Well, somehow a period of time has passed, and we’re stood at the end of another series of American Horror Story.
There is a reason that this show is one of my favourite active programmes, and that’s largely based around its fresh originality. Which has been something that Coven has revelled in it. More than its two predecessors, it has spent most of its thirteen episodes grabbing the initiative with bizarre plot twists and shocking set pieces.
This post will focus on the finale itself, the long-awaited “Seven Wonders”.
American Horror Story is always an exponentially increasing whirlwind of crazy. Given that it started out pretty damn out there, by this point it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s like a mental patient screaming in your face. No, wait, that was Asylum…
So whilst you wipe the spittle from your face, it’s worth remembering that despite mid-season stumbles, this has still been the best series so far. The plot twists have been over-the-top, the characters madder than a box of frogs, and the lines of taboo pretty much nonexistent.
And yet, the last episode bathed the camera in blood. What can top that?
What has been a fantastic series, all in all, is slowly coming to a close.
No, actually, forget that. There’s been nothing slow about the last few episodes. For a show which prides itself on fast-paced insanity, it has been building to a borderline-psychotic conclusion. Quite simply, it’s been impossible to predict what is going to happen next.
Christmas is over, New Years has come and gone, and in their wake we’re all in a bit of a January rut. It’s clear what we need to lift us out; and here is American Horror Storyback from its holiday, to supply just such a burst of manic and creative insanity.
The last episode, “Head”, was the best episode of the series so far, I thought. And given that this has been the best series of the show so far, that’s no small praise. But we’ve been here before. Covenstarted off incredibly strong, but drifted a little around the mid-point.
The question, then, is whether “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” can continue the pace which “Head” laid out.
After the slight trough in episode quality around the Halloween point, the past few episodes of American Horror Story: Coven have managed to convince me afresh that it is back on track to being one of the finest TV shows that I’ve seen.
That, of course, hangs by a tenuous thread, never more than another dull or duff installment away from failure.
We’ve now reached a vital point in the story of Coven. Past the midway point, barrelling steadily towards a doubtless blood soaked climax. Secrets are slowly being revealed, and answers eked out to questions asked since the beginning.
There have still been elements that I’m less than convinced on, but on the whole I’m happy. So how did episode nine fit into all of this?
Apparently, the up-and-down rollercoaster of American Horror Story‘s abusive relationship with its fans is nothing new. From what I gather that was the view of people watching week by week with Murder House and Asylum too.
Given that I watched both series after the fact, if not in one sitting then in substantial chunks, I didn’t get that experience. I saw the stories as a whole, and even with all of their flaws there was never the lingering sense of “Huh…” after the credits rolled because I would just roll straight onto the next one.
Box-set style viewing. It’s the future, apparently.
Which is my long-winded way of saying that this Russian roulette thing where you never know if you’re getting a brilliant or mediocre episode is a bit of a bitch, isn’t it?
We’re drawing near to the halfway point in the season now, and so far I’ve loved the latest round of American Horror Story. Its usual simmer and sparkle has been only enhanced by the New Orleans vibe which it has wrapped around itself like a mantle.
The last episode, though, I wasn’t as thrilled by. As I said at the time, it felt like half an episode, going through the motions and incorporating shades of seasons gone by too readily and too completely in place of innovation. Put simply it wasn’t as delightfully baffling as I’ve come to appreciate.
So it falls to episode 5 to bring back the sparkle.
Witches, bitches! (As the late, great Jesse Pinkman might have said)
So we’re back, with Coven episode two after a frankly spectacular season première. The intriguingly named “Boy Parts” returns to witchy New Orleans with some big boots to fill. I’m conscious that there will be a lot of people who won’t have seen this (or “Bitchcraft”) yet, so no spoilers above the line, but if you want a tantalising little taster, just look at the opening credits for this season:
(0:21 — what in the name of merciful God is that?!)
In the vaccum left behind by Breaking Bad, there is a clear and vacant space in the television listings for a standout show to become compulsive weekly watching. And so here’s a new series of American Horror Story.
Previous seasons have taken us to a haunted house in California (The Murder House), and a brutal New England mental institution (Asylum). Now we’re in a sultry, sweating New Orleans with a host of familiar faces — and some exciting new ones — witching around.
Given that its past incarnations are amongst my favourite shows — even going so far as curing me of my mistaken belief that horror could not work in the TV series format — it’s a truly palpable relief to be able to say that not only does it live up to its predecessors, but it shapes up for Coven to be the best American Horror Story so far.