American Horror Story Coven, S3E11: Protect the Coven
Original Airdate: January 15, 2014
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
We start out tonight back in New Orleans, circa 1830. Madame LaLaurie is lamenting her return to New Orleans to daughter Boquita, having been ripped from Paris, the “jewel of civilization,” so that her husband can tend to his business. Whatever will she do to fill her time? Boquita suggests crochet. Boquita and one of the servants chase a chicken around the yard while LaLaurie stokes a fire in the kitchen. The cooks and the staff won’t arrive for a few days, so for now it’s up to them to tend to the house. When Boquita manages to catch the chicken, LaLaurie orders her daughter to kill it with a cleaver. Boquita is reluctant, and challenges her mother to do the deed. After all, LaLaurie has always had other people do her “dirty work.” LaLaurie chops the chicken’s head off, and as the blood seeps out she touches it, staring at it with relish. Later, a man’s screams can be heard from the attic. LaLaurie finds one of the servants on the ground. He’d been stacking boxes when one of them fell. He is bleeding heavily from his leg. At first LaLaurie bends to help him, but once she touches the blood, she changes. Boquita asks if they should call for a doctor, but her mother assures her that she can handle it. Her version of handling it: knocking the man out, tying the poor man up and cutting him all over his body to capture more blood. “I think I’m going to like it here,” she says with a smile.
Now we know how her evil legacy began….
Never before can I remember the opening few minutes of American Horror Story to be as loaded as they were tonight! The Coven is gathered in the cemetery to pay respects to Nan, who “fell in the tub.” Fiona delivers the eulogy, and Marie finishes with a hearty “Amen!” If only Misty were there to bring her back, Zoe comments. Kyle is there at Zoe’s side, holding her hand. Myrtle agrees with Zoe; of course, no one realizes that Misty is actually locked in one of the nearby tombs. Madison distracts them all by commenting that Misty is probably off twirling somewhere. None of the Coven is safe now, Cordelia realizes. As the ceremony ends, a car pulls up. It’s Queenie…and Delphine. Delphine is on a leash with a collar around her neck. Queenie is pissed that Marie left her for dead, and Marie is equally pissed that Queenie put Delphine back together again. “No scars,” Kyle notes. Marie slaps Delphine. Queenie says she has other plans for Delphine. Delphine mouths off about not going anywhere with any of the witches, but she’s held in check by Queenie’s leash. Before she leaves, Cordelia scans the cemetery as if she can hear poor Misty.
At Delphi Headquarters, Harrison receives word from his right-hand man that Hank’s involvement in the salon shooting will be covered up. No one will know that he was ever there, and instead it will be blamed on a fictitious war veteran with PTSD. Harrison takes in this information with mixed emotion, expressing that no one will be there to pay final respects to his son. He’s certain that the witches used a spell to attack his business. His plan: pay the witches to get the government off their backs, and once they are back to their full power, Delphi will make them pay “with their lives.”
Fiona and Marie are lounging on the chaise while Delphine gives them pedicures and pours wine into their glasses. Fiona is on the phone with Delphi. They’ve agreed on a meeting place, and Marie warns that they’ll really be out to kill them. That’s what Fiona is counting on, really. We hear Delphine’s life story as we watch her move through the day at Miss Robichaux’s School. She had been born to noble blood, she explains. Her mother’s maiden name was Lovable, but she didn’t inherit that trait. She was a loner who tormented small animals to see how they were put together and how they died. She moves to Madison and Zoe’s room to see them sharing a bed with Kyle. She tells Madison that she didn’t flush the toilet. “You flush my shit, bitch,” Madison sneers. A thoughtful look appears on Delphine’s face as she looks at the toilet. Later, she serves a soup to the Coven that Myrtle finds delightful…and its brown color suggests that it might have a few more ingredients than they suspect. Madison declares that it pairs perfectly with the wine. Delphine’s monologue continues to say that she married well and surprised everyone.
