American Horror Story – Season 3 (Coven) Review

Al the drama and excitement for all the witches at Madame Robichaux’s Academy has finally died down after a tumultuous season. Fiona has finally passed away and Cordelia has not only gotten the school back on track, but has claimed her rightful place as Supreme of the Coven. The lack of witches in the Coven is no longer an issue as the coven came out of the closet per say and there’s an entire new crowd of witches to bolster their forces.

The Coven

The Coven

Every season has a major theme. I’ll admit I could never really figure out season one’s theme, but then again I never thought too hard about it. Season two was all about redemption and its cost. Season three however, toyed with desire for power by way of ressurection. Time and time again throughout the season we saw characters die, only to be brought back to life. It reached a point where I didn’t think anyone could die. Even in the last episode, people were ressurected. How they choose who lived an died also didn’t make sense (Misty should have stayed in her swamp). It was the power that each of the women in the coven sought that drove them. All of the women wanted to be supreme and they were willing to kill others just to prove themselves. It was pretty heartless and proof they didn’t work well as a team. One could chalk it up to the bad eggs of Fiona and Madison encouraging this behavior, but all of them (aside from Cordelia) were aggressive in asserting themselves.

As always, one of the big bads of the season was Jessica Lange’s Fiona. She played her like the absolutely soulless character that the former supreme was. It was great seeing her scheme as she tried to prolong her tenure as supreme. She would have done anything to stay young, to stay in power. That internal battle and what she was willing to do was phenomenal. We couldn’t talk about the antagonists without mentioning Angela Basset as Marie Laveau. As the immortal voodoo queen of New Orleans she brought the most threat to the coven. At one point, she even sicced a horde of zombies on the women of the coven.

The season started with each girl having unique powers and it felt very much like an odd X-Men sort of set up. However, we quickly learned that the witches all seemed to have similar powers. Not only that, but what started as a season about Zoe and the girls she was now living and learning with, transformed into the Fiona show. All for the good of the coven. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough likeable characters to root for. And the plot lines seemed to sway with the wind. It didn’t feel linear, but individual adventures. Thankfully, it was all framed within the goal of discovering the new supreme. The many plot lines did detract from the search for the supreme as we were constantly reminded that the girls all desperately wanted the coveted role. Having a singular goal was a big difference from the previous seasons, but they didn’t seem to know how to properly leverage that focus. The result was a meandering season that lost its steam early on.

Loose Ends

Marie Laveau

Marie Laveau

Previous seasons of American Horror Story have left the audience really wondering what happened next. In season 1, we never learned what really happened with the demon baby. Did he grow up to be some sort of devil on earth? In season 2, we never eally got any understanding of why there were aliens or why they wanted to make Kit’s life hell. This season, all the loose ends were neatly tied up. Sure, any number of adventures could happen for the coven in the future, but the story we were presented actually finished and we got some sort of closure on everything that was introduced. That was a relief for a change. Nothing is more frustrating than something that is emphasized and remains confusing being left open ended. It’s a large part of why books leave massive dents in walls, and video game controllers have chips in them from hitting the ground. Coven tied everything up and for that I thank them.

Where the show will go next
Like every year, we will get a brand new story next year. Which means, if you absolutely hated Coven, you can still come back next year for a new story. Every year the stories have pushed into new territory. Coven’s season eschewed typical horror and instead was more of a look at the horrors of real people with supernatural elements. Nothing was particularly scary this season and there isn’t anything wrong with that. However, it would be nice next season to jump back into the truly terrifying and grotesque moments that came in the first and second season. There is something about delivering weekly horrors that is thrilling.

American Horror Story will return this fall with its fourth season. What did you think of the season? What was your favorite moment?

For images from the first season follow the link.

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