Do you ever find yourself watching something new and original in the present tense and suddenly realize that THIS is what will be rebooted or remade in a few decades? In just surveying everything currently on TV and in theaters and on our Zunes and on our Dick Tracy watches: Fully half of it existed a long time ago under the same title. But it's pretty rare to be able to spot future reboots before the advantage of hindsight kicks in. I think we can all agree that however many seasons of American Horror Story Ryan Murphy bestows upon us, and however many years pass before it becomes a dormant franchise, it WILL be back. And that version WILL be a hit. The format is just too perfect. Some cool future TV network (FXXXXXX) will team up with a powerful showrunner (Selena Gomez) to dust off the franchise, hire an elderly Taissa Farmiga and multiple-time Oscar nominee Dylan O'Brien to be the resident scenery-chewers, and introduce a whole new generation of discerning viewers to this weekly exercise in madness. But much like how the Friday the 13th remake simply skipped to the good parts of the original franchise—Jason Voorhees as the killer (Part 2) AND wearing a hockey mask (Part 3)—I feel like the inevitable AHS reboot will just skip to the Coven season. Sure, the writers will throw in a vinyl gimp suit and a spirited performance of "The Name Game," just to keep the references flowing. But it's Coven that will be seared into nostalgists' memory as the quintessential season. I realize these are a bold statements to make, but if you're reading this you LOVE bold statements because no TV show is bolder than AHS. What I'm trying to say is, something has to be very good for you to observe it in the present moment and immediately imagine its long and celebrated legacy in the future. This is that kind of season and this is that kind of show.
"Go to Hell." What an episode. Just what an episode. Death, mayhem, hell, witchslaps, axe murder, hobo murder, voodoo devils eating marshmallows: This thing had it all and more. And every second of it was earned. Yes, a lot of these episodes can feel like a mixtape of outrageous things (and I'm never one to criticize randomness; I mostly wish TV made less sense), but it's truly a feat when an episode can be as filled-to-the-brim with insanity as this one was, but have it all be painstakingly set up in episodes past. Nothing felt out of place or cheap or unearned. Anyway, why am I trying to sell you on this, you already KNEW these things. So let's just get into it, dudes and lady dudes!
It all started with a presentation of all the Seven Wonders tests that witches must face. And it was filmed in an old-timey silent film style (including cheesy in-camera special effects) that reminded me of those old-timey sinister clips in BioShock. Yes I am equating all old-timey movies with DEATH and looking back at history can you blame me? All of those people died! Anyway, these were my two favorite tests:
Haha sometimes witchcraft looks VERY annoying.
This was all in the context of Fiona explaining to Queenie that Queenie was going to have to perform all seven tests the following weekend. But Queenie wasn't that interested because she knew that Fiona probably just wanted to murderize her, plus she was all mad about Marie Laveau's disappearance and had a feeling that Fiona was involved.
Just a typical morning coffee hang.
Meanwhile, guess who was back and blinder than ever?
BLIND CORDELIA! And she was in top form, just ambling around with her tapping stick demanding to touch people and read all their secrets.
Of course Madison didn't want everyone knowing about how she'd boxed up Misty Day (LOL) so she kept using teleportation to elude the blind woman pawing clumsily for her. Which oh cool, Madison had a new power! That was the thing about this episode: Basically all the witches were growing more and more powerful as Fiona was getting closer to death. None of them attempted to win the lottery or whatever, so it's not like they were using their powers wisely. But still, I was captivated. Anyway, finally Madison let Cordelia touch her:
But Cordelia's second-sight (uh, first-sight?) still hadn't turned back on! So no dice.
Even though Fiona did not want to discuss what had happened to Marie Laveau (which, why would she not even be curious about it? Weren't they pretty close allies by this point?), Queenie still took it upon herself to figure out where Marie Laveau had gone. The giant blood stain in the potions room was a pretty big clue in my opinion. So then Queenie looked through a voodoo scrapbook and started yammering some things and suddenly this happened:
She was back at her old job! But it was technically HELL! Or voodoo hell. Who knows? But there were chicken tenders and all-you-can-drink Chubbie's Soda, so who would complain? Queenie, that's who.
