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'American Horror Story: Coven' recap, 'The Replacements'

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"I've led a disreputable life, but I've done it in style, and I'll die likewise." — Fiona

Mortality, fertility, incest, minotaur coitus, Stevie Nicks and knifeplay. This is "American Horror Story: Coven."

We flash back to 1971, evidently the year that Fiona became the Supreme, cementing her status by killing the coven's leader, Anna Leigh. Spaulding, the house butler, saw her do the deed. Back in present day, Fiona makes a remark about Spaulding's lack of a tongue.

Fiona goes out for an evening at a bar, waxing poetically in voiceover about her sexual prowess. "...and all this time I never suspected the night would come when the dance would end," she laments. The men in the bar are overlooking her. Unhappy, she visits a plastic surgeon to see about a procedure.

Zoe visits Kyle's mother, who has turned to pot to soothe the pain of her loss. Kyle's mom talks about what a great kid Kyle was. Zoe concurs. She did know him for all of one day, after all. Kyle's mom reveals that she was about to end her life before Zoe called and asked to visit. She misses her boy so much. Zoe assures her that she'll see Kyle again.

Back at school, Nan and Queenie watch as new neighbors move in next door. We see a completely gratuitous shirtless shot of one the newbies, Luke, as he unpacks the moving van. "Like butter on a stick," Queenie says. Madison steps outside with the girls and sets her eyes on Luke. Luke's mother sees this and orders him to go inside and put on a shirt.

Delphine, horrified, is watching President Obama deliver a speech on the "magic box." She's certainly not the most progressive thinker. Fiona gives her a maid's outfit and tells her that unless she wants to go back into the box, she's now hired help. Delphine doesn't take kindly to serving Queenie, and throws her food across the room. Fiona walks in, sees this and orders Delphine to be Queenie's personal slave.

Zoe pays Misty and Kyle a visit at the cabin. Misty explains to Kyle that like Stevie Nicks didn't find her voice until she joined Fleetwood Mac, none of us can find ours until we find our tribe. Misty is still looking for hers, she says. Misty shows Zoe that she's healed almost all of Kyle's scars with Louisiana mud. Zoe asks Kyle if he remembers her. He responds by fondling her hair. I guess that was a yes? He's still silent. I hope this character never speaks again, or if he does talk, he has David Beckham's voice or something weird like that.

Zoe says that she has to take Kyle back to his mom. Misty balks at that notion. She's the one who nursed him back to health, who's connected with him. Zoe insists and leaves with him, promising to return later. Misty dances to some Stevie.

Madison and Nan take Luke a cake. "He's going to be my fall fling," Madison tells Nan. Nan has her own designs on Luke. Joan, Luke's mom, interrupts the welcoming party to take Luke to Bible study. Madison and Joan end up struggling over the knife that the girls brought to cut the cake and Madison sends it flying into a wall. Joan orders the girls to leave her house and never return. Nan protests, while Madison uses her powers to start fires in the home, a power she didn't know she had until now.

We have dueling mother/daughter medical scenes. Cordelia visits her fertility doctor, who breaks the news that she simply isn't able to have children. So all that snake sex last week was for nothing? Fiona's plastic surgeon tells her that something bad is happening in her body. The results of her bloodwork were alarming, and no reputable doctor would operate on her in her current state.

Zoe takes Kyle home. She watches from afar as Kyle's mom greets him at the door. When his mother hugs him, Kyle looks back in Zoe's direction, frightened.

Joan pays Fiona a visit, offering her a Bible. Fiona rails against the hypocrisy of devout Christians, which only raises Joan's ire. Joan tells her that Madison, "the trashy one", just missed her head with a knife. "She has to work on her aim," Fiona says. She tells her that Madison started a fire as well. This intrigues Fiona, who begins to suspect that Madison might be the heir to her throne. "I conjured the devil," Madison says as she enters.
Joan storms out, while Fiona asks Madison to light her cigarette with her abilities. Madison does; Fiona invites her to stay and chat. Later, she takes Madison to brunch and imparts some wisdom. Maybe Fiona has found a surrogate daughter?

Back at Kyle's house, his mother pays him a visit in his bed. He's a different man, she says. His body is different too. Oh. Please. No. Incest? Really? What is wrong with this show?

Cordelia visits Marie's salon, to consult with her about her fertility problem. Marie is playing solitaire on a tablet. She proceeds to tell Cordelia what would be involved in casting a fertility spell, including "two ounces of your husband's baby gravy in a mason jar." Hey, I don't write this stuff, but I do recap it, quotes and all.

Marie refuses to cast the spell on Cordelia, because she's the daughter of her sworn enemy. Cordelia begs her to reconsider, but Marie's mind is made up. "You were born into the wrong tribe," she tells her.

Queenie is taking full advantage of Delphine's servitude, ordering her to make her pot pie and peach cobbler. "Peach cobbler won't keep you warm at night," Delphine tells her. Queenie says that food isn't the reason she can't find love and name-checks Dr. Phil. "I think you best look for a new physician," Delphine says. Yeah! A senseless potshot at Dr. Phil! I'm back in!

And the minotaur is back! He starts banging on the door while Delphine cowers inside and Queenie goes to investigate. "He was a beast in life, now, even more so, enchanted by the same dark magic which has kept me alive," Delphine says, in my favorite bit of dialogue from the episode. Delphine tells Queenie who she is, which Queenie doesn't react favorably to. Delphine begs Queenie to save her, and Queenie relents.

Queenie goes outside to greet the minotaur with a cloth soaked in Delphine's blood. She uses the cloth to bait him, then tries to reason with the man-beast, telling him that although people have called them beasts, that's not who they are. "We both deserve love like everybody else," she says, then offers the minotaur her virginity. He seems ready to take her up on that, but then puts an arm around her throat. It's unclear to me exactly what happened here.

At Kyle's, his mom tells him that she's invited Zoe for dinner. She apologizes for taking things too far with him, but says that he needed it as much as she did. Kyle finally snaps and beats his mother to death with a little-league trophy. Zoe arrives a little while later, finding Kyle's mom dead, while Kyle stands silently, covered in blood, holding the trophy.

Fiona takes Madison out for a night on the town, boozing it up and playing pool. Madison is having the time of her life. Fiona, though, is more than a little jealous of the attention that the men in the bar are throwing Madison's way. She sees her not as a surrogate daughter, but as a younger version of herself, and a threat.

Later that night, back at the school, Fiona tells Madison that she will be the new Supreme. She knows this because as Madison's powers have been increasing, Fiona's have waned. Fiona reveals that she has cancer; probably the reason the plastic surgeon wouldn't cut on her. She says she won't last the year. Madison offers to have the best oncologists in the country flown in, but Fiona declines, saying she'll go out in style, not shriveled up on chemotherapy and morphine.

Fiona tells Madison that she's been a terrible Supreme, that Anna Leigh was a great one, and that she thanked her by cutting her throat. She then produces the knife that she used to kill her, and gives it to Madison. She tells Madison to kill her for the sake of the coven. Madison refuses, and Fiona turns the knife on her, slitting her throat, just as she did to Anna Leigh 40 years ago. Madison falls to the carpet, dead.
Spaulding enters with a cloth for Fiona to clean her hands with. Fiona tells him to bury Madison deep.

"This coven doesn't need a new Supreme, it needs a new rug," Fiona says.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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