American Horror Story Coven, S3E3: The Replacements
Original Airdate: October 23, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
Tonight’s episode begins with a sleepless Fiona waking up in the middle of the night to find a new liquor source downstairs. She needs to take her pills, and naturally water just won’t do. As she sits down to pour herself a drink, we flash back to Miss Robichaux’s, circa 1971. Annalee, the Supreme at the time, finds Fiona at home and expresses surprise that she’s not burning her bra down in Jackson Square with the rest of the girls. Young Fiona can’t be troubled to breathe in all of the toxic fumes from all of the Playtex, she says, and instead she wants to talk about how Annalee became Supreme. Annalee explains that the Supreme of her time called her before the Council to demonstrate a “mastery of the seven wonders” and upon displaying her talents, she was unanimously declared the Supreme. But that wasn’t what Fiona wanted to know. When did Annalee know she was the Supreme? As it turns out, as a powerful young witch grows, she can start to manifest four to five of the powers, but it isn’t until she can show the seven that she can be proclaimed Supreme. Fiona sits up and says she’s ready to do that, but Annalee disagrees. Apparently, though, as a new Supreme blossoms, the old one starts to wither. As it is, Annalee is dying of a combination of diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure. Fiona starts to slink toward her mentor, and suddenly she slits her throat. Spalding watches the scene in silence. Back in the present, Fiona turns to see that he’s watching her. “Cat got your tongue?” she teases.
At the bar, Fiona reflects on how she came to know what kind of power she had. It all started with the look in her father’s eyes. She has always been able to lure men to her, but on this night she watches as a young man chooses the younger woman over her. She never expected that to happen. Next we see her at a plastic surgeon’s office. Fiona has demanded to see a video of the face reconstruction surgery she plans to undertake. As she watches and her doctor narrates exactly what he plans to do, tears fall from her cheeks.
Zoe has gone to visit Kyle’s mother. Quite unexpectedly, she finds his mother smoking pot (she found a stash in his room, where she has been sleeping since he died). Kyle never mentioned that he had a girlfriend, but Zoe is quick to clarify that they were just friends. His mom talks about what a great kid he was, tutoring SATs and helping people after his father left. Suddenly, his mother asks to share something with Zoe. A phone is ringing and we see Kyle’s mom about to hang herself. If Zoe hadn’t called to check on her, she would have hanged herself. “If only I could hold him again,” she sobs. Zoe tells her that “Kyle has not left us.”
Back at the school, Nan and Queenie watch as new neighbors move in. A young man is helping the movers, and he takes his shirt off as he works, much to the delight of Nan and Queenie. Madison walks up to see what is going on. Joan, the boy’s mother, walks out with a tray of lemonade and reminds her son that it’s sinful to show that much skin. She looks up to see the girls watching, and she sends her son inside.
Madame Delphine LaLaurie is weeping while watching television. President Obama is giving a speech. Fiona walks in with a garment bag over her arm and comments that all Delphine does with her immortality is stuff her face and cry. “The magic box lies,” Delphine says slowly. “Somebody in there just said that that Negro is President of the United States.” “And I voted for him. Twice,” Fiona confirms. She goes on to list all of the prestigious roles that African Americans have played, including “Poet Laureate.” “Lies!” Delphine hisses. It is so much fun to watch Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange play off of each other. But for now, it’s time for Delphine to learn about the new world, and she’s going to do it at Miss Robichaux’s…as the maid. Fiona whips out the maid’s uniform. It’s either the maid or the box. Delphine takes the uniform, still seething.
