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YMMV: American Horror Story: Coven
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Though the fandom didn't take well to Hank, some found his death to be rather tragic.
    • Madison's death is pretty tragic when you take into account that Kyle had previously been the only frat brother that tried to do something about his fraternity gang raping her and also that she was left traumatized by her death and return. It's hard not to think that Spalding doing what her wants to do with her body was a little too much.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Shower of Angst and Tranquil Fury aside, Madison gets over her gang-rape pretty quickly. She even lampshades it. Her death and resurrection does seem to have left her shaken though.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The Axe-Man, Fiona, and Marie curb-stomp all of the witch-hunters in only a couple of minutes, despite the show making them seem like they were a dangerous, well-organized, threatening group.
    • The Axe-Man himself is brutally struck down by his axe and stabbed dozens of times by all the witches without even putting up a fight.
    • Marie Laveau. She gets knocked out, cut to pieces (completely off screen save for one moment), and then her immortality is removed on a technicality by Papa Legba, thanks to Queenie.
    • Madison who was shown to be very strong and competent in her powers was killed off very easily by Kyle who most likely wouldn't be stronger than her.
  • Base Breaker: Madison. She's either a fierce, entertainingly evil bitch or an annoying one-note jerk.
  • Broken Base: The season finale. Either it was a beautiful send-off or underwhelming.
    • The season itself.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Stevie Nicks showing up in the season finale, singing a song, and meandering out the door afterwards.
  • Creepy Awesome: Myrtle Snow's utterly fabulous and macabre revenge against the Council.
  • Critical Dissonance: The highest rated season on Rotten Tomatoes yet a far more divided fandom.
    • Though 99% of the reviews counted on RT are for the first episode, so it's more of the most rated season premiere.
    • The season started with this, but pretty soon many, if not most, reviewers started to call out the abysmal writing.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Spalding keeping Madison's corpse in the attic was disturbing, especially since he dressed her up and later on had sex with the body. But watching him accidentally tear off her left arm was funnier than it should've been.
    • Marie chopping off Delphine's hand is pretty hilarious considering that Delphine was stupid enough to mock and taunt Marie while locked inside a cage.
    • Myrtle Snow gleefully slapping a pair of feet together while disposing of Cecily and Quentin's hacked up bodies.
    • When Cordelia finally has an emotional breakdown and starts smashing everything around her, Myrtle looks like she's about to say something to comfort her. Then she decides to ignore her and nonchalantly continues playing her theremin.
    • The Axe-Man kills a witch hunter by picking up a severed hand still clutching a handgun, and then shooting the witch hunter with the gun still pried in the severed hand's fingers.
    • Marie taking a picture while The Axe-Man slaughters the witch hunters.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: An odd version. Even though this is the highest-rated season of American Horror Story so far, yet some find none of the characters particularly sympathetic.
  • Designated Hero: The witches' varying degrees of morality from Pay Evil unto Evil Zoe all the way up to out-and-out Villain Protagonist Fiona can make them an unsympathetic bunch.
  • Designated Villain: The witch hunters may be Knight Templars, but witches like Fiona could convince anyone to commit Van Helsing Hate Crimes.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Nan seem to have been received well by the audience. Misty is hands-down the most popular character in the show, with many fans wishing that she would be the next Supreme despite her stating that she does NOT want to be it.
    • Myrtle has gotten quite a bit of love for her dynamic with Fiona, intelligence and her relationship with Misty Day. She's been especially popular post-revival by Misty, with her being more assertive and cunning.
    • Cordelia also grew far and far more popular as the series went on.
  • Evil Is Cool: The popularity of Fiona and Madison runs on this.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The fandom has taken a huge liking to Misty Day and Cordelia Foxx (Foxxay).
  • Fridge Brilliance: The finale has Queenie failing to revive Zoe despite using that ability in the past. Cordelia once said that witches gain extra powers in dire situations meaning in that situation she only temporary channeled that ability, explaining both why she was able to do it before and working as a Red Herring before that episode.
    • Cordelia didn't say the powers were temporary, and the situations were still similar. But Zoe's wounds were more severe than Misty's oxygen deprivation.