But I guess Papa Legba respected Queenie's pluck, so he granted her a flashback of what had happened to Marie Laveau:
Delphine had CUT HER UP and she had cut her up SO MUCH. Twice in this episode very powerful women were murdered by someone way less powerful, so it just goes to show that magic can't necessarily save your life if you're not thinking clearly. Just FYI.
Then Queenie made Papa Legba some hot cocoa (he wanted extra marshmallows obviously) and used some stone-cold LOGIC on him: If Marie Laveau could no longer steal babies for Papa Legba, then her immortality contract must be null and void and if her immortality contract is null and void then Delphine must be mortal again also. Papa Legba was like "YA GOT ME!" The thing about Papa Legba is, he seems like a pretty chill dude for being the king of voodoo hell. You know? I expected him to be a much bigger dick about everything.
After cutting up Marie Laveau, Delphine decided to get a Kathy Bates makeover and then get a job as a docent at her old pad. But if you ask me the owners should fire her right away because instead of giving the tourists what they want (salacious tales of old-time race-based torture), she was attempting to do tons of damage control on her own reputation instead. Boring!
This pan-over was the best. Look who was just chilling outside in the alleyway:
Oh man Queenie sorta stole this whole episode. Sorry, everybody else in the show, but you're gonna have to call the cops on Queenie. The show is gone because Queenie stole it.
Oh and here's how Delphine got her docent position, in case you were wondering:
She murdered the previous docent with a hammer! And then she did this:
It was disgusting tbh. Delphine was disgusting in general if we're being even more honest.
Anyway, Queenie cornered her in the attic and attempted to get her to repent and do social work or whatever, but Delphine was NOT about it, and even admitted that when she'd cried earlier during the Civil Rights videos she was only crying because it was tragic to let black people think they're equals and also Paula Deen shouldn't have had to apologize and junk like that.
And then Queenie STRAIGHT MURDERED Delphine and she died with a fountain of blood gushing all over her face. Holy moly. What a disgusting and completely deserved way to go. Maybe it was too quick, though? Maybe it should've been drawn out for a couple of years because in my opinion Delphine was not a great person. Still, do you see what I'm saying about Queenie being a BOSS in this episode? She got results!
Fiona had had it. Beautiful custom portrait or not, half her brain was falling out of her nose and she was hella dying. We've all been there.
I guess because she was in a dying kinda mood, she decided to get out her fancy jewelry and give it to Cordelia.
But then Cordelia's powers suddenly came back! And instead of merely seeing things that had happened in the past, she could now see the future! And the future looked very bloody. It involved property damage and broken bannisters and also tons of dead witches.
Trust me, it was not the best kind of vision to have. Pretty much any vision would have been cooler or more chill. And it was especially weird when Cordelia snapped out of it and Fiona noticed that she looked troubled.
But she saved the situation by asking for more jewelry. That is a trick I always use when somebody is hassling me too. "Where is your rent check?" Please give me jewelry. "Most of your teeth are now just clumps of skittles." More jewelry pls. (Note: This does not work and also I may have to go away for a while.)
Much like Queenie, Cordelia was ALL ABOUT results in this episode. She was very results-oriented and should probably put that on her resume now. But yeah, she went and visited Axeman and gave him some bad news via mind-meld.
The main thing he learned? That Fiona was planning to straight-up LEAVE his butt. No country homes, no camping, no waterslide parks, NO romantic ostrich rides. They were going to be dunzo and Axeman did not seem happy about it.
But Cordelia wasn't done with her errand list yet. Next up: Figuring out where Misty Day (LOL) went!
It didn't take long for Cordelia to sniff her out, so she took her fellow partner-in-takin'-care-of-bizness Queenie with her to the cemetery, where Queenie used her new witch powers to exhume Misty Day (LOL) AND bring her back to life too.
I am not going to lie, I felt super bad for Misty Day (LOL) here. She was finally done with the whole coven, probably enjoying a wonderful sleep, getting some very good Zs, but NOPE. Now she's been dragged back into it. I get irritated when my phone dings before 11am, I can't even imagine what it's like to be torn from a coffin and slapped alive again. Poor Misty Day (LOL)!
Meanwhile Myrtle and Madison had a very meaningful conversation through a bouquet of flowers.
