American Horror Story: Coven – Bitchcraft (03×01)

Synopsis: We get our first look at the craziness of this season of American Horror Story. Kathy Bates is creepy as shit and

Rating: ★★★★☆

Finally, we’ve got our super crazy, often creepy and sometimes just completely ridiculous American Horror Story back! I’ve been waiting pretty impatiently for Coven to start and I’m glad to see that this season is already starting off strong with both the creepy factor and just story and characters in general. The first season was always a bit iffy for me and season two’s stories sort of petered out at the end. But so far Coven seems to have at least a vague idea of where it’s going.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that by the beginning.

Kathy Bates plays a fantastically evil witch from the 1800s who holds herself out as a nice Southern aristocratic lady to good company but in fact consorts with the creepiest of magic. I mean, this woman is crazy. She uses blood to keep her skin young and when her disobedient, wild daughter has sex with a slave she uses that poor man to create a living minatour. No, seriously. She magics a bull’s head on to the man’s body for shits and giggles. Like… where do the writers even come up with that stuff?

Don’t worry though, she gets what’s coming to her.

Unfortunately, the poor boy that Taissa Farmiga’s character is having sex with doesn’t get what’s coming to him. He’s all kinds of respectful. Except then they start having sex and suddenly he starts hemorrhaging from every oriface and dies.  Poor guy. Actually, her chararacter is pretty tragic, too. Her parents tell her afterward that, yeah, their family sometimes has witches pop up now and again. Then they send her away to New Orleans to a ‘boarding school’ for witches. I mean she gets taken away by men in suits and some woman that looks vaguely like Professor Trelawney.

The school itself is mostly just a massive old manor house. There she gets hazed by her creepy-ass class mates which are three girls: Emma Roberts’ character who is some movie star, Gabourey Sidibe who starred in Precious, and Jamie Brewer from the first season of American Horror Story. The school matron tells her the history of the school and witchcraft; and we get a lot of backstory. We also find out that a lot of witches in the world never know what they are because their families have long since lost their history.

If these were my classmates I'd be concerned.
If these were my classmates I’d be concerned.

Then we flash to Jessica Lange who is obsessed with looking young again and whatever. Her husband apparently made a lot of money and she’s been investing it in cosmetic youth programs. She also happens to be a witch and she uses her magic to kill the poor scientist who has been working for her husband’s company. Because, you know, that’s the reasonable thing to do. Not that she’s reasonable at all. But she uses the man to get her youth back. Then goes to the school where she’s obviously up to no good and where the school matron does not want her to be at all. But, for whatever reason, she can’t make her leave.

Madison (Emma Roberts), deciding that Zoe (Farmiga) is going to be her new best friend, forces her to come with her to a college party where we meet Kyle (Evan Peters). We also meet all of his douche bag frat brothers who while Kyle is being the total gentleman with Zoe are basically gang raping Madison upstairs. Kyle helps Zoe find her friend and then starts going off on his fraternity brothers who all pile back into their party bus and beat the shit out of him while planning how to keep everything secret. Then Madison just shows up on the street and flings the bus into the air killing all but two of them. Including Kyle.

While Jessica Lange’s character takes the girls out on a “field trip” to Kathy Bates’s old house, Zoe sneaks off to the hospital where she finds out Kyle is dead. Then, to get her own revenge, she basically rapes the fraternity brother who actually raped Madison to death. It was a little bit of a weird moment. There’s lots of awkard rape-y scenes this season. I mean, I guess there are always awkward sex/rape scenes in this series. Hm.


Jamie Brewer’s character apparently has like super perceptive powers or something and reveals Jessica Lange’s ulterior motives. See, Kathy Bates’s character back in the day got what was coming to her after turning that poor slave into a minotaur when his lover came to her promising youth and whatever. Instead this African witch poisoned Kathy Bates and ultimately she was buried alive for a good two hundred years. Oh snaaaaaaap. Shit’s going to go down.

All in all, great start to the season. A lot happened, we got introduced to a lot of characters, and things seem to be shaping up for Coven to be the better of the three seasons so far. It’s also potentially going to be the darker of the three? The first season had plenty of just… goofy sort of moments. Season two was plenty dark, I guess, but the stories were all over the place. This season, though, seems to be pretty solidly moving in one direction with a hopefully solid plot that will give us a pretty decent ending. I’m looking forward to it.

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