Thirteen weeks in and the final episode of the third season of American Horror Story opened with a music video. Stevie Nicks walked us through Miss Robichaux’s academy whilst the girls prepare for the test of the Seven Wonders. It’s all been leading to this and tonight we will discover who gets to be the new Supreme.
The Seven Wonders
Myrtle creates a ‘last supper’ of caviar, blinis and champagne, reminding the girls that for one of them this marks the end of their anonymity and for the others it could quite literally be their last meal. Cordelia tells the girls to put aside childish things as they prepare to ‘kick ass’ in the trials they are about to undertake.
The test begins with telekineses and the witches make it look easy by moving candles across a table. Misty seems to struggle at first but, like all the others, she passes the test.
In a test of concilium (mind control), Misty makes Queenie slap herself so Queenie returns the favour by making Misty pull at her own hair. Revisiting her continued objectification of Kyle, Madison makes Kyle kiss her and then lick her shoe whilst Zoe is forced to slap herself.
Kyle is treated like a puppet ye again as Zoe wrenches Kyle him away from Madison. The young lovers kiss until Madison controls him again making him throttle Zoe. Cordelia has to intervene to stop the girls’ tug-of-war over Kyle.
Next is descensum, travelling to hell and back. Queenie is first to return after finding herself back in the chicken shop.
As they return we learn that Madison’s hell was being in a network musical (but not in the lead role) whereas Zoe’s was the repeated break up of her relationship with Kyle. Misty however, seems stuck in a loop back in school where she is bringing a dissection frog back to life in a biology class. Her hell is to be forced to kill the frog and then bring it back to life over and over again. She cannot escape her hell and, although Cordelia wants to help her, Myrtle says Misty must make her own way back. At dawn she is still trapped and so Misty is the first casualty of the test. Her body disintegrates into dust in Cordelia’s arms.
The girls let off some steam in a game of transmutation ‘tag’. Despite Cordelia’s warnings, they get carried away and Zoe transmutes, impaling herself on a cast iron gate. Moving quickly into vitalum vitalis (the ability to give and take life force), Queenie tries to bring Zoe back to life but fails and is immediately out of the running.
Madison could save Zoe but she chooses to end the tests and show she has the right to be called the Supreme by killing a fly and bringing it back to life. The coven, it seems, has a new Supreme. Madison thinks Fiona had the right idea in leaving the coven behind and demands that the witches ‘either crown me or kiss my arse’.
Myrtle and Cordelia see Madison’s ascension as the end of the coven and Myrtle clearly thought that either Misty or Zoe would be the next Supreme. She now believes they have overlooked the fact that Cordelia could be the Supreme – Cordelia, she says, has royal blood. Myrtle encourages her to try to complete the test much to Madison’s annoyance. Cordelia undertakes all the tests (including pyrokinesis) without any hesitation – even having a bit of fun with the mind control section of the test by making Queenie dance!
She returns from hell just in time having found out her hell is to be refused the approval she seeks from Fiona and getting ‘bitch slapped for it’ for eternity. Something that Cordelia notes is ‘not exactly new’.
Madison has not completed the divination task but as Cordelia is successful she has to try and this is where she fails. She has to accept she is not the next Supreme. Livid at having the power she wanted denied, she says she intends to go to Hollywood and threatens the coven with exposure saying she intends to expose them on TMZ. Kyle holds her responsible for Zoe’s death (or at least not bringing her back when she could). Filled with rage and grief, he chokes her as Cordelia breaths life back into Zoe in the greenhouse. Madison is now dead and the spirit of Spalding turns up in time to dispose of Madison’s body – or so he says. He had taken Madison’s body before to be part of his doll’s tea party. The implication could be that this (along with playing Lisle in The Sound of Music) is Madison’s somewhat disturbing fate.
In the completion of the final task, Cordelia becomes the Supreme and her eyes are immediately restored.
A New Beginning
In a quick leap forward we find Cordelia being interviewed on TV about her announcement ‘a month ago’ about the existence of the coven. She offers a safe haven for all potential witches and urges them to contact her. Myrtle insists that Cordelia has to shoulder her responsibilities and she, (Myrtle) should be burnt at the stake as a punishment for the killing of council members Pembleton and Quentin (episode 9).
This, she says, is needed to allow Cordelia to be able to start a new era for the coven; free of the stain of the crimes of the older generation. In a visual return to episode 5’s first execution of Myrtle Snow, the coven returns to the desert and Cordelia sets Myrtle on fire. Myrtle goes out with one final fashion-based declaration of ‘Balenciaga’.
Back at the school, Cordelia senses a presence and she finds her mother is back and is not dead after all. Fiona tricked the coven into revealing the identity of the next Supreme. She persuaded the Axeman to accept a false memory of killing Fiona – which of course drove him to the coven where the witches killed him (episode 12) and believed she had been fed to the alligators. Fiona has been in Paris and her original intention was to return to kill the new Supreme once she was identified. All Fiona wanted was to regain her power and life-force. She tells Cordelia how motherhood forced her to live with her own mortality but that she had always loved her daughter – just not necessarily in the way Cordelia wanted her to. Fiona’s cancer has advanced and she is close to death and in her final moments she and Cordelia hug and go some way to reconcile their problematic relationship. Cordelia refuses to end Fiona’s suffering and encourages her to accept her fate rather than continue to fight against it. Fiona dies in her daughter’s arms…
… only to ‘awaken’ in a rural hell. Cocks crow and dogs bark outside and the urban and urbane ex-Supreme realises she is doomed to exist in a ‘knotty pine’ shack with the Axeman for all eternity. To add to her hell she wakes up every morning shocked to find out where she is and to discover she is powerless and is unable to escape. She sees Papa Legba observing this hell of her own making and laughing at her distress.
… and finally
Cordelia asks Zoe and Queenie to be her advisors and together they welcome the many girls that have responded to Cordelia’s offer of a home as lines of black clad girls have come to see if they can be part of the coven. Cordelia welcomes them with a speech that speaks of a recognition of the past and hope for the future. A new Supreme is in charge and a new era begins.
- The gathering of the goth/pilgrim girls at the school and Cordelia’s last speech was reminiscent of the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where ‘potentials’ gathered to learn the craft of slaying. Buffy’s finale shared magical power between them all rather than maintaining a ‘chosen one’. American Horror Story: Coven reinforces the notion that inherited power is absolute. A sign of the times perhaps??
- Kyle has replaced Spalding as ‘the help’ – what Spalding is doing with Madison’s body and Marie’s stolen baby is not revealed. That’s probably for the best.
- What happened to Bastien – having his head cut off should not have been the end given he was immortal… and what was the significance of his and Queenie’s encounter in the greenhouse?
Quote of the Week
Madison (after failing the test of the Seven Wonders): ‘I’m going back to Hollywood where people are normal.’