TV Recap: 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 313 - 'The Seven Wonders'


American Horror Story: Coven Episode 313
“The Seven Wonders”
Written By: Douglas Petrie
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Original Airdate: 29 January 2014

In This Episode…

The episode, strangely enough, opens to what is essentially a Stevie Nicks music video as the girls prepare for the seven wonders. As the girls sit down for their “last supper,” Myrtle informs them that this is the first time in the history of witchcraft that all four girls get the chance to prove themselves worthy of being a supreme.

They start with telekinesis: each girl must draw a lit candlestick to them. Zoe, Madison, Queenie, and Misty each pass easily.

Next is mind control. Misty makes Queenie smack herself; Queenie returns the favor. Madison makes Zoe slap herself, but then draws Kyle into the fray, making him kiss her and lick her shoe. Zoe counters by making Kyle kiss her, which makes Madison make Kyle choke Zoe. Cordelia has to step in and break up the mind-control fight.

Next is the descent into the netherworld. Getting there isn’t so easy; it is getting back that is hard. Myrtle sets a timer - if they are not back by sunrise, they will die. Queenie comes back first - her version of hell is working at Chubbie’s Chicken. Madison is next - her version of hell was starring in a live network musical. Zoe is next - in her hell, Kyle is breaking up with her on an unending loop. All that is left is Misty. We see her repetitive hell: she is stuck in biology class and keeps reanimating her dissection frog, only to have her teacher make her kill it. Cordelia is worried because Misty is stuck. The time is up, and Misty turns to ash in Cordelia’s arms.

Then there was three. The next task is transmutation. The girls play tag, blipping around the grounds. Cordelia yells at them to be careful, but they all blow her off - they are genuinely having fun. Until, of course, someone gets hurt: Zoe ends up impaled on the front gate. Zoe’s death is the chance to do the next wonder, bringing someone back to life. Queenie tries - and she can’t. It is up to Madison, whose attitude is getting worse as the trials continue. She refuses, seeing it as a trick - if she brings back Zoe, then Zoe can continue with the trials. Instead, she squashes a fly in her hands, then brings it back to life. “Crown me or kiss my ass.”

Cordelia does not want to believe that Madison is the next supreme. Myrtle suggests that Cordelia may in fact be the next supreme. Madison disputes this, calls it unfair, and pulls every temper-tantrum in the book. Nonetheless, Cordelia breezes through the first five trials.Worried that she might be unseated, Madison agrees to do the last two trials.

Next is divination. They must each divine the location of an item belonging to a supreme that is hidden in the house. Cordelia conquers this task easily. When it is Madison’s turn, she can’t do it and again throws a tantrum. Then she starts making wild guesses. Clearly she is not the supreme. She is going back to Hollywood where people are normal, she screams, and will tell everyone about the “freak show” they are running in New Orleans. She storms upstairs to pack while Cordelia does the final trial: resurrecting Zoe. While Cordelia is breathing new life into Zoe, Kyle is upstairs, strangling Madison to death for killing his beloved. Spalding appears and tells Kyle that since she was already in the midst of packing, no one will notice when they bury her in the garden. 

With Zoe revived, Cordelia is the new supreme. Her eyes are healed as she becomes the “picture of radiant, glowing health.” Her first order of business, interestingly enough, is to go on television and bring witchcraft out of the closet. Hundreds of applications flood in from girls who believe they are witches and want to join. Myrtle is beaming with pride over her “daughter,” but there is one more task that she insists Cordelia take care of. Since Myrtle killed a witch, Cordelia must burn her at the stake - for good this time. Cordelia tries to fight it, but in the end she must abide. Another journey to the stake, and Myrtle declares she has never been more proud of Cordelia as she goes up in flames.

Girls are lined up around the corner to get into the school. Cordelia, proud of Zoe and Queenie, has named them to the council, to show that they are in a place above the other n00bs. Before they let the girls in, Cordelia senses there is something she needs to take care of.

Fiona is downstairs, smoking a cigarette. She makes Cordelia see, with her “real vision” what really happened. Basically, she and Axeman faked her death. She implanted the idea of her murder in Axeman’s head and smeared him with goat blood to sell the story. She knew that if Cordelia thought Fiona was dead, she would set about finding the next supreme - she wanted Cordelia to do the dirty work. When the new supreme was “crowned,” Fiona lost all her power, her strength - her hair.  She wants Cordelia to kill her. Fiona must die so Cordelia can truly live. Cordelia won’t kill her though - she must have a human experience. They hug, perhaps the first time ever, and Fiona dies in her daughter’s arms. Now Cordelia is ready to open the gates. Kyle is the new butler; Zoe and Queenie are her right and left hands, and Cordelia greets the girls: “It is our time to thrive.”

But we are not done with Fiona. She wakes in a quaint country home, Axeman bringing home some fresh-caught catfish for lunch. This is Fiona’s version of hell. Every morning she wakes, they fight, she slaps him, he slaps her. She screams and Axeman promises that no one is going anywhere. He holds her close - while Papa Legba laughs maniacally. 

Dig It or Bury It?

This was a strangely quiet season finale, capping off what was a comparatively calm season. It seemed weird to end on such an uplifting note. I don’t know what to do with “happy endings.” Honestly, as an episode, it was fairly predictable and straightforward. 

I loved the not-so-subtle dig at NBC’s The Sound of Music. I suspect Ryan Murphy wanted to produce the live Christmas spectacle - and didn’t get to.