American Horror Story Coven, S3E7: The Dead
Original Airdate: November 20, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
The band Toto is “amazeballs.” Let’s just get that out there right now. We start tonight’s episode in a flashback to Kyle’s human days when his fraternity is on a field trip to a tattoo parlor. Kyle is dancing through the room singing to his favorite band while his frat brothers tease him. One frat guy shows off his new tattoo, which is of the Chinese words for “beginning” and “end.” Kyle points out that the chart could be wrong, and he’ll never be able to walk through a Chinese restaurant ever again. He says his mother would flip out if she saw him with a tattoo, and one of the guys offers to “bang her” to take her mind off of it. Kyle’s face falls for a split second (only we know about his relationship with his mother) but then he recovers and tells the guys that he plans to be an engineer someday, the kind that can actually repair the levees so that there’s never another situation like the one during Katrina (his neighborhood still hasn’t been rebuilt). He can’t have a tattoo when he walks into the mayor’s office. Jimmy thinks he has a noble cause and good point. His other friend laughs and says he’ll need the luck of the Irish, pointing to his new clover tattoo on his forearm. The guys laugh. Returning to the present, Zombie Kyle cries out in inarticulate agony as he looks at the clover tattoo gracing his new forearm. He also has Jimmy’s “beginning” and “end” tattoo on his new ankle. As he sobs, Zoe approaches, hiding a gun behind her back.
Madison has gone all Wednesday Addams on us, sitting at the top of the grand staircase in a black dress with a ribbon hiding her scar and a candelabra sitting beside her. She’s smoking a cigarette while her inner monologue talks about being a part of the Millennial Generation, a generation full of entitled kids who “get trophies just for showing up” and who post on social media “every time they fart.” She used to do everything she could just to stop feeling things. Sex, drugs, alcohol, you name it. But now she’s an empty vessel incapable of feeling anything. She raids Cordelia’s stash of unlabeled potion-making materials until she finds something that makes her look “less like Marilyn Manson.” Whereas she used to eat every few days, now she can eat anything and everything, but nothing ever satisfies. She holds a lighter to her hand and watches her skin burn. She feels nothing, and now it’s time to do something.
Down in the conservatory, Zoe approaches Kyle. She reveals the gun to him and says that there’s only one way to make this right. He backs away from her but she kneels in front of him. He was a nice guy, and when he died she should have let him go, but she didn’t. And now he’s killed his mother, so he has to atone for it. Suddenly he grabs the gun from her and she gets out of his way. As he moves to put the barrel in his mouth, she cries out and tries to get the gun away from him. It fires into the glass ceiling, and she tosses it away. Zoe hugs him tightly. She still can’t let him go.
Queenie is in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Madison has raided the fridge and all of the bowls are empty on the counter. Delphine walks in and Queenie says there’s nothing to eat. At first Delphine thinks she’s kidding, but then she sees the bowls and admits that it’s a shame because she was hungry, too. So the duo heads out to an all-night burger joint, and Queenie places and order for some combo meals. Delphine is frightened of the talking voice box, but when he asks if they want everything super-sized, Delphine agrees wholeheartedly. They sit and eat in the parking lot. Delphine says it’s the best food she’s ever had, which means a lot considering her age. Now she understands Queenie’s “enormous” size. Queenie finds it ironic that she came all the way from Detroit to be with her “sister-witches” and yet she’s in the car eating fast food with “an immortal racist.” Delphine laughs, but she tells Queenie that the other girls will never see her as a sister. “Because I’m fat?” Queenie asks. “Because you’re Black,” Delphine replies. Queenie sits back and considers this.
Cordelia’s phone rings in the middle of the night. She fumbles around until she finds it. It’s Hank. He misses her. She says it’s late and hangs up the phone. He says he’ll see her soon, though she’s already ended the call. His eyes are full of tears as he sits on the floor of a hotel room with all kinds of guns and rifles around him.
