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Recap / American Horror Story S 03 E 01 Bitchcraft

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Season 03, Episode 01:

Bitchcraft

A young girl named Zoe is shattered to discover that she possesses a strange genetic affliction tracing back to the days of Salem. Zoe is whisked away to Miss Robichaux's Academy, a mysterious school in New Orleans dedicated to safeguarding the last few descendants who share the unique bloodline. Fiona Goode returns to town, harbouring a secret agenda and reigniting old rivalries.

1834 - During her house party in New Orleans, Delphine La Laurie introduces her three daughters to potential suitors. Her youngest daughter, Pauline makes everyone uncomfortable when she speaks suggestively of her 'talents'. After the party, Delphine performs her nightly ritual of brushing blood on her face to tighten the skin when her husband, Louie informs her that Pauline was caught with a slave. Delphine sends the slave to be tortured in the attic and has a hollowed out bull's head put over his own. She gushes about her love for Greek mythology and with her favourite being the minotaur, she's delighted to have one of her own.

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Present - Zoe Benson's boyfriend dies while they're having sex after bleeding heavily and convulsing. The doctors blame it on a strange aneurysm but Zoe's mother reveals that it was Zoe's powers. She then tells her that her mother's side of the family are descendants of Salem witches. With Zoe being the latest person to show signs of magical powers, her mother informs Zoe that she will need to go to a special boarding school in New Orleans. Moments later, red-headed Myrtle Snow arrives with her albino manservants to take a scared Zoe away.After arriving at Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, Zoe is welcomed by three hooded and masked figures who scare her. They turn out to be three students of the academy. Zoe recognises one to be Madison Montgomery, a famous movie star. The other two introduce themselves as Queenie and Nan. Cordelia Foxx, the headmistress, explains the history of the building and how the name is actually a cover up for a safe haven for witches. Cordelia also explains that the Supreme is a witch who can embody most or all powers. There's only one in every generation. She explains that their survival is important as the witch population is dwindling as well as the dangers of being caught. Misty Day is shown to be a witch with the power of resurgence but was burned at the stake by her village people after bringing a dead bird to life. Cordelia never found her in time.

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Fiona Goode visits the research facility of her late husband in Los Angeles for an experimental serum to make her young again. Despite her demands, Dr David Zhong refuses to give in to her for the next two years as the serum is not ready. Five days later, he visits Fiona's apartment and she insults him when the drugs seem to have no effect. He resigns and insults her. Fiona telekinetically throws him across the room before kissing him to drain his life force. She appears to look younger but very quickly looks the same.

During dinner served by butler, Spalding, the girls discuss their powers. Madison recalls the time where she killed her director by telekinetically unscrewing light equipment and dropped it on his head. Queenie and Madison fight. Queenie reveals her Voodoo Doll powers by stabbing her hand with a fork but sending the wound to Madison. She threatens to slit Madison's throat before Nan calms her down. Madison declares Zoe as her new best friend and that they'll be going to a frat party later.Meanwhile in the greenhouse, Cordelia is brewing plants when her mother, Fiona surprises her. Cordelia is cold towards Fiona, the current Supreme due to her abandonment of both her daughter and the coven. Fiona says she's disappointed by Cordelia's lack of ambition as she could have had anything she wanted as the Supreme's daughter. Fiona also tells her that she plans to stay at the coven to help teach the girls as she believes Cordelia isn't doing a good enough job.

College student and fraternity member, Kyle Spencer arrives on a bus with his frat brothers at the party. Madison arrives and catches the attention of various party-goers, including Kyle's friend Archie. She's pulled away and leaves Zoe behind. Kyle and Zoe meet and are immediately infatuated with each other. Zoe however tells him that she can't be with him. Meanwhile, Madison is tricked by Archie to use a spiked matchstick for her cigarette, causing her to become high and disorientated. He drags her into a room with the other frat brothers and there, they gang-rape her. Kyle catches them when he tries to find Madison with Zoe. The boys run onto the bus and leave Madison on the bed. Kyle attempts to make them stay but is knocked unconscious. Zoe finds Madison and attempts to run after the bus but fails to catch up. Madison follows her and coldly uses her powers to flip the moving bus and crush it.

The next day, the news reports show that only two of the frat brothers survived the bus crash but their identities aren't revealed. Zoe is hopeful that Kyle is one of the survivors and is upset at Madison's lack of remorse for her actions. Fiona meets the four girls at breakfast and tells Madison off; not for killing people but for not doing it clean enough to not raise suspicion. They walk around New Orleans before Nan begins hearing voices. They take a detour and end up taking a tour of the La Laurie House. They learn from the tour guide that Marie Laveau, a black voodoo witch, tricked Delphine La Laurie to drink a vial of supposed love potion designed to combat her husband's infidelity. Instead it led to La Laurie's death. Nan says that she can sense Delphine's body under the paving stones.

Zoe slips away from the group to visit the hospital. She discovers that the two survivors are an unnamed frat brother and Archie, the one who initiated Madison's gang rape. Zoe realises there are enough threats to witches in the world but she has the power to be more of a threat to them. She mounts the comatose frat boy and kills him.

After settling her belongings at the academy, Fiona uses her powers to hypnotise two men to dig up the stone patio by the La Laurie House. They pull out a heavily chained box, containing the gagged, bound and still alive Delphine La Laurie.

Tropes present in the episode:

  • Asshole Victim: To be fair, Madison was being a bitch to Archie, who drugs her and leads his frat brothers in raping Madison.
  • Death by Sex: Zoe's boyfriend.
    • Also Archie.
  • Rape as Drama: Madison is drugged and raped by Archie and his fraternity brothers.

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