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Putting The Ken In Frankenstein: What We Learned From Last Night's 'American Horror Story: Coven'

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 17, 2013 | Comments ()


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Really? Precious Works In A Fried Chicken Joint? Really?: Those of you who had a problem with the stereotypes associated with Gabourey Sidibe’s character Queenie were probably none too pleased that she worked in a fried chicken joint. Okay, but you can’t be disappointed in her fricasseeing a customer’s arm. Not if you’ve worked in customer service. Also, I so appreciated this line. This line is classic Ryan Murphy.
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Bun In The Coven: Where, exactly, was Cordelia keeping her super cute DTF w/ snakes husband? Did anyone else get confused and think this was a flashback? Did I miss him last week? Does she keep him in her cupboard with her spare brooms until she needs someone to escort her to the OBGYN and freaky bone a baby into her? Well mission accomplished. What would a season of American Horror Story be without a terribly upsetting pregnancy plot? We’ve already had a ghost baby and an alien baby. Are we finally getting one of the Rosemary variety?
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Do NOT Damage Nan’s Calm: Okay this screenshot is from last week but I love Jamie Brewer’s facial expression here much too much. Also, we can all relate to Nan’s frustration at being bothered during her reading time. Madame LaLaurie is such an inconsiderate, undead, racist, sadistic, house guest. Just rude.
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Creepy Nicks: We AHS vets were pretty confident that we hadn’t seen the last of old Misty Day. Lily Rabe is much too precious to waste. But I’m afraid the fire done scrambled her eggs. Or maybe she was always like that. At any rate, I could watch her re-animate crocodile and boy toys to the strains of Fleetwood Mac all day. ALL DAY. Anyone get a sapphic vibe from her fixation on Zoe? Or was it just further evidence of the cajun-style scramble that is her brains? Also, did she apparate into the back of that car? Is she technically a really groovy ghost?
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Don’t Call It A Zom-Com: Oh, ladies, I hope you remembered to sew on that important missing part. Then again, given Zoe’s black widow status, maybe it’s best not to tempt her with the complete package. Or, as we speculated last week, is boinking this undead, Franken-boy her best shot at happiness? It looks like Misty’s poo-poultice might even heal up his stitching. Which is too bad. Apparent seams are so in this season.
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Sabrina The Teenage Cracker: Who’s number one on your “I can’t wait to see her die in a gruesome way” list? Is it Madison here? I know, I should still be feeling protective of her after last week’s events, but she’s awfully hard to love.
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Good Black Don’t Crack: AHHHHHHH ANGELA BASSETT. Go ahead, slip into that catsuit and we’ll see how good YOU look. She is a freaking revelation. Glorious. Gorgeous. I wasn’t entirely following this scene, though, on account of all the drool. Was she saying that The Witches (All white witches? The legacy of New Orleans white witches?) got much of their power and knowledge from a single voodoo “slave girl” they imprisoned? Does that sound right? It felt like they were talking about something we should already understand and while I appreciate when a show doesn’t treat me like an idiot, I had a little trouble with this one. Anyway. Hammer? Meet well-manicured nail.
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This Year’s Rubber Man: Our very own Courtney brought up the excellent point last week that Marie Laveau seems to have a lot of power. Couldn’t she un-bull her beau after she took care of Madame LaLaurie? Why did she keep him Minotaur’d? Listen, I think both you and the United States Government should stay out of Marie Laveau’s bedroom. What she does with her freaky, immortal half-man behind closed doors is her business. Not yours.
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Maybe The Best Gone With The Wind Reference Known To Mankind: Though Bassett gave them a run for their money, these two are still the MVPs of this show. I crown them queen and queen of the batsh*t prom. When Fiona called Madame LaLaurie “Miss Pittypat” I just about lost it. Not to mention unsympathetic fried chicken bites and pretty much unprovoked candlestick clubbings. The only thing Queenie was guilty of was Sassing While Black.
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So give it up for this show which allows these two women of a certain age (three, let’s say three and include the ageless Bassett) to gnaw on every stick of scenery in the French Quarter.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • axis2clusterB

    I've never seen Emma Roberts this good in anything - probably because she's essentially playing herself. Also, Evan Peters needs to be in all the things.

