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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN Season Premiere “Bitchcraft” Review

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I don’t like to be scared. I don’t like to be scared, but I really liked the season premiere of American Horror Story: Coven anyway. As an American Horror Story virgin, I have to admit that when I tuned in last night, even though I had seen promo trailers and read (and written) preview pieces, I didn’t have any overwhelming idea what exactly I was getting myself into.

The first five minutes of Coven were fairly traumatizing. Kathy Bates makes for one terrifying character actress. There was something in her eyes the entire first scene that was both incredibly psychotic and mysteriously mesmerizing at the same time.

By the time the show caught up with itself in the present day, I had already decided that it would probably be in my best interest to sleep with the Disney Channel on in order to combat the nightmares that I was surely going to have involving Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Bates) and a Minotaur. LaLaurie is a sadistic woman that is unmatched in her brutality on the first episode of American Horror Story: Coven.

Once the past faded, we were introduced to Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), a girl just discovering that she has won (or lost, depending on your perspective) the genetic lottery and had inherited the witch gene that played hop-scotch in her family genealogy. Like she said, “my cousin Amanda – she’s just bulimic.” Unfortunately for Zoe, her only power at the moment is that she can kill men with her feminine wiles. It seems to me like she got the short end of that stick.

She puts her talents to use later on in the show to exact revenge, marking her first official field trip to the dark side – but that can’t have been satisfying. Someone should probably invest in a blinged out chastity belt for this young witch now before she learns what sexual frustration really is.

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Zoe’s mom ships her off to a boarding school, Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, in New Orleans, the Salem after Salem, to be looked after by more capable hands. It is there that she meets her new friends – or, only friends, at this point. It’s a good thing she was wearing black when she arrived because otherwise that introduction could have been so embarrassing.

After Zoe gets the rundown of the witchy affairs of the 21st century from the headmaster and the side-notes from her fellow inmates, she’s dragged to a fraternity party. Boys, alcohol, and reckless behavior ensue – and her more experienced witchy comrade, Madison (Emma Roberts), shows off her aversion to men who consistently seem to underestimate her.

Another major player this season on American Horror Story is Fiona Goode, played by Jessica Lange. Fiona is the Supreme witch, meaning that she has all the powers that witches can have. However, she has a daughter, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), the headmistress at Miss Robichaux’s, so she clearly doesn’t suffer from the same curse that Zoe does.

Fiona has come to New Orleans to help her daughter train the next generation of witches in a more assertive manner. It is under her tutelage that she is able to discover the whereabouts of what has been Madame LaLaurie’s resting place for the last few centuries since she was bested by Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). Laveau was seeking revenge for her lover whom LaLaurie had turned into her own personal Minotaur, and she sure got it.

The final scene of the premiere of this season of American Horror Story was of Fiona releasing LaLaurie from her grave.  I’m sure it will be an interesting adjustment period. Imagine what sadistic payback plans she’s been able to come up with when she had nothing else to do for the last 300 years.

I was really impressed with how quickly the story and characters seemed to fall into place. There weren’t any scenes that appeared forced. In fact, the interactions between the teenage girls, in particular, exhibited exactly the dynamic I would have expected.

After one episode of American Horror Story: Coven, I’m hooked. Are you?

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The Author

Lindsay Sperling

Lindsay Sperling

Lindsay Sperling has A.D.D. and her tastes reflect it. Her movie collection boasts everything from Casablanca to John Tucker Must Die to every season of Sons of Anarchy to-date. She adamantly supported a Veronica Mars Movie, hopes that the Fast & Furious franchise continues far into the future, and has read every popular YA book series turned film in recent years (except Harry Potter..). When she's not on an indie film set or educating the youth of America, she uses her time arguably productive as a freelance writer.