American Horror Story: Coven review – 3×12: ‘Go To Hell’

Courtesy of FX

It’s nearly time for the witch b*tches to perform the Seven Wonders test. Before that can happen, we need to get rid of the dead (read: old) weight.

Let’s bitch it out…Huh, well I can honestly say that I was not expecting American Horror Story: Coven to do away with the majority of its adult cast so brazenly in the second last episode of the season. I reserve the right to come back and suggest it was a bad idea next week, but for now, I think it’s kind of exciting to kill off (or remove) the best actors in the cast. Whether or not the remaining youngsters rise to the occasion in next week’s finale should be interesting.

Instead of writing a straightforward analysis of ‘Go To Hell’, allow me to posit a theory instead: I don’t think that Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) is dead. Oh sure we see an extended section in which she and the Axeman (Danny Huston) chew the scenery before he gives it to her in the back five or six times, but I think that it’s all a ruse. Several of the seven tests outlined at the top of the hour in that absolutely delightful parody of old black and white silent films would allow Fiona to disguise herself (concilium – mind control, vitalum vitalis – exchanging life force). What if it’s actually Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) who is dead – killed by the Axeman when she tells him that Fiona will leave him – and Fiona has taken her place as the coven’s unofficial leader?

Think about it: Fiona tells Queenie (Gabourey Sibide) about the tests and the danger in the opening scene. She also tells the girl that Queenie will take the tests shortly. At the end of the hour, as the remarkably terrible portrait of Fiona is being hung, Cordelia insists that all of the girls will undergo the tests to discover who is the next Supreme. The likelihood is that at least a few of them will perish and no matter who dies, the identity of the Supreme will be revealed. If Fiona is hidden in plain sight, she’ll be in the perfect position to eliminate her successor, which has been her plan for the majority of the season.

Obviously my theory is highly suspect since we’ve never seen someone disguise themselves to look like someone else. Then again we also haven’t seen anyone descend to hell before tonight, so anything is possible (this is Coven after all). One last piece of evidenciary support is that opening video: if the tests won’t be performed until next week, then why is the video included tonight? I argue that it’s there to let us know that Fiona isn’t dead. Mark my words: Jessica Lange will be back next week (and not in flashback).

Courtesy of FX

Other Observations:

  • As predicted everyone (including Lily Rabe’s Misty, Evan Peters’ Kyle and Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe) returns. Misty is successfully rescued by Queenie and Zoe drags poor Kyle back because she thinks she’s the Supreme after resuscitating a dead man. So…same old, same old?
  • Interestingly Cordelia reveals that the increase in everyone’s powers is a correlation with times of crisis, which also explains Madison’s (Emma Roberts) and Nan’s burgeoning powers in recent weeks.
  • What should we read into the fact that Myrtle (Frances Conroy) fails to appear in Cordelia’s vision of death at Robichaux?
  • Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how beautifully cinematic both of Cordelia’s visions are, particularly the Robichaux one which is filmed as a gorgeous tracking long take by director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. This man is so integral to AHS‘s signature visual style, I hope he gets his due like some of the directors of Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad have.
  • I will confess that I really, really enjoyed the scene when Misty beats the ever-loving crap out of Madison. I love girlfights in general and Madison has had it coming for quite some time.
  • There isn’t a lot of love in my heart for the Axeman, but I don’t know if he deserved to go out in such a stabby, gory fashion. Kudos to the sounds FX guy because those knife wounds sounded disgustingly realistic.
  • Let’s address the only remaining significant plot point: Delphine (Kathy Bates) and LaLaveau (Angela Bassett) end up in their own personal hell together, forced by Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) to torture each other for eternity. It’s a fitting, but mildly underwhelming end for the women (I’m assuming that this is the last we’ll see of them). As much as I’ve loved Bassett’s line delivery, I don’t think either actress has had an overly memorable role this season. Bates in particular has been criminally misused. I’m quite surprised that she’s coming back for another year.
  • Finally, hell is apparently being stuck in a long, unmoving line for Chubbie’s greasy-looking fried chicken. Sounds about right to me.

Best Lines:

  • Fiona (when Axeman tells her Cordelia visited him): “Please tell me she’s in the bathtub.” Another clue?
  • Fiona (examining her plane ticket): “Why do they always insist on putting me on seat 1A?” #whitewitchproblems
  • Misty (after learning the Axeman fed Fiona to gators): “Well that’s it, then.  Even I can’t bring somebody back who’s gator shit”
  • Myrtle (when Madison calls the Axeman a murderer): “Is there anyone here for whom that can’t be said?”

Do you think Fiona is really dead? Is my theory completely whack? Would you be happy if this is the end of Delphine and Laveau? Were you delighted by Misty’s smack down on Madison? Who do you want to be the next Supreme or do you even care? (I vote Kyle! Oh fine, I’ll go with Myrtle). Sound off below and check back next week for the final wrap-up.

American Horror Story: Coven airs its season finale next Wednesday at 10pm EST on FX. Here’s your preview (featuring too much Kyle/Zoe/Madison love triangle bullshit for my tastes)

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

One thought on “American Horror Story: Coven review – 3×12: ‘Go To Hell’

  1. Hi dont agree with your theory, saying that Fiona is posing as Cordelia, however, I do believe that Fiona will come back next week.
    Bathtub was a reference to the previous owner of Axeman’s apartment, in which Axeman placed his dead body in the bath tub.
    I hope they better make a promising ending.

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