AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN “The Replacements” Episode Recap
This week’s episode was a busy one! Lots to go through, though not a heck of a lot of resolution. Let’s not waste any time! We open with Fiona grabbing a midnight drink, unable to sleep. She flashes back to the year 1971, where she talks with the lead Supreme witch of the time (named Annelise), having just learned she herself will become the next Supreme. We learn that each Supreme is able to perform the “seven wonders” (a.k.a. “powers”). So far on the show the only powers we’ve seen are telekinesis, fire, suggestion, resurgence, potions, voodoo, and telepathy, which adds up to seven unless you count Zoe’s toxic vagina. However we’ve only seen Fiona display arguably three of these powers, though there does seem to be some overlap between them (Fiona sucking away that man’s youth could be a perversion of resurgence, but it’s unclear). Also I’m not sure “potions” counts as a power so much as something witches can practice at, for example, and it’s possible some of these powers are unique only to witches and not counted among the seven (Queenie’s self-inflicting voodoo, for example, seems to belong more to witches of black ancestry). Anyway, it is an interesting bit of information one way or the other.
Regardless, young Fiona wants to prove to Annelise that she is ready to become the new Supreme. Annelise is reluctant, possibly because when a new Supreme comes to power, the old one’s powers diminish. The confrontation escalates, and suddenly young Fiona cuts Annelise’s throat! The wordless male butler (whom I’ve admittedly not mentioned yet in these recaps) watches silently. We cut back to the present, with older Fiona looking at Annelie’s portrait. The butler, much older now himself, again watches silently. “Cat got your tongue?” Fiona asks him, and sashays away. Cue opening credits!
At a nightclub, Fiona tries to attract some young men as she sits at a bar. One of the men seems to approach her, only to pass her by for a much younger woman next to her. Fiona realizes her youth is disappearing. We next see her at a plastic surgeon’s office. She watches a video (which we don’t see) explaining what happens during the surgery, and Fiona tears up, it being too much for her to bear.
Elsewhere Zoe meets with Kyle’s pothead mother, trying to console her about her son’s death. Though Zoe doesn’t see it, we learn his mother almost committed suicide, but Zoe’s phone call changed her mind. Kyle’s mother cries to Zoe, wishing she could see her son again. Zoe falters, knowing Kyle is still “alive” in some form.
Next door to the coven house a new family moves in, which includes a muscly shirtless boy placing boxes out of a moving truck. Nan and Queenie watch lustfully. Madison approaches, interested. The boy’s mother appears, noticing the girls, and asks her son to put on a shirt.
In the house, LaLaurie watches television, and bemoans about how a black man is president (honestly pretty shocking and relevant considering all the wild politics going on in the last few weeks). Fiona enters, and decides to make LaLaurie the new maid.
Immediately afterward the girls prepare for lunch and gossip about the boy next door. LaLaurie enters, dressed in a maid outfit to serve them. She and Queenie immediately get into an argument, as LaLaurie refuses to serve a black woman. Queenie is about to clock her across the head when Fiona stops them. Fiona decides LaLaurie ought to be Queenie’s “personal slave,” and that Queenie can demand whatever she wants from LaLaurie. LaLaurie, of course, finds this a terrible fate.
In her cabin, Misty (probably my favorite character at this point) cuddles with Franko-Kyle while Stevie Nicks’ “Sara” plays. Nora tells Kyle how Nicks didn’t find her voice until she joined Fleetwood Mac and found her tribe, and that how she herself is still looking for her own tribe (translation: she’s lonely in that old cabin). Zoe arrives, and Misty is overjoyed to show how Kyle has healed. His scars are mostly gone, save a big one around his neck. Zoe decides she needs to take Kyle to his mother, though Misty doesn’t want them to go. Misty tries to make excuses, but eventually gives in as Zoe takes Kyle away, promising to return.
Nan (with a cake) and Madison (with a slinky blue dress) approach the neighbors’ new house, both hoping to attract his attention. The boy (named Luke) is far more open and friendly with Nan, which puts Madison off. Luke doesn’t have TV or Internet, so he doesn’t recognize Madison as a celebrity. He takes a slice of the cake, and reading his thoughts, Nan can tell he loves it. Just then Luke’s mother enters, and we learn they are, for lack of a better word, “bible-thumpers,” and the mother very much disapproves of Madison’s scandalous outfit. Madison snaps, and suddenly the cake knife goes flying across the room into the wall. As the mother throws them out, Madison glares and lights the drapes on fire…so much for making a good impression.
Cordelia meets with a doctor about getting pregnant (apparently the snake-egg ritual from last week didn’t work). The doctor tells her she cannot have a baby in any way. This is intercut with Fiona meeting with doctors, who also tell her she cannot undergo plastic surgery. The doctor tells Cordelia he wishes he had a magic wand to wave, but that no such thing exists. Cordelia breaks into tears.
Zoe brings Kyle back to his home. She rings the doorbell and runs away. Kyle’s mother is shocked to see him alive, but brings him inside, hugging him and crying. Zoe leaves, feeling she has done a good thing. But did she?
