American Horror Story began its third season last week and it’s shaping up to be the most intense one yet. The third installment of the wicked anthology series, titled Coven, is set in New Orleans, at a private finishing school that doubles as a decidedly un-Hogwarts-like school for witchcraft. (The Season Three teaser trailers made terrifying use of the opening line from “House of the Rising Sun.”)
Granted, the premiere (“Bitchcraft”) was good but not great, and way heavy on the exposition. In previous years AHS has trusted its viewers to piece together the backstories as the season evolved, revealing Bloody Face and the secrets of the Murder House in tantalizing teases (not that those seasons were perfect – the aliens, for crying out loud!!!). So did we really need Queenie (Gabourey Sidibé) shouting, “I’m a human voodoo doll”? Watching her stick a fork in her hand to make Madison (Emma Roberts) bleed was pretty on-the-nose. And we certainly didn’t need to be told that Fiona (Jessica Lange) was the Supreme – Lange has always been AHS‘s baddest bitch in town. (For more details, take a look at Willa Paskin’s excellent recap for Slate.)
Still, it was a perfectly adequate setup for what looks to be an exciting (but hopefully more subtle) season. Among the wildly controversial topics addressed in Episode One alone: slavery, torture, the Minotaur, necromancy, gang rape, and the ability to literally f**k someone to death (which gets put to good use). We already know that there’s going to be a supernatural war between Big Bad Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) and Lange’s Head Bitch in Charge over the fate of the real-life serial killer and slave-torturer Madame Delphine LaLaurie (a terrifying Kathy Bates). I’m also thrilled to report that the Violet (Taissa Farmiga)/Tate (Evan Peters) love story is making a comeback – except this time they’re named Zoe and Kyle and she’s a witch and he’s a horrifying Frankenstein’s monster assembled of “the best boy parts.”
Can’t wait for Episode Two. Check out this preview of “Boy Parts” for more gory details.
— Rebecca H.