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American Horror Story - 3.04 - Fearful Pranks Ensue - Review

The fourth installment of Coven starts by taking us back to New Orleans in 1961. A young African American boy is riding his bike when he notices a car seems to be following him. The boy begins to pedal faster and the car speeds up . The boy veers left and goes down a small fenced alley way. Three white males swiftly approach the boy as he's been backed into a corner.

At Marie's salon, Cora, one of her hair stylists, is telling her client about how it's her sons first day at high school, an integrated high school, nonetheless. Marie shakes her head and tells the woman that she's taking a chance. Cora tells Marie that times are changing since Kennedy is in the White House. Marie lists why Cora should be nervous, but Cora can only reply that she has faith in the future. Then we see a boy, hung from a tree. He's taken down and Cora runs up to the body as he's laid on the ground. Cora screams and cries for her poor son, and Marie looks on from the distance. Marie conducts a ritual that involved drawing in chalk on the floor and slicing a snake down the middle. There's bongos being played and she quickly looks to her left. A drawer pops open and she takes a swatch of cloth and what appears to be some hair to use in the ritual. After she sprinkles salt around, the contents of the container before her erupt into flames and she begins to take a drink fromt he vase. The bongo playing gets more frantic and as she clutches the pearls, cloth, and hair, we see bodies begin to rise from their graves. Marie is seen laughing maniacally.

The three men who hung Cora's son are sitting in some kind of barn it would appear, drinking, talking about how there's more and more African Americans (They, however, choose a more vulgar way of putting it) and that they've done their duty that night. Suddenly they hear loud bangs and suddenly they're beseiged by the undead, risen and descending on them. The zombies attack the men, ripping their appendages off one at a time, grunting and growling as they do so. One of the men attempts to shoot at the undead minions of Marie, which of course does nothing to hamper the possessed rotting bodies. All the men are ripped apart and killed, and Marie is seen, eyes completely whited out, also screaming.

A hand places the needle down to a record and a song begins to play. The hand that started the song is older & the nails unkempt and unsightly. Their pointer finger dances back and forth for a moment to the music, than it pours a small cup of tea. There are macabre and eerie dolls all around the room. More cups are filled with tea and the camera pulls back to reveal that it is Spalding, the silent servant. He's at a table with a few of the dolls, and the table is in a room surrounded with thousands of the bizarre dolls. Spalding has sat down and is happily pouring himself a cup of tea. He is about to place his napkin on his lap when he hears Fiona. Slowly, Spalding makes his way down the stairs. He hears the conversation between Fiona and Madison, as he reaches the first floor. Spalding enters the room just in time to see Fiona slit Madison's throat.

Fiona is smoking her cigarette stating that Madison would have been a horrible Supreme as Spalding rolls the body up in the rug. Once she's been completely rolled up, Spalding goes over to where Fiona is sitting. He pours and then offers her a drink. Fiona tells the butler that she's always enjoyed their little talks, especially since he lost his tongue. She tells him it makes him appear more wise somehow. They hear a loud noise and Fiona jumps up, telling Spalding to deal with Madison. Fiona makes her way to Cordelia's lab only to find Queenie laid out on the floor. Queenie tells Fiona that he hurt her really badly. Fiona asks who hurt her and suddenly Bastien rises right behind her.

Fiona rushes to Cordelia's room and wakes her up, insisting that she needs her help. The women have gotten Queenie onto the bed and Fiona is telling Cordelia that Queenie was attacked and is near death. Cordelia asks by who and Fiona tells her that while she slept a minion of hell assaulted Queenie and the women come to the conclusion that he was summoned by Marie. Cordelia hurries to make a potion to help Queenie and she tells Fiona this is all her fault and that she knows of her visit to Marie's. Fiona asks how Cordelia knows and she confesses to making her own visit to Marie's salon. Fiona starts to question her as to why she was on that side of town to which Cordelia replies that she had a personal matter. Fiona asks how much Marie soaked Cordelia for, and Cordelia tells her mother that she was refused the fertility ritual. The women fight over their respective visits to Marie and Fiona fumes that she only went to the salon to show the strength of the Salem witches and that Cordelia had undermined her. Cordelia tells Fiona that Queenie isn't breathing. Fiona goes to the girl and leans over her, slowly blowing her breathe into Queenie's mouth. Cordelia states that there's a heartbeat but that they should probably get Queenie to a hospital. Fiona refuses and tells her daughter that from now on, they do everything internally. Fiona continues on to remind Cordelia that they don't want 'The Council' to appear on their doorstep, asking questions.