Luke’s mother enters the coven to meet with Fiona, bringing a copy of a bible as a welcome gift. She complains to Fiona about how Madison “threw a knife at her” and also “lit the drapes on fire.” This piques Fiona’s interest, as Madison is now displaying multiple powers. As the mother leaves, Fiona calls Madison over. She asks for a light, and Madison snaps her fingers, lighting Fiona’s cigarette. Perhaps Fiona has found the next Supreme?
That night, we learn what Kyle’s mother is really like. She lays down in bed next to him, feeling his body, which she recognizes as not the same as before. She places her arms around him, grabbing his crotch, and molests him. Gross!
Cordelia enters the salon belonging to Marie Laveau to consult with her about getting pregnant. Marie sits on a (totally awesome) throne in the back room made of animal skulls, bones, wings, and other body parts. Laveau tells Cordelia about the voodoo spell, and we see the entire ritual enacted. It’s pretty trippy, involving a fire, a mason jar of Cordelia’s husband’s semen (eww), lots and lots of voodoo dancers in body paint, and a sacrificial goat that bleeds all over Cordelia.
Unfortunately for Cordelia, we discover the ritual was all in her head. Laveau refuses to perform the spell for Cordelia, no matter how much money Cordelia offers. Cordelia belongs to a rival tribe, being the daughter of Laveau’s sworn enemy (glad the Fiona-Cordelia relationship has been cleared, up by the way). Laveau cackles in Fiona’s face and sends her away.
At the coven, Zoe gets a phone call from Kyle’s mother, who recognizes that her son is not truly Kyle. Zoe promises she’ll come over. Meanwhile Fiona meets with Madison, explaining about her various talents. Fiona teaches Madison some of her tricks, and Madison is able to influence a man crossing the street to stop in the middle of the road using Jedi mind tricks. Madison is picking up these powers awfully fast, huh?
Queenie demands LaLaurie to cook more food for her. LaLaurie advises that perhaps Queenie lay off stuffing her face a bit, when suddenly a shadow outside startles her. It’s Laveau’s minotaur! LaLaurie tells Queenie how the minotaur came to be, and Queenie (thanks to the field trip in episode one) decides perhaps LaLaurie deserves to be given to the creature for the horrible things she’s done. However, after hearing about how the minotaur violated LaLaurie’s daughter (though I believe it was actually consensual in the flashback) Queenie offers to help. She cuts LaLaurie’s hand with a knife, and takes a cloth with the blood outdoors to confront the beast. Using the scent of the cloth (kind of like a matador) she draws the creature into Cordelia’s garden shed. Queenie takes pity on the half-breed, as she admits she also feels like a monster who hasn’t been given love. Queenie begins to pleasure herself slowly with her hands, drawing the minotaur to her with voodoo-magic. The minotaur walks behind her, and at first it seems sensual, until it clamps a hand around her head. Yikes! My guess is the minotaur will kidnap Queenie to the rival voodoo coven, but we don’t find out this episode.
At their house, Kyle’s mother tells Kyle how she’s invited Zoe over for dinner. She grows hysterical, trying to get words out of Franko-Kyle, again drawing her body to him. Kyle finally can’t take it, and bashes her head in with an old trophy. Meanwhile Fiona and Madison play pool at a bar. As rock music plays, Fiona notices all the men being drawn to Madison around the table. As one of them offers her his coat, Madison turns into young Fiona (via Fiona’s imagination), and Fiona looks at herself, recognizing how time has marched forward.
Zoe arrives at Kyle’s home, finding the lights out and seemingly abandoned. She enters Kyle’s room to find his mother dead on the floor, her face a gaping bloody hole. Uh-oh! She turns around to come face-to-face with Kyle, covered with blood, and she screams!
Madison and Fiona return home from their night on the town, both drunk. They enter the same portrait room with all the old witches who ran the coven that we saw in the opening scene. Fiona explains to Madison that she is to become the next Supreme. Madison is confused, but Fiona explains that she can feel it. Fiona’s time is up, because Madison is sapping her power. Fiona tells Madison she has cancer and won’t last the year. Madison offers connections to the best doctors, but Fiona denies it, refusing to go out “bald and shriveled.” She wants to die her own way, though she feels that she doesn’t belong among the best Supremes who had run the coven in the past. Fiona explains to Zoe how she killed the former Supreme, and shows her the same knife, offering it to Madison. She demands Madison kill her, but Madison refuses. As they tussle over the knife Fiona grows angry and accidentally slits Madison’s throat (whoops!). Blood squirts everywhere and Madison drops to the floor. Once again, the butler watches, offering Fiona a rag to clean herself. Fiona tells him to bury her deep. “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme,” she sneers. “It needs a new rug.” You have to admit, one thing I’ve always liked about American Horror Story as a mini-series is that the stories move quick!
So what now? Will Madison come back? Possibly. But what is to become of the coven? If Madison was supposed to be the next supreme, has Fiona perverted the cycle of life and doomed them? Or (my prediction) perhaps Madison was never meant to be the Supreme to begin with. At the beginning of the episode Annelise mentions that many witches display multiple powers, but only the Supreme masters all seven, and we only saw Madison use three. I’m betting my money on Zoe, who will discover her powers as the show progresses, and be far more powerful than any of the other witches realize. But we shall see!
If you missed last week’s recap, have a look here!