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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN “Protect the Coven” Recap

I didn’t like this episode of American Horror Story: Coven as much as last week, mainly because my favorite witch Misty is still stuck in a coffin, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun.  This being three episodes from the finale, one can definitely feel things hurtling towards their conclusion as certain plot lines start to wrap up.

We open in New Orleans in 1830, with Madame LaLaurie moving in from Paris for the first time.  She is quite unhappy, but her tune changes when she is forced to behead a chicken for supper, and is delighted by the blood.  A while later she finds one of her slaves injured, blood gushing from his leg.  Instead of helping him, she knocks him out and strings him up…the sinister beginnings of what will become her torture chamber that introduced this series to begin with.  “I think I’m going to like it here,” she murmurs.

LaLaurie and Annie Wilkes from "Misery" might get along...
LaLaurie and Annie Wilkes from “Misery” might get along…

Returning to the modern day, the witches are mourning the death of Nan (they are all clad in black, not that it makes any difference).  Myrtle mentions that if only Misty Day were around to bring Nan back from the grave (I concur, Myrtle).  A car drives up, revealing Queenie, who has also stitched LaLaurie back together, dragging her around like a dog.  As it turns out Queenie was not killed by shooting herself in the face and killing Hank (I’m also not clear who was driving the car, but maybe Queenie paid for it?).

Meanwhile as Delphi (the witch-hunter company) continues to spiral into bankruptcy, Harrison Renard decides something must be done, and plans for a meeting with the witches in order to bribe them.

We have a montage of LaLaurie unhappily waiting on everyone at the coven, cleaning Madison’s poop (yuck) and taking care of Laveau’s new baby that she originally intended to sacrifice to Papa Legba.  Cordelia is also trying to use her potions to find a way to allow her second sight to return to her.

Finally LaLaurie finds a cure for own her unhappiness, when a black gardener named James enters, having cut himself while trimming the trees.  LaLaurie returns to her old ways (I guess all that watching of “Roots” didn’t help), and strings up poor James in Spalding’s old room, starting her gleeful ritual by snipping off his toes.

Elsewhere in the house, Zoe lights a candle with Kyle and says a spell into the bath where Nan drowned, trying to discover Nan’s killer.  The spell reveals both Fiona and Laveau’s reflection, and as Zoe takes in this news Madison enters, horny as usual.  Madison tries to have her way with Kyle (partially to spite Zoe) but this time Kyle pushes her away.  Madison throws a tantrum, and objects fly about the room.  Myrtle appears in the doorway, upset with the two girls’ quarrel.  Madison, convinced she’s the next Supreme, snottily talks down to Myrtle, and even threatens to take Kyle apart some day, just as she put him back together once.

However the current Supreme, Fiona, is not at the coven household at the moment; she’s spending her nights with the Axeman.  He dreams about taking Fiona to an old farm where he lived as a child, and they plot about killing the new Supreme so they can run away together and live like normal people.

Back in Spalding’s old room, LaLaurie’s torture has finally killed the gardener.  Suddenly Spalding himself appears next to her, admiring her “art.”  He explains how he was murdered (so I guess he’s a ghost?), and LaLaurie explains how she herself is unable to die.  Spalding wants LaLaurie to kill Laveau, because it will snap Fiona back into becoming the woman she used to be (though I think this is wishful thinking on Spalding’s part), and promises he will find a way for LaLaurie to make Laveau mortal so she can be killed using magic.  However first he needs LaLaurie to do something for him: find an expensive item outside the coven and bring it back…

Cordelia speaks with Queenie, trying to apologize for what Hank did to her.  Queenie will have none of it however (she’s never been a very forgiving witch), and talks about how she’s convinced her powers have grown even more.  After all, she survived shooting herself through the head with a silver bullet, which should be impossible.  Queenie scoffs in Cordelia’s face and sends her away, calling her weak.  Moments later Cordelia, lost, looks over her plants and cries.  She takes a salve made from some of the plants and paints around her own eyes.  Then she picks up the pruning shears and…GOUGES HER OWN EYES OUT.

I guess the David Bowie look wasn't working for her.
I guess the David Bowie look wasn’t working for her.

