American Horror Story: Coven "Head" Review: Hunters and Fatherers (PHOTO RECAP)

By Price Peterson

Dec 12, 2013

American Horror Story S03E09: "Head"

Everybody knows that Jessica Lange is a national treasure, but if that's the case then Angela Bassett is national treasure 2 BOOK OF SECRETS. Yes, I am talking in terms of art heists because Angela Bassett has stolen EVERY scene she's shared with Jessica Lange and she has done it with FLAIR and STYLE. Seriously who is even capable of stealing a scene from Jessica Lange? Question is rhetorical: Angela Bassett, that's who. Angela Bassett arrived on American Horror Story two seasons later than everyone else and she's already schooling EVERYBODY. Sorry. That is a fact, you can fact check that all the live long day, but it will always be a fact. In "Head" especially: Angela Bassett was everywhere all at once, throwing shade and side-eyes, waggling her fingers, arranging mass murders, doing tons of voodoo, and wearing SO MANY jumpsuits. Part of me is now officially MAD at Angela Bassett? If she has always been this good and this committed to over-the-top camp, why has she been depriving us of it for so long? Sure, there were a few scattered Marie Laveau-esque moments in Waiting to Exhale or What's Love Got to Do With It? but nothing to the extent that we're currently privileged to witness every week. We are truly lucky to be alive in a time when Angela Bassett can growl "sheeeeeit" at Jessica Lange while sitting on a throne of chicken bones. I never want these days to end, NOT EVER.

Guys, I can talk about Angela Bassett all day (and sometimes do), but maybe let's talk about this whole episode? "Head" was a good'un! Sort of a relaxed wheel-spinner at first until it suddenly WASN'T. I cried. This episode made me cry. Which, yes, I'm mentally unstable usually and it doesn't take much, but man, that closing montage. Prestige television, I'm telling you. Well, it's not gonna talk about itself!

We started in the woods many moons ago with a classic Americana scene of a father bonding with his child over the murder of grown women. Every boy of a certain age could relate to this scene, the scenario was as old as time itself. Blessed silver bullets, complicated rifles, adolescent anxieties, creepy old men getting in your face about killing grown women. A rite of passage, basically! But anyway, yeah, this was Young Hank, Cordelia's awful husband, out on a literal witch hunt with his pops.

Then Dina Lohan ran out of the woods and the boy knew exactly what he needed to do.

But he hesitated!

Then Dina Lohan set his dad's arm on fire! And so the dad had to shoot Dina Lohan directly in the head and then give his son an F for effort. Again, this whole scene was just a thing we could all relate to. Failing our parents, almost getting set on fire by Dina Lohan. These are the days of our lives.

Speaking of relating, I was SO relating to this woman getting her hair did when Fiona came in for another epic shade-throwing session with Marie Laveau. Look at her face! It is a perfect face & perfect expression. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall when Fiona and Marie Laveau are having it out. Could you imagine?

Uh, first off, look at Delphine's headless body just chilling in that cage! Fiona had arrived to return Delphine Head (which was jabbering away in that box even though heads need lungs to breathe, duh get with it, show) but it was Delphine Body which had all the 'tude. But, of course, nowhere NEAR as much 'tude as Marie Laveau.

It was basically this for like ten minutes:

In addition to returning the Delphine Head, Fiona came to humbly request an alliance between her coven and Marie Laveau's staff at Cornrow City to fight off witch hunters together. But of course she didn't realize that Marie Laveau was personally encouraging Hank's schemes, so of course Marie was NOT interested in helping Fiona.

Hahaha gosh D it, this scene was so funny. It doesn't even really matter what they said to each other, it was just a super long scene in which Angela Bassett and Jessica Lange sassed each other like champs. 

Anyway, back at the white house, this blind lady was going on yet another one of her sightless breaking sprees.

Oh Cordelia. At this point Myrtle ran in and was like, "By the way I didn't throw acid in your face" and Cordelia was like "Chill out, I know." It was already very obvious to everybody, but I'm a lot like Myrtle: Whenever my friends or family get acid thrown in their faces it's very important to me that they not think I did it. You know?