  • Anna von Beav

    Am I the only one who thought Zoe + Kyle = Hansel & Gretel and Creepy Nicks (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA that's amazing by the way) is going to wind up in an oven by the end of the season?

  • OJ Simpson

    Ryan Murphy's the worst person News Corp has ever associated themselves with.

    Thank fuck.

  • e jerry powell

    Worse than Bill O'Reilly? Worse than Gretchen Carlson? Worse than Tucker Carlson?

  • e jerry powell

    What else I saw:

  • e jerry powell

    I burned up what little wit I had on the AV Club Coven thread, but I will say this much:

    Two meaningful parallels that most reviewers missed are Popeye's chicken (Queenie worked there, Marie's stylists can't seem to keep the empty Popeye's boxes away from their work stations) and TITUBA (the slave witch of legend that Arthur Miller made much of in The Crucible, from whom Queenie is descended somehow, and whose history Marie cites in her "discussion" with Fiona). At least one of those items is likely to become a thing, because WHY BRING THEM BOTH UP TWICE?

    Also, I gots the good black, and I will never crack. From BOTH sides. Nothing but beautiful black people in my family. Even my biracial nieces.

  • Sean

    "Anyone get a sapphic vibe from her fixation on Zoe? " We can always hope.

  • e jerry powell

    Oh, everybody.

  • letsspoon

    Fun Fact: the "Minotaur Man" is actually listed as MANOTAUR in the credits. Too good.

  • robbermaiden

    A) I love that.
    (but)
    B) Isn't a Minotaur already a man with a bull head? Redundancy? meh.

  • dizzylucy

    Wait, that wasn't a flashback with her husband? I could have sworn it was, but I probably wasn't paying close attention.
    I'm sure this show will go off the rails (in a bad way) but right now I'm just enjoying the amazing cast. Bassett/Lange/Bates/Paulson are amazing.

  • LaineyBobainey

    I thought it was a flashback, too! I don't know WHY I think this, but I felt very strongly that it was.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I, too, was confused by the witch lineage thing. If black witches gave the white witches their power, then how is it genetically passed down.
    That said, I'm willing to believe whatever Angela Bassett says, because clearly she's some type of immortal goddess with that body and face.

    I was also confused about Emma Robert's ability to move objects. Couldn't she just open the door to the morgue? Did she have to pick a lock?

    Violet needs to grow a personality. She's in love with a boy she knew for 4 minutes (who she's sure is a wonderful person based on two interactions and the fact that he didn't participate in a gang rape. She's so guilty, that she follows Emma Roberts on another ill advised adventure, because...reasons?
    And a slight nitpick: I HATE when Frankenstein creatures are sewn together like that. How on earth can he move without connective muscle tissue and reconnecting synapes? I know, magic, but if that's the case, why bother sewing him together? Couldn't the magic cover that?
    Also, 'A's in math be damned, my Queenie uncomfortable level increases again this week. Fried Chicken? She's a watermelon and head scarf away from sending me into a white guilt shame spiral for watching this show. Again, I understand subverting the tropes, but so far, it's just straight up stereotyping.

  • e jerry powell

    It's not so much that the witches stole the powers, the white witches stole the secrets.

    At the same time, however, Catholics were burning witches in Europe as far back as, what, the fifteenth century? So the secrets weren't necessarily stolen from Tituba.

    And sometimes the fried chicken is good enough to cut a bitch over. I'd rather cut a bitch over sushi, but I can still relate.

  • Did she have to pick a lock?

    No fine control. Flip a bus, not a problem.

    Couldn't the magic cover that?

    Incantations while sewing. The intermediate steps are important.
    ~~~

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I guess you're right, I just figured a girl like her would just blow the door open and not care.

  • I watch this show with a Joker-like grin on my face every week. It's just so fantastic. Emma Roberts plays a fantastic asshole. And I definitely picked up on a sapphic vibe from Creepy Nicks.

  • Creepy Nicks.

    Stealing this.

  • ZizoAH

    I think it's genius that they basically made Madison (Emma Roberts' Character) just a Lindsay Lohan but with powers. Awesome.

