American Horror Story: Coven "Protect the Coven" Review: Brought to You by Benadryl and Diet Sprite (PHOTO RECAP)

By Price Peterson

Jan 16, 2014

American Horror Story S03E11: "Protect the Coven"

When it comes to comedy-horror nightmare fiestas for the senses, American Horror Story: Coven is basically the Platonic Ideal. Not since the scene in Critters 2 when the giant ball of critters rolled over an old man and left behind a wet skeleton has there been such a perfect fusion of comedy and horror as this show. In most ways this season has been perfect and it takes a truly tiresome villain to disagree with this very accurate assessment. But one way in which AHS:C is STILL underrated is in its educational value. In many ways this show is basically an afterschool special, imparting tons of valuable knowledge to troubled youth like you and me. For example, this week's episode "Protect the Coven" contained at least one major lesson that I hope EVERYBODY took to heart: Ghosts are jerks! While it is true that 100 percent of supernatural creatures and probably close to 45 percent of ocean creatures and at least 75 percent of terrestrial creatures could also be classified as jerks, ghosts really take the cake. Which I mean literally, because again, ghosts are jerks and constantly take cakes or at least knock them off counters into the trash. Whether they're interrupting our sleep or breaking our valuables or moaning about solving their murders, ghosts are truly the worst. In "Protect the Coven" a ghost straight-up swindled a lady and then stole a baby! Honestly, I know for a fact that Ghostbusters isn't based on a true story, but you better believe I like to daydream about there someday being a world where ghosts are shot with lasers and sucked into traps. That is truly a world I'd like to live in one day.

Listen to me. We need to talk about this episode because A LOT went down and it will NOT discuss itself. Let's do it!

We began in olden times, back when New Orleans was nice and normal and slaves weren't being eviscerated in the attics or turned into minotaurs. But then suddenly Madame LaLaurie was trundling around in her backyard, complaining about not being in France anymore and also having to look at brown people. Uh-oh, an origin story!

Before we knew it, Madame LaLaurie was chopping heads off of chickens and getting her first taste of American-style murder. 

This was definitely some Early Serial Killer 101-type stuff. As we all know the next step after maiming animals is shoving fingers into a bleeding man's open wound. And that happened literally minutes later in the barn!

So there you had it. If you were at all curious how Madame LaLaurie had first come to torture and murder slaves, this was it. You were not curious and neither was I, but this show wanted to gross us out up-front and it did! Great job.

Meanwhile in modern times everybody was dressed in their funeral hats and saying a few words of remembrance for poor, sweet Nan, who was now in voodoo hell. Marie Laveau even wore her best turban!

(I mean, why should I even bother putting words on that image when HER FACE says everything already? Angela Bassett's face has always been a masterpiece, but especially in this episode, you'll see.)

Anyway, just as the funeral was drawing to a close, a couple of unexpected guests arrived.

Haha wow! Okay, so it turned out Queenie survived the shooting at Cornrow City and she had reattached Delphine's head and put her on a dog leash then Queenie put on HER funeral hat and they both showed up at the cemetery to complain about whatever but then Marie Laveau immediately slapped Delphine across the face because DO NOT step to Marie Laveau when she's in her best turban. It was a weird day at the cemetery.

Meanwhile in Atlanta the last two witch hunter dudes were scheming on a patio but even a dunce like me could tell that their plan was so stupid. The plan was basically to ask the coven for financial assistance and then TOTALLY murder them. Perfect plan! It was so perfect that Fiona and Marie Laveau already knew 100 percent what the dudes were up to and just kicked back holding their respective vices in front of their faces cackling about it.

At this point we got a fairly terrific voiceover monologue from Delphine about what it's like to fall from grace and be a servant to subhuman trash witches or whatever. 

It was funny how she did NOT approve of three teens sleeping on top of the same bed, like it was somehow more offensive to her than the systematic torture and murder of human beings. What I'm trying  to say is sometimes I think Delphine has strange moral priorities.

And then Madison refused to flush the toilet so Delphine put sh*t in the soup.

Quick question, when Queenie was forcing Delphine to watch tons of movies was one of those movies The Help

But yeah, despite Delphine crying while watching a movie about civil rights, her momentary lapse into empathy was definitely over. Because now everyone was treating her like wet beach garbage and making her do things like raise a baby and ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. 

Meanwhile Zoe used some detective magic and discovered the truth about Nan's murder!

