Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, the American Horror Story: Coven finale ends things with a whimper before slinking off to hide behind the much stronger first half of the season. For what it’s worth, it’s a pretty looking whimper, and there are definitely far more interesting moments than there have been in the past month or so, but it still leaves much to be desired after the promise of earlier episodes.
As much as I would like to avoid them, spoilers are inevitable when describing the finale. Are your eyes closed? Good!
Thank God Cordelia decided to finally step up and take the reins. Ladies and gentlemen, we have our new supreme! Add in a new pair of eyes and an attitude that doesn’t make Droopy Dog sound optimistic and we’ve got the Cordelia the show needed more than a few episodes ago. The Seven Wonders, which served to test each witch’s abilities, was an admittedly great plot device to keep the episode flowing, and the tests themselves were some of the best moments of the latter half of the season.
Wait, we’re forgetting something. Was that Stevie Nicks with yet another musical number? And why does this one look like a 90s era Michael Jackson music video? We get it, guys, you really really really love Nicks, but for the love of God, Misty doesn’t even make it that far into the Wonders. When she failed the “let’s hang out in hell” test, I was more upset that they wasted the final opening of the season on another Nicks cameo to satisfy her character. If she had just died a few episodes earlier, we could have been spared the pointless cameos and awful opening.
Needless to say, Cordelia’s entrance in the Seven Wonders makes her the dark horse, but in the end, I’m glad she won. Queenie wasn’t the right fit for Supreme, Madison was too evil, Misty was too dead and Zoe was too boring. Allowing her to contend made for some pretty good mother-daughter drama, though, and actually made Fiona’s inevitable return somewhat touching.
While Fiona’s plan was as devious as devious gets, her return in a weakened state led to a tense conversation with Cordelia that I honestly couldn’t predict. I think it ended perfectly, with Fiona experiencing her own version of hell, which includes a loving husband and fresh fish everyday. Some people just have the worst luck.
The concept of hell this season was another highlight, and experiencing it for the rest of the characters was entertaining. Zoe’s hell, which was her and Kyle breaking up endlessly, was just plain stupid, though. I absolutely refuse to believe that her biggest fear is losing her boyfriend, especially since she’s been surrounded by death for months. Even she couldn’t avoid the overused death/revival trope that ruined too many tense moments this season.
Which reminds me: Zoe died in this episode. After mourning Misty’s death during her trial, the remaining three girls almost immediately start playing “teleport tag” and teleport all over the yard, leading to Zoe accidentally teleporting her large intestine onto a sharp pole. There are so many things wrong with that scene, including the fact that the girls are reduced to giggling idiots playing tag about a half hour after one of their friends got her soul stuck in hell for eternity. As is par for the course, though, she is eventually brought back to life by Cordelia and resumes being utterly expressionless.
Myrtle, who was finally beginning to grow on me, decides to devote her life to making terrible decisions, insisting that Cordelia have her burned at the stake for murdering two other witches. She reasons that she doesn’t want Cordelia to be plagued by controversy for not killing her, but she’s been alive and kicking for a while and nobody seems to be making too much of a fuss about it. Add her death to the list of pointless sacrifices made for dramatic effect.
Cordelia’s decision to make public the existence of witches was a nice twist I didn’t expect, but there wasn’t much time to get a reaction from it. Sure, the academy is suddenly flooded with witches, but what about the rest of the world? In such a prudish country that is just now beginning to legalize marijuana, the existence of witches is nothing noteworthy?
While not every plot thread was tied up nice and tidy in the end, enough of them were to show that Ryan Murphy and company might at least be learning a little from their mistakes. The back end of the season is still bogged down by unnecessary storylines entering the fray too late to matter, but at least most of these stories were completed this time around. Almost none of them ended on a satisfactory note, but an ending is something to celebrate at this point.