Episode Title: “The Dead”

Writers: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk

Director: Bradley Buecker

Previously on “American Horror Story: Coven”:

Episode 3.06: “The Axeman Cometh!”


Things take a turn for the super-slow in “The Dead”. Sure, the episode has its good moments, but it’d be nice if the rest of those moments weren’t soooo daaang slooow. “The Dead” also marks the first time in the series of this show that I’ve not given a crap about Jessica Lange’s storyline, so good job there, “American Horror Story.”

Kyle finally gets to act like a normal person and has lines and everything! We open with a flashback to show him during better times, back when he was human and he engages in some light, but hopeful, banter with his frat bros while they get tattoos. He doesn’t get any tats, reasoning that his future is so open for awesomeness that he doesn’t want to risk it by branding himself, but then we flash forward to the present to find that Kyle has the body parts of all of his friends and the tats to go along with them.

So, as usual, Kyle starts wigging out and Zoe shows up with a gun, resolving to do what she should have done in the first place. But, Kyle seems to be Zoe’s Kryptonite, because she’s ludicrously incompetent when it comes to him. First she sets him free, but when she tries to kill him, he snatches the gun out of her hand easily. And when he tries to kill himself she stops him, which makes zero sense since he was going to do the thing she was there to do in the first place! Anyway, after all of the potential suicide/murder gets sorted out, Zoe tried to be the Jane to his undead Tarzan and teach him basic phrases for communication. Things go as well as expected- Kyle knocks everything out of her hands and wigs out. Wonderful. So far all Kyle has done is grunt, freak out, then grunt and freak out at the same time. I know you guys like Evan Peters, “AHS” writers, but how about you give him something to do?

Zoe leaves to find Madison skulking around. Turns out Miss M can’t feel anything since her return from the other side. She eats like crazy, she burns herself, she stuffs endless pills and poultices down her throat, but ends up with bupkiss. Zombie Madison? Yay! If you want to eat something, go eat Fiona. She’s why you’re a zombie, anyway. Zoe grows tired of Madison’s weirdness, so Madison tries talking to fellow deadite Kyle about how cold and dark everything feels, and the fact that neither of them saw any hint of an afterlife.

Meanwhile, Cordelia’s estranged husband keeps trying to reconnect to her, but we get a glimpse of the Punisher-level stockpile of gun he’s got, so I’m thinking the only thing he wants to connect are his bullets and those witches. After accidentally bumping into Madison, Cordy’s new Convenient Psychic Plot Powers reveal that Fiona was the one who killed the bratty actress for fear of her becoming the new Supreme. So Cordelia talks to Zoe, who seems a likely candidate to be the new Supreme, and warns her that they must kill Fiona before she strikes down the next Supreme candidate. While mulling this over, Zoe walks in on Kyle very romantically plowing Madison up against a shelf. Oooh! That’s an outrageous violation of the Sis Code! When you bring a boy back to life, you clearly have the right to be the first one to try to date him.

Later we see Spalding asleep, chained to the creepy bed in his creepy room, and dressed like a weirdo crossing guard. Zoe gives him the evil eye and he starts talking. Say whaaat? Turns out Zoe found Spalding’s enchanted tongue, and restored it so she could confirm with him that Fiona did, indeed, kill Madison. Good going, Zoe! Too often on this show people accept what they hear on face value, but here you are getting information from the one person who is magically bound to tell the truth. As a thanks for his information and his many years of service to the coven, Zoe goes all Jason Voorhees and stabs Spalding to death. So long, Denis O’Hare! You didn’t get to do a lot as Spalding, but I look forward to seeing what creepy incarnation you take next season.

While showering off the icky Spalding blood, Madison busts in on Zoe and the two of them talk about the whole Kyle situation. It’s clear that Zoe likes Kyle, but since he and Madison have that undead connection, Madison doesn’t want to give it up, either. The solution? Awkward threesome!

Jessica Lange does little of interest this time around. Fiona and the Axeman hook up, and he spills the beans that he’s loved her from afar for years while he was ghosting around the coven house. First, he loved her as a father when she was young (creepy), then as a man when she came of age (super creepy). They make out a bit, she slaps him and rebuffs his advance, but when a huge clump of her hair falls out later she seems to realize that her dating options are kind of limited, so she meets him at a jazz club and she offers to buy him a drink.

Meanwhile, Madame LaLaurie is back and ready to bond with Queenie. And by “bond with her” I mean, “blindly put her down because of her race.” LaLaurie tells Queenie that the other witches will never accept her because of the color of her skin, and, in some desperate bid to connect to someone, Queenie visits Marie Laveau. Marie tries to get Queenie to come live with them amongst “her kind”, but only if she brings Delphine to her.

Later, Queenie and Madame LaLaurie talk in the kitchen- and I was so loving Queenie’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” shirt- and we get a flashback of LaLaurie forcing a slave to listen to her talk about having slaughtered the young lady’s recently born, half-white baby to make her beauty cream. The enslaved woman responds by throwing herself off of the roof. Madam LaLaurie pleads for Queenie to grant her some level of understanding, which is a tough pill to swallow seeing as how she just admitted to slaughtering a baby. Come on, Queenie, she just wants to be buddies!

Queenie seems to accept this offer of friendship, and leads LaLaurie to get her hair done, but in truth she leads her right into Laveau’s waiting arms. Queenie and Laveau tear into LaLaurie and get some of her blood, and then Laveau uses it for her own take on the patented Madame LaLauria beauty treatment. I’m not crazy about this move for Queenie. Sure, LaLaurie was a serial killing bigot, and having Queenie just turn her over to Laveau would have been one thing, but having her actively join in on the violence seems unlike her.

The “American Horror Story” writers were definitely off their game with this episode; it felt like they were just spinning their wheels before they get to the crazy stuff for the final two episodes. We didn’t really learn anything new about the characters, and those patented “OMG I can’t believe American Horror Story did that!” moments were missing here. This wasn’t the worst hour of television I’ve seen this year, but it was far from the best.