Building on the sturdy foundations of last week’s return, America Horror Story: Coven looks to slowly peel back its secrets for its audience. As last week’s episode ended with Jessica Lange’s Fiona digging up Kathy Bates’ Madame LaLaurie, this week we get to see the two scene-chewing superpowers interact on a regular basis. Whilst Fiona is busy bringing her apparent ‘back from the grave’ chum up to speed with all things modern-day, we begin to get further insights into the past of several of the film’s other key players.
First up, Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie gets a nice little flashback to give us another look at her powers, although you end up feeling a little short-changed. The scene itself is great, but that’s all you get. As ever with American Horror Story, it’s just a brief tease, as the show looks to ease you in gently, giving enough to pique your interest. There’s also further insight into Sarah Paulson’s Delia as she struggles with her inability to get pregnant. Let’s just say, that particular story arc goes to a slightly messy place, which doesn’t bode well for the future.
Again sticking with the furthering theme, we get to see a lot more of Angela Bassett’s Marie here. With her curse on Madame LaLaurie fully revealed, Marie gets a hefty chunk of screen time in more ways than one. In fact, Marie, LaLaurie and Fiona dish out some fantastically snappy one-liners. Lines like “I’m in charge everywhere,” “I’ll turn your brains to scrambled eggs,” “I couldn’t toast a piece of bread with the heat they were putting on you,” and “Sabrina, The Teenage Cracker” are all gold. That said the last one is given to Sidibe’s Queenie. Regardless of who says it, the majority of Coven’s dialogue is crisp, polished and super-snappy, particularly when it comes to the increasingly holy triumvirate of Bates, Bassett and Lange.
Whilst the elder cast members are battling each other for scene-stealing props, some of the younger cast find themselves in an almost Weird Science, Frankenstein and Ready, Steady, Cook hybrid. Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe and Emma Robert’s still-pouty Madison start to come out of their shells a little, particularly Zoe, although their scenes still feel a little too Dawson’s Creek for my liking at times. I’m not saying those bits are bad – far from it – but maybe it doesn’t help when the scenes that involve the likes of Bates, Bassett and Lange are so utterly brilliant. Adding to that brilliance is the increase in screen time for Lily Rabe’s Misty Day, who is equally as stunning as she is mysterious, not to mention being a Stevie Nicks fan to boot and taking a nice little swipe at American Idol.
This new episode manages to give us a further glimpse into years gone by and to the true characteristics and capabilities of the show's principal cast, all accompanied by perfectly fitting musical scores and numbers, not to mention electric dialogue. We can only hope that this standard persists.