    • It is very fitting that of all the Seven Wonders, the one that Madison fails to accomplish is divination, because she can't see beyond herself.
    • Myrtle suggests that the girls are developing so many powers so quickly (aside from the danger), is that Cordelia's magic was manifesting through them. All the powers the girls manifest after they come into the Academy are one of the Seven Wonders, powers the Supreme has. The only exceptions are Zoe's Necromancer powers (developed before she spent more of her time at the academy); and Queenie's ability to survive being shot, which developed after being away from the Coven.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Joan says to Luke 'I made you and I can unmake you'. In 'Head' she makes good on that promise.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The feature of Stevie Nix's music and Misty's insistence that she's a witch. The creators actually had to spend a lot of time getting her permission to user her music and, later on, get her to agree to cameo. She was hesitant because she'd gotten a lot of harassing fanmail and hate-mail from people who were convinced that her lyrics were proof of her being an actual witch.
    • Madison's abuse of Kyle, and him killing her, in light of the domestic assault issue their real-life actors had.
  • I Knew It: Delia being the next Supreme. Zoe would have been way too obvious, a promo spoiled Misty's death, and Madison and Queenie weren't as important. There was also a significant clue in that her credits image in the opening sequence depicted Santa Muerte, AKA the Lady of Seven Powers.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: One of the major complaints about this season seems to be about how it doesn't offer anything new, especially regarding Jessica Lange's character Fiona, seen by many as a retread of her season 1 character, Constance.
    • Same goes for Denis O Hare, yet again playing a gutless grotesque hopelessly in love with Jessica Lange's character.
  • Les Yay:
    • Major vibes between Zoe and Misty Day.
    • And later on, between Cordelia and Misty Day.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Double Subversion. Ryan Murphy admitted that Madison was really killed in episode three. However, he never said that Madison wouldn't come back to life, which she does in "The Axeman Cometh." Technically he was telling the truth.
  • Love It or Hate It / It's Popular, Now It Sucks: While Coven is the highest-rated season of American Horror Story to date, longtime viewers have not been shy in criticizing the show's radically different atmosphere compared to previous seasons, calling it The Real Housewives of New Orleans and the main mystery as America's Next Top Supreme.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Zoe raping a man to death (he's a rapist, but it doesn't change what she did) Not that the show saw an issue with it.
    • Delphine did some hideous things in the past. But even she admits the evil of killing a baby produced between a slave girl and her husband.
    • Queenie selling out Delphine, who at that point considered her a dear friend and was on a quest for redemption, to Marie Laveau definitely counts.
    • Joan Ramsey may have been cruel, but at least she still loved her son. Then she kills him after he finds out what happened to his father.
    • In the exact reverse of Alas, Poor Scrappy above, some felt that Hank's brutal rampage through Marie Laveau's salon made him an absolutely irredeemable character.
    • Madison knocking out Misty Day and then having her Buried Alive.
    • As of The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks, Fiona is fully prepared to kill Cordelia and the rest of the coven in order to become immortal.
    • Marie's secret to immortality: sacrificing innocent souls to Papa Legba.
  • Narm:
    • After Zoe stabs Spalding, he proceeds to stick out his tongue in such a silly way that it looked like he was trying to blow a raspberry at her. Probably intentional, given the morbidly camp nature of the show.
    • When Hank tries to ask for forgiveness from Cordelia in "Head," he does so using the sappiest lines ever, such as saying that "his heart is bleeding."
    • The phrase "baby gravy" is always narmful, even if it is spoken by Angela Basset as Marie Laveau when she explains a fertility ritual to Cordelia.
    • "Surprise bitch. Bet you thought you'd seen the last of me." Compared with the general tone of this season, that's a little hard to take seriously.
    • Misty's idea of hell is her middle school biology class where she's in an infinite loop and raising and killing her frog. Becomes heartbreaking, though, when she can't escape the loop and dies trapped there.
  • Nausea Fuel: Joan Ramsey being forced to drink bleach.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Opinions on Zoe weren't that good, until 'Burn Witch Burn' where she killed several zombies with a chainsaw. Her actions in The Axe Man Cometh put her back in to some.
