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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN “Fearful Pranks Ensue” Episode Recap

Happy (belated) Halloween!  What better way to celebrate than to watch another episode of American Horror Story?  This week ratchets things up considerably, expanding the world of the story and also the rivalry between the two witch clans.  Let’s get started.

In 1961, a young black boy is lynched by white men for attending an integrated school.  Madame Laveau, seeking revenge, engages in a voodoo ritual that awakens the dead from their graves.  The undead attack the men responsible for the lynching, ripping them apart by their limbs.  Don’t mess with the voodoo witch!  As a side note, I learned that both Marie Laveau and Madame LaLaurie are real people who actually existed.  Crazy right?  Check Wikipedia…trust me.

When we come back to the modern day we see the mute butler having private tea time with some dolls.  He hears the conversation from the last episode, and enters the main room just in time to see Fiona slice Madison’s throat.  The mute butler (named Spalding) pours Fiona a drink, then rolls Madison away in a rug.  A crash in the nursery attracts Fiona’s attention, and she enters to find Queenie injured and bleeding.  The shadow of the minotaur rears up behind Fiona.  Yikes!

However immediately afterward we see Fiona awakening Cordelia in order to help revive Queenie.  Cordelia blames Fiona for the attack, knowing that she provoked Laveau.  However Fiona is not to happy to hear about Cordelia’s own visit to the immortal voodoo woman to ask for fertility help.  As Cordelia tries to awaken Queenie, it appears she has died.  Fiona leans over Queenie’s body, and breathes slowly into her mouth (a reverse of what she did with the scientist a few episodes ago).  Queenie awakens.  Cordelia wants to take Queenie to a hospital, but Fiona disagrees, since it would attract the attention of the Council.

Returning to her room, Fiona calls a hiding LaLaurie out of the closet.  LaLaurie is stricken by the fact that a black girl such as Queenie would have saved her.  Knowing the minotaur came for her, she is worried it might come back.  Fiona promises it won’t.  We find out why the next morning when a package arrives at Laveau’s hair salon.  Inside is the blinking (!) severed head of the minotaur.

The minotaur and the horse from "The Godfather" should totally hang out.
The minotaur and the horse from “The Godfather” should totally hang out.

At Kyle’s house, Zoe tries to help him as he bangs his head against the bathtub, still covered in blood.  She wonders if she never should have brought him back from the dead, and starts to cry.  There is a moment of tenderness from Kyle as he reaches out to her, touching one of her tears like the poetry I wrote in high school and never showed anyone, and Zoe decides she should make him something to eat (monsters gotta eat!).  As she preps him some tuna fish, she sees a jar of rat poison and thinks a moment.  She returns with the poison mixed into the food, hoping to put an end to what she started, only to find Kyle gone.  Uh-oh!  In true Frankenstein style, the monster is out among the world, and it’s Halloween night!

In a fun scene, Fiona asks LaLaurie to zip up her dress for Halloween night.  LaLaurie’s understanding of Halloween is quite different, as the bonfires to ward off spirits are now jack-o-lanterns, and spirit offerings are now candy.  Looking at Fiona in her black dress, LaLaurie remarks how beautiful Fiona appears, though Fiona was hoping she would say “younger.”  Fiona throws a pointed witch hat on her head and sashays out the door.

Back at Laveau’s, the voodoo witch argues with her assistant (or offspring?  It is hard to tell since Laveau is immortal) about retaliating against the rival coven.  In flashback we learn about how there was an agreement years ago, with Laveau making a truce with the former supreme Annelise, and dividing up New Orleans in half (it’s too bad there weren’t four disagreeing witches or we could say that New Orleans was “quartered”…get it?)  However Laveau now declares the truce is over.

Cordelia calls her husband (Hank), who is away on business in Baton Rouge.  As he hangs up the phone, we find out he is lying to her, as a beautiful redhead named Kaylee stands in the doorway, played by the gorgeous Alexandra Breckenridge, who played the young maid in Season One.  Hank and Kaylee immediately have sex.  As they smoke cigarettes afterward (I guess the stereotypes are true sometimes) Kaylee mentions how much she loves Halloween, saying that dressing up “gives people the permission to be who they really want to be.”  She asks Hank what he dressed up as, and he responds, “A monster.”  Gee, that’s not ominous at all…

I guess if there's no appearance from Lily Rabe in this episode, she will do just fine.
I guess if there’s no appearance from Lily Rabe in this episode, she will do just fine.

Back in the coven, Cordelia revives Queenie with LaLaurie watching.  As Cordelia leaves, LaLaurie comes to thank her, though Queenie isn’t too receptive, considering the horrible things LaLaurie had done in her past.  Nan enters, announcing to everyone, “They’re here.”

