TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN, Episode 13 'The Seven Wonders'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

Here we are: the finale of American Horror Story: Coven. As we go into this episode, the big, burning, season-long question is who is going to be revealed as the new Supreme. In order to establish this, the possible candidates are put through their paces and have to undertake the legendary Seven Wonders. Let me start this off by saying that, yes, by the episode’s end we do finally get to find out who the new Supreme of the Coven is.

As The Seven Wonders opens, we’re treated to a brilliant first few minutes. With Stevie Nicks appearing a few episodes ago, plus the mention of the Seven Wonders, many fans thought that Fleetwood Mac’s Seven Wonders would get a play during that particular episode. Sadly not. Never fear, Fleetwood Mac fans, for Seven Wonders gets an airing here. The episode opens with Stevie Nicks Stevie-Nicks-ing her way through the quiet, calm Robichaux household as she lip-synchs to Seven Wonders. Unexpected and a complete change of pace and tone to what we have seen so often in the bleak world of Coven, this opening scene is a refreshing change. We’re shown our Supreme candidates busy studying, testing out their powers for the task ahead of them. I may be a tad biased, but these few minutes are a personal highlight of Coven for me. That said, I am a huge Steve Nicks guy.

Now that the light-hearted part is out of the way, The Seven Wonders goes straight into the Seven Wonders events at hand. In case you missed the explanation from last week, to become the new Supreme the candidates must perform telekinesis, concilium, transmutation, divination, vitalum viatlis, descensum and pyrokinesis. Not to worry if some of these mean nothing to you, for we’ll see them all in action in this episode.

With Misty Day (Lily Rabe), Madison (Emma Roberts), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) competing to take over the throne of Fiona (Jessica Lange), their powers are presided over by Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), with Kyle (Evan Peters) seemingly there to act as a prop and serve drinks.

The actual reveal of the Supreme comes relatively early in The Seven Wonders, with the ‘ta-da’ moment coming about halfway through the episode. Yes, as expected, not all of the witches make it through the trial and tribulations of the Seven Wonders. We were warned last episode that performing these acts can either make or break a witch. For fear of spoilers, I’ll leave the deaths and Supreme reveal for another day, but let me just say that there are a few twists and turns along the way. Of course, those who have watched any of the previous American Horror Story series will be fully aware that that was always going to be the case with Coven, as demonstrated throughout the season so far.

The Seven Wonders is a novel episode of Coven, not just because it’s the finale, because it takes place pretty much entirely in the Robichaux Academy, which seems to becoming more and more like Professor Xavier’s School for the Gifted by the day. There’s literally only a handful of shots, mostly short, that take place away from the Coven household, giving the episode’s full attention to the Seven Wonders and a certain problem that is awaiting the new Supreme. If you’ve been watching Coven this far, it’s safe to say that this problem is something that you were expecting to see rear its head again.

Coven’s finale is a fitting episode to bring a generally strong season to a close. One possible gripe of mine is that the finale is a tad predictable. Then again, I’ve spoken to some that saw the episode and didn’t see any of the twists coming. See how you get on with that one. If you’ve watched the previous finales of AHS, you’ll notice that the Coven finale follows a very similar path in terms of how our characters are left and judged.

Whilst I’m sad that Coven has come to an end, The Seven Wonders had some great performances, most notably Emma Roberts as Madison. Even though I have a blind love for all four Scream films and anyone involved in them, I still couldn’t take to Roberts in Coven. Her performance here, though, as powerful, pompous, prick Madison is brilliant to watch. It’s also great to see Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe actually seem relevant and interesting again. That character seemed to fall into the ‘meh’ category after only a couple of episodes (speaking of which, whatever happened to her killer vagina?!). In fairness, it is a tad harsh on the rest of the cast to highlight Roberts and Farmiga but I think I just noticed them more this episode because they did stuff, which for so much of Coven they haven’t. It also helps when Madison gets to spout lines like “crown me or kiss my ass.” Still, all of the cast hold up their end of the bargain, with a typically fantastic Myrtle Snow turn from Frances Conroy, another strong outing for Sarah Paulson’s Delia, Lily Rabe giving some further great Misty Day moments, several layers on show from Sidibe's Queenie, and even actually something to do for the artist formerly known as Franken-Kyle.

All in all, The Seven Wonders gives us humour, playfulness, consequence (as in certain people actually seem to stay dead for once) and closure. A new dawn has begun for the Salem witches, and it was a pleasure to have been along for the ride. Coven is done, and it went out with an effective, if not tad predictable, finish. Even then, though, it does have you guessing right up until its closing scene. Now it’s a case of seeing which cast members will be brought back for the already-confirmed fourth season of American Horror Story.

