This past week, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s over-the-top supernatural, divalicious camp-fest American Horror Story: Coven came to a close. While there are much better television shows on the air right now, there are few as consistently entertaining or as outright insane as this one was on a weekly basis. This show knows no limits, and has zero concern about keeping within the boundaries of good taste… and we’re all the better for it.
American Horror Story this season concerned itself with the witches of Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, and the ongoing question of which girl would end up with the title and responsibility of being named “The Supreme” – the most powerful witch among witches. The following list is filled with massive SPOILERS for the whole season, so if you haven’t caught up yet, or still plan to watch on Netflix or DVD at some point, I suggest you do that and come back later. With that in mind, here are but thirteen of the most whacked-out crazy moments from the last season of American Horror Story: Coven.
1. Queenie Masturbates In Front of a Minotaur
So let’s say you’re a powerful witch trapped in a mansion, and there’s a killer Minotaur outside that only wants to get in and kill everyone inside. What do you do? Do you barricade yourself in and board up the windows? Do you use your access to various magic books in the house and cast a protective spell around the home? Well, if you’re Queenie, played by Precious actress Gabourey Sidibe, you go outside and decide to masturbate in front of said Minotaur, in the hopes that he… decides to make love to you and doesn’t kill everyone inside? I have no idea what the thinking behind this was, but it was one of the most bat-shit crazy moments on a generally bat-shit crazy show, and kind of the reason we all watch this show in the first place.
2. Luke Gets A Bleach Enema
Poor cute, innocent Luke Ramsey. Played by adorable actor Alexander Dreymon, Luke was the wholesome hottie that moved in next door to the Academy for Gifted Young Ladies. His mother Joan, played by Broadway legend Patti LuPone, was a crazy Christian fundamentalist type in the vein of Piper Laurie in Brian de Palma’s Carrie. (Tip to Ryan Murphy: Next season needs more Patti.) So Luke becomes friendly with the witches next door, or as his mother calls them, “the dark-sided devil girls,” and as punishment his crazy-ass mom decides he needs to be cleaned “inside and out” for his impure thoughts and proceeds to give him a bleach enema. The truly effed up part is… he didn’t really seem to fight her on it much. Eww. For more twisted and sick mother and son dynamics, see entry #6.
3. Madame LaLaurie’s Chamber of Horrors
For a show with the word “horror” in the title, let’s be honest here, American Horror Story isn’t usually particularly horrific. And this season was maybe the least horrific. One character that very much earned the “horror” in the title, though, was Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, played by the amazing Kathy Bates. LaLaurie is based on a real historical figure, a woman from the 19th century so depraved she tortured and killed dozens (possibly hundreds) of her own slaves in her own home’s attic chamber of horrors. In the first episode of Coven, we see her brutality on full display, and let me tell ya, it’s some nasty stuff: faces ripped off, mouths sewn shut, you name it.
4. Queenie Forces The Disembodied (But Living!) Head of Madame LaLaurie To Watch Roots
So Madame Delphine LaLaurie is the his horrible racist mass murderer from the 19th century (see above entry), who was given immortality and shoved in a box underground for all eternity to live forever and pay for her many sins. But she’s awoken in modern times, and even though she’s eventually chopped up into parts, she can’t die, so she’s just a disembodied talking head. At one point, to teach Delphine a thing or two about tolerance, Queenie decides to take the decapitated head and plop in front of the television and make it watch hours of programming about the civil rights movement, the classic mini-series about American slavery Roots, and the less classic Roots II: The Next Generation. Again, this is the kind of bat-shit crazy stuff that can only happen on American Horror Story, which is we love it so.
5. Spalding Cuts Out His Own Tongue
Spalding, played by Denis O’Hare of True Blood and Dallas Buyers Club fame, is the silent butler of the Academy, kind of a cross between Riff-Raff from Rocky Horror and Channing the butler from John Waters’ Pink Flamingos. The reason he is silent, it turns out, is because as a young man, to protect his beloved Fiona Goode, he cuts out his own tongue. In a flashback to the seventies, we see how Fiona killed the former Supreme and took her place, and Spalding (who is obsessed with her) helped her cover it up. To ensure that his tongue can’t be enchanted to speak the truth about what he saw… he cuts it out in front of Fiona, and it’s pretty nasty.
6. Frankenkyle Kills His Molesty Mom
Kyle, played by future Quicksilver Evan Peters, had the bad fortune to be in a bus full of rapist frat bros when witch Madison Montgomery decided to flip the bus over and kill everyone inside, Carrie White style (they had roofied and raped her earlier, Kyle being the only decent one among them who tried to stop it.) She decides to put Kyle back together, Frankenstein style, with different body parts of his fellow dead frat brothers. Needless to say, he comes back kind of… wrong. And a little slow, and prone to banging his head against things.