Nan, Queenie and Madison discuss the hot new neighbor. “Maybe he’d like a little chocolate,” Queenie muses. Nan giggles. Madison thinks it’s funny that the two virgins are thinking they’d have a chance with him. Nan maintains that she’s not only not a virgin, but she gets it all the time. Queenie is saving herself for the right person. Maid Delphine arrives with lunch, and Queenie recognizes her as the “bitch” who hit her with a candlestick. Delphine will not tolerate being called names by a “Negress,” and when she gets to Queenie, she throws the plate against the wall. Queenie moves to strike her, but Fiona arrives and demands an explanation. “Miss Aryan Sisterhood came between Queenie and her food,” Madison deadpans. Delphine says she won’t stoop to serve Queenie’s “kind.” Fiona declares that Delphine will now be Queenie’s personal “slave” and will be subject to whatever Queenie wants. “Sweet,” Queenie mutters. “There’s nothing I hate more than a racist,” Fiona declares.
Down in the bayou, Misty Day sings along with Stevie Nicks while lying in bed with Kyle, who looks a hell of a lot better than he did the last time we saw him. She explains in a matter of fact way that Stevie didn’t find her voice until she joined Fleetwood Mac. “I’m still looking for mine,” she sighs. There’s something really awesome about Lily Rabe’s performance this season. I don’t know if it’s the eyeliner or her innocently ditzy persona. She’s just awesome. Zoe walks in to find them both in bed, and Misty is happy to see her. She jumps up and grabs Zoe’s hand, leading her to the bed so that she can show off the results. Misty straddles Kyle’s midsection, unbuttoning his shirt. Louisiana mud cures anything, but she can’t do anything for the scar around his neck because it was so deep. Deep is right. Zoe talks to Kyle and we can see that he isn’t all there, but he recognizes her. Zoe wants to take him home to his grieving mother, but Misty doesn’t want to let him go after spending all the time to heal him. Zoe says she owes Misty a favor, though she declines Misty’s dinner offer. As Zoe helps Kyle to the door, Misty seems to change her mind, telling Kyle that he belongs with her, that Zoe abandoned him. He roars and knocks her away, and he and Zoe slowly move to the door. Once they’re gone, Misty breaks down for a moment, and then she gathers her wits and spins in a circle to the music of Fleetwood Mac. She’s so awesome…but I think there is more than meets the eye.
Nan and Madison take a cake to their new neighbors. “What do you hope to accomplish with that cake?” Madison asks. Nan just wants to be a good neighbor. She asks Madison what she hopes to get with her minidress. “Laid,” Madison replies, also proclaiming that the guy who lives there is going to be her new “fall fling.” They ring the doorbell and he answers. He smiles warmly at Nan but hardly glances at Madison, which royally pisses her off. His name is Luke, and he invites them inside. He’s very pleased with the cake. Nan says she knew yellow cake with butter cream frosting would be his favorite. You know, because she can read minds of course. Luke is genuinely happy with the cake, and Madison gets even angrier that he’s choosing cake over her. Madison informs Luke that she saw him without his shirt and is interested in the rest of him, but he’s not interested. He thinks she’s too used to being the center of attention. Nan helpfully explains that she’s Madison Montgomery, movie star, but Luke tells them that they don’t have television or internet so he has no idea who she is. He gets a knife and some plates, and after he cuts a piece he tastes it and beams at Nan. “Sweet,” he thinks to himself. Nan smiles at the unspoken compliment. They are interrupted when Joan walks in, seeing the girls and the cake with her precious son. Joan tells Luke that they will take the cake to church to share, and when Madison points out that it’s not Sunday, Luke says that it’s bible study time. Madison, who is clearly not a religious person, says that religion is a crock and there’s no sense in waiting for heaven if you can get what you want now. Joan calmly says that church brings them closer to Jesus. When Joan insists that they leave, Madison makes the knife fly into the opposite wall. Now they get booted from Joan’s house for good…but not before Madison decides to light the curtains on fire as they leave. Nan didn’t know Madison could do that…and neither did Madison.
Cordelia is back at the doctor’s office. Her spell didn’t work, and so she’d like to investigate IVF treatment. Her doctor was about to call her, because there’s a problem with her blood work. She can never have a baby. The doctor wishes he had a magic wand…but Cordelia knows he doesn’t have one. She did, and it didn’t work.