Which, duh. I mean come on, guys. Was this ever in question? Did they think Nan was just bad at taking baths? Anyway, Zoe didn't do much with this info because then Madison busted in and demanded the use of Kyle's boner.

And he pushed her away! Which meant that this throuple was now officially a couple.

Unfortunately, Madison was NOT happy about it and she had the ESP to prove it:

And that's when Madison pretty much straight-up informed everybody that she intended to be Supreme and make everyone wear crotchless panties (as a uniform?) and they can all go to heck or whatever. Madison was VERY grumpy.

Then Axeman wanted Fiona to go move to the countryside with him and she seemed pretty into it. I mean who wouldn't want to move to the isolated wilderness with an axe-murderer flesh-ghost. Sounds great to me.

But Fiona had a mysterious request to ask first! What could it be? (Spoiler: We would find out later on.)

Oh boy this scene was really unpleasant hence the limited screengrabs. A gardener cut his hands on the hedge trimmers and Delphine offered to tend to his wound but instead tied him up in Spalding's doll room and cut off his toes and ripped out his intestines. It was not my idea of how to properly treat a wound, but who am I to judge? Anyway, then Spalding showed up and started paying Delphine tons of compliments and despite being a ghost, he wanted to team up with her to take down Marie Laveau.

So they made a deal! What was the deal you may be wondering? (Spoiler: We would find out later on.)

As for Queenie, she was back living in the white house but she was NOT happy about it. For her part Cordelia attempted to apologize for having married a witch hunter and bringing danger into everybody's lives. She also pledged that it would never happen again.

But Queenie was NOT having it and kicked Cordelia out of her room. Which, fair enough! I mean, Queenie was being a real dick, but on the other hand she was RIGHT? Cordelia had made tons of mistakes and Queenie had no obligation to let them slide.

That's when Cordelia decided she needed to take drastic measures in order to regain her psychic abilities. And it was AMAZING.

HAHAHAH. Oh boy. That was insane. She stabbed her eyes out! But it's not clear if this ploy will work or not. Will Cordelia wake up her old Blindy self again, and break all the plates and eggs but have tons of psychic visions, or will she just break all the plates and eggs WITHOUT the psychic visions? Either way I'm sure we're in for a treat.

So then Fiona came home from making so much sex with Axeman and she immediately knew what her daughter had done. But what she was NOT prepared for was a showdown with the coven's newest grand high SH*T-TALKER.

HOLY MOLY was Myrtle amazing in this scene. Just tossing off one brutal one-liner after another, calling Fiona out, calling her trash, just opening a fire hydrant of haterade directly into Fiona's face! It was really wonderful, I'm not kidding. Obviously I think Angela Bassett is the season MVP but I might even give this episode to Frances Conroy, that's how effortlessly brilliant she was. Fiona was SHUT DOWN. So good.

So meanwhile, Delphine had pawned half of the silver so that she could buy an antique doll for Spalding. (I'm starting to get the impression that Spalding is a weirdo.) In exchange, Spalding provided Delphine with what she would need to defeat an ancient voodoo priestess:

HAHAHA WHAT! He straight-up presented to her an open box of Benadryl IN A COVERED DOLL'S CRIB. And even more hilarious? Delphine legit believed the Benadryl was an actual magic potion and got this steely look in her eye like sh*t was about to go down.

I truly cannot believe how amazing this was. What a show. What a world.

Oh, and then another truly terrific scene:

Myrtle presented Zoe with one of her finest pieces of jewelry (but Zoe wasn't allowed to look at it, because its beauty would devastate her), and then Myrtle commanded Zoe to take Kyle and leave town for their own safety. She also gave a poignant speech about how she'd never really had love (well, just the one time with DIANE VON FURSTENBERG'S FUTURE HUSBAND!!). I mean, I am telling you this scene had one-hundred thousand things going on, with Myrtle just sending out amazing nuggets of info like she was firing a Tommy gun.

Zoe could barely keep up with Myrtle's speech, which necessitated Myrtle having to slap Zoe across the face real quick and it honestly helped. OH and then Myrtle gave Zoe two Greyhound bus tickets to f*cking EPCOT CENTER.

She presented the tickets in a wooden box. Two tickets to, again, Epcot Center. EPCOT!!

Who would even bother to argue with this? Was Myrtle the best guardian angel of all time? I would drop literally anything to immediately jump on a Greyhound to Epcot Center. Anybody would. Myrtle is the best.

