'American Horror Story: Coven'

Taissa Farmiga as Zoe on "American Horror Story: Coven." (Michele K. Short / FX / September 30, 2013)

"I fairly swoon when I see the moment of terror register on a handsome face ... makes me feel young again." — Delphine

Are emotional ties or biological ones stronger? Can two mothers make up for lost time with their daughters, who just happen to be a witches and zombies? Those philosophical questions were asked on this episode of "American Horror Story." Also, a teenager killed a pack of zombies with a chainsaw.

We start with a flashback to 1833, where Delphine is hosting another social event, designed to show off her daughters. Well, that was the cover story, anyway. Really, these events seemed to be more about Delphine taking delight in showing off her "chamber of horrors", a room packed with catering dishes filled with her victim's guts and eyeballs.

One of Delphine's daughters, Borquita LaLaurie (now that's a name for you), hatches a murder plot with her two sisters. Delphine uncovers the plot in roughly three seconds, and has her daughters dragged to her dungeon. "It's because of my love for your plain faces that you can still draw breath," Delphine tells her daughters. She promises to set them free in a year if they behave.

Back in the present, Delphine's zombie daughters have come calling. "All hell has opened up on our doorstep," Delphine declares. I kind of wish I had Kathy Bates following me around and making such dramatic proclamations about everyday things. The LaLaurie girls are not alone, of course. Yes, they've brought a zombie army with them.

Fiona takes Cordelia to the hospital following her acid attack. A doctor tells Fiona that her daughter has lost her eyesight. Fiona flips out on a doctor, before slumping over in the waiting room.

Fiona stumbles around, stealing meds from a supply room and bringing a stillborn baby back to life. "Tell her I love you more than the whole world," she orders the mother of the child. Clearly, Fiona is feeling guilty for her years of questionable parenting. Jessica Lange was fantastic here.

At the school, meanwhile, Luke decides to save the day, stepping outside to face what he believes to be is a group of neighborhood kids dressed as zombies. He realizes what is actually going on when the zombies, who are being commanded from afar by a levitating Marie, attack and disembowel a couple of innocent bystanders.

Inside, Zoe takes command of the situation, ordering everyone away from the windows. She has Spalding usher everyone to a room upstairs. In the middle of this, Nan slips outside to try to save Luke. Nan and Luke shut themselves in a car, which is quickly attacked by the zombie army. Zoe distracts the undead, and has them chase her to a shed, where she locks herself in.

Delphine allows zombie Borquita into the house and tries to reason with her. Borquita has none of this and chokes her mother, before dropping her to the floor and going after Queenie. Queenie uses her abilities to try to harm the zombie, slitting her own throat, but to no avail. Finally, Delphine revives and drives a stake through her undead daughter. "She had a monster for a mother. This last act was the only kindness I ever did for her," Delphine says. Queenie, her new surrogate daughter, comforts her as she weeps over Borquita's corpse.

Nan and Luke get out of the car and try to run away, but they draw the attention of the zombie army and look done for, until Zoe emerges from the shed, swinging a chainsaw. The chainsaw is roughly the same size that she is, but Zoe uses it to dispose of all of the zombies, except for one. When the chainsaw fails, Zoe uses a previously undiscovered ability to kill the only remaining threat. "I don't know what that was, but they got some real power in that witch house now," Marie says. I generally don't get the whole zombie phenomenon. The popularity of The Walking Dead is a mystery to me and the only movie I've ever walked out of was 28 Weeks Later. But I have to admit, seeing Zoe mow down zombies with a chainsaw was cool.

"I begged her not to marry you. You're a loser," Fiona tells Hank as he arrives at the hospital. Oh, hey Hank! Kill anybody today? "Thank Christ you couldn't knock her up," she says. Ouch. They argue over which one of them actually loves Cordelia. Fiona agrees to give Hank fifteen minutes with his wife, but after that, he's gone, either the easy way or Fiona's way. Hank takes his wife's hand, but in doing so, passes a vision to her of his murderous tryst from the last episode.

The next day, Fiona supervises while Nan and Zoe make a zombie funeral pyre. "I like a witch who knows how to fight," Fiona tells Zoe. "You've done this coven a great service. I won't forget it." Delphine comes outside to watch her daughters burn, and she and Fiona commiserate over their parenting failures. Then, Myrtle and the council arrive.

The council lists all of Fiona's recent failures and asks her to abdicate her position. Fiona declines, and says that the coven has been under attack, but not from outside forces. She points to Myrtle, and says that Fiona has everything that Myrtle has ever wanted, specifically her supremacy and Cordelia.

Fiona reveals that with Spalding's help, she's been gathering evidence that Myrtle has been in town, plotting to harm Fiona and the coven. She even has iPhone photos to back her up. She grabs Myrtle's hand and pulls off her glove, revealing that Myrtle's hand is covered in the same acid burns that are on Cordelia's face. "Burn the witch," the council declares. Myrtle is burned at the stake.

Later, Queenie visits Fiona. We learn that Queenie helped Fiona frame Myrtle, and that the acid burn on Myrtle's hand was actually the result of Queenie's abilities. Queenie asks whether she had helped frame an innocent woman or a guilty one. "None of us are innocent," Fiona says. Queenie says that she doesn't think that she can live with what she helped Fiona do. Fiona plays to her ego, telling her that of course she can, and that she's strong enough to be the next supreme.

In the closing scene, we see Misty approach the stake where Myrtle was burned alive. She uses her abilities to bring Myrtle back to life.