American Horror Story: Coven- “Bitchcraft” Season 3 Premiere Review

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There are already so many things going on in the latest installment of American Horror Story…and I love almost every single one of them.

Based on past experience with this show, there were certain things I went into Coven’s premiere prepared to hate. Namely, Violet. Taissa Farmiga returns to the series as Zoe, the newest addition to an exclusive boarding school for young witches. While she was absolutely insufferable in season one, she is shockingly likable as the somewhat naïve accidental man killing witch.

This show might actually have the most incredible female cast on television right now. Kathy Bates is Madame LaLaurie, a brutal New Orleans noblewoman from the 1860s who brutalized her slaves.  In present day, we get Zoe’s three fellow students: movie star Madison Montgomery played by Emma Roberts is the Regina George of the group, the self-proclaimed human voodoo doll Queenie played by Gabourey Sibide, and perhaps most excitingly Addie is back! Jamie Brewer plays the clairvoyant peacemaker of the house. The exquisite Sarah Paulsen is back as Cordelia Foxx, a passive and sensible witch who’s headmistress of the school. She also happens to be the daughter of the Reigning Supreme, the most powerful witch. Obviously that role could go to no one but Jessica Lange, who has an obvious amount of fun playing the immortality obsessed Fiona.

Centering around the witches, this season feels like a perfect mix of what American Horror Story got right in seasons one and two. As always, nothing is off limits, nothing is sacred. In the first episode already, there were gruesome murders, and brutal, nearly unwatchable, scenes. A witch (Lily Rabe) has been burned to death. In what was maybe the hardest thing to watch, Madison is drugged and raped at a frat party, and proceeds to overturn a bus full of the frat boys as revenge. Fiona literally sucks the life from a doctor who won’t give her unlimited supply of a youth serum. Zoe kills her boyfriend while losing her virginity, her apparent power. Madame LaLaurie is dug up by Fiona, inexplicably still alive. Jessica Lange referenced Facebook, Twitter, and Hogwarts.

The clichés that were played into were, for the most part, done pretty perfectly. Could I have done without the Men in Black dragging Zoe away in the beginning? Probably. Did there need to be a joke about one witch dropping a house on another? Well, subtlety is not something we’ve come to expect from American Horror Story. Basically, there’s always going to be a little cheesy element to this show, but what balances it out is the incredible cast and sensational storyline. I’m of the opinion that those elements are enough when executed the way they are in this show, but if you rolled your eyes at the past two seasons of American Horror Story, you probably won’t like this one either. However, I do think they’ve stepped up their game with Coven.

I couldn’t have asked for much more from this premiere. I mean, it was called “Bitchcraft”…so I went into it with high expectations, all of which were met. Grade: A-

By: Meghan Coan

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