Okay, so this witch hunter organization. It's like this all-dude corporation in Atlanta run by Hank's dad, and apparently ever since Dina Lohan set his hand on fire he turned into a real suit. He basically chewed Hank out for being undercover too long and not helping to murder enough witches, but also told him he's bad at murdering witches because of the time he murdered the redhead witch in a hotel room and there were too many witnesses, who themselves had to be murdered. Oh, and the witch hunter corporation had been behind Cordelia's acid attack. So, uh, yeah. In my opinion they do not seem like good guys.

Then Myrtle invited the council over and fed them poisoned honeydew melon balls that caused them to freeze in place and then she screamed at them about how much they suck and then this happened: 

Haha scooping out human eyeballs with a melon scooper is classic Myrtle! Also, it's very disgusting. Plus it was just bad hospitality?

But it did serve a purpose: Myrtle gave Cordelia working eyes again! Partly because Myrtle felt like a mother to Cordelia, but probably also partly because she was tired of Cordelia breaking all of her stuff.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what became of the rest of the councilmembers:

Myrtle is a maniac, apparently! I mean we knew she was a colorful, over-the-top rascal of a character, but I really had no idea she was so fond of dismemberment and acid baths! Fair enough.

Anyway, then Cordelia arrived home from having just gotten her ass handed to her by Marie Laveau, so Myrtle should've known that she couldn't step to that. Yet argue they did.

But I DID love these wry smiles they exchanged after Cordelia yelled at them to stop fighting. It's like they realized that fighting was at the basis of their friendship and now they were essentially buds again.

I loved this. An alliance of enemies was beginning to form!

This shot was amazing: Two witch girls sashaying up a hospital corridor while one openly smoked a cigarette. First of all, they were very inconspicuous. Nobody would have ever suspected they were witches! Second of all, it looked like the hospital changed all its faulty lightbulbs, which was a relief. Third of all, OF COURSE this shot ended with the camera flipping upside down. I know that cameras are inanimate objects but maybe sometimes cameras have drug problems? The ones on this show seem to.

Perhaps I misread the events of last week. I thought that Luke had been murdered by a witch hunter's bullet and Misty Day had brought him back to life, but there's a chance he hadn't been fully murdered and was now recovering the old fashioned way. But whatever the case, he was in a coma and that was NOT going to stop the girls from visiting their favorite neighbor hunk.

Of course his mom was all uptight about it, but the witches pled their case. Specifically they established that Nan, as a clairvoyant, could speak to Luke in his coma. This skill really came in handy when he (via Nan) asked his mother to sing an old lullaby to him.

Did you know that Patti Lupone is a famous singer? Patti Lupone is a famous singer. But this scene mostly just called for her to tearfully warble a little ditty yet it was still very moving. VERY moving. I'm not sure we're supposed to care all that much about these two characters, but there must've been runtime to fill, and if that meant Patti Lupone singing over a hunk's comatose body, then so be it. Seemed like a good creative decision to me. Also I cried, because I AM A HUMAN BEING sometimes.

I really and truly loved this subplot: Marie Laveau had instructed Queenie to destroy Delphine Head in a BBQ pit or whatever (which Delphine Head was surprisingly stoked about), but Queenie took it upon herself to first prop Delphine Head up in front of the TV and make her watch SO MANY classic black movies. RootsThe Color Purple, even B.A.P.s! It honestly did not sound like a bad deal to me. Throw Crooklyn in there and we have a deal.

But of course Delphine Head was not interested in having her worldview changed, so she just closed her eyes and nattered away. Ugh, typical Delphine Head.

Meanwhile Hank's day was just getting worse. After his dad tore him a new one down at the witch hunter corporation headquarters, suddenly Marie Laveau was hassling him to get to killing witches also. Which meant she interrupted his delicious Chinese food dinner to break his bones and stab his body via a voodoo doll. Then a rando dude ran into the room and put Hank on the phone with her and he agreed to kill everybody that night. What a tough day, poor Hank. Just kidding, Hank is garbage.

THEN he went back to the coven to try and win Cordelia back (?), but she was too busy bringing house plants back to life with Misty Day (LOL) and she told him to GTFO basically. So he grabbed his cardboard box and got growled at by some random dog Fiona had bought to keep the house safe. I'm trying to think of a good joke to tie together the presence of a female dog and a house full of mean women, but I'm drawing a blank oh well.