Haha and then THIS scene happened. Fiona and Marie Laveau showed up at the witch hunter headquarters without bodyguards (a.k.a. LIKE BOSSES). Fiona requested a "filthy" martini and Marie Laveau asked for a DIET SPRITE obviously. Then the negotiations got underway.

And then after Fiona pretended to make a counteroffer the caterer took off his vest and opened his sax case and WHOOPS! It was Axeman!

He just axed EVERYBODY. And then this was the look on Marie Laveau's and Fiona's faces when he was going wild on everybody's butts:

PERFECT. And there was even this part where Axeman chopped off a man's ARM and then picked up the arm and fired the GUN that was still attached to it!

Honestly everything about this scene was breathtaking. Even at the end, when the main witch hunter guy sassed Fiona and drank a sip of tea and then spit on the ground in front of her.

Like, I am telling you, Marie Laveau's reaction shots were everything that is good in the world summed up in one woman's face. And yes, at the end she 'Grammed the carnage. Guys, my heart is swelling with love for this show right now. These people know what I'm talking about:


Later that night after Fiona took off to go do sex with Axeman, Delphine saw her opportunity to drug Marie Laveau's sparkling wine with Benadryl. It started to actually take effect! Marie Laveau berated Delphine and smacked her rump, but she eventually got loopy enough for Delphine to get out a huge knife and knife her!

But, you know, there's that whole thing with Marie Laveau being invincible, so.

Haha then Delphine sheepishly admitted that she believed Benadryl would neutralize Marie Laveau's powers and Marie Laveau looked downright bemused! Then she decided to chase after Delphine with the knife because fair is fair.

And then Spalding jumped out from nowhere and hit Marie Laveau on the head with a doll and she fell all the way down the stairs! As it turned out, he'd lied to Delphine because he knew Marie Laveau could not be killed, but he could at least try to get her out of the picture so that he could raise her baby by himself! Because yup, that was his plan all along! A creepy ghost wanted a voodoo priestess's baby.

So yeah, now apparently Delphine had to figure out a way to bury Marie Laveau permanently, and Spalding had a playmate. It's a touching story, really.

Okay this was actually touching. Zoe seemed ready to hit the road but Kyle didn't want to. It was because he was worried he'd go all Frankenstein-monster on the next person to tick him off. Which, if we're being real, would probably happen every 10 minutes at Epcot Center. Like, it's a wonderful place and all, but tourists can be real nightmares in that humidity. But Zoe hugged and kissed him and comforted him and convinced him everything would be okay and suddenly they were both running through the bus station!

It was really lovely! And look at what was going on in their facial regions:

WHAT THE HOLY HELL? What are they doing? What is happening to their mouths? Why are they shaped that way? Are they having strokes? The answer is no! Zoe and Kyle were SMILING. Out of happiness. They did it! Victory!

Except, the scenes from next week show them back at the coven, but whatever. Momentary victory at least! Guys, what a wonderful episode of television. I loved this episode. I hated the poo-eating and also the slave torture, but the rest was so overwhelmingly good that it's like who even cares? I don't have a lot more to say about it, it's all hyperbole from here on out. Best best best. Best.

Two more episodes! I'm already readying my last will and testament because I will probably die without this show.

OH LAST THING: So, allegedly Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have begun weaving hints about Season 4 into these last few episodes. We know it'll be set in 1950. This episode had references to '50s sci-fi (the theremin) and also McCarthyism (the witch hunter dude mentioned it). But in my opinion the biggest hint was those bus tickets. I've always wanted this show to do an amusement park themed season, and guess what was under construction in 1950? A FELLA CAN DREAM, RIGHT?

But please do tell me your thoughts and theories. This is a fun game!



... Who will be the Supreme?

... Wasn't the witch hunter agency shockingly terrible at their main job?

... Is it a good idea to antagonize the person who both cleans your toilets and prepares your food?

... Which of Marie Laveau's turbans did you like better, the black or the gold?

  • Comments (144)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • KimJFilms Jan 21, 2014

    So... I don't really do recaps cause lets face it... I just saw the episode. But your funny as hell dude and you hit all the right points. I actually love your blog. Stay awsome.

  • MiraTellia Jan 21, 2014

    Weakest episode so far imo. The origin story had me so bored I was skipping parts, and that's a first on AHS. It picked up after that, but as much as I admire Kathy Bates, her character is grating to me and the less I see of her the better.

