From ritualistic, voodoo fertility ceremonies to sexually abusive mothers, one could undeniably say that episode three of Coven was certainly successful in making up for the season’s rather mediocre second exploit, Boy Parts. While the prior episode seemingly left one too many loose ends to account for, “The Replacements” more than made up for any confusion spurred by its scatterbrained predecessor.
Opening with a blast to the 1971 past, the program commenced with a nearly prophetic event, ultimately foreshadowing the outcome of the episode. Honing in on a considerably younger Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) along with the then all-ranking Supreme, Annaleigh, screenwriters certainly didn’t waste time dwindling on Annaleigh’s character as she was quickly killed off by twenty-something Fiona in a greed-driven attempt to secure her spot as the new Supreme.
Soon after transitioning back to the present, the scene once again centered around Fiona, however this time, our favorite villain was filmed stumbling around the halls of Robichaux Academy drunkenly conversing with portraits of past Supremes. It’s no secret that Fiona is having difficulty with the fact she’s growing older; a theme that has remained evident within her character since Coven’s premiere, and continues to ring true throughout “The Replacements”.
Shortly following her pitiful scene of drinking with the array of inanimate portraits arrives a dimly-lit bar setting where Fiona delivered a fairly nostalgic monologue, comparing the entirety of her life, up until now, to a “dance”. This scene was a flawless example of how American Horror Story has repeatedly been victorious in overcoming the stereotyped “horror” genre. By incorporating common themes that exist in society, Coven, just like those seasons before it, has been successful in including that much needed extra element of reality that so many horror shows often lack; this one’s being the ever present concept of growing older.
On a lighter note, following the bizarre resurrection of the new and improved (though maybe not improved) Kyle 2.0, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) promptly payed his pot-smoking, stoner mother Alicia a visit as an apparent last ditch effort to uncover traits about his original persona. Ironically enough, it’s revealed later on in the episode that the ganja-smoking, saint of a mother really isn’t all she’s cracked up to be. Upon Kyle’s return from the Creole, Stevie Nick’s fanatic’s Louisiana backwoods lair, Zoe unknowingly relinquished him back to the mother he likely never wanted to reunite with–and not because of her drug related habits. No, in fact, “mother’s love” was actually more along the lines of the incest variety. So kudos to Zoe for returning Kyle to a life of sexual abuse issued by none other than mommy dearest. Well, at least until he grew tired of Mommy’s “heavy petting” and swiftly bashed her face in with an old high school trophy.
Speaking of mothers, Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) had yet to give up her hopes of one day bearing a child and decided to continue her efforts by seeking the help of the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), because dabbling in a little black magic never hurt anyone, right? Unfortunately, much to Cordelia’s disappointment, Marie had no interest in assisting the daughter of her sworn enemy in having a child (shocker).
To wrap up the episode, Fiona began to notice additional gifts in the increasingly arrogant movie star-turned witch, Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), and decided she was destined to become the new Supreme. So as any responsible adult would do, Fiona decided that a late night bar excursion with teenaged-something Madison would be a great chance for some quality bonding. Until Fiona decided to slit her new replacement’s throat upon there return to Robichaux Academy, that is.
It’s true. American Horror Story is renowned for its frequent implementation of unforeseeable twists and gruesome turns, with “The Replacements“ being just another instance of how they continuously seem to ensure a scare even more stunning and guaranteed than the last. Score: 8/10
Hannah Crosby/News Editor