Later, Delphine brings the bassinet to Marie’s room. The stolen baby is now decked out in black clothes, and Marie hands the infant to Delphine while issuing threats to her about doing the job right this time by spreading her body parts all over New Orleans. She doesn’t react to the threats; rather she maintains that thoughtful look. Delphine cleans the stairs and thinks about the tasks she performs at the house, such as picking up panties and the sex stained sheet. What really troubles her is the deterioration of her mistress, Fiona, who goes out every night sans underwear, only to return in the early hours of the morning.
Myrtle once again praises Delphine’s cooking, this time for her light-as-air rolls. Myrtle sees Cordelia whispering to the concoction in her blender; Cordelia is putting together a potion to help her regain her second sight. James, the gardener, enters the house with a bloody hand. He cut himself while trimming the fig trees. Myrtle enlightens him about the joy of figs (which smell like an “Olympian’s ejaculate” in the fall) while Cordelia tends to his hand. Delphine, who has been trying to figure out what has been missing in her life, volunteers to help poor James. Her form of help: tying him up in Spalding’s old room with his foot propped in her lap. She has been recounting her tale to him this whole time, and she finishes by talking about how she used to carve up small animals to sate her “scientific curiosity” when it came to watching them die. James, an African American, is like an “old friend” from the past there to help her. “This little piggy went to market…” she begins. When she gets to the last one, she chops it off as poor James screams in agony.
Zoe is performing a spell in the bathroom to see what really happened to Nan. Kyle sits and watches. As she suspected, she sees that Fiona killed Nan. The Marie’s image flashes in the water as well. It was both of them. By now, Kyle has crawled across the floor to join her, and when Madison walks in, she taunts them about partaking in a romantic bubble bath. Zoe can’t believe that Madison doesn’t care what really happened to Nan. Madison is more upset that she’s not sharing Kyle, and that she’s gone and fallen in love with him. Zoe insists that isn’t true, and when Madison goes to give her boy toy a blow job in front of Zoe, Kyle pushes her away and rushes to Zoe’s arms. Madison goes thermonuclear and starts breaking things around the room. She sends a lamp careening into Zoe’s head, which enrages Kyle. Myrtle comes in and demands to know what’s going on. She sees Madison as just another young Hollywood cliché, complete with “crotchless panties.” Madison declares that as the new Supreme, things are going to change. “Crotchless panties for everyone!” she taunts Myrtle.
The Axeman plays his saxophone while Fiona gets dressed. He encourages her to put her stockings on slowly. When he finishes his song, he tells her of his grandfather’s farm in Covington, which was the “only ray of light in my dark world.” He shows her a picture and says they could live out their days there. She laughs at the idea of being a farmer’s wife, but he points out that she’s lived the high life and is still totally unfulfilled. Axeman says he’ll help her kill the next Supreme, but then he wants to put away the axe and she can leave the Coven and they can spend the rest of their time together. Fiona doesn’t seem to like the idea, but she sits on his lap and hugs him. She agrees, but she needs him to do one little thing.
Delphine clucks at the fact that poor James was not as robust as she thought he’d be. Of course, poor James’ innards are hanging out of his stomach. Spalding appears in the corner with his dolls. When she tries to explain what she’s done, he stops her. “One does not explain art,” he praises, studying her handiwork. She’s aghast that he can talk now. He tells her he’s dead, that he was murdered in his own bed, and she believes him. Spalding sees that Delphine is but an empty vessel, one that is lacking purpose. (Delphine thought she’d recovered her “hobby” only to find that it’s not as fulfilling as it once was) He tells her that if she kills Marie Laveau, she will be able to find her release as well. He can provide the means to do it, but it would be up to Delphine to carry out the act. Delphine seems to consider it. All Spalding needs is for her to go out and get something for him.