So young witch Zoe decides, in the kind of decision making that only people on this show tend to make, that taking him home to his mom in this state and just dropping him off on the porch is a good idea. Well, Frankenkyle’s mom is a white trash crack head (played by Mare Winningham; Remember her?) who it turns out, had a sick incesty relationship with her son after his daddy ran out on them. So when the bumbling stitched together corpse of her son comes home, her first instinct is to get all molesty on him. This time though, Frankenkyle takes an old high school trophy and bludgeons his mom with it. Can’t say I blame him.
7. Cordelia Gouges Her Own Eyes Out
Cordelia Fox (God, I love the names people have on this show) is the headmistress of Miss Robichaux’s Academy, and the daughter of the Supreme Witch, Fiona Goode. Cordelia is loyal and dedicated, but kind of sucks at her job, and doesn’t seem very powerful as a witch. When Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s fellow witches throw acid in her face and blind her, Cordelia gains the power of second sight as a response to losing her first sight. When she gets her sight back, she loses her powers and is useless once again. So, after thinking about it carefully for about fifteen minutes, Cordelia decides to blind herself again, by jabbing her eyes and gouging them out with gardening tools. It’s pretty gross to look at afterwards. This, of course, being American Horror Story, she gets her sight back again by the end. ‘Cause magic.
8. Misty Makes Alligators Eat Rednecks
So the show’s resident bayou swamp witch, Misty Day (did I mention how much I love the character’s names on this show?), has the “power of resurgence” – in other words, she can resurrect the dead, a trick this show would employ a lot. Early in the series, while still living in her swamp shack and listening to her old Steve Nicks 8-tracks, Misty comes upon a bunch of alligator hunting rednecks. So naturally, Misty brings the alligators they killed back to life to kill the hunters, all to the tune of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen.” This is what we call television bliss. At least this is what you call it if you’re me.
9. Stevie Nicks Shows Up For No Real Reason
So, hippy swamp witch Misty Day is like, totally obsessed with Rock Goddess Stevie Nicks, aka “The White Witch.” She emulates her by wearing shawls and platform boots and doing lots of spins around the room. At one point, Fiona Goode actually calls Stevie to come to the Academy, perform her Fleetwood Mac classic “Rhiannon” for Misty, and then more or less vanish from the episode. But the real WTF moment happens in the cold opening of the final episode, where Stevie shows up on the girl’s big day of having to perform the “Seven Wonders,” a task a witch must perform to determine who is the Supreme witch of all witches. So Stevie shows up in the pre-credits sequence of the episode, lip syncs her song “Seven Wonders” (badly), wishes the girls good luck, and then vanishes. A show with any amount of subtlety or tact would never do anything as crass as this kind of cheesy stunt casting. Thank the Goddess American Horror Story isn’t that show.
10. Everything Jessica Lange Says Or Does
Despite a treasure trove of amazing actresses in the show like Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy, and more, the show’s MVP since season one has been, without a doubt, Jessica Lange. She has so many amazing moments in this show, especially this season as the vain and cunning Supreme Witch Fiona Goode, that it’s impossible to pinpoint just one as her best. From murdering young Madison Montgomery (her potential replacement as Supreme) and letting her bleed out on the carpet (“This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme…it needs a new rug”) to commenting on the dead frat boy rapists (“no one’s gonna miss a bunch of assholes in Ed Hardy t-shirts”), the best, most venomous one-liners are given to, and delivered with effortless style by, Ms. Lange. Next season of American Horror Story is said to be her last, and I don’t envy Ryan Murphy on finding a suitable replacement. I say double her salary and do anything to get her to stay.
11. Fiona Goode and Marie Drown A Special Needs Girl And Offer Her Soul To A Voodoo God
If you would have told me ten years ago that one day there would be a television show where Oscar nominees Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett jointly murder a girl with Down Syndrome by drowning her in the bathtub, and then offer her soul up to a Voodoo God, I would have said you were nuts. Luckily for all of us, that show is real now and is called American Horror Story: Coven, and it airs on FX.
12. Delphine LaLaurie Is Forced To Confront A Racially Balanced Future
Brought out into the 21st Century by Supreme witch Fiona, who seeks to discover the secret to her immortality, Madame Delphine LaLaurie is forced to be her maid in the Academy, and even makes her watch television to catch up on the 150 years or so she missed. When wildly racist Delphine sees we have a black President of the United States, she begins to cry and cry. Fiona tells her that not only do we have a black president, but we’ve also had Secretaries of State, Supreme Court justices, and even the Poet Laureate. Delphine hisses “Lieeees!!” to all this, in maybe my favorite acting moment from Kathy Bates during the whole season.
13. Myrtle Snow’s Death Cry
The final true WTF moment of American Horror Story: Coven comes from the show’s most undervalued, but still amazing, asset – actress Frances Conroy, who played eccentric witch Myrtle Snow. Myrtle had bright red frizzy hair, cat glasses and an obsession with fashion. So when is was time to pay for crime of killing fellow witches by burning at the stake in the season finale, when asked if she had any last words, she said she had only one… and screamed out the name of legendary French fashion house “BALENCIAGAAAAA!!!” as she burned to death. Only on this show.