Cordelia walks into the hallway calling for Delphine. Madison is across the hall but Cordelia obviously can’t see her. Cordelia hears a noise and is about to fall down the stairs when Madison grabs her. Grabbing her triggers a vision, and now she sees that her mother killed Madison. “Fiona!” Cordelia growls.
Speaking of Fiona, she’s on a hot date with the Axeman, who takes her back to an apartment. From the look of it, the apartment is straight out of the Axeman’s time, which can’t be possible given that he died almost a hundred years prior. He regrets that the place is more fitting of a lady like she is, but she “wasn’t expecting Buckingham Palace” anyway. She has a seat and he pours some bourbon. They flirt a bit and then she sees pictures of a man on the wall. “The Prince of the Ivories,” Axeman replies. He tells her about how hard it was to be an up and coming musician back in his day. The flirting continues until she excuses herself to the less-than-opulent bathroom where a cockroach skitters in the sink. She looks at herself in the mirror and tidies her hair. That’s when she sees another clump of hair in her hand. Axeman asks if she wants another drink. She leaves the room, failing to notice the body of the poor old “Prince of the Ivories” in the bathtub. Now we know who the apartment belonged to….
Fiona drinks the second glass of bourbon with abandon, telling Axeman never to make assumptions about her taste in bourbon or men. When he leans in for a kiss, she invites it, but as he caresses her hair, a clump falls out in her hand and she pushes him away, calling their evening a mistake made after running out of sleeping pills. Axeman says that they’re meeting could be destiny, but Fiona can’t imagine that her destiny involved such a “shithole.” The Axeman isn’t going to give up so easily. He wants her, and she wants him. He tells her about his magic fingers…everyone always watches the bass player but they should have been watching his fingers on the keys and his lips on his instrument. She admits that he’s good with the lines, and when they fall into bed, their passion causes all of the light bulbs in the room to explode.
Zoe decides to unshackle Kyle so that he can learn to communicate and she can learn to trust him. In a scene straight from ET the Extraterrestrial, she holds up a card that says “food” and Kyle slowly figures out how to say it. The word “bed” sends him into a frenzy (for obvious reasons), and when he tries to eat, he gets frustrated and throws the bowl across the room. “Not stupid,” he mutters. Zoe doesn’t think he’s stupid, but she’s trying to help him become a functioning human being again. The noise catches Madison’s attention, and she saunters into the room and flops on the bed. She doesn’t recognize Kyle (at first) so Zoe has to explain that they brought him back to life after Madison killed him. Madison doesn’t give any indication that she remembers this, and so she changes the subject and says that Cordelia wants to talk to Zoe. Zoe didn’t know Cordelia knew Madison was alive, but Madison says their headmistress knows a lot more than anyone knows. Madison offers to care for Kyle while Zoe is gone.
One they’re alone, Madison slowly approaches Kyle and peeks at the scars on his neck. She mentions picking out the best pieces, so clearly she remembers what happened. They were both dead, she tells him, but she didn’t see a light. Her place was cold. Did he see anything? Kyle looks at her and realizes that she knows what he’s feeling. She wonders if coming back to be in the state they’re in was worth it. He crawls over to her and hugs her, a bleak look in his eye.
Marie Laveau’s salon is full of people. Marie buys fish heads from one of the old men playing games at the table. When Queenie walks in, they all know who she is, because she’s a Black witch and they knew when she arrived. Queenie asks about the fish heads, and Marie says she’s making gumbo. Queenie has never had gumbo before, which isn’t surprising to Marie given that Queenie has been living in “white bread land.” Marie tells Queenie she belongs with them, where she’ll never have to feel like she’s second best. The witches’ power came from their people, and a Voodoo doll belongs in the House of Voodoo. The price of admission: Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Queenie wants to know what they will do with Delphine if she brings her there, but Marie only smiles and tells her not to worry. She sends Queenie on her way with a smile that suggests she knows exactly what she’ll do with Delphine.