The Council on Witchcraft arrives, led by a wild red-haired woman named Myrtle Snow (played by Frances Conroy, whom we only briefly saw in the first episode), as well as two others.  It is interesting to note that one of them is male (though a tad androgynous); warlocks as well as witches exist in this world.  Cordelia immediately tries to explain to the council about the assault on Queenie, though it turns out that is not why the council has arrived.  Cordelia tries to backpedal, apologizing for going to visit Laveau, but that isn’t the reason either!  Whoops!  Fiona enters, asking Cordelia to shut her mouth.  As it turns out, Nan summoned the council, since she feels that Madison is dead.  The inquiry begins, as the three council members question those in the coven about her.

Meanwhile in their hotel room Kaylee and Hank chat and have a meal together.  We find out that they met together online, it seems she has no idea bout Cordelia, and that she is really falling for him.  Hank smiles, caresses her neck, and shoots her with a silenced pistol!!!  Wow, there go my hopes of seeing more of the lovely Mis Breckenridge this season.  Hank, you monster!

At the coven the inquiry continues.  Myrtle is unhappy with how Fiona has handled things, and in flashback we learn that she and young Fiona attended school together.  When young Fiona was questioned about Annelise’s death, she implies that Laveau could have been the cause of it, casting suspicion on the voodoo group.  Later that evening it is announced to the other girls that Fiona will be the next supreme, and a young Myrtle is furious, suspecting murder.  She confronts Fiona about it (apparently her power is to detect the truth), and Fiona spitefully causes her to drop her drink with a flick of her hand, calling Spalding over to clean the mess.  Interestingly Spalding is already older than Fiona here, so given that Fiona is worried about aging, present day Spalding must at least be nearing his 70s.

Myrtle uses a spell to curse Spalding so that he is incapable of speaking a lie.  She knows Spalding always cleans up Fiona’s messes, so if anyone knows about it, it will be him.  Unfortunately later that night Myrtle’s plan is foiled, as Spalding’s tongue has been cut out, seemingly the work of Fiona.  Hence we now know why he is mute.

In the present it becomes clear Myrtle has been dying for ages to get back at Fiona for these suspected crimes (the punishment of which is death by fire).  She calls her final witness, Spalding himself.  She asks Spalding to write the name of the witch who mutilated him long ago (why they didn’t question him back in 1971 is beyond me).  In something that made me think of “Survivor: Witch Edition” Spalding writes a name on a piece of paper and hands it to Myrtle.  She opens it, only to read her own name.

The tribe has spoken? Even though he can't speak?
The tribe has spoken? Even though he can’t speak?

In flashback we see Fiona approach Spalding, who had sent her a note.  Spalding admits to her that he loves her, and then cuts out his own tongue with a razor.  So in a way, it was Myrtle’s fault.

In the present day Myrtle screams in anger, and rants against Fiona, knowing that she must have killed the supreme in order to take her place, and also killed Madison.  It is Cordelia who clears the air; she knows Madison could not have been the next supreme, because supremes are always supposed to have “glowing, radiant health,” and Madison had a heart murmur she kept hidden from everyone.  “My mother is the supreme for a reason” Cordelia states.

Back at Laveau’s, the voodoo queen begins another ritual (which involves cutting open some poor snakes, by the way).  Once again the zombies rise from the grave…on Halloween night no less!

LaLaurie hands out candy to trick-or-treaters at the coven while the girls chat amongst each other.  Zoe doesn’t believe Madison is dead, though Nan thinks she must be because she “cannot hear her.”  Meanwhile in Spalding’s lair full of dolls, we learn he has added a new doll to the collection…the body of Madison, all decked out in doll makeup.  Eew.

At a bar Madison and Cordelia chat with each other.  We learn that Fiona hates Hank (good intuition, actually).  Cordelia asks if Fiona killed Madison, which Fiona denies.  Fiona then asks who Cordelia believes the next supreme to be.  Cordelia laughs at how obsessed Fiona is, and teases her by asking if she feels her powers weakening.  Later on that night Cordelia throws up in the bathroom (funny, I’ve found myself in this position on Halloween too), and as she exists the stall a mysterious robed figure splashes acid (or a potion?) in her eyes.  Yikes!  Will she go blind?  Could that heighten her other powers?  Or will it have a different effect?

As Laveau answers the door for more trick-or-treaters, the handsome neighbor returns with cookies for Nan.  As Nan smiles, endeared, there is another heavy, ominous knock on the door.  It’s not trick-or-treaters this time…it’s the zombies, and LaLaurie even recognizes one of them as her own daughter!  A mob of the zombies surround the coven house, and we cut to black.  The stakes have been raised for next week!

Read last week’s recap here!

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The Author

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. Son of an archaeologist, he spent his childhood years developing a fondness of nature and the outdoors, which was rivaled only for his love of filmmaking and storytelling.
In 2008 he graduated from the University of Southern California's film program, and currently makes a living as an editor in addition to working on his own creative projects.
He has a weakness for redheads, seafood pasta, and dinosaurs.