The second episode of AHS:Coven plunges straight into the macabre as the season’s themes are highlighted and all the main narrative strands are touched upon. Playing out like an extension of episode one, “Boy Parts” is filled with even more set up and exposition. It also leans more towards the horror aspect of the show, but fear not the melodrama is still there.
This week we have deals with the devil, resurrection, immortality and one ridiculous sex scene. It looks like life and death are the central themes this season with each of the main characters involved in manipulating these fundamental forces of nature. Fiona Goode continues her quest for eternal youth that leads her into conflict with Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). Zoe and Madison conjure up a spell that brings back Kyle (Evan Peters) from the dead. Whilst Cordelia and her husband Hank (Josh Hamilton) do a ritual so she can have a baby. Each plot line gets a time to shine and are engaging in their own way. However some are more interesting than others.
Of course Fiona’s quest comes off as the best part of the episode. Once again this is due to Jessica Lange’s commanding performance. She exudes power and when she threatens people you know she means business. It is such a nuanced portrayal and it helps that she has a great cast to work with. Her scene with Angela Bassett is fantastic. With these two actresses really milking the dialogue to add an underlying tension that makes the drawing of battle lines between the two all the more fun to watch. Lange also brings a lot of humour to the episode, especially when she shares the screen with Kathy Bates. Bates is doing a fine job playing the out of time LaLaurie, but it is how Lange’s Fiona treats her that is the most entertaining. It is also nice to see that Madame LaLaurie isn’t the only character of Coven to come from the real world, as Bassett’s Marie Laveau is a (in)famous voodoo practitioner from New Orleans.
Outside of Fiona’s storyline Zoe perhaps gets the most screen time. She is certainly a confused girl who isn’t ready for this new life. It was interesting to see her breakdown when the police question her, but Taissa Farmiga perhaps overplays her part and comes off a little too hysterical. However for the rest of the episode Farmiga was a delight to watch as she brings back the guy she fancies from the dead. Emma Roberts continues to play a good bitch as Madison. Together the two perform a spell in a scene that delivers the episode’s best line (‘Did we just marry the devil?”). This whole storyline touches upon that classic horror story Frankenstein, with the girls picking out the best body parts to make the perfect boyfriend. Of course it doesn’t go to plan and poor Kyle seems more monster than man at this point. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of Zoe’s story is that she runs into Misty Day (Lily Rabe), who managed to survive her death.
Misty Day is definitely an interesting character. She gets two scenes and she makes one hell of an impression. Not only is she a mystery waiting to be solved, but the almost hippy like character traits she has makes her quite entertaining. She clearly embodies the Earth mother goddess motif that permeates new age witchcraft (Wicca). Much like Mother Nature she has a dark and vengeful side, which the opening of the episode shows. There is a lot of potential for her character and she will clearly have a big impact on this season.
The last main storyline focuses on Cordelia’s failed attempts to get pregnant. Sarah Paulson plays vulnerable well and she really sells Cordelia’s plight. There is a tenderness in her performance that is juxtaposed with her aggression in that sex scene. The sex scene is American Horror Story at its most self indulgent. It isn’t a redundant scene as it moves the narrative forward, but it is a little too over the top even for this series.
Apart from that one scene the episode on a whole was excellent. The narrative moved forward nicely, characters where explored and future plot points where sign posted. There is clearly going to be a price to pay for everything that happens in this episode and with the devil being mentioned one can only image how crazy Coven is about to get.