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Comments  

 
0 #13 Andrew Pollard 2014-02-03 22:19
Yeah, turns out quite a lot of people aren't Stevie Nicks fans and found it all a tad out of place. Bah!
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0 #12 Belle renarde 2014-02-03 20:15
I've been following American Horror story since the very beginning, but this season kind of lost me on a few bits. I felt sometimes like it was a kind of "Charmed"episode, with the teens plots. Also, find it weird that Marie Laveau almost got killed by Hank (isn't she supposed to be one of the strongest witches), same goes on for a few other witches, but I will avoid spoilers.
I got pretty quickly who would be the next supreme.
AND I HATED STEVIE NICKS!!!

There were some amazing parts, like SPalding, Katie Bates, and also Frances Conroy, as always, is a gem of an actress. Her Myrtle is an incredibly strong character, and she would have been worth being a supreme!
The locations were amazing as always, and sometimes, I enjoyed some great director of photography moments. Visually stunning on some bits!
I was surprised by the last Fiona bit with Cordelia, but it was a bit cheesy (and somehow very similar to the ending of Asylum).
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0 #11 Dwankie Dave 2014-02-03 20:07
This was the first season of American Horror Story I've seen, and overall quite enjoyed it.

I'm afraid, Andrew, that Stevie Nicks was the low light of the series for me. The episode where she sang at the piano made me physically cringe.

The whole series looked fantastic, with some great charcters and genuinely horrific scenes (I will never recover from the pot of bubbling pearl jam in one of the early episodes).

I look forward to watching the first two seasons now (as well as reading Mr Mount burn this one at the proverbial stake).
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0 #10 Andrew Pollard 2014-02-02 00:43
In fairness, that's quite the good point, sir. There was a fair amount of gore sploshed over the series but that doesn't necessarily mean horror. There was quite a lot of tension and creepy goings on, but that's a very valid point.

I'd totally agree in the first season being the one to beat, though. Wandering and scatter-shot is half of the charm, surely?
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0 #9 Andrew Pollard 2014-02-02 00:40
I could actually see it, although not sure how Myrtle stands on the whole Van Damme thing. I'm pretty sure a pop quiz on Universal Soldier wasn't part of the Seven Wonders ;)

Quoting Shauna:
I loved Coven!

When I grow up I want to be Myrtle Snow. I always did want to be a witch when I was a kid :)
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0 #8 Paul Mount 2014-02-01 17:07
Quoting Andrew Pollard:
Looking forward to reading that, then. I really enjoyed it, particularly Bassett, Lange, Bates, Rabe and Conroy.



Quoting Paul Mount:
Quoting Andrew Pollard:
Quoting Paul Mount:
I can only disagree...as you will see in next month's issue.


Ouch. Is that just the finale or the season in general? I can understand some may feel the finale opening felt out of place and that the conclusion was just a tad predictable, but I really dug it.


The whole season, I'm afraid. Haven't seen the finale yet...


It's a fantastic cast, undoubedtly, but the material has been so ropey; unfocussed, wandering, scattershot and, oddly for a 'horror' series. not even remotely scary. The first series is still the one to beat.
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0 #7 Shauna 2014-02-01 16:24
I loved Coven!

When I grow up I want to be Myrtle Snow. I always did want to be a witch when I was a kid :)
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0 #6 Andrew Pollard 2014-01-31 14:10
Looking forward to reading that, then. I really enjoyed it, particularly Bassett, Lange, Bates, Rabe and Conroy.



Quoting Paul Mount:
Quoting Andrew Pollard:
Quoting Paul Mount:
I can only disagree...as you will see in next month's issue.


Ouch. Is that just the finale or the season in general? I can understand some may feel the finale opening felt out of place and that the conclusion was just a tad predictable, but I really dug it.


The whole season, I'm afraid. Haven't seen the finale yet...
Quote
 
 
0 #5 Paul Mount 2014-01-31 00:09
Quoting Andrew Pollard:
Quoting Paul Mount:
I can only disagree...as you will see in next month's issue.


Ouch. Is that just the finale or the season in general? I can understand some may feel the finale opening felt out of place and that the conclusion was just a tad predictable, but I really dug it.


The whole season, I'm afraid. Haven't seen the finale yet...
Quote
 
 
0 #4 Andrew Pollard 2014-01-30 22:26
Quoting Paul Mount:
I can only disagree...as you will see in next month's issue.


Ouch. Is that just the finale or the season in general? I can understand some may feel the finale opening felt out of place and that the conclusion was just a tad predictable, but I really dug it.
Quote
 
 
0 #3 Paul Mount 2014-01-30 21:46
I can only disagree...as you will see in next month's issue.
Quote
 
 
0 #2 Andrew Pollard 2014-01-30 21:34
Yeah, it was a great season all-in-all. Personal favourite? Mine'd be Lily Rabe's Misty Day, although I just wished she'd have had a bit more screen-time throughout. Like you said, though, everyone was brilliant throughout. Myrtle Snow was definitely gold.
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+1 #1 Ian Rousseaux 2014-01-30 18:32
I think this entire season of AHS was fantastic,I really enjoyed all of the performances from everyone.Frances Conroy as Myrtle was my favorite
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