Fiona goes to her room and tells Delphine to get out of the closet. Delphine slowly emerges and tells Fiona that Queenie saved her life and that Marie sent her former house boy Bastien to come for her. Fiona tells her she already knows, but that Delphine needs to keep that information to herself. Fiona starts towards her bed, and slowly sits down on it and tells Delphine to get lost. Delphine stops just short of the door, and timidly asks Fiona what if Bastien comes back for her. Fiona simply tells Delphine that he won't.

Down at Cornrow City, Marie is finishing up on Cora, who is now older but very excited about her new 'do. Marie spins her to the mirror and Cora is thrilled with the result. Marie tells everyone in the shop that Miss Cora has been invited to the Mayor's mansion for the Halloween Ball. Cora attempts to get her money out and Marie insists that she doesn't want any money. Cora tells Marie that she's too good to her. One of the stylists hauls in a large package. Marie says that they aren't suppsoed to be getting any hair that day and the girl tells the owner that some freak just dropped it off without a word. Marie tells her to open it up and as soon as she does so, she cries out loud. Marie goes over to the box only to find the severed bull's head of Bastien. Marie is in disbelief and the bulls head actually blinks its eyes, causing Marie to scream in horror.

Kyle, still blood covered, is in the bathroom, slamming his head onto the edge of the bathtub. He continues to do so until Zoe rushes to him and says, 'Kyle! No!" He looks at her with a confused look for a moment before he mutters his own name back to her. They look at eachother briefly and then Kyle says to her, "No Kyle." Zoe grabs a towel and wets it and begins to try to get the blood off of him. She starts to tear up and tells him that she is so sorry and didn't maen for any of this to happen. He slowly reaches up and tries to wipe away a tear from her cheek and she quickly stands up and asks him if he's hungry. She mumbles about how hungry he must be and that she'll go make him something. Kyle watches as she rushes out of the bathroom. In the kitches, she prepares him a bowl of tuna. As she's doing so, she takes notice of a box of rat poision. Once the meal is fixed, she heads back to the bathroom, only to find that Kyle is no longer in there. She rushes to the front door to see it wide open. Zoe goes out on to the porch and looks around at all the people dressed upf or Halloween, but Kyle is no where in sight.

Fiona is getting dressed in a beautiful black dress and calls for Delphine to assist her in zipping it closed. As Delphine is helping her, Fiona tells her maid that Halloween is her favorite day. Delphine inquires about the end of harvest and bonfires and leaving food out to keep the demons at bay. Fiona scoffs at Delphine's ignorance of current Halloween tradition and tells her to just zip her up. Delphine does so and afterwards, steps back to admire Fiona. She starts to say Fiona's name and that she looks beautiful, but Fiona thought she was going to say younger. Fiona shrugs it off and says she's both and then tells Delphine that her superstitions are behind the times. She tells Delphine about jack-o-lanterns and candy. Fiona puts on a traditional pointy witches hat and while looking in the mirror, asks, "Who's the baddest witch in town?"

Back at the salon, Marie is furious. She's gathering objects around her personal space, and her employee comes into the room. Marie tells the woman that this doesn't concern her. The stylist reminds Marie that they had 10 years of trouble. Chantile goes on to say she grew up with the stories of heart break and blood running through the streets. Marie says that it was their blood and that she used it to paint her day room. Chantile goes on to say that she knew Marie to be the hero of the stories she'd heard all her life and how she knew Marie had created a truce between the Salem and the VooDoo witches. In a brief flashback, Marie sits across from Anna Leigh Leighton at Robichaux's. Chantile voices over, saying that neither crossed into eachother's territory and no more blood shed at one anothers hands. Back in present time, Marie snaps that the truce is over. Marie continues on to say that if she isn't with her, she's against her and if so she had best stay out of Marie's way.

