Genre: Horror | Drama
Creators: Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
Air Date/Time: November 13, 2013, 10/9c
Written by: Douglas Petrie
Directed by: Michael Uppendahl
American Horror Story: Coven tells the secret history of witches and witchcraft in America. Over 300 years have passed since the turbulent days of the Salem witch trials and those who managed to escape are now facing extinction. Mysterious attacks have been escalating against their kind and young girls are being sent away to a special school in New Orleans to learn how to protect themselves. Wrapped up in the turmoil is new arrival, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), who is harboring a terrifying secret of her own. Alarmed by the recent aggression, Fiona (Jessica Lange), the long-absent Supreme, sweeps back into town, determined to protect the Coven and hell-bent on decimating anyone who gets in her way. American Coven features an extraordinary cast including Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Frances Conroy, Lily Rabe, Denis O’Hare, Patti LuPone, and Danny Huston. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Dante Di Loreto, Tim Minear, James Wong, Jennifer Salt, and Brad Buecker are Executive Producers of American Horror Story: Coven. It is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Episode Synopsis: Chapter 6 – “The Axeman Cometh” (Airs November 13, 10:00 PM E/P) – Zoe, Queenie, and Nan make contact with a dark spirit trapped in the Academy. Cordelia’s new power brings on a heartbreaking revelation.
This episode of American Horror Story: Coven may actually be my favorite so far. It doesn’t have even more wacky camera angles, even more gorgeous set designs, or even more Jessica Lange snark, things that have caught my attention and love in the past. What it does have is great storytelling. While some of my favorite AHS episodes leave me breathless at the end, this episode gave me a feeling usually reserved for finales. It gave me a sense of satisfaction.
I could tell you exactly why, but spoilers. Suffice to say that the story moves along quite nicely in this episode, with miraculously smooth transitions between a crowd of storylines with a crowd of actors. A totally new element comes into play, with the requisite additional castmembers, yet it all flows cogently and beautifully. Kudos to AHS-rookie writer Douglas Petrie, who seems to have had no issues whatsoever in finding the right voices, beats, and whatever is magical that makes this show what it is. Though he’s new to AHS, he has a lovely resume full of geek cred, including episodes for Buffy, Tru Calling, The 4400 and Pushing Daisies. Hopefully he’ll be back again.
High praise as well to director Michael Uppendahl, who returns to helm after directing my previous favorite episode, “Fearful Pranks Ensue”, which of course still holds first place for best title. All the great camera tricks are there, but they are organic to the story and never overused. Again, the timing, the pacing, all work perfectly harmoniously this week.
Acting skills are again at their peak this week, with standout performances by Sarah Paulson, Taissa Farmiga, and of course Jessica Lange. The entire production is, as it has been with increasing regularity this season, beautiful, seamless, creepy, and an excellent example of what can be achieved when exceptionally talented people come together in the right circumstances.
I can’t wait for you to see this episode. I give American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 7 “The Axeman Cometh” Five Out of Five Stars.