The Reviews

TV Review: American Horror Story – Coven, Episode 3

minotaur

Coven, Episode 3: The Replacements

Well, things have most certainly gotten weird. Very, very weird. The previous two episodes of Coven have been relatively mild-mannered by the extreme standards of American Horror Story, but The Replacements has most certainly amped the weirdness up to 11.

Central to this episode is the ever-brilliant Jessica Lange as Fiona. The main arc of the episode again sees her troubled by her own mortality. Desperate for her youth back, she is looking at any and all ways to take herself back to her glory days. For the first time in the season, we get some flashbacks to the 1970s, where we see the young Fiona as an arrogant upstart witch who uses her feminine charm to the max. We also get to see how she came to be the ‘Supreme’ of the Coven, aka the top dog.

As well as Fiona’s struggles, which also see her taking a shine to Emma Roberts’ Madison and having to deal with the new “bible-thumping” neighbours, we get some further developments in the Frankenstein-like tale of Evan Peters’ Kyle’s return from the grave. Let’s just say, he’s grumpy, and his mother is a little too overjoyed at seeing him back. To tie in with Kyle’s return, Lily Rabe’s fantastically mysterious and crazed Misty Day gets some more moments to shine. It still feels like they’re holding back on the Misty character a little, but here’s hoping they’ve got a lot more screen-time planned for her down the line. Even if that’s not the case, I’m more than happy to just have her dance around to Stevie Nicks songs each week.

Whereas the last episode, Boy Parts, gave us a lot of scenes between Lange and Kathy Bates, this time out the pair don’t share all that much screen-time. That said, Bates’ Madame LaLaurie is again brilliantly played out. Struggling to get to grips with the present day, especially with things like the TV (“magic box”) and a black President of the United States, LaLaurie is forced to become a maid in the Coven household. That’s not all, as an old friend seems to have returned to pay her a visit: a Minotaur.

Generally speaking, having a Minotaur stalking a racist dug-up witch would top the weird scale, but this is American Horror Story we’re talking about. The Minotaur stuff barely touches the sides when it comes to the level of oddness and creepiness that this show produces. Here we get a further look into the voodoo nature of Angela Bassett’s Marie, as Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia seeks her assistance in getting pregnant. Again, that’s not the strangest going on. For the risk of spoilers, I’m just going to go out and say that Kyle has some mightily messed up scenes of his own, as does a certain case of apparent ‘inter-species erotica, fucko.’ Yes, that’s me quoting some Kevin Smith dialogue… but it’s mildly applicable once you’ve watched the episode.

As ever, the style of Coven is stunning. The tone, colouring, textures, and numerous shooting variations all add perfectly to each scene. Whether it’s to give a warm sense of serenity or to just cause unease and awkwardness, every moment of Coven is expertly shot and delivered. Oh, and then there’s the dialogue. I’m going to say that Coven seems to be featuring the best dialogue of any of the American Horror Story seasons so far. The highlight of this particular episode is when Christine Ebersole’s Anna-Lee turns to the younger Fiona and remarks, “you vicious little gash.”

Things have certainly gotten weird, but we expected that right? Seriously fucked up, but utterly compelling. Don’t fight it, embrace it, and get set for what’s promising to be another fantastic season of American Horror Story.

Rating: 9/10

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10 thoughts on “TV Review: American Horror Story – Coven, Episode 3

  1. I have found this season, although early days to be nothing like the AHS of past, almost tame and scared to push itself unlike previous seasons. I haven’t seen this episode yet, so don’t want to read your review, but was hoping you could just let me know if, as the brief description I glanced at on your post mentions, it gets better?

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    • Yes, I can see where you are coming from with the earlier episodes… but, yeah, ‘The Replacements’ gets real messed-up really early on. There’s so much going on throughout the episode – just when you think it can’t top itself, something even more creepy happens.

      I think you’ll find it to be better than the previous two episodes.

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      • Hi, haven’t watched the episode yet, I have had so much to watch and so much to do haven’t had the chance.
        Just noticed you are on Moviepilot, me too, what do you think of it?
        I’m new to it so would love your opinion.

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      • I’ve just watched the next episode tonight – review up. Not quite as messed up as episode 3, but still the usual AHS stuff 🙂

        I’m fairly new to MoviePilot, too. Think I’ve been on there for likely 3 weeks, maybe a month. Really enjoying it so far – the layout, the interaction, the amount of traffic, the staff. Had even been possible talk of going over to Germany to do some stuff with them, but that’s just chatter at this stage. How are you finding it?

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      • I haven’t posted much on it. I think the idea of it, the layout, and the traffic are as you say great, but unlike a site like this and other blog sites it’s less personal, and as a result it’s harder to get followers and feels a little cold. The one thing I cannot fault them on is the graphics. Everything is crisp and clean, and I am finding things I never found on Google images!

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      • I’d agree that’s it maybe not as personal, and it’s more a case of being a dot on the grand scale of things. Also, given how many other contributors there are on there, it’s harder to get followers or for people to take an interest in your stuff, but then I guess it’s down to us to post something different, interesting, and something that will grab the attention of the masses. I’m slowly (very slowly) starting to get a few more followers, but it’s a no-brainer for me really, as the site lets me repost the stuff from this site, so it literally takes me maybe 5 minutes to post on MoviePilot (copy, paste, format, add image(s)).

        It definitely looks smooth, and the numbers of people on there are ridiculous, but I can understand your concerns. I guess it’s just a case of posting constantly, and posting stuff that’s a little different to the norm. Hopefully we’ll both get there in the end 😉

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  2. The other women are superb (Bates, Paulson, and of course Lange), but I feel like Angela Bassett is stealing the spotlight this season!

    I love how f’ed up this one got. I’m thinking it will be the best season of AHS yet, but I just hope it doesn’t lag in the middle or fall to pieces by the end, like the other seasons sort of did.

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    • I’d agree on Bassett. She seems to be getting more screen-time each episode, and she’s simply fantastic in everything she’s done so far.

      My personal favourite is Misty Day (Lily Rabe), and I’m hoping we get more from her over the next few episodes.

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