Queenie is rifling through her closet, unable to believe that they gave her room away so quickly. Cordelia enters, hoping to chat with Queenie, but Queenie doesn’t want to talk. Queenie can’t believe how quickly things change around the school, what with Marie Laveau now smoking a hookah in the guest room. And it was Hank who shot her in the stomach. Cordelia can’t even begin to apologize for what happened. Queenie tells Cordelia that she’s acquired some new powers, and that when she shot herself in the head, she was able to simply cough up the silver bullet. Cordelia tries to assure Queenie that her eyes are open now, but Queenie suggests that the headmistress needs to go away and let someone else lead the school.
In the conservatory, Cordelia mixes a potion as tears stream down her face. Once it’s complete, she spreads the mix over her eyes and hold up a pair of garden shears. After a long pause, she gouges her eyes out and screams in agony.
Fiona rushes up the stairs to her daughter’s room. Myrtle sits outside and greets Fiona, telling her that she gave her something to help the pain. Fiona wants to know if it’s true, that Cordelia ripped out both eyes. Yes, the blue and the brown, Myrtle sighs. Her best work. But she did it to become a hero. She needed to regain her second sight so that the Coven can be protected. Fiona vows to protect the Coven from the witch hunters, but it’s the internal threat that Myrtle fears. She doesn’t keep Fiona from seeing Cordelia, but she advises Fiona to be ready for Cordelia to see who her mother really is. Fiona swears she has nothing to hide, but she decides to get a drink before going to her daughter, to “steady her nerves.” “See you soon,” Myrtle sighs.
Delphine has returned from her errand. Spalding appears and is ecstatic when he opens the package to find a baby doll from the 1890s. Delphine assures him of its authenticity—it has a certificate—and then demands to know where the potion is. With practiced flourish, Spalding reveals a basket with an old doll inside. Beneath the blankets is a familiar-looking pink box…Benadryl. He cautions her from pronouncing the magical word, but insists that a few tablets in her drink will send her to Sleepytown.
Myrtle is playing the Theremin again when Zoe comes into the conservatory. Myrtle gives her a tiny box and chastises Zoe when she doesn’t pause to take in its beauty. Inside, she says, is a necklace that is her most valuable possession. Myrtle mixes in her trademark commentary on the person who created it. She wants Zoe to “hawk it” and use the money to escape with Kyle. She sees how much they love each other, and it’s only fitting for their love to survive. Zoe refuses to abandon the Coven, but Myrtle points out that Madison could slit her throat and still sleep like a baby. She gives her another box with her jewels and two tickets to Epcot and tells Zoe to leave at once. Zoe hugs Myrtle.
Harrison and his team arrive at the meeting place. He tells his people that the witches have to leave alive. When they walk into the boardroom, they’re the first to arrive. Soon Fiona and Marie enter, and Fiona tells them that Emeril has invited them to a tasting so they will be brief. Harrison’s men can’t believe the witches don’t have security with them. Fiona scoffs; Marie is immortal and they took out their whole company with as much effort as it takes to “mix a Rob Roy,” so no, she isn’t worried. She orders a filthy martini and Marie asks for a Diet Sprite while she pulls out her phone to send a text. Neither woman seems concerned in the least. David, Harrison’s right-hand man, smirks as they begin the proceedings.
Harrison wants his company returned to him, and he’s willing to pay for whatever damages Marie Laveau suffered. He points out that thousands of innocent people are being impacted by the interruption to their work. When he gets no reaction, Harrison tells the women that their cause is a thing of the past, like trying to rid the government of communists. He thrusts a contract in front of them that says that the Board of Directors has agreed to cease the hunting for one hundred years, long enough so that everyone who is able to die (Marie excepted) will be long dead before hostilities return between the groups. Unbeknownst to him, the server has locked the door. “Mmm hmm,” Marie murmurs.
