Was it just me, or was this week's episode a little Law and Order: Hex V.U.? The fourth episode of American Horror Story: Coven piled mysteries on top of mysteries, and unfolded like a courtroom drama sprinkled with fairy dust.
Frances Conroy stepped squarely into the spotlight for "Fearful Pranks Ensue," and she definitely proved she can stand toe-to-toe with the other series leads. By now we're starting to see the typical Ryan Murphy deluge of storylines begin to reveal themselves, but I'm much more on board to ride along with the crazy if it keeps delivering so many incredible performances. When these actresses face off with one another, the resulting energy is enough to make any ridiculous plotline compulsively watchable.
See how Conroy fared against the reigning Supreme and what else Halloween holds for the coven, AFTER THE JUMP ...
You know the old saying, "Murder the Supreme once, shame on you. Murder the Supreme twice, shame on me?" No? Well, you know who has? Myrtle Snow (Conroy). She and the other two members of the Council (including Leslie Jordan's flamboyant Quentin) are at Miss Robichaux's Academy to investigate the sudden disappearance of Madison (Emma Roberts). Nan (Jamie Brewer) grew concerned when she could no longer hear Madison's thoughts and called the Council in for help.
Myrtle has another reason to rush to this matter. She's been holding onto an eensy little grudge since way back in the day when her then-classmate Fiona (Jessica Lange) killed the former Supreme, Anna Lee. Even then, Myrtle was onto her game, and she knew Fiona had the motive, means and opportunity to be a murderer. She even schemed to reveal Fiona's evil deeds by placing a spell on Spalding (Denis O'Hare), who never seems to leave Fiona's side. If she did something to harm Anna Lee, Spalding would know. Of course, someone cut out Spalding's tongue before he could testify.
Since then, Fiona has been an absentee Supreme. It's a little suspicious that every time Fiona shows up around these parts, a Supreme dies. Now, Myrtle is giving Spalding the chance to write out who cut out his tongue all those years ago (while implicating that person in two murders). Unfortunately for Myrtle, it was not Fiona who did it. Instead, Spalding overheard Myrtle's plan and loved Fiona too much to allow himself to spill her secret. So he cut off his own tongue to keep from being magically compelled to tattle on Fiona. It's a classic case of "if the severed tongue does not fit, you must acquit," but Myrtle is still determined to prove Fiona is a killer. She murdered the last Supreme and she murdered the next Supreme!
Wait, what? Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) is confused. Madison wasn't the next Supreme (as I predicted last week), she couldn't be. The Supreme is in perfect health, and Madison had a heart murmur. Ipso facto, Fiona has no reason to have killed Madison. Case dismissed!
Presumably to celebrate, Cordelia and Fiona head out on the town for a little mommy and me time. Cordelia asks her mother, a pathological liar if there ever was one, to engage in a game of asking each other questions and cross-your-heart, promise-to-tell-the-truth answer. Why she thinks Fiona would honor the rules of this game, I do not understand, but, sure, let's just blame it on the bourbon. Delia's first question for mommie dearest is why she hates her husband, Hank (Josh Hamilton). Fiona thinks he's full of it, and we don't disagree.
While Cordelia's been dealing with the Council, he's been off with his online girlfriend (Alexandra Breckenridge). Cordelia mentioned him working as a foreman, but he's told this lady that he's an F.D.A. inspector. After engaging in the sexytimes with the young redhead, Hank sits her down for a romantic soup and burrito lunch before killing her with a single shot to the head. Whether or not Hank's always been evil, or their attempt at using black magic for fertility corrupted him, Fiona, it would seem, sure knows how to sniff them out. Perhaps it takes one to know one.
She also knows how to keep her poker face. Back at the bar, when Delia asks her point blank if she killed Madison, Fiona delivers a very nonchalant "No." Satisfied, or at least a little drunk, Cordelia makes it to the bathroom where a masked someone throws some blinding liquid into her eyes. Ouch!
While Cordelia's attacker remains a mystery, the fate of Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) is a lot more promising. Fiona found her after her encounter with the minotaur, and, after a little Supreme witch magic, she's on her way to recovery.
The same can't be said for Kyle (Evan Peters), who's still covered in his mother's blood and unable to speak. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) manages to get him to stop banging his head on the bathtub, but when she goes to fix him a little rat poison-infused tuna salad, he runs away. Of course, this being Halloween, a blood-soaked FrankenKyle can slip easily into the crowd unnoticed.
Let's take a journey back in time. The year was 1961. Marie Laveau was rocking a very retro chic look down at her Cornrow City salon. One of her stylists was all excited for her son to start his very first day at the recently integrated high school. Laveau just had to be a Debbie Downer about the whole thing and how the local white folks are none too happy about all this progress. Oh, no, this stylist has HOPE. Pure, unadulterated and definitely not at all naive hope.
Cut to her son hanged from a tree.
Retro Laveau sprung right into action, busted out her Voodoo accoutrements, and raised up an army of the undead to do some serious severing of limbs and ripping out of innards on the men who killed her stylist's son.
Fast forward ever so slightly to disco Laveau signing a peace treaty with the former Supreme Anna Lee. It's a treaty that is very much in jeopardy back in the present day as we return to Cornrow City for a little subtle character shading. Here's Laveau cutting some older woman's hair before a big event with the mayor, to show us that she is a complex character that has a good side as well as a dark side. And here she is refusing payment from the woman, because, again, she's not all bad. And now here she is just stuffing money in the woman's purse, BECAUSE, WE GET IT, LAVEAU HAS A SOFT SIDE.
Now, what's this? A package? How strange! The hair from India isn't due today. Is it a new phone book? Fruit arranged like flowers? Nope! It's the severed head of the minotaur. Oh, it's on now. Laveau pulls out the snake and raises her undead army once again.
Back at Miss Robichaux's, hunky boy next door Luke (Alexander Dreymon) is stopping by to give a little baked treat to Nan as a thank you for her delicious cake. Meanwhile, Spalding is upstairs with his dolls, just having an only mildly creepy tea party. Then he puts on his dress and bonnet. (It's starting to get creepier … ) He grabs another dress. Who is that for? Oh, it's Madison's corpse. And Spalding is going to get her all dolled-up for his weird little tea party.
Then someone's at the door. Knock knock, Who's there? Oh, just a zombie army. The undead descend on the school, led by LaLaurie (Kathy Bates)'s three decomposing daughters.
To be continued!
How will the students at Miss Robichaux's survive this onslaught of the undead? Will the adorable Luke Ramsey make it out alive? Who do you think is the real next Supreme? So many questions left unanswered as we conclude part one of this year's Halloween episode.
Next week: A burning at the stake!
What did you think of this week's episode?
American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern on FX.