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RJ Bayley – ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Retrospective Part 11

by RJ Bayley

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Part One.

Part Two.

Part Three.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 6.

 Part 7.

Part 8.

Part 9.

Part 10.

The cracks are really starting to show in the coven. Fiona Goode is still trying to kill everybody off in an attempt to stay young. Marie Laveau is still threatening to kill Delphine LaLaurie for her racist, sadistic past. Even Madison is getting in on the act: after Kyle declares his reciprocal love for Zoe she throws a characteristic witch/bitch fit and vows to dismantle him.

Even the witch hunters of the Delphi corporation, so far posited as anti-life itself, are showing more caring instincts than the witches to begin with. Harrison Renard, Hank’s father, is mourning the loss of his son and the fact there will be no funeral or eulogy for him to cover up his actions. This is clearly the last straw, and what finally prompts him to try and call a truce with the witches in exchange for restoring his company.

There are conversely, however, some of the most compassionate acts of care and mothering from those previously depicted and branded as weak. First and foremost is Cordelia, who has been branded as weak of mind and spirit by both her mother, Laveau and herself. Knowing that the second sight she possessed while blinded is hugely beneficial to the coven, she’s been trying to amplify her powers with her potions. Unable to do so, she takes the one measure that worked before and blinds herself, performing perhaps the most heroic act of the series by ripping out her own eyeballs with garden pruners.

Myrtle Snow also can’t deny her maternal instincts. While Myrtle is seen as very superficial and even greedy, this makes it all the more significant that she gives away her most prized and expensive piece of jewellery to Zoe to sell should things turn sour. She convinces Zoe to run off with Kyle to avoid becoming collateral damage, from both witch hunters and Fiona. Mrytle, meanwhile, will stay to try and protect the coven from falling apart, and by doing so she loses an ally and puts her life more at risk – a self-sacrifice in the making.

While Laveau and Fiona represent an aggressive protection of themselves in this episode, they do have their use, tricking the Delphi corporation directors into a meeting room-cum-slaughterhouse. However this episode shows that it’s gentle compassion, which has been scorned by Laveau and Fiona, which creates the more inspiring and heroic acts of bravery.

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