Unfortunately this Shakespearean exchange was interrupted by the surprise return of these two:
See, what had happened was, they went to Florida and ate a orange and then murdered a hobo and then brought him back to life and now Zoe wants to be Supreme. Classic Zoe.
Um, so there tends to be this weird thing in society when people love seeing two women go at it in a "cat fight" situation which always faintly reeks of misogyny and carries troubling connotations for—OH FORGET IT THIS WAS AMAZING:
Misty Day (LOL) ran in the house and BEAT MADISON UP BAD.
HAHAHAH HOLY S. This fight went on for SO LONG. It was seriously approaching They Live levels of (very necessary) duration. Who knew Misty Day was such a THUG? She kicked Madison's ass all over the place (I will be forever pissed that it wasn't scored to "Edge of Seventeen" but whatever). Luckily Kyle broke it up, because when Kyle isn't murdering dogs and hobos he is the very model of restraint. Also, he interrupted them just in time, because look who suddenly ran in with an axe!
HAHA oh, Axeman. Literally when will you learn?
After all the witches pushed him across the house, Cordelia sniffed the blood he'd trailed on the parquet and realized that it belonged to FIONA.
That's when we found out what had happened to her! Axeman confronted her about her plans to leave him and it didn't go well:
I mean the scene was way longer and much more Tennessee Williams-esque, but you get the point. In fact, Fiona was just about to start rattling off a story about a cat when she suddenly got AXED. It was shocking and gross and hilarious and exactly the kind of brutal death Fiona pretty much had coming. I was surprised that Axeman got to be the one to do it, but then again, we probably haven't seen the last of Fiona, right? Even though Axeman fed her body to alligators? Who knows! All we (or the rest of the coven) knew was that the supreme had been murdered by a ghost and now that ghost must pay.
Let me tell you something: This was a VERY satisfying murder scene.
And just like that AXEMAN went softly into the night. Farewell Axeman, you were a baffling character through and through. But I loved that he kept getting stabbed to death by witches. That's Axeman's thing. Playing saxophone, axe murderin', humping on dying witches, and getting murdered by angry covens. What a life!
Um, so, okay. Then we got some closure (?) on Marie Laveau and Delphine. As Papa Legba told us earlier, everyone has a personal hell, and sometimes a personal hell involves other people being there. So in this case Marie Laveau and Delphine will be serving in hell TOGETHER. Delphine as a prisoner forced to watch her own family members be eviscerated with hot pokers, and Marie Laveau as the one who inflicts the pain despite not really wanting to.
In my opinion this was very unfair to Marie Laveau and I'm not super stoked about it. She deserved way, way better. Yes, she stole babies, but that was Papa Legba's idea. Marie Laveau gave free haircuts to old ladies and also single-handedly kept the New Orleans fashion world afloat with her impeccable taste and style. I don't know, guys. Feeling kinda disappointed here. But I get it, they both deserved each other. Fine. I think I just liked Marie Laveau too much. Sue me. (Do not sue me.)
Which left us with the episode's final question: What happens when the supreme is dead??
Oh boy. I don't even know. I just do not even know. What will happen? EVERYTHING? Will EVERYTHING happen? Probably. No less than everything will happen next week and I am not ready now nor will I ever be.
(By the way, which lucky producer or crew member gets to hang this gorgeous painting in their salon or game room or vestibule? It is truly wonderful and I'm insanely jealous.)
So yeah: This was the penultimate episode and it contained the deaths of at least THREE of the leads. Those three venerated actresses who appeared on all the posters? DEAD. All dead. Now it's just the junior witches left (sans Nan. (Snans.)) And it looks like next week will be ALL about the trials of the seven wonders. Bring them on? Yes, bring them on. I would speculate more but that would force me to accept the notion that there is only one episode left of this thing and I CAN'T. I just can't. And I won't.
(I loved "Go to Hell" very very much.)
... Is Fiona perma-dead?
... Which witch are you rooting for now?
... How many additional minutes should Misty and Madison's fight have lasted? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Thirty-five minutes?
... Do you hope your personal hell also smells like chicken tenders?
AIRED ON 1/13/2016
Season 5 : Episode 12