Cordelia is on the phone with her husband, Hank. She asks him how Baton Rouge is, and then tells him she hates when he takes foreman jobs out of town. He tells her that they need the money. She asks him when his meeting is and there is a knock at Hank's door. He tells Cordelia that it actually is right now and that he'll call her later. Hank opens the door and standing there is a red headed woman. He calls her by her name, Kaylee, and they begin laughing. Next thing we know, the two are in bed together, Hank on top of her, violently ramming into her. After a few moments of extremely rough sex, Hank climaxes with some alarming moans. He shakes his head and climbs off of Kaylee and lays next to her, lighting up a cigarette. Kaylee begins to talk about how she loves Halloween and dressing up. She takes the cigarette from Hank and asks if he likes to dress up and what he was for last year. Hank looks at her intently and says he was a monster.

Cordelia is pressing a cool cloth to Queenie's face, pleading that she be ok. Delphine is in the room watching over her unlikely savior. Suddenly, Queenie wakes up and cries out, unsure of where she is or who has her. She sees that it is her headmistress taking care of her and Queenie asks if she's dead. Cordelia goes to get a fresh towel and Delphine approaches Queenie's bedside. She tells Queenie that she doesn't know how to thank her for saving her life and Queenie says that she'll just have to work on that. Nan appears and tells Cordelia that, "They're here!" Cordelia asks Nan if it's the girls and Nan tells the headmistress that it's not the girls.

Cordelia rushes downstairs to find The Council and she tells Myrtle she had no idea that they would be joining them today. Myrtle goes to hug Cordelia and she quietly asks how screwed she is. Myrtle starts to back out of the hug and tells Cordelia just to breathe. One of The Council members dryly tells Cordelia that The Council on Witchcraft only meets under the gravest of circumstances. Cordelia guesses that they are there because of the attack on Queenie. The Council members start to question Cordelia regarding the incident. She's told that she should have alerted The Council sooner, but she's told that the attack was not why they had visited her. She's told that something potentially more grave has come to their attention and immediately Cordelia begins to apologize and go into her visit to Marie Laveau's beauty salon. Just as Myrtle is advising they should all sit down, Fiona appears and tells them all not to get too comfortable. She looks at Cordelia and demands that she stop talking. Fiona greets each member of The Council in her own fabulous way. Finally, Fiona questions them as to why they are there. Myrtle confesses that they were called by one of the students at the academy. When Fiona asks which student it was, Nan appears and admits that it was her. She tells Fiona that she can't hear Madison anymore and she fears that she's dead. Myrtle tells Fiona that is the reason that they were there.

The Council has set themselves up at the school. Pembrook is working as the stenographer and Quentin is smoking a cigarette. Myrtle goes on stating that the investigation as to what has happened to Madison has begun. Myrtle states that there is only way to punish those who have caused harm to a Salem descendant and that is death by fire. Cordelia, Zoe, and Queenie are all questioned about Madison, her powers, her behavior, etc. During her interrogation, Cordelia wonders aloud, "Where's my rug?" Nan is also questioned when she reveals what Madison had done to the neighbors curtains. Quentin asks who else knew about this new power of Madison's.

At the hotel where Hank is staying, Kaylee is heating up some vending machine soup and burritos. The two bring their food to the table and make small talk. Kaylee talks of places she'd like to visit and Hank tells her that his job brings him to some pretty cool places, as well as crappy ones. She jokingly calls him a Big Shot USDA Agent and he corrects her saying he's an inspector, not an agent or a spy. She then makes a joke about a girlfriend and he asks if she's getting possessive already. She tells him no and that she knows he's not like that. She recalls how she met him in an online community dedicated to collecting Thomas Kinkade paintings. He challengers her by saying he found her. She tells him that he played it smart and how it was like he knew he had her before she even responded. She jokes how most men only talk for ten minutes before asking for nudes. She tells Hank that he was cool as a cucumber and he starts kissing her neck. She tells him that she really likes him and he asks if that's a problem and she replies by saying it is if he plans on breaking her heart. He's got his hand entangled in her hair when he pulls her head back slightly and then pulls out a revolver and caps her right in the side of the head. She slumps down and falls off the chair bleeding to death as Hank just stands over her and watches.

Myrtle tells Fiona that she must think she's very clever and she agrees. Myrtle lists the ways that Fiona has been a less than amazing Supreme and Fiona fails to see the problem with how she's ruled. She questions Myrtle as to why she feels she's not been a good Supreme. She ponders is it because she left or is it because she's now returned. Myrtle declares that for the second time while Fiona has been in the academy, a witch has disappeared and with both disappearances, it was Fiona who was the last to encounter the witches alive.