      • She ended up going right back to The Scrappy Heap after a few episodes though, this time for being a shallow, bland character who's entire storyline revolved around Kyle.
    • Joan singing Let It Be to Luke is genuinely heartwarming. She heads right back in when she goes back to being a jerk to Nan and goes further still upon smothering Luke.
    • Some feel that Hank was rescued from the heap because of the shootout at Marie Laveau's, which can be perceived as a suicide mission in order to remove the voodoo clan from being a threat to Cordelia.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Related to the Designated Hero and Designated Villain.
    • People have also expressed desire for Fiona to kill everybody and win, because it's her.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Madison to viewers who find her a one-note bitch, especially amongst Misty Day's fans.
    • Zoe to fans who perceive her as useless.
    • Hank, even for a villain.
    • Joan, for being a Holier Than Thou Jerkass.
    • Queenie, after betraying Delphine and the Coven.
  • Shocking Swerve: The whole season is made of shocking swerves, but the most glaring one is Luke's offscreen death and cremation. It reeks of writing laziness.
  • Special Effect Failure: When Misty Day and Myrtle Snow are burnt at the stake, the fire is obviously CGI.
  • Squick:
    • "The Replacements". Between Kyle's mother having sex with him, a mason jar of semen, and Queenie rubbing one out in front of LaLaurie's bullheaded houseboy, it's going to produce a very strong urge to shower.
    • "The Axeman Cometh" confirms that Spalding did have sex with Madison's corpse, as if dressing her up and playing tea party with her wasn't creepy enough.
    • "The Sacred Taking." Two words: bleach enema.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Madison gets her throat slit by Fiona in the third episode and Spalding ends up keeping her corpse to dress up like a doll.
    • Hank gets his brains blown out by Queenie.
    • Joan Ramsey is forced to drink bleach by Nan.
    • Misty beats the crap out of Madison. And only Cordelia and Myrtle even bother to act horrified.
    • Zoe impales herself on the Robichaux's gate after a transmutation gone wrong.
    • FrankenKyle finally puts an end to Madison after she pointedly refuses to resurrect Zoe.
    • Fiona dies and gets her own hell.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The term for magically moving from place to place is given as being "transmutation," in spite of transmutation meaning "the process of changing one thing into another thing." Not only is the term ubiquitous in real world occult history (see: good old alchemy), but it's also frequently used in both scientific and everyday contexts to indicate state changes. It's a wince-inducing malapropism that access to a dictionary or even a normal vocabulary would've avoided. But then again, the writing for the whole season has turned out to be subpar at best.
    • Early episodes state that it's rare for a witch to develop multiple talents, and that the reason Fiona thought Madison was the Supreme was because she was telekinetic AND pyrokinetic. Cue the later episodes, where nearly every girl is able to perform most of the wonders, including raising the dead (which was also stated to be an incredibly rare gift).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Actor: Evan Peters and Denis O'Hare are both members of the main cast and have proved themselves to be talented actors in previous seasons, however in Coven they have almost nothing to do.
    • The reason for their little importance is said to be to give the women actors more to do, keeping in theme with female empowerment... only for the show to give importance and arcs to other male characters such as Luke and Hank, making Peters and O'Hare's talents look even more wasted.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many long-time fans, critics and even some who started watching this season share this opinion. But of course, there are just as many who consider this season better than Asylum.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Nan, who dies not only after discovering her powers are growing stronger, but also after she kills Joan.
    • Misty dies after failing to escape from her own personal hell.
    • Myrtle demands that Cordelia burn her at the stake in order to get ensure that the newly-revived Coven has a sense of accountability.
    • Madison being killed off in the finale slightly feels like this considering she was one of the strongest witches in both her powers and her will.
  • Uncanny Valley: Cordelia's eyes post-Eye Scream.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Like the previous seasons, Coven has a few themes that leave a bad taste in the viewers' collective mouth.
    • Sex equals death (a rather cliched horror trope) is exaggerated to the point one wonders if Coven is promoting Abstinence Only.
