Things are heating up at Robichaux, as rival witch clans team up for protection against the witch hunters that are out to get them.

Last week’s episode, “War Is Coming”, featured our favorite witches and the frenzy that’s ensued, as the next supreme’s spot demands to be filled. There was some scary voodoo action (Queenie ripping the heart out of a man’s chest); a cancer-ridden, near-death Fiona; and the prospect of a war to look forward to, as Hank the witch hunter is out to kill.

Madison (Emma Roberts) and Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) warn Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) of the impending war.
Madison (Emma Roberts) and Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) warn Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) of the impending war.

After the opener, soon-to-be ex-supreme Fiona Goode gives the audience a long monologue in her new decaying form. The camera flips over and jars in odd angles, showing shots of Fiona’s rapidly deteriorating quality of life as her cancer diagnosis truly begins to show brutal signs of her rapidly approaching death. The scenes showcase the depressing and crushing effects of cancer and, of course, Jessica Lange’s magnificent take on her role.

Later on we discover that the coven determines that with the help of the newly resurrected witches Madison Montgomery and Myrtle Snow (both of whom died due to Fiona) and their resurrector Misty Day, they need to murder Fiona Goode in order to allow the next supreme to reach her destined position. Later on in dialogue, former head of the witch council Myrtle Snow revealed that Misty Day will be the next supreme, though we can’t even be completely sure about that, at this point.

The crazy bible-hugging neighbors have also returned (we haven’t seen them since “Evil Dead”), and are pretty much irrelevant in this episode. Nan’s boy toy Luke continuously defends the witches, his mother insists on his devotion to Jesus, and both of them are nearly killed later on in the episode (though of course Misty is there to save the day). Luke is sent to the hospital, and his recently revived mother is there to beg his forgiveness.

The Robichaux witches, through Cordelia’s flawless plan, decide to try and knock Fiona off her throne. They attempt to kill her–unsuccessfully of course–by giving her the choice of suicide or being burned at the stake the next day. Just as she takes a handful of pills, Spalding is there to warn her of the witches’ plans, and Fiona pops back up to exact revenge.

The episode ended with a LaLaurie head-in-a-box; an imitation of Fiona’s minotaur head gift to Laveau.

After that startling conclusion, fans expected this to be the last of the slave-torturer Madame LaLaurie, but of course she’s much too entertaining to get rid of so easily. She sticks around, her head making sarcastic comments apart from her body.

Episode 9, “Head”, began with some background on Hank, and his origin as a witch hunter. The long-time father-son feud is still brewing, and Hank presently wishes to prove himself to his merciless daddy. The introduction of this new conflict makes for some suspense, as now the witches, among hating each other, have found someone else to war against.

Frances Conroy was spectacular once more in taking on the role of Myrtle Snow, the kooky head of the witch council.
Frances Conroy is spectacular once more in taking on the role of Myrtle Snow, the kooky head of the witch council.

Not only that, but Myrtle Snow has helped Cordelia gain back her vision. We witness the touching history behind the fake mother-daughter relationship, and the genuine love Myrtle feels for Fiona’s under-appreciated child. Myrtle plops the eyes right out of the heads of her two accomplices, who she reveals to have “never trusted”. It appears that not only can the dead be resurrected so often this season, but seemingly definite points in the story aren’t actually permanent. Who knows–maybe Fiona’s cancer will magically disappear, and the witch clan will live happily ever after (just kidding).

Back at the hospital, poor Nan is translating Luke’s current unconscious thoughts. He relays to his insane mother that he knows she killed his father, and with that, Joan sends Nan away and suffocates her son in his sleep (don’t worry, he’ll be back).

As for Zoe and Kyle; Fiona turns her brain-dead beau a somewhat functional human being, though “functional” doesn’t really describe any one of the characters this season. The intimate scene between the two prove that the boyfriend-sharing between Madison and Zoe isn’t exactly working, and foreshadows an impending cat fight.

Meanwhile Hank is loading up on his weapons, determined to kill as many witches as he can and bring them home to daddy. He shoots up the voodoo queen’s hair salon and seems to have killed Queenie, but doesn’t get a scratch on Queen Laveau. No, the episode ends with her paying a visit to her favorite friend Fiona, shutting a door that won’t be reopened until January, when AHS returns.

These two episodes definitely served to build anticipation for this season. We can tell there’s going to be a huge fight, and fans will be hugely disappointed if it isn’t as bloody and awesome as they expect. Myrtle’s character–and her lines–are flawless, Cordelia is a dominant presence, and there’s not much left to say about Fiona, except that we know she’s plotting something sinister. It’s that time of the season again where things start to come together, stories intermingle, and the hopes build up for an epic season finale. Average score: 8.5.

American Horror Story: Coven will resume on January 8th, 2014.

Nataly Capote & Alex Troutt/A&E Editor & Senior Staff Writer

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