American Horror Story: Coven Watch - Fearful Pranks Ensue Calls Out The Zombies And Witch Council

It's Halloween on American Horror Story, and you know what that means: eyeballs used as anal beads, suicide by riding lawn mower, and the ghost of Pol Pot taking over the body of a dragon. But it looks like we may have to wait until the series’ fourth season to see any of those things, for tonight’s episode, “Fearful Pranks Ensue,” was a rather subdued affair, though it still managed to rank high in performances, absurdities and offensive shenanigans. In other words, it was once again the best thing on TV, which is why we love it so much.

They’re Coming To Get You, Fiona

Tonight, AHS finally jumped headfirst out of the tomb and into the zombie craze. It isn’t a very calculated move, as zombies have taken over every aspect of popular culture, but as expected, it’s semi-deftly handled by the genre-mangling hands of Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and episode writer Jennifer Salt. Rather than a virus causing random nameless members of the rotting undead to rise up, their presence here is due to Marie Laveau’s witchy voodoo practices, meaning they’re tied to the original versions of zombie lore, rather than those that George Romero popularized. Learn from this, hundreds of currently shitty indie filmmakers.

Because it’s no good just having zombies kill people without civil rights involved, we first see Laveau’s drum’n’snake’n’chalk routine following the needless lynching of a black teenager who’d recently started attending a white high school in 1961. They’re brought back once more in the episode’s admittedly awesome final scene, in which a horde of them descend ever so slowly upon Miss Robichaux’s Academy, following Laveau’s truce shattering. It was a pretty excellent visual callback when LaLaurie realizes one of the zombies is her daughter, even though that girl would have been nothing but bones and dust at that point. But maybe Laveau has the power to make them somewhat whole again. If the power is strengthened by rage, then seeing the still-moving head of Bastien in that box was just the right catalyst.

Council, Council, Toil and…Touncil

I will now try to hunt down a magical priestess to ensure a spinoff series involving the cross-country antics of Council members Myrtle (Frances Conroy) Elsa (Geraldine Singer) and Quentin (Leslie Jordan), as they make for quite the dynamic trio putting everyone in the house on bureaucratic trial concerning Madison’s disappearance. I could watch Conroy fly off the rails all day long as the Guardian of Veracity in the Vernacular. The Council threatens a stake burning for witch murder, though that obviously won’t be Fiona’s fate. As such, I have no idea what their end game will be. It would be nice to see an open-palmed Witch-Off between Myrtle and Fiona, as their flashback plainly showed their shared distaste for one another.

Last week, I wished for the focus to turn to Denis O’Hare’s butler Spalding, and I wasn’t disappointed here. Sure, his story didn’t plumb the depths of narrative, but his thoughts and motivations now have the context of an unrequited and unending love for Fiona. I assume we’ll also find out he always listens to music he hates and wears shoes that are too small for his feet, since he obviously doesn’t care about giving himself pleasure in life. I base this also on the hairdo he’s rocking in 1971 when Fiona met the council regarding Anna-Lee’s “disappearance.” I love that Spalding’s handicap devolved from missing tongue to tongue on the floor to him actually cutting his tongue out, following his first words of the series. And then there are the dress-up tea parties, and the fact that he still has Madison’s corpse in his possession. Just normal guy shit.

Why Does Josh Hamilton Gotta Be Killing Alexandra Breckinridge Like That?

Okay, so Hank and Cordelia can’t have a baby because of…whatever. But Hank, who said he was previously a monster, meets up for a hotel sexual encounter with a girl he met online, with Thomas Kinkade paintings involved. They have animal sex and he later shoots her in the head, following her calling sushi “the raw fish stuff” in distaste. I’d have shot a bitch in the head for saying that, too. But he probably had other motives, none of which I can easily assume. I’m pretty sure he’s going to end up doing something terrible to someone, and Cordelia will have to use one of her potions to try and stop him. Speaking of, are we ever going to see Cordelia’s potions work? Also, what’s your problem, Hank?

You’ve Got A Little Something On Your Face

Over drinks, Fiona points out Hank’s bullshitty ways, though she apparently doesn’t know the bullet-expelling extent of them, and she also lies to her daughter about killing Madison. Fiona tries to eke information about a potential successor out of Cordelia, who apparently knows of such things, but then some black-hooded person in the bathroom throws acid on Cordelia’s face before anything can be shared. I’m guessing this was one of Laveau’s cronies, since this didn’t take place near a cemetery or anything. Is that an impending revenge I smell? Wait, no, it’s just melting skin.

So early in the season, it seems weird for battle lines to have been drawn so firmly in the sand and recently clawed-up grave dirt. But this is AHS, and if the season doesn’t end in nuclear warfare against time-traveling cyborgs, I’ll eat my hat and the rabbit hidden inside.

Things Stirring in the Cauldron

After watching Kyle get rape-kissed by his mom last week before murdering her, seeing him bang his bloody head against the tub was a nice reprieve. I wonder where he’s hiding, and if Zoe will continue to try and give him rat poison. Or if she’ll, you know, fuck his brains out of his eye sockets and ears.

Everybody whose bucket list contained “watch Angela Bassett drink from fire” felt pretty good about themselves tonight.

“It’s my duty to stay vital.”

“Burr heads.” Between this show and Sons of Anarchy, one could create a racial epithet version of Bingo. Not that anyone should.

So that one zombie was buried with a bayonet-equipped gun?

“I’ve always enjoyed our little talks together.”

I’m not even sure I understand what happened with Queenie and the Minotaur. Of the dozen or so theories I’ve copied down on a chalkboard, none are safe for outsiders’ ears.

Spalding may very well be my favorite character, sold by him hiding his answer from Quentin.

Someone needs to make this Minotaur head in a box something I can put on my mantle. Preferably life-size, and of an actual Minotaur’s head.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.