The credits of the season finale of AMERICAN HORROR STORY – COVEN just rolled and I hate to admit that I am more than a little let down by the soft close that it floated to us at the end. This was far-and-away the best season of AHS yet, which is saying a lot given how much I loved the first and second seasons. While there wasn’t the level of false- and non-starts that Season 2’s Asylum had (aliens, monsters in woods, demonic posession), I got a distinct feeling of oversimplification when it came to the resolution.
Let me back up for a moment. In general, this season was near-flawless in execution. The creators pushed the envelope more than ever before. The shock value was dialed up exponentially and while the show has never been big on jump-scare horror, there was an extremely unsettling tone (in a good way) led by commanding performances by the entire cast. The star-studded additions were perfect with ANGELA BASSETT, GABOUREY SIDIBE, DANNY HOUSTON, KATHY BATES and PATTY LUPONE joining the already solid roster of actors. JESSICA LANGE has truly perfected her craft here and my personal favorite LILY RABE was great too.
With such a great cast, I really need to ask a serious question here: why were they so underutilized? Especially when it came to killing them off, the characters were dispatched with abrupt and near-disrespectful ease. With as great as DANNY HOUSTON was, for instance, he was randomly killed for a second time the same way he was killed the first time with nothing to really justify the character’s existence. LILY RABE’S awesome Stevie Nicks-loving swamp-witch Misty simply ashed away when she wouldn’t wake up. The final scenes with Cordelia and Fiona finally making nice with each other was good, but there wasn’t the level of twist I would have expected.
Let me write a better end in 30 seconds… Cordelia becomes the supreme but doesn’t realize it was because Myrtle was secretly the one helping her. When Myrtle admits what she did, Cordelia has her burned at the stake to keep the secret safe. They all arrive back at the house to find Misty there (after resurrecting herself) and takes over as the supreme. In shame, Cordelia hugs it out with mom only to have Danny Houston bury an axe in her back, kill Fiona for real and then kill himself in shame. Then bring in voodoo daddy and Angela Bassett at the very end to collect the debt from Misty who had sold her soul to the Voodoo guy in order to get witch powers in the first place. BOOM. Twists galore! Hell, Stevie Nicks could have become the supreme and it would have been a better decision than the happy-dappy outro with the ‘la la la’ music.
Let me make one more recommendation in hindsight… let’s switch SARAH PAULSON and LILY RABE’S roles next time and see what happens. This season could have very well been improved if that happened, and I think it’s a shame that out of anybody else, they severely underutilize LILY RABE as an actress.
Anyway, I hate to hate on this season because of how well it started. It’s just a shame how weakly it fizzled.
Pros: The cast. For all the reasons stated above and more. DANNY HOUSTON… I love that guy. And the KATHY BATES/ANGELA BASSETT combo was so great to watch. The shock value was through the roof and it was all filmed very well. The story was terrific and I liked how it was rooted in history. The sets and the fact that it was filmed on site in New Orleans gave a real nice depth to the theme. The music. I haven’t officially decided whether Stevie Nicks’ cameos were awesome-awesome or awesomely-cheesy, but the soundtrack was great. I did like the 80’s music video throwback at the start of the season finale. No aliens. Thank you for leaving the aliens out this time around.
Cons: Where the hell was DYLAN MCDERMOTT?? How dare you leave your cash cow behind! What I would like to dub “The Twisty Cam”. Seriously guys, it’s a cool effect when used sparingly. Stop filming entire episodes upside-down. Character deaths that did not respect the quality of characters. The softball ending when it should have really been a left hook TKO Mike Tyson shot to the face. The witch hunters could have taken a significantly larger role especially near the end of the season.
Overall, A-. For as much as the end was disappointing, there were 12.75 other incredible episodes to love. The scales tip in its favor for sure.