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American Horror Story: Coven - Chapter 10, “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” - Early Review

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Okay, I’m a sucker for Stevie Nicks. I’ve always loved Fleetwood Mac and the use of their music along with the incorporation into Misty’s storyline has been one of my favorite aspects of season 3 so far. I feel like no matter how this episode played out I would have liked it better than the last few for the sole fact that Stevie performs - TWICE! - and interacts awesomely with Lily Rabe’s underused revivalist Misty Day. In addition to that though, much of this episode is exactly what I’ve missed about most of the current Horror Story: Coven installment. There’s a cohesive storyline followed throughout, great moments for every actor featured (though quite a few of our regular players aren’t seen tonight), and genuine moments of shock and uneasiness. Rewatching Asylum over the break illuminated even more what I felt this season has been missing; genuine terror, and characters we can root for and sympathize with in the face of uncertainty. Still, there have been moments of greatness this season, and tonight proves that these witches won’t be going down without a fight. There are a few seriously shocking deaths, and the addition of a new character that I wish had been introduced weeks earlier. Read on for more about “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”.

The episode opens just moments after “Head” concluded. We see Fiona welcoming Marie Laveau into the Academy, both women eager to work out their differences and unite to destroy the witch hunters who have set them in their sights. It’s great to be getting more scenes between Lange and Bassett as the two share a fantastic combative chemistry. Sparks really fly between Fiona and her daughter Cordelia, though, as the two discover that Hank had married into the family for the purpose of destroying them. Fiona views this as an unimaginable betrayal and evidence of naivety and stupidity on her daughters part, and she refuses Cordelia’s help in crippling the witch hunters. The result is a fantastic scene between Cordelia and her aunt Myrtle, in turns both hilariously wacky (Myrtle) and frustratingly emotional, as Cordelia begins to question her powers and place in the coven.

Bassett’s Marie Laveau finally gets some real backstory tonight as we meet the chilling Papa Legba. He visits Laveau when it is time for her yearly offering, a price she has been paying since she sold her soul to Legba for immortality centuries earlier. While the sacrifice we see the voodoo priestess preparing to make today is certainly bad enough (hint: it involves a trip to the hospital nursery) we learn through flashback that years before she paid a much greater price which hit very close to home. Bassett is here given the chance to elevate Laveau from over-the-top awesome villainess to a real grounded character, beyond the legend that exists. It’s frustrating that we don’t see or even hear anything about what happened to Queenie or where Lalaurie is at, but I’ll take what I can get.

Indeed, with just a few episodes left I’ve accepted that the things I don’t love about this season probably will not be changing. Papa Legba, for instance, could have been truly terrifying, but the writers seem intent to make every character in this universe a source of comic relief. Legba is still creepy and totally a welcome introduction, in fact I wish he had been brought on earlier to bring a bit of edge to the season, but I fear tonight may be his only appearance. Also in the department of things-I-just-need-to-get-past, there is indeed a continuation of the Nan / Luke saga as we see Nan discover that Luke (THE LOVE OF HER LIFE, YOU GUYS!!!) is dead. Nan continues to annoy the hell of of me, as does the entire storyline, but at least it takes a few interesting and, I’ll admit, totally unexpected turns tonight. I’m definitely excited to read all of your reactions later. Any guesses?

Overall the episode is a great step forward as the season heads toward its conclusion. There are only three weeks to go after this and with tonights episode I’ve certainly gotten a renewed interest in the resolution . Will this end up being my favorite season of American Horror Story? Definitely not. But there’s more than enough to enjoy and the performances alone elevate it above just about anything else on TV. The lighter more comedic / b-movie tone that this season has taken is pleasing many viewers who were turned off by last years extremely dark Asylum arc (my personal favorite). I suppose that's the beauty of an anthology series; each season can play to different strengths and alternately please many crowds. In the comments below, let us know what you’ve been liking most so far about Coven and what you’re hoping to see in tonights episode. Got more questions about “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”? I’m happy to answer. Also feel free to visit us again after the episode airs to share your thoughts here and check out the post-show reviews. First, a few more teases - and questions - before tonights show.

- Will we ever get answers as to why each witch has the powers they do? Or at the very least what the hell the purpose of Zoe’s puss-of-death is?
- Where the heck is Kyle and what’s going on with him? His story virtually disappeared so much so that I honestly don’t even remember where we ended up with him. It was a story of magic gone wrong, then a Frankenstein thing, then a love triangle, then… well… who knows…
- Will the Axeman serve any real purpose? He appears again very briefly tonight and while I loved his intro episode, he’s totally fizzled out since

Stuff You’ll Love:
- Misty Day meeting Stevie Nicks is just plain awesome. The scene is hilarious and actually doesn’t feel forced or cheesy. The White Witch plays a relatively important part in the story, and her final scene / song is haunting. She also teaches Misty how to properly twirl!
- Papa Legba. While I wish they had gone straight-up terror with this character, he is still more than creepy enough to make an impact. His character provides a number of twists tonight.
- Madison is a super bitch. I hate the character but love the performance. It’s awesomely fun to watch and I’ve been hoping that she’d fully embrace her darker side for a while now, especially post-resurrection. Seeing Misty get all the attention of being the supposed next supreme does not sit well with Miss Montgomery.
- The shocks. I said it above, tonight is full of some of the best genuine twists and turns this season has offered so far. It’s easily my favorite episode since 3x03, “The Replacements”.

American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesday nights at 10 on FX. "The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks" premieres tonight. Follow me on Twitter for updates on Horror Story and all my other SpoilerTV work.

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