AHS Coven 1205

Emma Roberts (left) as Madison and Taissa Farmiga as Zoe. (Michele K. Short/FX / November 1, 2013)

"War is coming, and you're going to lose." -- Queenie

To reset: a coven, with a dying supreme witch at the helm, is about to do battle with a voodoo queen, who has recruited one of the coven's members and the husband of another to her side.

Queenie, recruited by Marie in the last episode, takes to the streets of New Orleans in search of a dark heart for Marie to use in one of her recipes.

Because Ryan Murphy hates me, and knows that I can't stand knifeplay and ultra-graphic violence, we see Queenie give a man a puncture wound to the hand before driving a blade into his chest and ripping out his heart. Zoe and Madison conveniently appear to make sure we remember which team everyone is on. This is neither here nor there, but "Team" by Lorde is my favorite song right now. The acting in this scene was the scariest thing so far this season.

Fiona's health has taken a turn since we saw her last, and we see her writhing on the floor in agony. Fiona is concerned over the prospect of telling Cordelia what she's facing. "What could be more painful than having to tell your child that you're going to die?" she asks.

Fiona delivers the news to Cordelia, but her daughter doesn't care; she wants to kill her mother, after all. Cordelia urges her to die quickly, and takes a jab at her poor cooking skills for good measure.

Her relationship with Cordelia might be going poorly, but Fiona does seem to be getting her wish for a last great love affair, as we see her reclining in bed with The Axeman. He asks her to spend her last days with him in Paris, but she turns him down. She plans to stick around and hopes to kill the ascending supreme, suspecting that doing so might extend her life.

Oh, look, it's Joan Ramsey and her son Luke, Nan's suitor! I'm still trying to figure out how they fit in to this story. Joan is treating Luke's wounds from the zombie fight a couple of episodes ago. She scolds him for going to that unclean coven and orders him to drop his pants. She has some form of torture in mind that involves an enema, using a strong cleaning agent.

Nan can hear her would-be boyfriend's screams, but Cordelia orders her to shut up and pay attention to her. Cordelia says that it was her fault that they lost Queenie. But Queenie is now dead to her, and that they need to get back to doing what's best for business, which is killing her mom.

The strategy session is interrupted by Misty, who is on the run. We see a flashback to Misty's swamp cabin. Myrtle wakes Misty up to warn her that a man with a gun is circling the cabin. "I saw him when he stepped on my face," she says, in my favorite bit of dialog this week.

We are left to piece this together ourselves, but the man with the gun was Hank, doing Marie's bidding, of course.

Cordelia welcomes Misty to the coven, telling her that she can stay there. She has brought Myrtle with her, and Cordelia is delighted to be reunited with her mother-figure. Myrtle posits the theory that Misty is the next supreme; she has brought people back to life, after all. Misty seems more interested in watering the plants in the coven greenhouse than the conversation going on around her. I think Misty is my favorite character.

Zoe is teaching Kyle how to talk again, using a computer program designed for preschoolers. Madison interrupts the lesson and we see the tension between her and Zoe. Zoe wants to feed Kyle's mind and get him back into society, while Madison just wants to use him.

The coven is putting on The Sacred Taking, a ceremonial ritual that will reveal the next supreme witch. Misty is delighted at first, but her mood changes when Cordelia reminds the ladies of the lesson from "Spider-Man 2": with great power comes great responsibility. The Sacred Taking, of course, involves knifeplay. For the ritual to succeed, they need Fiona to kill herself, though, and they set about trying to push her to that point.

Madison appears in Fiona's room, dancing and taunting her with her vitality. She tells her that since she killed her and burned Myrtle at the stake, that Fiona must also be burned alive. "I'm going to bring marshmallows and graham crackers to make s'mores!" she says. "You'll be hash browns by this time tomorrow."

Madison says that she is the next supreme, and tells Fiona to choose between taking her own life and being burned alive the next day. 

Next, Myrtle appears to Fiona, trying to push her to a breaking point, but Fiona is still resisting. "I'm not ready. I've finally found someone I belong to," Fiona says. Myrtle tells her that she's fooling herself if she thinks that her story will end happily. "You will die the same way you lived your life," she says, "alone and disappointed by everyone. He won't stay to the end." Fiona has a vision of her future, and starts to take the bait.

Elsewhere, Nan leaves the house, frustrated by the lack of respect that her sister witches are showing her. She runs next door to see Luke, and finds him bound and gagged in a closet. Outside the house, Hank lurks, waiting to strike.

Back at the coven, Fiona waxes poetically about past loves and Woodstock and roller coasters. She laments her failure as a mother, and asks Myrtle to bring her a fur coat. She does her makeup, dons the fur, swallows a handful of pills and lays down to die, seemingly doing just as the witches had hoped. Oh, I don't think so. That was too easy.

Myrtle loots Fiona's jewelry box, then leaves her to die. As she fades out of consciousness, though, Spalding appears to her.

Spalding is still alive in the spirit world, we learn, and has appeared to Fiona, presenting her with a medicine that will cleanse her of the poison she just ingested. Fiona says that she won't take it, telling Spalding that she's finally doing something for the good of the coven.

Spalding calls her out and tells her that Madison is not the next supreme. She didn't conquer death, he says. Rather, she was "brought back by some dirty little swamp witch." Fiona takes the medicine and throws up the pills.

Back at the voodoo hair salon, Queenie brings Delphine some fast food, seemingly as a peace offering. "Whatever did I do to deserve this betrayal?" Delphine asks Queenie. "Didn't you like my pot pie or my peach crumble?"

Delphine tries to talk Queenie into freeing her, but Marie shows up before she has the chance. "Whatcha gonna do, kill me? I can't die!" Delphine chuckles, as Marie threatens her. Marie is done playing around, though, and chops off one of Delphine's hands.

At the neighbor's house, Nan frees Luke but runs into Joan, who calls the police on her. While they are jawing, Hank fires into the house, killing Joan and striking Luke, who takes a bullet for his girl Nan.

As the witches sit around making small talk, waiting for Fiona to die, the reigning supreme emerges from her near-death experience, to everyone's dismay, and demands to meet the "little swamp witch." Fiona and Misty go next door to the shooting scene. Fiona demands that Misty use her power to resurrect Joan. She succeeds, then passes out.

Zoe returns to Kyle's room, where he uses some of his new vocabulary to give her a piece of his heart. "This road goes two ways," he says. You see, that was a phrase that he learned on his computer, but it has a deeper meaning. This was about as subtle as a one of Hank's bullets to the skull.

Kyle tells Zoe that he loves her. Madison overhears and is sad about this.

The next day, Fiona congratulates Cordelia on almost orchestrating her death and tells her that she's proud of her. "You really are my daughter," she tells her. Chuckles Cordelia, "If I knew how easy it was to win your approval, I would have made an attempt on your life way before now."

Cordelia shows Fiona the silver bullet that she recovered the night before. Fiona knows what that means. "We need you now, Fiona, more than ever," Cordelia says.

Fiona goes off in search of the servants. She finds a box on the porch, containing Delphine's head -- Delphine's severed, still very much alive, head.