  • ILoveTVandDDsBB Jan 19, 2014

    Best lines this episode "You flush my shit bitch!!" Madison is a straight up boss! and "The rotting leaves smell like an olympian's ejaculate." It was hilarious when Delphine thought she could bring down the voodoo queen with Benadryl.

  • deathly_hollows Jan 18, 2014

    This season is beyond perfection. I thought AHS only has the éntertainment' value, but Coven proved to be relying on high quality writing and splendid characters: Marie Laveau, Myrtle Snow, Madame LaLaurie, Misty Day, Fiona, Spalding, Papa Legba, Madison, Cordelia,Nan... A trully amazing ride.

  • pierresund Jan 18, 2014

    Amazing season, AMAZING episode, and AMAZING REVIEW!
    these actresses... I'm... just... speechless...

  • nsurprenant1 Jan 18, 2014

    OMFG. AHS: Epcot would completely slay me.

  • fatimavh Jan 17, 2014

    Hahaha, the whole Benadryl thing was funny but MAJORLY STUPID. Like, didn't she read the package's directions? I bet nowhere in there did it say it was indicated for de-souling ppl or that it was one of the side effects.

    Sorry, I know I'm using a lot of non-words.

    Also, I think/hope Cordelia will kill Fiona at the end and finally prove she's useful for something.

    And speaking of Cordelia, maybe she should kill everyone else too, like what the heck with the meanness toward her ah? She's not the Supreme so she's not the one supposed to be protecting the coven after all.

  • cesarsagudelo Jan 17, 2014

    she's from a whole different time period before there was such a thing as benadryl or medicines of the same type. It is completely logical to think she would have no idea what benadryl was and would easily be convinced it was some kind of magic potion.

  • MiraTellia Jan 21, 2014

    But she can read, right? It clearly says on the package what it is for

  • sansasnark Jan 17, 2014

    If Delphine does bury away Marie the way she did to her, then Marie won't be able to kill the baby and finish her voodoo sacrifice. I doubt Papa Legba will be happy with that... I wonder what the consequences for unfulfilling their trade will be.

    Also, apart for the sight, did Cordelia possess any other powers or was she just a really useless witch?

  • michelegilly Jan 17, 2014

    She already gave papa the innocent was nan. Now the baby is just hanging out ;)

  • BethCityDweller Jan 18, 2014

    Papa Legba will come back next year. Soooo, if Delphine succeeds in burying Marie away, Marie won't be able to give him a soul then. Hence, Sansasnark's comment makes sense. Papa won't be happy about that because she can't fulfill her end of the deal.

  • Marburg66 Jan 18, 2014

    Nan was nowhere near innocent. Remember that she murdered the bible-thumpin' mother by making her drink bleach. She was proud of it & made that clear when she threatened to kill Laveau.
    As far as Papa Legba taking her in the baby's stead, I honestly don't quite get it yet, but I believe that issue will (or at least should) play out in the story before the end.

  • JohnBrown5232 Jan 18, 2014

    Fiona admitted Nan's soul was "almost" innocent - but the bitch (the Bible-thumping neighbor) deserved it!

  • Marburg66 Jan 18, 2014

    Oh, I agree 100% that insane jesus crispy had it comin'...however, Nan's still uninnocent, & 'almost' simply doesn't cut it. Devious little Fiona (supreme or not) can't play games in anywhere near the same league as a Loa by a longshot, methinks. Papa Legba's gonna make her & Laveau suffer for trying to weasel out of the deal (& Nan's gonna be the hand that makes it happen) =D

  • BoredSilly Jan 17, 2014

    I think axe man is using Fiona to get to the coven since "the coven" killed him. She slapped Cordelia for letting a witch hunter into the house. I think Mr Axe is up to no good. Lets see what happens. I also think Kyle being back in a bus is so not a good idea.

  • JohnBrown5232 Jan 18, 2014

    I didn't think about that. The Axeman does have an axe to grind of his own where that coven is concerned. I think his liking for Fiona is serious enough, though. What I don't understand his how he can be an invisible spirit but suddenly now he's not only visible but tangible

  • Veronikamdov Jan 23, 2014

    Zoe let him go.. I think

  • RPalmiero Jan 17, 2014

    "Bottomless panties for everyone!" ...oh man what an awesome episode. Repulsive...and awesome. I really miss Nan though :(

  • See More Comments (68)