With The Sacred Taking leading us towards American Horror Story: Coven’s mid-season finale, chances are you were expecting something explosive here. From the episode’s opening, showing Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) ripping the still-beating heart from a hobo’s chest, viewers are treated to an aggressive, dark and brooding outing for the Coven girls.
As well as Queenie’s new affinity to Marie (Angela Bassett) and the powers of voodoo, we’re given severe dissension in the ranks of the Coven household, as Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) launches a plan to dispatch her mother, Fiona (Jessica Lange); there seems to be an underlying tension within the bizarre love triangle involving Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), Madison (Emma Roberts), and FrankenKyle (Evan Peters); Nan (Jamie Brewer) is struggling to convince anybody that she could possibly be the next Supreme; Misty Day (Lily Rabe) arriving at the Coven household promises to push the reveal of the next Supreme along nicely; and, as ever, those that are dead fail to stay that way for long... although Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) can only wish that death will come for her.
The theme of the day for The Sacred Taking is very much turmoil and war. As Queenie herself states early on, a war is coming. The bigger picture would have you believe that this war will be between the Salem witches of the Coven house and the voodoo believers of Marie. Here, though, that particular war is played down a little, with the actions of Cordelia and her witches taking centre-stage during this mid-season finale.
Coven has a vast array of characters, and part of the series’ charm is that it successfully juggles its pack with each passing episode. This time out, it’s Marie who takes a backseat for the most part, and we’re also only given fleeting moments with Danny Huston’s Axeman. Still, it’s a joy to see more of Rabe’s Misty Day, not to mention getting to spend a little more time with some of the supporting cast, such as the Coven household’s Bible-pounding neighbour. Oh, and could that possibly by Josh Hamilton’s Hank towards the end of the episode?
Another great episode of Coven that, to paraphrase his Dudeness, really tied the series together. We’re left wanting more, just when the show is nearly at its mid-season break. Lange is brilliant again here, with her Fiona seemingly descending into madness and questioning everything around her. Lily Rabe is great as the Steve Nicks-inspired swamp witch, Misty, whilst we also get to see a tougher, almost disciple-like facet to Sidibe’s Queenie, yet she still appears to have a softer side at certain points. And whilst I did say that Angela Bassett’s Marie takes a backseat here, her appearance in the episode’s last ten minutes will have you gasping for air.
And with that, The Sacred Taking pushes us towards Coven’s mid-season finale. After this episode, there are questions and possibilities aplenty, and I’d expect nothing more than an extravaganza next week to see off the show in style for its winter break.