This was crazy:

OH NO, KYLE! I mean, I do not like to see animals harmed, but on the other hand Fiona had owned that dog no more than ten minutes and it had been suddenly murdered by a frankenstein hunk and that is, to me, hilarious. Sad and upsetting, but also I'm laughing? Haha, oh Kyle.

Meanwhile, Nan had won over Luke's mom because suddenly Luke's mom wanted to be besties and she'd even bought Nan tons of snacks from the vending machine. See, people CAN change!

Unfortunately, while in his coma Luke had talked to God and found out that his mother had murdered his father. She had murdered his father WITH BEES.

He had been cheating on her with a lady from her book club so she snuck bees into his car and then stood nearby re-locking his doors when he tried to escape. THE PERFECT MURDER.

Aw, poor Luke's dad. But yeah, after Nan said all this out loud, suffice it to say, this burgeoning friendship was over.

But honestly maybe Nan should've probably already known this stuff? Man, psychic powers are so unpredictable and at the whims of late-season-story-reveals sometimes.

Oh, guess whose brain Fiona fixed?

Kyle can speak proper English now! Fiona claimed she'd done some spring cleaning in his brain because she needed someone to play cards with and also be the new attack dog, but did it seem like Zoe and Madison were disappointed that he wasn't just some dumb sex animal anymore? Deal with it, ladies. Some of us have feelings too.

Um, oh man. This part. Okay, so the closing montage was legit powerful and this dumb recap won't do it justice so make sure you actually watch it. But the setup was this: Queenie decided to give Delphine Head one last chance to accept black people, and to do that she put on some very affecting soul music which continued to play as Hank busted into the salon and murdered everybody.

He murdered tons of Marie Laveau's henchmen, but also THIS lady:

WHO WAS MACHETE LADY? Why was she not a regular character?? Well, she's dead now.

This was upsetting:

NOOOOOOOOO. Not Queenie!! She did NOT deserve that!

And then Hank cornered Marie Laveau, who arguably DID deserve that, and it seemed like she'd suddenly realized the extent of her voodoo defense powers (i.e., that she had none). Fortunately for Marie Laveau, Queenie still had just enough life left in her and just enough moxie to do something about it.

AMAZING. Queenie killed the bad guy! Except OH NO. Is she alive? Is she dead? I don't fully know the rules of Queenie's abilities, but I have to assume she's probably alive? This episode didn't really dwell on her fate, so that means she's probably alive. I don't know. Predicting what will happen on this show seems plum foolish. No matter what Queenie's fate is, I was crying, especially when we saw that Delphine Head had seemed to finally come around.

But the angst wasn't over yet. Even Hank's a-hole father was pretty sad about that massacre.

Except, were those photographs he had of his son's crime scene? So was that a flash-forward or something? Or do corporate witch hunters have some kind of technology we don't know about?

Also, then Luke woke up from his coma.

...And his mother immediately tried to smother him! Oh no, not Luke! 

But if the preceding five minutes were almost too upsetting to bear, then this final beat hopefully helped make up for it:

YESSSS. Fiona and Marie Laveau teaming UPPPP. They are enemies, sure, but nothing quite thrills me like two enemies temporarily joining forces. That's just GOOD and FUN and EXCITING television. The witch hunters will be sending a small army so it makes sense that the coven and the voodoos will need each other. And I don't mean to titillate you beyond belief, but there are FOUR episodes left. That is A LOT of time for carnage, drama, twists, and pay-offs. It never ceases to shock me how much this season has crammed into each episode, but I like it. Keep shocking me, show. Keep making me cry. Keep making me feel things in general. And above all else, keep giving us the gift of Angela Bassett. 


K bye.


... Did Queenie survive the massacre?

... Will Delphine Head team up with Delphine Body to create Delphine Black Panther Warrioress?

... How exactly will Kyle protect the coven?

... Is B.A.P.s better than Monster's Ball?

  • Comments (213)
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  • marcusj1973 May 01, 2014

    "Everybody knows that Jessica Lange is a national treasure, but if that's the case then Angela Bassett is national treasure 2 BOOK OF SECRETS."

