Episode Title: “The Sacred Taking”

Writers: Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Previously on “American Horror Story”:

Episode 3.07: “The Dead”


“American Horror Story: Coven” returns just in time before my Jessica Lange-withdrawal symptoms start. “The Sacred Taking” brings a mixed bag of promising events and letdowns, so let’s get to it.

Queenie doesn’t really have much to do this episode since she left the Coven in “The Dead” in order to join Marie Laveau’s group. She takes us through her typical, normal day as she begins the episode walking down a shady alley and ripping the heart out of an aggressive rapist because Leveau needs a “dark heart” for whatever shenanigans she’s planning. In a half-assed attempt to seem like they’re missing her, Madison and Zoë try to get Queenie to return to the Coven with the weak-sauce statement that “things have changed.” I wouldn’t go back to them either with a line as pitiful as that that, and neither does Queenie. Even though Zoë’s wearing a fabulously large hat, Queenie declares war on her and the rest of the witches, then heads out to feed a locked-up LaLaurie a juicy hamburger. Though the juiciness of Queenie cutting a dude’s bloody heart out will get the blood pumping a tiny bit, all in all this sequence is a bit of a borefest.

You know what you don’t want to do? Taunt your captor about how you can’t die. It’ll only push them into getting creative. After LaLaurie gets done taunting Madame Laveau’s inability to kill her, Laveau counters with, “The mistake you make is from the lack of imagination,” before cutting LaLaurie’s flippin’ hand off! Just because you’re immortal doesn’t mean you can’t get sliced and diced, dummy! I don’t know whether we’re supposed to feel bad for Madame LaLaurie or what. On the one hand, she had a burgeoning friendship with Queenie that’s being curbstomped by all of this abuse. On the other, she’s a racist serial killer. Yeah, I think I’m still just glad that she’s getting tortured a bit.

Myrtle rises from the ground in time to save Misty Day from a shotgun wielding maniac trying to kill her. Hmmm, I bet it’s Cordelia’s wonderful, loving husband (who, if you recall, is actually a bounty hunter trying to take out all the witches for Madame Laveau). They take refuge in the Coven house, and Myrtle decides to drop the bomb on everyone…Misty Day is the new Supreme! Or is she?

“American Horror Story: Coven” has always done a great job at keeping the next Supreme a mystery, leaving signs that point to someone different each episode. “The Sacred Taking” follows the same pattern. Now we all think Misty’s the new Supreme, but they keep saying anyone could be it. Zoë still has a shot I suppose, and now Nan throws her name in the pot too, but everyone brushes the idea of her being the Supreme under the rug- especially Madison, who takes a little pleasure in battering poor Nan’s ego. Later, Nan shouts to handsome neighbor boy that she’s the next Supreme, but who the crap knows at this point. Handsome neighbor boy’s (HNB) mom could be the next Supreme for all we know because “AHS” is just that good at keeping secrets.

Speaking of HNB, it turns out that he, too, has a psycho mom. Unlike Kyle’s incesty mom, HNB’s mama is a psychotic shrew who forces him to “cleanse” himself through unspeakable ways before locking him in the closet as punishment for hanging with Nan. Man, what is it with the moms on this show? If they’re not directly abusing their kids, they’re abusing them through negligence.

Speaking of kids dealing with their negligent moms, Cordelia has finally discovered what it takes to win Fiona’s approval: trying to kill her. Cordelia orchestrates a plan for the Coven to push Fiona to committing suicide. It’s quite clever, too, and would have worked if it wasn’t for Ghost Spalding (and his mangy dog, too!) hanging around in the afterlife, still looking after Fiona despite his case of deadness. Though I do relish seeing Jessica Lange do her thang, the buildup and fakeout of Fiona’s suicide was a letdown. It seemed like “Coven” was going to do something crazy by killing her off, but nope. Nothing really comes of it, either, as Fiona quickly goes back to her usual business of hunting down the next Supreme. Over time we’ve gotten to see some impressive makeup effects on Jessica Lange to show Fiona’s deteriorating health- that chick’s starting to look like crap.

Shortly after Fiona comes back from almost-death by suicide, we get some real deaths by bullets. HNB’s psycho mom gets blasted to death by Cordelia’s husband, and HNB himself gets hurt saving Nan. Is this it? Is this the start of an all-out assault on the Coven!?! NOPE! I guess this is one of those slow assaults where the hit man only goes after one witch a day.

One thing we do learn this episode is the difference between Madison and Zoë’s approach when it comes to Kyle. Madison’s philosophy: “Why can’t he watch porn and jerk off like any other guy?” And Zoë’s philosophy: “Why can’t he learn something so he can rejoin society and have a life?” Thanks to Zoë’s patience, Kyle learns how to speak the words burning in his undead heart: he loves her. She loves him, too, and while these two make their declarations Madison eavesdrops in rage. Looks like the ménage a trois deal they had going is kaput!

We end the episode with Fiona receiving LaLaurie’s decapitated head in a box; but since she can’t die, the head opens her eyes and wheezes for help. As silly as that is, it also leaves me wondering how the hell Kathy Bates’ head is going to get out of that predicament. Even though things end with a snazzy final scene, I can’t help but be a little disappointed in this “AHS”. Where’s the wild back stories, the ludicrous revelations, and the gratuitous gross stuff?