RJ Bayley – ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Retrospective Part 7
As we’ve seen so far in American Horror Story: Coven, there is, what seems on the surface level, a simple equation between women, witches, being the protectors of life, harmony and natural law. More recent episodes however have shown however that while this seems to be a straightforward way of running things when things don’t go to plan, this natural system is forced to use often violent means to swiftly untangle any contradictory knots it would get itself into. Even then though, the system sometimes ends up creating equations that suggest it sees two wrongs making a right.
Take Zoe and and the resurrected Kyle for example. In this episode Zoe approaches the constantly distressed Kyle, whose current source of anguish are the tattoos his frat friends got before their deaths. Kyle decided not to have one but now, stitched together from his dead friends he has those very same tattoos. Kyle’s un-life is unnatural, and is in grave pain because of it. To end this pain Zoe approaches Kyle with a gun, saying there’s “only one way left to fix this”. Re-killing Kyle would be the same action taken by Kathy Bates’ character LaLaurie, who had to re-kill her own zombiefied daughter when that daughter threatened Queenie.
Zoe however granted Kyle his second life, whereas LaLaurie did not; so while LaLaurie had no problem in destroying the voodoo-given life of her daughter, there is a contradiction in Zoe taking the very life she granted in the first place. As such, she cannot bring herself to do it. Furthermore when Kyle takes the gun from her and tries to kill himself, Zoe is compelled to stop him. So, at a stalemate, even though she desires Kyle, The Dead sees Zoe take on a nurturing, almost mothering role, trying to get him to eat food he doesn’t initially want and re-teaching him the English language.
Zoe, however, is still attracted to Kyle and is jealous when she walks in on Kyle and the also resurrected Madison having sex. Madison convinces Zoe that they can share Kyle, both at the same time should they wish, and so Zoe does. Thus bringing about a situation, much like Kyle had with his mother; a child figure and a mother figure, involved in a sexual relationship. And while this is a highly unusual situation, the show doesn’t display this relationship as wrong. Yes, there is no biological link there, but two of the participants in this threeway are dead and one is mentally more a child than he was before. And yet the show casts no bad judgement on the arrangement. The show’s gender logic, when bent this much, sometimes has to admit that two wrongs sometimes do make a right.