TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY - COVEN Episode 7 'The Dead'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

As ever with American Horror Story, it’s hard to know where to start amongst all of the weirdness.

With last week’s episode, The Axeman Cometh, showing Danny Huston’s jazz-playing Axeman meeting up with Fiona (Jessica Lange), that particular arc is a strong focal point of this latest episode. As the two try their best to out charm one another, it’s like watching an effortlessly elegant noir unravel before your eyes; two fantastic performers smouldering their way through smooth, seductive dialogue, coupled with a jazz beat and some bourbon. Whilst the couple seem mainly content with merely getting their rocks off, it’s soon revealed that there’s a lot more backstory to the two than even Fiona realised.

Switching things over to the young witches housed up in the Coven home, Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe has quite the Kyle conundrum – does she put the monster out of his misery or does she try to tame the beast within? Either way, it seems Kyle (Evan Peters) has found some solace with an unexpected kindred spirit, which only further muddies the water in the Coven household. Pre-FrankenKyle, we do get a nice flashback that opens the window into who Kyle was before his friends gang-raped a teen Hollywood star, had their bus flipped over by supernatural powers, all deceased, and then he was reanimated using the severed limbs of his now-dead friends.

We’re also given further development into the growing friendship between the odd-couple that is Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) and Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). Despite the clear early friction between the black witch Queenie and the immortal racist LaLaurie, you always felt that the two would slowly come together during Coven’s run. All seems splendid between the pair as they enjoy a 3am trip to a fast-food restaurant, but the end of the episode brings about a darker, twisted side to the relationship that leaves you questioning what direction the show has planned for Queenie and LaLaurie.

With Madison (Emma Roberts) another corpse that’s now back to life – does anybody stay deceased in this show? – it causes Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) to find out the painful truth about her mother causing Madison’s ever-so-brief demise. As a result, Cordelia makes some serious, serious plans to deal with Fiona. Then there’s also the small fact of her husband Hank (Josh Hamilton) looking to stay true to his deal with Marie (Angela Bassett) about wiping out the Coven residents.

Speaking of Marie, we get to see her at her manipulative best here, as she looks to drum home the divide between the black voodoo witches and the largely-white Salem witches to an unassuming visitor. Again, Bassett is fantastic in her delivery, her movements, and the way in which she devours every single crumb of dialogue on her plate.

With Bassett, Lange and Bates regularly hogging the spotlight this season, we also get some nice turns from Emma Roberts and Taissa Farmiga, not to mention further development from Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie, this time out. Roberts’ Madison even starts to spout lines of social commentary as she struggles to come to terms with the effects of having come back from the dead.

Everybody on show again delivers this week, but Jamie Brewer’s Nan, Frances Conroy’s Myrtle Snow, and Lily Rabe’s Misty Day are conspicuous by their absence. With the show now to go on a one week hiatus, the teaser for Episode 8 of Coven looks set to rectify these absences, as Misty Day seems set to play a pivotal role going forward. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

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