Cordelia tells Zoe that your perspective changes upon leaving the hospital. Now she’s able to see exactly what’s going on when she’d been blind to it before. After bringing back the Axeman, Zoe has shown that she is a “hot shit witch,” which puts a big target on her back. And if people find out, she’ll be dead. Zoe thinks Cordelia is talking about Marie Laveau, but she’s really talking about her mother. Fiona Goode has always looked out for Fiona Goode, and if she thinks that Zoe is the next Supreme, she’s as good as dead. They need to kill her. “Kill her dead,” Cordelia says. Zoe blinks and takes the proffered flask from Cordelia; she needs a drink. Zoe returns to her room to find Kyle having wild zombie sex with Madison against the wall. Madison smiles at her. This just isn’t Zoe’s day.
Fiona gets dressed after her electrifying tryst with Axeman. He asks where she’s going, and she casually tells him that the dead body in the bathroom is going to start smelling soon. He teases her that her body has probably never given off such a light show. Fiona is still a bit dazed, and she tells him that she’s called the police. Axeman calls her bluff, though. She says she doesn’t know his name and “doesn’t care to” while he says he knows “every secret” about her. He reveals his trump card—he has known her since she was eight years old. We flash back to when little Fiona is having breakfast with the rest of the little witches. An older girl comes in and spills their milk, but Fiona keeps her head up and doesn’t back down. The bully makes her hold her glass of milk over her head, but defiant Fiona tosses it on the bully instead. The bully pushes Fiona’s chair over, and when she turns to leave, a giant shelf falls on top of her. Back in the present, Fiona tells him that she knew she didn’t make the shelf fall. Axeman admits that at first he had a father’s love for the “little flower” that he never had, but over time we see Fiona change from the innocent eight year old to the young woman who killed the Supreme. This version of Fiona gets out of bed and strips naked while she dressed, and in the background we see the Axeman watching. Fiona transforms into her present-day self, and now his love has gone from being paternal to being that of a man in love with a woman. Fiona can’t understand what he is, but he manages to kiss her before she slaps him and backs away, demanding to know why he’d tell her a story about how he’s watched her grow old while he has been unchanging for so long. Was the night they shared just a “mercy lay?” she demands. She tells him to go “haunt someone else” and slams the door.
Spalding is tied up in bed. He’s wearing a silk robe. Zoe asks how he’s doing. “Fine. I’m fine,” he replies, and then he realizes that he’s speaking again. “How…?” he wonders. Zoe tells him about finding the secret compartment in the wall. She found a box with a severed tongue inside, but instead of being shriveled up, it was wet and alive. Enchanted. The box has the initials MS on it. Myrtle Snow. But Myrtle Snow was not capable of casting the spell to allow Spalding to speak again. Zoe, however, could do it. She wants to know the name of the person who killed Madison. Spalding can’t lie, of course, and he points out that she’s alive. Zoe doesn’t find this funny, though, and she asks again. Despite his struggles, Fiona’s name passes through his lips. He blesses the name of “our Supreme.” Zoe says he’s not a part of the coven, and Fiona is just his employer, but his family has served the coven for ten generations. “Not anymore,” Zoe says, stabbing him in the chest. Is anyone keeping track of how many people Zoe has killed at this point?
Queenie finds Delphine in the kitchen carving a ham. She wants to know what the worst thing Delphine ever did was, and she says that she thinks they can be true friends. Queenie’s mother always said that true friends know the good and the bad. Delphine genuinely seems to want to be true friends with Queenie, so she tells her the story of her one “slight” regret. Madame LaLaurie is having dinner with her husband and their slave, Sally, is serving the food. LaLaurie comments that she heard Sally had a baby boy with a complexion as fair as cream. Sally smiles and nods as LaLaurie’s husband caresses Sally’s behind. LaLaurie smiles as well, telling Sally that kitchen work is too difficult for a new mother and instead would like to help her with her nightly ablutions now that Boquita is indisposed. Sally’s face lights up, but LaLaurie’s husband knows what will happen. That night, Sally watches LaLaurie at her dressing table. LaLaurie tells her to guess what the secret ingredient is. Blood, Sally guesses, judging by the look of it. It’s not just any blood though; LaLaurie tells her it’s from a baby boy. “Youth begets youth,” she adds as Sally clutches her stomach. The next day they found that Sally had thrown herself off the balcony.