    • While someone raping a rapist is comparable to the ethical issues surrounding killing a killer, having the main protagonist rape a rapist note  to death without any consequences or reprehension raises a lot of other issues.
    • Of the four students at the witch school, the heavyset black girl and the girl with Down syndrome have secondary billing compared to the two pretty white girls. However, after Madison was killed, their roles were equalled out and mostly stayed that way after Madison was revived.
    • As Murder House and Asylum before, Coven has been criticized for relying on rape to provide drama for female characters.
    • The only male witch seen in multiple episodes is Camp Gay, and never referred as such. In the finale, when Myrtle says she has to be burnt at the stake she defines him as a 'colleague'.
    • The mostly Caucasian witches use their powers to garner wealth and live luxuriously. The mostly African American voodoo witches call the ninth ward their territory and live very humble considering what they could do with their gifts.
    • Marie Laveau, who was by all accounts a nice person and had followers of all races in real life, is the villain of the season and has grown to hate whites (and not just the racist ones). Further, she has had the least amount of character development of anyone in the season. Meanwhile, the notorious Delphine Lalaurie has been made as a character searching for redemption.
    • Every mother who appeared longer than one scene (not counting Myrtle as Cordelia's replacement mother) has been abusive or neglectful towards her child or children.
    • The central themes of Coven are oppressed groups (referring here to women and, to a lesser degree, people of color) and 'power corrupts'. This leads to some unintentional and rather ironic implications that "women with power are evil".
    • Every single male character on the show is under control of a female one, all but stating that female empowerment is basically misandry. Further reinforced by the fact that the witch-hunters (the witches' main threat) are ALL male while the witches are all female (Ryan Murphy thought that having warlocks would 'make the season too much like Glee' so he basically opted to be as offensive as possible).
    • The eviler the character, the better her situation is (of course, unless it's a man), and of course the nicer they are (or just if they're male) the worst they have it.
      • Averted by the end, where Fiona, Marie, Delphine and Madison are all dead, and Cordelia, Kyle, Queenie and Zoe are happy.
      • Still played straight in regards to gender, because the male character that had the happiest ending ( Kyle) got an eternity of servitude.
    • Ryan Murphy announced that, starting from episode 9, characters were starting to die and not come back. The first to go were both male characters and the first witch to die permanently was Nan, the one with Down's syndrome AND the only one whose backstory was never shown on screen.
    • Young women coming into their own is a threat to older women. There's only so much female power to go around.
    • In the final episode, the new Supreme Cordelia goes on TV and gives an interview. The scene equals witches to gay people, but like True Blood before it, this show didn't get that while people are stupid to fear LGBTQ people, they are most certainly NOT to fear witches, as we've been repeatedly shown this season that they are really likely to abuse their powers.
    • The female characters rarely, if ever, team up and show loyalty to each other, feeding in the old prejudice that women are too selfish to be team players, taken to the extreme in The Seven Wonders, where Madison, Queenie and Zoe were laughing and playing outside seconds after Misty died.
    • Female empowerment is linked to the ability to dominate/hurt/kill people, especially men.
    • The male characters are either evil, useless to the extreme, or both, this is not only misandric, but also pretty misogynistic, suggesting that women have to have the playing field heavily slanted in their direction in order to be empowered, and thus perpetuating the idea that women are lesser than men.
    • A lot of people called out Asylum for the misogynistic implication that in order to become a strong, dynamic and empowered character, a woman must be victimized by a man, perhaps sexually, and rise above it (referring to Lana's character arc). This season featured several strong, empowered women who were not defined, held down or victimized by the men in their lives, if they even had one. It was roundly criticized for being misandric, being female-centric with most of the male characters being one-dimensional, useless, villains, or one-dimensional useless villains.
      • The problem, as usual, is in the writing, which was absolutely dire in Coven. Also, who wasn't victimized in 'Asylum'?
    • The fact that the current Supreme withers as the new one comes into her own creates an unfortunate implication that powerful young women are a threat to powerful older women and that there's only so much female empowerment to go around. As opposed to encouraging the next generation, the older generation is an obstacle that needs to be destroyed.
  • The Woobie: Cordelia.

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