Diverging down a strikingly familiar sinister path this week around, episode 7 of Coven, “The Dead” essentially centers around just that; the dead being brought back to life. Unfortunately all too reminiscent of the season’s prior episode (“The Dead Don’t Stay Dead”), this episode of American Horror Story once again fails to live up to the glory of previous seasons as it delivers another utterly mediocre plot line and acting performances. With especially cheesy acting on the part of the infamous and newly resurrected “Axeman”. Not to say that “The Dead” didn’t have my mind racing during a few scenes of the program, just that it has now repeatedly fallen short of the well-renowned horror tactics AHS is recognized for.
To kick off the episode, a most refreshing flashback to the pre-zombie version of Kyle and his then-living frat brothers, films them all receiving tattoos in a tattoo parlor and quite ironically discussing their future lives and careers. Shortly after, cutting to a current scene of the now zombified former frat boy throwing another one of his coined temper tantrums with petrified Zoe standing in the corner of the room attempting to reason with the frantic “Franken-teen”, a handgun concealed behind her back. All the while begging the question, “Will she really do it?”. Fortunately, Zoe decides against re-killing Kyle and hurtles the gun clear across the room before being interrupted by the newly resurrected Madison Montgomery.
As if reviving Kyle, LaLaurie, and the murderous Axeman from the dead weren’t already enough, Coven wastes no time in bringing back one of the season’s strongest personalities, Miss Montgomery. However, to me it appeared that Coven writers were simply grasping at loose ends for a revitalized plot line with the newly resurrected witch. Also present in this episode is a nostalgic monologue delivered by Fiona, similar to the one given by Madison on the experience of becoming one of the undead. Unless it involves having sex with temper-tantrum throwing Kyle, Madison finds herself devoid of human feelings. They are witnessed “in the act” by none other than mutual friend Zoe. As if gang-rape, beastiality, and incest weren’t already enough to satisfy AHS writers’ sexual screenplay endeavors, they make no hesitations in later instigating a zombie/witch threesome between Kyle, Madison, and Zoe.
Meanwhile, unlikely duo Queenie and LaLaurie hit it off in the kitchen and even go on an outing to a local fast food joint where the nearly 200-year-old immortal racist has her first taste of a cheeseburger. But just as viewers think the two may just become friends after all, Queenie decides to turn things around. Voodoo Queen Laveau successfully convinces Queenie that the other women at Robichaux Academy will never truly view her as an equal because she is black, and persuades the young witch to trick LaLaurie into accompanying Queenie to the Marie’s salon lair.
Among a handful of other notable events include that of the recent scandalous affair between Fiona and the coven’s now resurrected former enemy, the Axeman. It is revealed that all the while Fiona was growing up in Robichaux Academy, the Axeman spent his isolated days watching over her; his feelings eventually escalating from harmless fatherly affection to that of a man’s love. It seems Fiona may have just met her mortal match with the arrival of the ax-wielding serial killer, who shares her warped yet functioning ambitious mindset.
Besides Spalding’s short lived reunion with his severed tongue, murder by Zoe, and long awaited revelation that Fiona was in fact the one responsible for Madison’s death, that pretty much sums up the extent of the episode.
It’s no secret. “The Dead” left its audience feeling exactly as the title entailed: dead asleep. With such a noticeable lack of unexpected twists and turns that AHS is so well known for, the seventh episode of Coven certainly failed in achieving the program’s particularly high standard of horror; one we can only hope is once again achieved before the end of the season. Score: 6/10
Hannah Crosby/News Editor