Back in the present, Delphine says that they buried Sally with her baby. “It was the right thing to do,” she adds. Queenie doesn’t think Delphine is capable of knowing what’s right. Delphine tries to explain that she couldn’t allow a “half-breed” running around their house, and it was a different time and a different world back then. She’s trying to learn, and she’s grateful for having a true friend like Queenie to help guide her through this new life.
Fiona is popping pills in her bathroom when she sees another clump of hair. She grabs a hair trimmer and is about to shave her head when she hears the sound of a saxophone. She drops the trimmer and picks up her cigarette. Fiona might still be in a drugged stupor, but she knows what she wants.
Zoe is taking a shower to rinse the blood from her hands. When she’s done, she opens the shower curtain to find Madison there waiting for her. Madison asks what she’s been up to, but she doesn’t seem to suspect that Zoe killed Spalding. Madison is more interested in finding out what Zoe thought about seeing her doing the deed with Kyle. Since he’s already dead, “the thing between your legs” won’t kill him, Madison points out, thought she says that being with him is the first time she’s felt anything since she’s come back, and as such she won’t be giving him up. Zoe asks if that means they will share him. Madison has other ideas. She leads Zoe into the bedroom, still wrapped in her towel, and they find Kyle sitting on the bed with his shirt open. Madison sits beside him and kisses him, and then they both offer their hands to Zoe. She gets closer as the camera pans under the bed, where we see her towel fall to the floor.
The Axeman finishes a set in the club. He goes to the back to put his sax away and then he sees Fiona sitting in the vestibule waiting for him. “Can I buy you a drink?” she asks. He doffs his hat to her and smiles broadly.
Queenie takes Delphine (who is wearing a tacky bedazzled tiger sweatshirt that rivals the yellow sweat suit that Pam wore on True Blood in Season 5) through the Ninth Ward on their way to get Delphine’s hair done. Delphine admits being nervous about changing her hairstyle, but Queenie points out that she’s had the same bad hair for over a hundred years. They enter the darkened salon and Delphine looks at the wigs with excitement. “Madame Delphine LaLaurie,” comes Marie Laveau’s voice. Delphine’s eyes widen at the sound of her voice. Queenie is standing beside Marie Laveau. When Delphine tells Queenie that she doesn’t know what Marie Laveau has done or is capable of, Queenie laughs. “That’s why I brought you here, you dumb bitch.” They lock Delphine in a coffin-shaped cage, and while she screams, Marie Laveau tells Queenie that she forgot to do her own beauty treatment. She offers the knife to Queenie, and for a moment you wonder if Queenie will go through with it. We never truly know, but in the final scene Marie Laveau sits in front of her mirror and brushes blood all over her face. “Beautiful,” she says.
Tonight’s episode had a lot going on, and we’re clearly heading in a particular direction given that Queenie has switched sides, Fiona is dating a psychotic ax-wielding spirit capable of taking out her enemies, and Hank is sitting on top of a cache of weapons for use in destroying the coven.
After the end of the episode I was left thinking about the juxtaposition of Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau. It is absolutely undeniable that LaLaurie committed atrocious acts of violence against innocent people, but Marie Laveau is no saint either. Neither is Fiona, who has no qualms about killing, and neither are Zoe and Madison. Madison never pulled any punches about murder, but now it seems like Zoe has crossed the line and isn’t looking back. She knew Spalding didn’t kill Madison but she kills him anyway. It makes me wonder who you can root for in a show like this. It also brings up a dilemma I’ve been pondering since last week’s episode of The Walking Dead (I won’t go into details in case you missed that episode). Can people change? What has to happen in order to atone for the sins of the past? With Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie you have two characters who have lived for centuries and who both have a lot of blood on their hands. At what point can they be viewed as sympathetic characters? I have no answers tonight, only questions.
As always, leave your comments and thoughts below!