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American Horror Story: Coven - Chapter 5, “Burn, Witch, Burn!” - Early Review

Last weeks chilling installment of Coven brought a number of exciting revelations and twists, from Spalding’s human dollhouse to Marie Leveau’s penchant for bringing back the (walking) dead. Much of tonight’s new episode “Burn, Witch, Burn” deals with the fallout of last weeks climax which saw Cordelia assaulted with acid to the face by a hooded assailant just as Marie Leveau’s zombie army descended upon Miss Robichaux’s Academy. So what’s in store for the rest of Halloween in New Orleans? I’ll give you a bit of a peek.

We open up with a flashback to All Hallows’ Eve in 1833 as Madam LaLaurie invites a man who hopes to court one of her daughters to visit her infamous chamber of horrors. After that goes predictably south LaLaurie overhears her daughters plotting a potential overthrow of their beloved mother, and you can just imagine how she reacts to that (Bates delivers one of my absolute favorite Horror Story lines of all time - “On Christmas morning, I’m gonna stuff your conniving mouth full of shit!”) Needless to say the current house maid gave her daughters plenty of reason to resent their mommy dearest that night, and now that they’ve been reanimated as zombies from Leveau’s voodoo magics, LaLaurie may be paying for her sins at last.

Front and center once again this week is the incomparable Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode. After discovering that Cordelia has been attacked Fiona truly runs the gamut of emotions this episode and no one could handle the material better than Lange. There’s an especially great scene where Fiona stumbles into the hospital room of a mother who birthed a stillborn, and suddenly all of the Supreme’s own maternal regrets are pouring out - it’s uncomfortable, maybe a bit disturbing even, but also extremely touching and Lange is brilliant. Later she finds a way to use the attack against her daughter to her own advantage though, quite cleverly, and the council will never the be same again. But this is Horror Story and sins are never just absolved as histories are never simply forgotten - I’m sure Fiona will pay for her manipulative ways this week just as she’ll get her comeuppance for what happened with Maddison, a secret that will surely be revealed eventually as we see again this week that her body is still upstairs with Spalding, now beginning to rot and stench (Sidenote: how fun / weird must this be for Emma Roberts? She’s this seasons Chloe Sevigny, for sure).

There’s no Kyle (Even Peters) this week and only a very brief appearance by Lily Rabe as Misty Day, though her arrival is clearly foreshadowing of a larger storyline to come and I’m extremely excited about it. It still isn't quite clear to me what direction this season is headed and as a fan of the franchise I believe that's a great thing. The installments in the past kept twisting and turning until the final episode and I’d really have it no other way. Tonight is an episode that deals mostly with cleanup and then set up, but the performances are great and the teases of what’s to come are downright maddening. Check out some of my favorite bits below.

Stuff You’ll Love:
- Zoe finally quits the whining and emerges as a true warrior this week
- The performances are some of best so far this season. Lange and Bates knock it out of the park and I love Frances Conroy as the hatred-fueled and always wacky Myrtle Snow
- Fiona Vs. Hank Foxx! (though no real hint at WTF he was up to last week)
- We do indeed get to watch a witch burn this week and the scene is epic. The soundtrack, direction, scenery - everything is awesome and so distinctly Horror Story. Definitely my favorite bit of the episode.

American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX. “Burn, Witch, Bitch” premieres tonight.

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