Meanwhile, Fiona is also at the doctor being told that she has some kind of problem that will prevent her from having any kind of plastic surgery. She wants to find another doctor, but her immune system is compromised and no doctor will take her case.
Zoe drives Kyle to his house. She thinks that seeing his mother will bring him back to normal. She drops him off on his front porch and hides behind a tree. Kyle’s mother flips out when she sees her son on the steps. Kyle turns and glares imploringly at Zoe before being dragged into the house.
Fiona is playing with her pills when Spalding leads Joan Ramsey into the dining room. She’s carrying a copy of the Bible, which she brings as a gift upon entering someone’s home for the first time. She’s concerned about the effect that Madison and Nan will have on her boy, which Fiona scoffs at, telling her that devout people are the biggest perverts of all. Joan threatens to press charges if the girls come over again, and she lists assault (Fiona says Madison needs to work on her aim) and arson. The arson catches Fiona’s attention, given that summoning fire is one of the seven wonders. Madison walks in and tells Joan that her son is “so backed up, all I’d need to say is ‘panties’ and he’d giz his jeans.” Joan leaves, “in Jesus’ name,” and Madison starts to leave. Fiona calls her back and asks her to light her cigarette. She has no idea what her new power means, but she thinks it’s cool. Fiona’s mind is already working. She tells Madison to sit down.
Kyle is in bed at his house when his mother walks in. She lays on his bed and tells him that she’s been thinking about when he went to take a shower. We slowly get the feeling that something isn’t right with the situation. We see Kyle in the shower trying to figure things out, and suddenly the shower curtains part and his mother is standing there looking openly at her nude son. She knows he isn’t the same person. But it doesn’t matter…he’s still “her beautiful boy.” She bends down and kisses him. As in kisses him, kisses him. Holy Oedipus Complex…she’s in a relationship with her son, and he does not look like he’s a willing partner.
Cordelia travels down to the Ninth Ward to visit Marie Laveau about her fertility problem. She is taken into the back room, where Marie sits upon a throne of bones. She offers her guest a Coke. Cordelia thanks her for seeing her so quickly and asks about the fertility spell. Marie says that that spell is no picnic for anyone involved in it. Cordelia turns to see a vision of the ceremony on the courtyard patio. Men and women gyrate to the beat of a drum. Cordelia must bring two ounces of her husband’s “baby gravy” in a mason jar and Marie must eat a hot pepper to show the gods that they are serious about their request. Marie joins in the gyrating dance while Cordelia lies on the ground and prepares to receive the blood of the goat between her legs. When it’s over, Marie tells her that she sleeps for four days. But this doesn’t dissuade Cordelia, who wants to know when they can start. There are two conditions—it must be a new moon, and she must have $50,000. But when Cordelia presses to get started, Marie laughs. She’d never use her magic to help the daughter of her sworn enemy. She tells Cordelia about how Fiona came to see her, “waltzing in like the Queen of England.” Cordelia was “born into the wrong tribe,” and Fiona “messed with the wrong witch.”
Zoe returns home to find Nan on the couch. She knows that Zoe likes a boy, and when Zoe chastises her for listening in on her thoughts, Nan says she wishes she didn’t have to. But the huge headphones help. Then Zoe’s phone rings. It’s Kyle’s mother, Alisha, who says that Kyle has come back, but he’s not the same.
In town, Fiona and Madison have lunch. Madison thinks Fiona wants an apology, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fiona asks about Madison’s childhood. Her mother put her to work at an early age and she hated it, and then she snorted half of her cocaine and left her to take the blame. “She’s a selfish bitch,” Madison sighs. Fiona says that she wasn’t Mother of the Year material, either. But Madison points out that she could still repair her relationship with Cordelia. Fiona says it’s too late, but she has so much left to teach. Madison sits up straighter and offers to be her student, which is exactly what Fiona wanted to hear. She tells Madison to find a way to make the man crossing the street believe that being in the street in the middle of traffic is the safest thing in the world. Take away his sense of self-preservation. Soon he’s in the street, and Madison is thrilled at this new power. Fiona smiles, but she’s clearly up to something.