Fiona returns to the coven, calling for Cordelia having heard of the tragedy (though I’m not sure how), only to find Myrtle.  Myrtle explains how Cordelia stabbed out her eyes to regain her second sight and protect the coven yet again.  Though it’s not for protection from the witch-hunters of course (Fiona thinks she can handle those), but from those within the coven.  Myrtle taunts Fiona to go ahead and see her daughter, but Fiona halts, nervous, and decides to go get a drink first (I found it quite odd that Fiona never bothered to see Cordelia in this episode, but that’s how it goes I guess…).

LaLaurie returns to Spalding’s room with…an authentic 1895 rare doll for his collection, paid for by stealing some of the coven’s silverware.  Spalding is overjoyed, and offers LaLaurie a bit of magic to make Laveau mortal: a “potion” of…Benadryl pills.  Is this a trick?  If so, anachronistic LaLaurie has no idea.

In the garden Zoe approaches Myrtle, who plays her theramin.  She offers Zoe a protective necklace and urges both her and Kyle to leave.  We don’t get to see this necklace, which makes me wonder if it will appear in a later episode, or if an art P.A. got fired that day, but whatever.  Zoe tells Myrtle she wants to stay, but Myrtle convinces Zoe how pure her love with Kyle seems, and convinces her otherwise, giving Zoe a literal ticket out of there to Epcot.  Zoe hugs Myrtle, grateful.

Finally, we get our showdown with the witch-hunter company!  Harrison Renard and his associates meet with Laveau and Fiona in a large board room to discuss terms for release of the spell over their company.  They offer money, and a document for a 100-year truce between the hunters and the and the witches.  Yet we see a quick close-up of a hand locking the doors, though it is unclear whether the trap is being set for the witches or the hunters.  Fiona and Laveau laugh in the hunters’ faces, making more and more outrageous demands.  The Delphi businessmen find this absurd, to which Fiona sneers, “Here’s my other offer…you can all just die.”  The “waiter” who has been serving them drinks (and locked the door) turns out to be the Axeman, and he kills them all, save Harrison himself.  Harrison looks at all the carnage and pours himself some tea.  “Well played,” he admits, though he reminds the two witches that this will not put an end to the war.  “Any last words?” Fiona questions.  Renard spits at her feet, and growls, “Go to Hell, witch bitch.”  The Axeman tosses his weapon to Fiona and she delivers the killing blow, blood spurting everywhere, while a surprised Laveau snaps a photo with her phone.

A little while later, at the coven, Fiona and Laveau toast each others’ success, and Fiona heads out to sleep with her heroic Axeman who saved their lives.  Laveau drunkenly heads to her room, taunting LaLaurie who has made the drinks for her.  Of course, LaLaurie has mixed Spalding’s “magic” pills into the drink, so she takes out a knife and stabs Laveau.  Laveau angrily pulls the knife out, and it becomes clear that Spalding’s pills didn’t work as LaLaurie intended.  Laveau chases LaLaurie down the stairs, when the voodoo witch is knocked out alongside the head by Spalding!  Spalding admits to LaLaurie that what he did was a trick, but he knew that LaLaurie would be the only one to help get rid of her.  He suggests burying Laveau deep in the ground, so that she will be unable to get out, just as Laveau did to her.  Spalding then goes back to his den full of dolls and plays with the black baby Laveau kidnapped.  “Finally a living doll, all my own,” he grins.

Convinced by Myrtle, Zoe packs with Kyle.  However he is reluctant to go, fearing he could hurt both her and people outside the coven.  Zoe comforts him, repeating “I’m not scared of you,” and eventually the two run off together on a bus, leaving the coven world behind.  A Franken-boyfriend and witch with ever-growing powers…what will happen to them now?

So now the Delphi witch-hunters are dead.  Will this bring the wrath of more witch-hunters, or have we seen the last of them?  Either way, the witch coven is doing a fine job splitting itself apart from the inside anyway.  Will LaLaurie succeed in turning the tables on Laveau?  And there were also a few two many unexplained details that bugged me this episode.  Mainly if Spalding (and the Axeman for that matter) are dead, how did they manage to interact physically with the real world (Spalding knocking Laveau out, and the Axeman killing all of the Delphi businessmen)?  Why did Spalding even need LaLaurie’s help in the first place?  I’m sure some of this (but not all) will be explained in the final episodes.

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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.