaLaurie surprisingly sympathetic, while still pretty horrible.  Also, the “stuck in the wrong generation” stuff that could be overdone in less skilled hands comes off as natural and funny.  She better get an Emmy nomination.

  • Madison the living doll!

Oh Spaulding, you creepy bastard.  I hope this actually factors into the plot and isn’t just a random one-off reveal.

American Horror Story – Episode 2 – Black Don’t Crack

About half way through work I remembered that American Horror Story was coming on tonight and it made my day.  The episode didn’t disappoint – creepy, shocking and thought provoking.  I literally clapped with delight twice, and both my wife and I audibly sighed and asked for more when the credits rolled. Here are a few of my favorite parts, which let’s face it were practically all of them.

  • Even though I figured Lily Rabe would be back (pretty sure you can’t kill a necromancer even with fire), I was overly delighted when she appeared in the first scene of this episode.  Also, if you have the power to bring back the dead might as well use it to murder redneck alligator hunters with their own kills.

  • I absolutely adore the idea of the Human Voodoo Doll power.  It is such a new and interesting take on things.  I loved seeing Queenie’s origin story and was cringing as she thrust her hand in the oil.  Also, there was a lot of fried chicken in this episode.  Somebody needs to call Popeye’s for some product placement.

  • I know a lot of people are not fans of Emma Roberts, (Twitter’s heinous response to the gang rape from last episode is evidence of that) but I absolutely adore her and her character.  I have a soft spot for bitches and she plays it perfectly.  I’m sure she’ll be dead by season’s end, but I’ll enjoy her bitchiness while it lasts.

  • I also love that Madison wanted to pay back Zoe for sexing her rapist to death by rebuilding Kyle.  The entire storyline was perfect, from the gruesome morgue scene where they picked the parts to the trippy spell scene and Kyle’s return as a confused and angry Frankenstein’s monster.

  • There is a chance that Cordelia’s pregnancy storyline will end up lame (and let’s face it I would much rather watch Sarah Paulson make out with a scantily clad Emma Roberts than lame-o Josh Hamilton), but as of right now I’m invested.  As a couple in a similar situation, my wife and I can identify with the desperation Cordelia’s feeling after a year of trying to conceive.  At first, we agreed that if we had a magical option we would totally take it, but after the weird snake possession sex circle we’re not so sure.  As long as there’s no marriage with Satan, we’re probably still all in.  Also, Ryan Murphy clearly likes him some pregnant Sarah Paulson.  Just sayin.

  • I am so ready for witches vs. voodoo, and this episode was an excellent primer.  Angela Basset has been brilliant so far and I’m sure she’ll continue to be.  Fiona may be powerful, but as I’ve said before you don’t mess with voodoo.

Sure it’s only Episode 2, but I’ve been loving this season so far.  The only thing that is off is the character of Zoe.  She is incredibly whiney, and I’m totally over it.  Taissa Farmiga is a talented actress so we’ll see.  Next week marks the arrival of one of my least favorite people: Patti Lupone.  Here’s hoping for a bloody, satisfying and quick end to her character.

American Horror Story – Episode 1 – Witches Be Trippin’

Despite the fact that we are certified chickens, we here at Animal Style Hurricane absolutely love American Horror Story.  The fact that this season is set in New Orleans is just the icing on the extremely disturbing and likely poisoned cake for me.  I’ve been counting down the days till the premiere and now here it is!

We open on Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), one of my favorite New Orleans legends.

At first she seems like a typical lady of the 1800’s, obsessed with social position and finding her daughters suitable husbands.  However, her batshit insanity begins to show as we cut to a post party shot of her nightly beauty routine – smearing blood on her face to maintain her youth.  The ritual is interrupted by her husband, who informs her that their daughter slept with a slave.  Despite the fact that the daughter came onto him, the slave is taken to the LaLaurie’s torture attic.  He is not the first one there.  We see a slave whose mouth and eyes she has sewn shut and another whose skin has been peeled back from her face.  What’s incredible is that this is based in actual fact and is not even the worst of what she did to people.  As punishment for this slave, she makes him into a minotaur.  It’s as disturbing as it sounds.

In present day, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) is about to lose her virginity to her boyfriend (who is played by someone I went to high school with.  Good job, Kurt Krause!) and ends up accidentally killing him.  Turns out she’s a witch and her power is the ability to sex people to death.

Her mom ships her off to a New Orleans mini-version of Hogwarts, escorted by three albinos and a combination of Grace Coddington and Andy Warhol.  After a hazing prank, she is introduced to Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a movie star who taught her director the meaning of hitting your mark with her telekinetic powers, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), a human voodoo doll, Nan (Jamie Brewer), a clairvoyant, and their extremely lame headmistress Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), whose power seems to be that she is really good as Chemistry.

Zoe and Madison head out to a frat party where Zoe meets Kyle (Evan Peters), and Madison is gang raped by Kyle’s frat brothers.  This is far and away the most difficult scene to watch in the whole episode.  Kyle stops the rape and everyone loads back onto the bus.  Zoe chases after fruitlessly, but Madison sad and broken wanders onto the street and flips the bus with flick of her wrist, killing all but two on board.

Meanwhile in LA (as played by The National WWII Museum), Fiona (Jessica Lange) visits a Doctor about getting stem cells to maintain her youth.  Unfortunately for him, the medicine doesn’t work to her satisfaction and she sucks the youth out of him.

After seeing a report of a girl burned at the stake in Louisiana (I’m assuming this will come back later considering the girl is played by Lily Rabe and her power is necromancing), she decides her daughter is doing a shitty job and she needs to take over the academy.  Naturally, Cordelia is less than thrilled and gains some major brownie points from me for immediately trying to poison her mom.

Fiona takes the girls on a field trip where they get side tracked by the LaLaurie mansion.  Here we learn that in her pursuit of slave pancreas to maintain her youth, LaLaurie managed to piss off the famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau (Angela Basset).  As any good New Orleans girl knows you don’t fuck with Voodoo.  Laveau then tricked her into drinking poison that presumably killed her, but her body was never found.  This isn’t actually how it all played out (bitch got away with it and died a free lady in Paris in her sixties), but it makes for a better story.  Also, Voodoo is scary shit.

Zoe goes to the hospital to see if Kyle was one of the two frat boys to survive the crash, but sadly he was not.  However, the gross frat boy who started the gang rape did survive so Zoe sexes him to death.  Girl power?

Earlier in the courtyard of the LaLaurie home, Other girl heard the lady of the house so Jessica Lange gets two gentlemen to dig up the courtyard.  They find LaLaurie alive and well and now a member of the 21st century, which is absolutely terrifying.

This was a great set up episode to what looks to be a really strong season.  It was creepy and campy with some really funny lines.  I was left satisfied, but wanting more.

The season preview looks incredible.  I can only hope that we’ll get more crazy LaLaurie, more bitchy lines, a bloody satisfying death for Patti LuPone’s character and a better power for Zoe.  Can’t wait till next week!