American Horror Story: Coven Review: “The Sacred Taking” (Season 3, Episode 8)

american horror story: coven

However, Queenie’s sudden regime change is still jarring, especially in the beginning of the episode. After incapacitating a guy who attempts to rape her, Zoe and Madison show up to try and bring her back to the coven before acting shocked and disgusted that she killed an “innocent man.” First off, a child molester is hardly innocent, and second, does Zoe not remember wielding a chainsaw against an army of zombies? Better yet, does she remember sexing a frat boy to death for raping Madison? People in glass houses, Zoe.

Queenie makes a show of waving this guy’s heart around and warning of a war that’s soon to come, only to later show pity on LaLaurie and bring her her favorite burger in captivity. In a show like American Horror Story: Coven where motivations change on a dime, it’s good to see that Laveau is at least consistently evil, and LaLaurie is consistently underutilized. Sending her severed head to the coven in a box was a nice touch, if not a bit contrived. But who am I to complain about a bit of the old ultraviolence on basic cable?

But the story that bothers me the most is that of the neighbor boy Luke. His mother discovers he’s been hanging around the coven and punishes him with a chemical enema, because apparently anybody who even keeps a bible in their home is psychotic. Not that I mind some crazies here and there, but come on, it’s not that clever any more to have a religious character believe in “purification” or “cleansing” and then have them act insane. It hardly matters, though, since both Luke and his mother end up corpses by the end of the episode.

Nan goes over to try and help free Luke, but Hank shows up with a rifle and puts an end to that. He completely misses Nan and escapes, but Delia finds one of his shells and uses her new power to figure out just what he’s up to. Hank’s story is one of the more interesting in this season, so hopefully he can start getting a bit more aggressive in his attempts to murder his ex-wife and all of her friends.

In an odd twist, Misty heads next door to resurrect Luke’s mom, which is the most infuriating part of the episode. Already we’re tired of people returning from the dead, and now we’re bringing back minor characters who have had maybe five lines up til this point? It’s framed as Misty proving to Fiona that she could be the next Supreme because of her powers, but why not try it on a raccoon or something? Resurrection is becoming a plot device instead of a last resort, and there’s still over a month left in the season. It’s an intriguing aspect of the coven, but it’s overuse is really starting to grate on my nerves.

While nothing about The Sacred Taking was plain awful, this season is starting to show evidence of a lack of planning, because things don’t feel quite as tightly focused as they used to. The constant resurrections are starting to take some of the suspense away, but on the bright side, the cast is so entertaining and well-rounded that it’s good to have as many characters as possible. It’s more of a forced complaint, but there are signs that American Horror Story: Coven might unravel more and more as the season draws to a close. Hopefully the coven can resurrect the more consistent tone found in earlier episodes (zing!).