    WOOO!!! FINALLY! Angie gets her NT badge. That's some good lookin' out Price...I knew you'd come around.

    "Then Dina Lohan ran out of the woods and the boy knew exactly what he needed to do."


    "Okay, so this witch hunter organization."

    This remind anybody else of Wolfram & Hart? I'll add this to my Fiona and Axeman group of not being my favourite arcs.

    "But of course Delphine Head was not interested in having her worldview changed, so she just closed her eyes and nattered away."

    I know she's probably mad that Queenie double crossed her and as a result has had a change of heart, but Delphine fought this a lot more than I thought she would...she was showing such signs of growth and elightenment. Though I suppose being beheaded would jade even the best of us.

    That said, Cathy Bates mouthing the words, "My people"...HILARIOUS!

    "YESSSS. Fiona and Marie Laveau teaming UPPPP."

    I wouldn't have predicted this at the start of the season, mostly because I never would have predicted Wolfram & Hart also managed hedge funds. But if that means Fiona and Marie Laveau join forces to create a witchy Voltron...I can totally accept ridiculous witch hunters.

  • annySauv Dec 19, 2013

    I remember Patti Lupone from the ABC show, Life Goes On but wasn't Jamie Brewer also in that? I remember the actor who played the character Corky (Patti's son on the show) had a girlfriend . Didn't Jamie Brewer play that character?

  • cinnarose Jan 08, 2014

    I think Jamie Brewer is much too young to have been on Life Goes On, unless she was an infant on show. She's around 26, and the guy that played Corky was born in 1965.

    Also, her IMDB doesn't list much else besides AHS.

  • Oziez Dec 19, 2013

    this show is getting so boring and stupid, honestly the opening is the scariest part, and is completely irrelevant to anything going on, i thought those black hood guys would be the hunters, but nooooo its normal people who just hunt witches with guns? wtf. Also playing vegas music while burning a witch in the middle of the day? come on... don't bother even trying to make it scary the show isn't called american "Horror" story or anything, ya and how about we throw an awkward 3 way relationship in there again, cuz you know that didn't ruin the consistency of season 2 or anything. BUT WAIT! there's more, lets take Kathy Bates, a terrific actor that can bring chills through your bones, and demote her to a constant torture victim with remorse, bravo! you've earned a new title! American Weirdness Story, because the only part of this season that was consistent with the other seasons are the random weirdness, which really worked in a horror show! fortunately AWS is almost finished, and i can only hope that season 4 will bring back the equal horror to weirdness level that made me love this show.

  • joannemarsello Dec 19, 2013

    I love that show

  • larrydavid Dec 15, 2013

    When Queenie went down the whole world trembled.

  • kalel32688 Dec 15, 2013

    This was a great episode. I had no idea Patti LuPone was a singer (also, she kinda looks like my friend's mom--weird, right?).

    It was nice to see Nan and Luke's mom start to bond, but then it quickly went to Hell when it came out that Luke's mom murdered his dad. WORSE, she smothered Luke! Thanks very much, AHS!

  • bubujin_2 Dec 15, 2013

    Price, there's one glaring yet small error in your awesome, awesomely glorious Angela Bassett love fest posting. Since it's two days after the party, it's not been fixed, and I don't see that anybody else has called you out on it, allow me to elaborate.

    Approximately a third of the way into your recap you stated:

    "Anyway, then Cordelia (sic) arrived home from having just gotten her ass handed to her by Marie Laveau, so Myrtle should've known that she couldn't step to that. Yet argue they did."

    That should be Fiona there.

  • bubla Dec 15, 2013

    I really don't see how Anglea Bassett is better than any other, actually I even dislike her - she's kind of boring, sitting all the time in her salon and turning her white eye. and no wonder she got no Golden Globe nominee - she's ok, she's great, but so is all other characters

  • DeLaSim Dec 23, 2013

    And you don't recognize sublime acting when you see it. Maybe Sesame Street is more your speed?

  • DeLaSim Dec 15, 2013

    Bless you for that Angela Bassett rant. It was everything I needed.

  • farleyaong1 Dec 15, 2013

    Price, you forgot Mandingo. :)

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