Back at school, Queenie is enjoying having Delphine as her personal slave. She has been cooking all day for her. Delphine says that she’ll never catch a man like that, but Queenie says that Dr. Phil says that people from broken homes use food as a replacement for love. Delphine suggests that Queenie finds another doctor. Delphine looks up to see a shadow outside, and when she looks closer she sees that it’s the Minotaur, also known as Bastien, her former house man. Queenie demands to know who she really is, and when the truth comes out, Queenie says she should die for what she did. But Delphine gets on her knees and begs for help, telling her that she was only trying to protect her daughter. Queenie says she’ll take care of it, so she makes a cut on Delphine’s hand, and then she goes outside to lure the beast away from the house. They go into the greenhouse, and Queenie seems to make a decision when she realizes that the beast was really just looking for love. People call her a beast, too, but they aren’t beasts and they both deserve love. Slowly, she slides her hand between her legs and plays with herself. “Don’t you want to love me?” she asks. The Minotaur seems to react favorably, rubbing his horns on her face and positioning himself behind her. Then he grabs her.
Alisha tells Kyle that she invited Zoe over to dinner. She wonders why her son hid his girl from his mother. She didn’t mean to be so possessive, and she didn’t mean for their relationship to go on as long as it did. But she wants him to move on. When he doesn’t talk to her, she starts to rant about how he isn’t her son. His body is different. But then she changes her mind and starts kissing him again. This drives him into a rage. He takes a trophy and beats her to death, screaming “No!” at the top of his lungs.
Fiona and Madison play pool at the local bar. The juke box is playing, but every eye in the place is on the two women. Madison has figured out how to lure the men the way Fiona used to. Again, Fiona is clearly planning something. She is threatened by Madison’s youth.
Zoe arrives at Kyle’s house. She goes inside and it’s empty. When she gets to the bedroom, she finds Alisha’s dead body on the floor. Behind her, Kyle is standing there covered in blood. The sad thing is that she’ll never learn the truth about what his mother was doing to him for all of those years.
Upon their return to Miss Robichaux’s, Fiona tells Madison to get her portrait painted while she’s young. Madison doubts that she’ll ever graduate this “shit show”, but Fiona says they’ll have to, given that she’s the next Supreme. She explains that as the current Supreme, she’s dying because the new Supreme is taking power. Fiona’s life force is pouring into Madison. She has cancer, and she’s dying. Madison offers to get the best doctors for Fiona, but that wasn’t what Fiona is after. Fiona took all of the power and squandered it, “dressing it up in Chanel,” but now it’s gone. Her mentor Annalee was a great witch, and she taught Fiona everything. Fiona thanked her by cutting her throat. In the very spot where they’re standing. She wants Madison to kill her…or does she? Madison resists…and they struggle. Over the course of the struggle, Fiona cuts Madison’s throat open. Spalding is there as he was before, offering Fiona a handkerchief. “Bury her deep. God knows what all that shit in her body will do to the lawn when it comes up in the spring,” Fiona commands. “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme. It needs a new rug.”
Somehow, though, I don’t think Madison will stay dead for long. I think we’ve all learned that lesson from AHS.
Thinking about this week’s title, “The Replacements,” I started a list of things that were replaced in this episode: Fiona’s Supreme mentor, Annalee; Kyle’s boy parts (since Mommy dearest says he’s not the same); Madison’s powers being replaced by Fiona’s waning power; and Queenie replacing her sadness with “love”. I don’t know about you, but after watching this week’s episode, I feel like I need to go hug someone. This episode really messed with my head.
What will happen next, fellow Coven members? Post your comments below!