TV Recap: 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 308 - 'The Sacred Taking'


American Horror Story: Coven Episode 308
“The Sacred Taking”
Written By: Ryan Murphy
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Original Airdate: 4 December 2013

In This Episode...

Fiona is in bad shape. She is in constant pain, can’t keep food down, and her hair is falling out in chunks. Cordelia, meanwhile, is trying to hold the remnants of her coven together. Queenie, now working for Marie Laveau, is dead to her, and she won’t let the others slip through the cracks, especially now that Madison is back. She is preparing for war, both against Marie and her mother. 

Misty and Myrtle show up at the door, having been chased out of her shack by a hooded witch hunter (clearly Hank). Cordelia welcomes them both openly, assuring them safety and the support of the coven. Myrtle believes that, because of Misty’s gift of resurgence, is destined to be the next supreme. Cordelia, Myrtle, Misty, Madison, Nan, and Zoe don red robes and black lace veils and engage in an ceremony called the sacred taking, which allows for the ascension of the supreme. It has only been invoked three times, starting with the Salem witches. When the women fled Salem, the reigning supreme was ill with consumption and knew she would never survive the trip. For the good of her coven, they performed this ceremony, then she took her own life. Unfortunately, Fiona seems dead-set against suicide.

So the girls come up with a plan. First, Madison haunts Fiona, dancing in an airy red chiffon dress and taunting her. Madison claims she resurrected herself, which means she is destined to be supreme. Everyone knows Fiona killed her, and they plan on burning her at the stake tomorrow. Madison offers her the more “dignified” solution of suicide. Fiona refuses and starts packing. She wants to run away with the Axeman. Next, she is “haunted” by Myrtle, and explains how she truly loves the Axeman and he loves her, blah blah blah. Myrtle plants the seeds of doubt by suggesting that as she is more ravaged by the cancer, he will become disgusted with her and leave. This seems to work on Fiona. She puts on makeup and her fur coat, then swallows a handful of pills and lays down in bed, true Norma Desmond-style, and waits for death. Myrtle steals her jewelry on the way out. Spalding enters, able to speak and trying to force ipecac down Fiona’s throat. He tells her those girls thought they could kill him, but clearly they weren’t successful. He tells her about the coven’s deceit, and Cordelia’s plan to con Fiona into suicide. Fiona won’t stand for that and takes the ipecac.

While the girls wait for what they think is Fiona’s impending death, they banter about who may end up the next supreme. Nan is hurt when no one believes that she has the power to be supreme. She runs out of the house and goes to Luke. Luke has had some trouble of his own. At the start of the episode, Joan is punishing him for fraternizing with the unholy witches next door. She spouts all manner of religious zealotry, then decides the only way to purify him is to give him an enema with industrial cleanser. When Nan finds him, he has been tied up in a closet. They plan to run away together, but Joan stops them. “I made you; I can unmake you,” she warns. Bullets fly through the window, killing Joan and wounding Luke. Nan seems to be unharmed.

Fiona comes downstairs, proudly showing off how not-dead she is. Misty flees. Fiona finds her next door. Cops have already descended on the scene; Nan insists on going with Luke to the hospital. Fiona uses her powers to wave off the cops so she can make Misty demonstrate her resurgence on Joan. She does so - and collapses. Outside, Cordelia senses a bullet on the ground. She grabs it and realizes that this was no home invasion. Meanwhile, Zoe has gone back to her room to check on Kyle, who she left up there with some preschool computer games, hoping he can learn enough to reintegrate into society. He has learned enough to tell her he loves her, a sentiment she reciprocates. Madison is just outside the door, hearing every word - and crying.

In the morning, Fiona joins an angry Cordelia for coffee. Cordelia assumes she will be burned at the stake after plotting against her mother, but Fiona is actually proud of her: she showed “real grit” and thinks there is hope for this coven yet. While Cordelia hasn’t fully forgiven her mother, she tells her about the bullet she found. It was a silver bullet, blessed, which means this came from witch hunters. She is glad Fiona is there. The doorbell rings, and since the servants have all disappeared, Fiona answers it. She is greeted with a large, unmarked box. She opens it up on the dining room table and finds Delphine’s head - eyes open wide and mouth moving, trying to speak. A little gift from Marie Laveau.

Dig It or Bury It?

I found this episode to be a little bland. It was a “middle” episode, setting up the next phase of the season: the war between the witches. There really wasn’t much that was memorable about this episode, except for the soapy enema. That is just horrifying. The wiggling, still “alive” head of Delphine Lalaurie was kind of fun.


The witches are preparing for war.