In another flashback to 1971, we see young Fiona, crying and insisting that her Supreme is not gone. The Council of that time informs her that they can no longer feel Anna Leigh's life force. Fiona says that Anna Leigh was on her way out but she didn't know where to. Fiona goes on to say that Anna Leigh had a wine bottle with her, and said it was a final peace offering. The head of The Council describes how Anna Leigh had come to a truce with Marie Laveau. One of The Council members asks Fiona if she suspects the colored witches could have anything to do with Anna Leigh's disappearance. Fiona, still crying, can't be sure. The head of The Council, tells Fiona to be strong, as they have something to tell her.

Still back in 1971, the academy is having a ceremony to announce the witch that would be the next Supreme and it is announced that it is Fiona. The witches all raise their glasses to Fiona except for a young woman with glasses and a plaid sweater, who has a foul look upon her face. Another young girl stands next to the witch in plaid and exclaims that Fiona could end up being the youngest Supreme in history. The plaid witch whisphers that she can't believe that Fiona is getting away with it. Fiona looks over at the girl and asks what exactly it is she can't believe that Fiona is getting away with. Fiona calls the girl 'dog face' and she retaliates with 'murderer.' The plaid witch passionately tells Fiona that she knows when a lie is being told and she will protect the truth. With a wave of her hand, Fiona shatters the glass in the young girls hands and promptly calls for Spalding.

We see the young Myrtle casting some type of spell and ending it with shouting that the truth shall be spoken. At dinner time at the academy, a young girl is telling the Myrtle of the tests that Fiona has passed. She goes on to say that by this time tomorrow she'll be the new Supreme. Myrtle turns and asks the girl if she's ever noticed that Spalding spends his life cleaning up after Fiona's messes and that if she had done something to Anna Leigh, that Spalding must know about it. The girl tells young Myrtle that even if he does know, he won't say anything. She tells the girl he won't have any other option because she has enchanted Spalding's tongue so that he is unable to lie. She continues on and tells the girl that she happens to know that The Council will be calling him in for a closed session the next day. Just then Spalding appears to brush away the crumbs in front of Myrtle and she thanks him.

Next thing we see the girls of the academy are all rushing to see what the commotion in the bathroom is. The girls find Spalding in the bathroom on the floor writhing in pain and Fiona standing over him. We then see that the servants tongue is laying crudely beside him. The head of The Council urges the girls back to their respective rooms immediately. The last girl to leave for her room is Myrtle and she doesn't leave before an intense stare down with Fiona.

Back in the present, Myrtle is telling Fiona that it is time for her to pay for every crime that she has commited. Fiona tells her that she is innocent until proven guilty and that Myrtle hasn't proven anything to this day. Myrtle tells Fiona that the last time a witch was tried, convicted and burned was in 1926 and also quips that she has a book of matches in her pocket that she's just dying to light this fire. Myrtle then calls their final witness to testify and it is none other than Spalding. Myrtle instructs the butler to stand before them and details how the last Supreme disappeared and that he was disfigured sometime shortly after that incident. She goes on about how she couldn't imagine living with the moster that mutilated him. She tells Spalding he has nothing to be afraid of and all he has to do is write down the name of the witch who is responsible for severing his tongue. Spalding walks to the table and picks up the pen and writes down a name. He folds the paper and turns to look at Fiona before handing the paper to Myrtle. She opens the paper up to reveal her very own name.

They then go back in time and show Spalding, over hearing young Myrtle at the time tell her friend that she cast a spell on his tongue. We then see him in the bathroom with a switch blade. There is a knock at the bathroom door so he places the blade down on the sink. He goes and opens the door and it is Fiona standing there. She says that she got his note and he thanks her for coming. He looks at her and tells her that these will be his last words. He tells her that he has always loved her and with that he grabs the knife, holds out his own tongue and then swiftly slices it off.

Myrtle becomes enraged at seeing her own name on the paper and screams that it won't stand. She goes toward Fiona and accuses her murdering Anna Leigh because she was the last Supreme and Madison because she was the new Supreme. She turns to The Council and screams that Fiona keeps getting away with it. Corelia stands and quietly tells Myrtle that she is wrong. Cordelia then lays out the bombshell that Madison was not the next Supreme. Everyone in the room looks shocked as Cordelia explains that Madison had a heart condition. Cordelia states that the tell tale sign of any rising Supreme is perfect health. She tells the group that Madison had a heart murmur and that while she kept it monitored, she also kept it a secret. Cordelia tells Myrtle that for all these years, she has been barking up the wrong tree and that her mother is the rightful Supreme and is so for a reason. Quentin chimes in with, "Here here!"

