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American Horror Story: Coven Review: "Go To Hell"

James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The episode prior to the season finale should always aim to accomplish one basic thing, which is to get the audience pumped up for the big finale. The season started off with a lot of energy and kept the story loose and fascinating, but now all the multiple story lines and the constant insistence of over the top plot twists has squeezed out all the fun of what started off as a pretty strong season.

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Lily Rabe, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Emma Roberts in the American Horror Story: Coven episode “Go To Hell.” Photo Credit: Michele K. Short / FX.

Asylum had an opposite effect. It had a very slow beginning, yet by the end of the year it built up to such a thrilling and deliciously twisted second half. All the suspense doesn’t have the same effect in Coven, due to repeating the same storyline. The writers just keep killing off characters and then bringing them back to life in an episode or two, like Misty Day (Lily Rabe) in this week’s installment. This seasons just wanders away from what’s at stake so many times that it feels repetitive. When Fiona (Jessica Lange) killed Madison (Emma Roberts), it was a genuine shock and thrill because it led the audience to believe that they would continue to go down a more unpredictable road, but instead it floundered.

Supposedly, Fiona is dead after her spirit boyfriend, The Axeman (Danny Huston) found out that she was planning on leaving him behind after he helped her kill off the new Supreme. Fiona was a strong character. She was constantly contradicting herself, but she was another great character played by series MVP Lange. Her death felt anti-climatic and unsatisfying mostly because at the time we weren’t sure if it was for real. Yes, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) assures the witches that there’s no reviving her since The Axeman chopped her up and fed her to crocodiles, but it still doesn’t feel like a fitting (supposed) end to one of the season’s major characters.

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Danny Huston in the American Horror Story: Coven episode “Go To Hell.” Photo Credit: Michele K. Short / FX.

As for the other main characters, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) still feels like a completely underdeveloped character, who at some points feels like an extra. All she had to do this season was play mommy/love interest to the underused Evan Peters. The fact was there were too many characters to focus on with not enough character development for only 13 episodes. A show like Game of Thrones achieves this blend of dozens of characters because the audience has several seasons to see the characters grow and become more three dimensional. Characters like Zoe, Kyle, and Myrtle (Frances Conroy) were not taken advantage of by the writers to meet their full potential. When the characters did speak in this penultimate episode, the dialogue was so stale, which is surprising because this show usually has very crisp and invigorating dialogue.

What’s been leaving their mouths as of late has only been about who the next Supreme will be. If the structure of this season was more focused, we’d be more inclined to care about who the next Supreme is. However, through getting sidetracked with witch hunters, zombies and revivals, the unveiling of the new Supreme isn’t as exciting as it should be. First they practically ignored that elephant in the room, and now it’s the only word that these characters seem to know. The signs of the next Supreme in the opening sequence, however, was very well done. The choice to use a silent, black and white footage of witches performing the seven wonders was very creative. The episode really peaked after this scene. With only one episode left to look forward to, one should be hopeful that this season didn’t peak after the disturbing salon shooting.

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