Review

Review

TV Recap: 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 305 - 'Burn Witch Burn!'

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american horror story covenAmerican Horror Story: Coven Episode 305
“Burn, Witch, Burn!”
Written By: Jessica Sharzer
Directed By: Jeremy Podeswa
Original Airdate: 6 November 2013

In This Episode...

We open on Halloween night, 1833. Madame Lalaurie is holding a masquerade ball and a suitor named Jacques shows up for her eldest daughter, Borquita. She tests his mettle by taking him into her “chamber of horrors.” Remember when you were a kid, and you put peeled grapes in a bowl and pretended they are eyeballs, or sausage links for intestines? That is what Madame Lalaurie did - but she used real eyeballs and real intestines, savagely sourced from her slaves. Jacques goes running, and Borquita goes upstairs to commiserate over her horrible mother with her two sisters. Lalaurie comes in and suggests her girls go back to the party - then pulls her husband aside and tells him to get a couple strong slaves. That night, the slaves drag Lalaurie’s daughter from her bed. She is taken to the attic torture chamber, where her sisters are already chained up. If they are good, Lalaurie will free them in one year. For Borquita, who she sees as the leader of this cabal against her, she will get a special Christmas gift: a mouth stuffed full of shit.

Returning to the present, where we left off last week, Lalaurie sees her daughters - now zombies - on the front porch. Zoe grabs her and forces her to shut the door, then sends the girls scurrying to shut off lights, close drapes, and hide upstairs. Nan can’t hear their thoughts; Luke thinks it is just some neighbor kids pulling a prank. He goes outside to confront them. They are eerily still, and Luke starts to think it isn’t a prank. This is Marie Laveau’s doing, and back at her shop she is levitating and controlling them. “Begin!” she shouts. At the school, the zombies attack. They start with a couple errant trick-or-treaters, tearing them apart violently. One hits Luke in the back with an axe. Nan runs out to save him and they try to take shelter in a car. In the house, Queenie, Lalaurie, and Spalding barricade themselves upstairs while Zoe goes out to help Nan.

The zombies are breaking into the car, so Nan and Luke have no choice but to make a run for it. He is too weak to move much on his own; she is not strong enough to help him inside. Zoe lures them away by clanging pots together, but she didn’t think very far ahead. The zombies chase her, and she hides in a root cellar. The wooden door won’t hold on long.  Zoe pulls an Ash and comes out swinging a chainsaw. She shows great skill in slicing and dicing the zombies, even sawing one in half. Naturally it runs out of gas before she can kill the last one, and swinging the chainsaw around manually never occurred to her. The final zombie closes in, and as if by instinct, Zoe holds up her hand and says a quick spell - and the zombie is blasted away. Marie drops from her levitation, and looks frightened. “I don’t know what that was but they’ve got some real power in that witch house now.” (Is anyone surprised that Zoe is the next in line to be supreme? No? Good. Moving on.)

While this is going on outside, Lalaurie heads to the kitchen to get the still-ailing Queenie some ice. She hears a scratch at the window and sees Borquita. She opens the door to her, beginning forgiveness and trying to reach her daughter beneath the decay. It doesn’t work and zombie Borquita grabs her mother by the neck. Upstairs, Queenie is worried and sends Spalding down to check on Lalaurie. He barely makes it to the landing before he is bludgeoned with a candlestick by the zombie. The noise draws Queenie out, and the zombie’s focus turns to her. Using her voodoo doll skills, Queenie tries to slit her own throat. It works on the zombie - but rather than blood, sawdust comes out, then it just heals again. Queenie is running out of moves, but the zombie is suddenly impaled on a fireplace poker. Lalaurie has showed up and saved Queenie.

Before I move on, I have so many issues with this scene. First, why would the zombie just let Lalaurie go? Second, since when do zombies use tools? And third, since when does impaling a zombie in the chest kill them? Maybe I am too brainwashed by The Walking Dead. Maybe voodoo zombies follow a different set of rules.

Let’s flip over to Fiona and Cordelia. They are at the hospital, and the doc tells Fiona that Cordelia will never see again. She is wrought with anger, pops some pills, and wanders the halls in a haze. She finds a woman, depressed after just giving birth to a stillborn. Fiona forces the mother to hold her baby’s corpse (I don’t know why the doctors would leave the corpse in the room with the grieving mother) and tells her she loves her more than anything, will always be her mother, yadda yadda yadda. Fiona pets the kid on the head and the color returns to its cheeks. Fiona goes back to Cordelia’s room. Hank comes by, and the two fight. Fiona allows him 15 minutes with his wife - then wants him gone, forever. He sits by her side, whispering sweet nothings and saying all the right things. Hank takes Cordelia’s hand, and she is suddenly awake, screaming, and getting flashes of her husband’s infidelity.

The next morning, Nan, Zoe, and Fiona burn the zombies on a bonfire. Fiona compliments Zoe on taking charge. The council shows up, and Fiona faces off against them. They are charging her with neglect, disregard for her coven, and all other manner of, basically, being a bad witch. The ruling is that Fiona abdicate her role as supreme and, until such time as another supreme takes charge, the coven will be under the council’s purview. Fiona turns it around and places blame on Myrtle, claiming she came into town before the rest of the council and was here when Madison “went missing” (she was); that she had stalker-ish photos of Fiona plastered on her motel wall; and that beneath her glove, her hand was scarred in the same way Cordelia’s face was scarred. Fiona also claims she saw Myrtle in the black hood. This changes everything, and the council votes to burn Myrtle at the stake.

The coven, all dressed in black, escort Myrtle, all dressed in white, walks her out to a stake in the middle of nowhere. Zoe thinks this is all for show. Myrtle is tied to the stake and doused with gasoline. Fiona asks for her last words: “You are all little toads in a pot that Fiona is bringing to a slow boil. I’d rather burn than boil.” Fiona grants her wish: she flicks her cigarette onto the pyre, and Myrtle goes up in flames. She screams for a few moments, then it is eerily silent. Zoe is shocked.

That night, Queenie visits with Fiona. It turns out that, using her voodoo doll power, she dipped her hand in sulfuric acid, causing the scars to appear on Myrtle. She doesn’t think she can live with this - she thought they were going to oust her, not roast her. Fiona placates her by suggesting that she may be the next supreme.

And finally, Misty goes to the stake site. The fires are all out, and a pair of stray dogs are nibbling at the charred meat. They scurry away when Misty arrives. She walks right up to the pyre, puts her hands on Myrtle’s corpse - and Myrtle’s eyes bust wide open.

Dig It or Bury It?

I really like the way zombies are being handled in this show. It feels more akin to Night of the Living Dead than The Walking Dead, which I feel has become the standard by which modern day zombies are judged. There is something more “horror movie” about the AHS zombies - and strangely, they seem less gory; more decay-y. I really dig it. 

I am still dying to find out what Hank’s deal is.

Prophecies?

Zoe makes a new “friend” by way of a spirit board, and Marie hires a professional witch hunter to take care of the coven.

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