Fiona sets forth their proposal—all hostilities against witches ceases for the rest of time. Harrison can sign over his possessions to them. Marie wants the private jet. Harrison laughs. Behind him, the server is removing his coat. When Harrison balks at this offer, Fiona shrugs. Instead, they can all die. The server turns around with his trusty axe in hand. The women watch as the Axeman unleashes his axe on the men, chopping off one man’s arm before he can fire the gun he was holding. Soon only David and Harrison remain. The Axeman uses the hand-gun (get it, hand gun!) to shoot David, and then he casually climbs onto the table to retrieve his axe from across the room, pausing to caress his woman’s cheek. Harrison is calmly fixing himself some tea. He walks past the Axeman with an easy smile. “You Harvard men, charming to the end,” Fiona purrs. “Yale,” he corrects her, and he slides into the seat next to Marie. He tells them that killing him won’t end the war. But it will be so much fun, Marie laughs, clinking her glass against his. He leans back and spits on the ground. “Go to hell, witch-bitch,” he says. The Axeman’s eyes widen, and he tosses his axe to his gal. She unceremoniously hacks into his neck, leaving Harrison gurgling for breath. Marie snaps a picture of him once he’s dead, saying that killing them was easier than she thought. “I love you more than Jazz, Babydoll,” Axeman says. He’s covered in blood, but he pulls Fiona into his arms and kisses her anyway.
Fiona and Marie toast to their newly minted “long friendship.” Fiona gets up to go see her man after he swung his mighty axe. “Don’t wait up,” she drawls. Marie is left alone with Delphine. She praises Delphine’s ability to mix a drink, and then she retires for the night. Delphine follows with another tray of drinks for her, and Marie dismisses her. The Benadryl is already taking effect and Marie is more than tipsy. Delphine says she’ll leave when she’s ready, and she pulls out a butcher knife. She plunges the knife into Marie’s chest, and Marie screams as she pulls the knife back out. Delphine says her fate is sealed because “the magic” is already taking effect. She throws the packet at Marie, who laughs and says it’s only an “antihistamine.” She chases after Delphine, but when she gets to the top of the stairs, she is hit from behind and goes tumbling down the stairs. Spalding stands at the top of the stairs with a doll in his hand. Marie Laveau can’t die, he informs Delphine. He just needed to get her out of his hair. (Pause for effect as he uses the doll’s hand to sweep the hair away from his face) He suggests that Delphine put Marie somewhere where she can’t get out.
Back in his room, Spalding ties a baby bonnet to his head and looks at his reflection. He goes over to the bed and picks up the stolen baby, who is dressed in a similar outfit. He lovingly carries the baby over to the rocking chair and holds it tenderly. “Finally, a living doll of my own,” he sighs. The record player continues to play its haunting melody as he rocks his baby. (Creepy as it is, it’s cute to see Denis O’Hare cuddling a baby)
Zoe is packing her bag. She tells Kyle to grab what he needs, but instead he stops and sits on the bed. He doesn’t want to go with her, he says, because he’s afraid of hurting her or someone else. He can’t control the thoughts in his head. She insists that she’s not afraid of him. “I love you, Zoe, but it’s not your decision,” he says. She pulls him back on the bed and repeats the same quote from Keats that Myrtle said to her. “More love, more happy happy love.” Kyle grabs Zoe’s head and kisses her nose. The next thing we see is the pair running through the bus station, holding hands, intent on getting away. The reach the bus headed for Orlando and climb onboard, taking the front seat. They smile when they realize they’ve done it. They’ve escaped.
So ends tonight’s episode. I can’t remember the last time there was so much action packed into one hour. Nan died last week, but this week Queenie is back. Misty is still out there somewhere, but now Zoe and Kyle are gone. Cordelia may or may not have regained her Second Sight. The witch hunters may or may not have been thwarted. Delphine may or may not be able to find a place secure enough to contain Marie Laveau. Kyle and Zoe may or may not be gone for good. And Spalding has his baby.
It’s funny to think of how much this show toys with your sense of loyalty. None of the characters are innocent, perhaps save for Cordelia and Misty Day. Everyone has killed someone else. Marie Laveau was going to sacrifice the baby but went along with Fiona’s idea and killed Nan instead. Sweet Nan killed (or re-killed) Luke’s mother. Just when you think Delphine has turned over a new leaf, she kills the gardener. And yet we still root for them.
Who are you rooting for? Leave your thoughts below!