This is where American Horror Story gets a little too wild for its own good.
Coven provides a lot of fun scenes, over-the-top characters and stylized AHS sequences, but as a story itself, it's all over the place, never sure where it's going until it gets to the end. This takes a lot of the steam out of its good moments.
This time around we focus on a private school for witches located in New Orleans, which right off the bat is a poorly done mish-mash of X-Men and Harry Potter: a school with one class composed of four girls... Okay. Much of the plot concerns which young witch will become the new Supreme
, and who will replace the current Supreme, Fiona Goode
Every season has featured morally ambiguous characters, but Coven takes it to a very unlikable extreme. Previous characters were at least well-defined to some degree. You never entirely know what motivates Coven's colorful cast at any given moment. One minute they'll be acting all humane and morally upright, the next they'll be violently murdering someone without batting an eye. The most blatant example of this would be Queenie, the resident Comedic Sociopath
There are also a lot of conflicting messages. Female empowerment, sisterhood, spiritual divinity, all that good stuff. Doesn't mean much when the witches are constantly stabbing each other in the backs over petty shit, ultimate power is basically revealed to be an incredibly fickle thing, and every male character is either impotently against the females (Hank, Hank's dad, Axe-Man) or disturbingly beholden to them (Kyle, Spaulding, Axe-Man again). I actually think a lot of this was done deliberately (See my comment below this review).
My favorite parts:
- Best AHS opening credits so far. Loved the mix of pagan and voodoo imagery.
- The crazy soundtrack
- Halloween. Zombies. Chainsaw.
- Danny Huston as The Axe-Man
- Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett HAMMING it up all season.
- Emma Roberts as a ruthless, superpowered Lindsay Lohan Expy
Still provocative and grotesque, more than ever in fact, but it lacks the substance and synchronicity of previous seasons. It feels kind of like a badly executed TV show version of The Craft. Really, I just wish this season had been set entirely in the 1800s.