    Oh and yeah, Lange, Bates, and Basset RULE.

    I need more Frances Conroy.

  • Sean

    ACtually, they made Emma Roberts character just like Emma Roberts. Much easier for her.

  • rio

    I watched the first and the second episodes yesterday and as usual Ryan Murphy sociopathic nature comes thru, did he really give black albino guards to the witches???? It's like making a fucking show where the nazis are the heroes and then fucking give them jews guards (oh crap, did I just gave him an idea?) like seriously man? can you fucking not?
    Also yeah Queenie works at a fried chicken joint but she's good at math!!! Dont you see how totally he flipped the stereotype on his head? he's such a genius, seriously Murphy, fuck you, you know what we call people that just say offensive things for the sake of saying them without anything else to offer to the conversation, on the internet? fucking trolls, you are just a troll with great cinematography and Jessica Lange. And of course I will be watching, cause I like my blood pressure high and I kinda miss Pookie.

  • kilmo

    Seriously. Please take down the spoiler header pics. It's super annoying, plus I don't wanna see my precious Evan Peters like that!!!!

    Also now I know not watch this episode while eating, GAH!

  • Mentalcase

    How about just plan your meals for the 23 hours you won't be watching AHS that day? That's how I do.

  • Sherry

    I agree, I'm also confused as to the continued existence of Minotaur man. I think (I believe, at least) that LaLaurie was just evil and didn't have any magical powers, so in theory, other than sewing the head onto him, I don't think she could have done anything that Laveau couldn't have undone. So any theories as to why she's obviously made him immortal but left him in monster state? I find myself obsessing over this poor man's fate simply because it is so utterly gruesome...

  • RAS

    I think that Marie LaVeau was referring to Tituba, the slave who was the
    first accused witch in Salem. I'm pretty sure I heard her say this
    mystical ancestor was an Arawak indian, and according to Wikipedia,
    Tituba may in fact have been from the West Indies
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.... It was actually the second
    reference to her in the episode, the first being Queenie's assertion
    that she was descended from Tituba. I think they are setting up a story
    that follows the conflict between these two lines of descent (Voodoo
    practitioners and witches) from a single ancestor.

  • e jerry powell

    I'm glad somebody else noticed it. I was beginning to think I was crazy.

    Wait, I am crazy. But maybe the voices in my head convinced me I heard it.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Oh thank you! Of course! For some reason (because they kept talking about Voodoo?) I didn't connect it to Salem or Queenie's earlier comment.

  • Jim

    As well, Queenie's gift is closer to "sympathetic magic" than the others - applying magic to something (herself) to affect something else (the dickweed that tried to game her for a piece of damn chicken.)

  • RAS

    It's a really interesting take! Can't wait to see where they go with it. I'm fascinated by the history of Salem, since I'm from the area and had a great-something grandmother who was one of the last accused (Sarah Towne Cloyce, who was eventually acquitted), and the reference almost slipped by me.

  • Robert

    You know damn well Ryan Murphy intentionally put Gabby back in a fried chicken joint. You know it. He's nothing without random pop culture references. Small consolation that she's a wiz at calculus? No?

    And I knew she was in trouble with Kathy Bates running around in that role. How long till Queenie gets it for good? Two episodes? Three? How many episodes did Chloe Sevigny get last season?

  • JoannaRobinson

    Are you counting the episodes where she was just pustule-covered stumps?

  • e jerry powell

    You make it sound like method acting.

  • Jezzer

    Pustule-covered stumps would probably be the best outcome after dating Vincent Gallo.

  • Slash

    Also, just because Mme Monster is immortal (supposedly) doesn't mean you can't punch her in the face. I want Queenie to punch her in every episode.

  • e jerry powell

    On the eights, just like weather reoprts.

  • Slash

    Angela Bassett, holy shit, yes. I texted as much to my sister yesterday. We both marvel at her. And of course the continuing greatness that is Jessica Lange. And now of course Kathy Bates, who is so effing scary. I'm sure she's a lovely person IRL, but in this show, she is a monster. I both want her character to die horribly and I want her to continue to entertain me.

  • e jerry powell

    It's gonna take something horrible to kill her at this point, that's for damn sure.

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