It's the evening of Halloween, and the ladies have closed up shop at the beauty salon. Marie is dressed in a white gown and blue headress. She's drawn in chalk all around herself on the floor. She pulls out a huge anaconda and wraps it around her neck. She then takes out a smaller dark snake and slices it open. The man is beating on the bongos again and we see a set of arms come up through the ground in a grave yard. Marie takes a rope noose and snaps it and we cut to the grave yard again, where now bodies are all about halfway emerged from under the ground.

The doorbell rings at the academy and Delphine opens the door for the trick or treaters. The children all take a handful and Delphine tells them not to be greedy and just to take one. She calls the kids 'little hooligans' as they run away with their handfuls of candy. The girls of Robichaux's are all together in one room trying to figure out what has become of Madison. Nan, who has a small shrine to Madison, insists she would be able to hear her if she was ok, and Queenie wonders if she had found a way to block her thoughts from Nan. Nan insists that Madison has passed away. Zoe says that they should be out looking for Madison, but Nan reminds the girls that Fiona told them to stay inside.

With the record playing, Splading is placing a single Hershey's Kiss onto small plates. He fixes the dolls so that they are to his liking, one wearing a witch hat. He goes to the mirror and looks at himself. As the camera moves back slightly, we see that Spalding is dressed in an opaque nightgown and he then proceedes to place a white bonnet over his head. He smiles brightly at himself in the mirror and then he goes into the next room and pulls out an old yellowing lace dress. He carries it through the room, past the dolls and the table with the tea party he has set up. He stops when he reaches a chair that holds Madison's body. She's been placed in a wooden chair and is holding a tea cup and saucer. Her neck has a scarf tied around it and she's in only a bra and panties.

Fiona and Cordelia are at the bar having drinks. Fiona insists that Cordelia take something stronger and orders them a round. Cordelia says that they should play a game and ask eachother questions. Cordelia asks her mother why she hates Hank and Fiona tells her that he reeks of bullshit and she doesn't understand how her daughter can't see that. Cordelia downs her drink and asks if Fiona killed Madison. Fiona denies it and goes on to ask Cordelia who the next Supreme is. Cordelia says her mother is obsessed and asks if she can feel her power weakening. Fiona lifts her glass and gives her daughter a look. Cordelia tells the bartender to keep 'em comin and before you know it, Cordelia is throwing up in the bathroom. She goes to the sink to wash her face off and a hooded figure emerges from one of the stalls with a glass full of a liquid. Cordelia turns to her right and suddenly the person splashes the liquid in her face. Cordelia screams and covers her face with shaking hands.

Delphine is attempting to tell the trick or treaters that she's going to decide what they get, when Luke comes up to the front door. She begins to tell him he isn't getting anything and he tells her that he's the new neighbor from next door and he came to drop off cookies. Nan asks if they're for Madison and he tells them that they're actually for herself. He tells Nan he wanted to pay her back for the delicious cake. Suddenly there's a loud knock at the door. Delphine goes to answer it and finds three zombie girls at the door. She takes a good look and realizes that they're her daughters. Delphine slams the door shut and we see there is a mob of zombies on the front lawn of the academy.

Last night's episode of American Horror Story: Coven is my favorite episode so far this sesason. I feel like I say that every episode, but "Fearful Pranks Ensue" was simply amazing. The women of Coven continue to deliver powerhouse performances, with the exception of Taissa as Zoe. All of these amazing actresses have been able to play completely different characters each season, while Zoe is basically Violet 2.0. That aside, this episode was it for me. Delphine's reaction to the Trick or Treaters, Spalding's creepy tea party, and all the back story that we got on these characters. I love that AHS will give us some back story, but then by the end of the episode we stil have many questions. What will happen to Cordelia's face? What's up with Hank? Who is really the next Supreme? As usual, the ending left me only able to say, "Is it next Wednesday yet?" American Horror Story Coven is a full on addiction and I don't want to be cured.

Kelly Ann
I am a reviewer for SpoilerTV, reviewing True Blood and American Horror Story. I also enjoy Grey's Anatomy. I also run and or contribute to several True Blood accounts across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

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