American Horror Story: Coven: With Apologies to Stevie Nicks

Categories: Film and TV

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I feel like paraphrasing the ending of Bioshock Infinite this week.

See it's hard to draw a line from two points and establish a pattern. You need at least three, and now when it comes to American Horror Story we have three. Here's what I've noticed about the show based on the points each one hits.

There is always a house. There is always a physically disabled person who is secretly more than she seems. There is always a man in a mask who is more terrifying than the mask itself. There is always a child conceived through evil. There is always a rape.

It's become positively weird at this point just how uncannily the various settings in the three seasons are starting to line up, and it's making me positively giddy with possibilities. The show isn't called American Horror StorieS is it? No, somewhere in the back of the minds behind it I am beginning to wonder if there is not something so much grander planned than anything that has come before. Is it one single repeated tale told over and over again with a different cast? Will this all tie in together at some point in the future? I rather think that it will.

See also: American Horror Story: Coven: No More Mutants*

In the meantime, "Boy Parts" was both much better and far stupider than the premier of Season 3. On the very much plus side Angela Bassett as the immortal form of Marie Laveau comes out to eat every inch of scenery, especially when she spars words with Jessica Lange. The two of them alone are enough to carry the show along its path as they act out old grievances between the voodoo practitioners and the proper witches.

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The continued teabagging of established witch history in the United States still makes me grind my jaws, though. This idea that the slave Tituba, who admittedly did begin the persecutions of CHRISTIAN PEOPLE in the Salem Witch Trials, was the ancestor of the Arawak tribe from Africa and descendant of shamans is both fairly new and slightly ridiculous. Tituba's exact genetic heritage is not known, but she's closer to Native American than traditional African slave. Her race changes dramatically in the historical record over the course of the 19th century writings on the matter.

I understand that the historical marker buoys are meant to just serve as pins in the map for a viewer to follow, but the whole history of the witch trials across America and Europe is already so badly misunderstood and misused as it is that it really starts to irk me.

Still, when this ignorant historical backstory is let go of and Lange, Bassett, and the newly brought back Kathy Bates are allowed to just be their bitchy selves it makes for some extremely riveting television. Think Steel Magnolias meets Carrie and you get the idea. I do love that.

On the other hand... the teenage set gets ever more ridiculous. Gabourey Sidibe and Jamie Brewer continue to turn in great performances that don't get center stage because one is heavy and the other is disabled so why would we do anything with them when conventionally pretty white women can try bringing a corpse back to life after making dick jokes?

Seriously.

Madison and Zoe decide, apropos of nothing and with more holes in their logic than an Alex Jones rant, to visit the morgue of the local hospital holding the corpses of the frat boys Madison killed in a bus crash for raping her while drunk.

Review continues on next page.


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3 comments
papipower01
papipower01

Pop horror fiction on FX is not the place to get documentaries.  Part of the fun for many viewers, who don't seem to be so irked as noted above, is to see history twisted by its nose.  It's precisely due to a lack of ignorance that makes much of it an enjoyable diversion. Also, if Stevie was open to her indirect role in this season's AHS witch theme, then I'm sure the apologies noted are unnecessary.  

deceiverofmen
deceiverofmen

The fake history used for Delphine Lalaurie when the real history is more captivating really irks me. However, I must point out that Arawaks are technically Native Americans; they are from the Caribbean and South America, believed to be the first tribe encountered by Columbus. Marie Laveau says she came from a "great tribe", she does not say from Africa. Tituba is often said to be from "new spain", the west indies. A popular women's studies book by Elaine G. Breslaw, Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem, does indeed mention Tituba being Arawak, as well as many other speculative text on Tituba's life. So, that is probably their least historically inaccurate claim in the series yet.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@deceiverofmen Yeah... I got confused while writing thinking of the Ashanti, Good on you to catch that error. I was surprised no one else did.

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