16 Dec 2013

American Horror Story: Coven - Episode 3.09 "Head"

This Week on American Horror Story Coven, Fiona makes an attempt to save by joining forces with Leveau, LaLaurie suffers from serious headache as Queenie puts her through some actions which LaLaurie considers "torture", and Hank makes his move in taking down the witches. Cordelia's attacker is revealed. Fiona looks to form an alliance with Marie Laveau. Nan learns a disturbing truth about Luke's past.

'Head' is the last episode of the first act of the Season, now taking its mid-season finale, you know to stop spreading holiday fear instead of holiday cheer. This episode may not have been the strongest of a good bunch, but it was certainly a taut affair that pushed the boundaries and tied the narrative so far into one big glorious bow. As said before, expect plenty of spoilers here, and this episode more than any is one you do not want spoiled, so look away from here on in.

The episode starts with Fiona re-delivering the decapitated head of Delphine back to Marie, but instead of troubling her with severed head talk, Fiona suggests them forming an alliance for the foreboding horror that will soon come (it being Hank on the hunt for witches, which was established at the start in a very intelligent manner). Marie quickly shoots her down, rejecting her offer forcing her to leave, with Queenie dealing with Delphines yapping head. This scene for me went down an absolute treat, I love nothing more than seeing Fiona and Marie clash, and the vicious integrity between the pair keeps things sharp and in-tact. Delphine's chatting head adds a comic relief to the scene proving to be something quite unusual yet fun to watch, however, the whole nonsense with the "head" is that it feels woefully unnecessary, along with the whole Cordelia being blinded sub-plot which I will touch upon later. All the aspects covered in this scene all end with (in some cases) a satisfactory result; as for Delphine, well, as much as I love Bates in this role, her character has as much purpose as Kyle... 

Hank meets up with his father after he arrives in Atlanta Georgia in which talk quickly becomes about Hank's role as a witch hunter. It is at this point when it's revealed that Hank and his father were the father and (young) son shown at the start, taking down a witch. Discussion soon heats, resulting in Hanks being ordered to finish the job, after the reveal that it was Hank's father that was responsible for blinding Cordelia after chucking acid in her eyes. This reveal proved to be a shock, yet it was somehow disappointing  perhaps at the fact that we all had this idea that someone in the Coven or one of Marie's folk was responsible, maybe Queenie; but to find out that it was some brand new character that we have known for the guts of 5 minutes responsible was a bit of a let down. It was aspects like this (along with others) that failed 'Head', but that's not to say that there wasn't enough good bits to overpower that, because believe me, there was.

The episode takes a darker turn for the psychotic next, were we witness Myrtle literally gouge the council's eyeballs out with a mellow scoop, to then she dumps in among the melon balls... Yum. This of course all occurred after a few light-hearted jokes and hustling smiles. This scene was powerful, in a shocking and disgusting way; Myrtle was displayed to us in a different light than before, and now she is presented as a loyal and caring witch after the deed she done to help her dear loved-one Cordelia. This moment was fantastic, and despite the reason for her doings it proved quite strong for the episode, reminding you just how sick and twisted the woman inside the coven are. The eyes she pulls out she gives to Cordelia to gain back her eyesight, which works in Cordelia's benefit, gaining her back the gift of sight; why Myrtle couldn't have got a pair of matching eyeballs is beyond me, but Fiona already covers that subject with a classic bitchy line.

The sub-plot of Nan and her little fancy comes into play at this point. Nan, accompanied by Madison and Zoe visit Luke in the hospital, regardless of the negative permission from his bible-bashing mother. After a few past tales Luke tells Nan with his mind, his mother Joan believes that Nan was a gift from god. Of course, Joan loses the plot after the secret of her killing her husband (Luke's father) is revealed through Nan due to Luke's mind-work. She then quickly demands Nan to leave, and soon things take a turn for the worst, as by the end of the episode we see Luke open his eyes, which is soon dismissed when Joan forces a pillow over his face. Luke and co. was a sub-plot I had never really had a care for, but it's good to see some sort of relationship forming without killer vagina's involved, but then again, it was just a waiting game to see how long Luke and Joan would last. This murderous act was shocking and relentless, especially after it taking place after that hugely shocking scene that I will talk about in a moment. It's not something I seen coming, but it's not something I particularly cared about either, but that doesn't mean it wasn't shocking; believe me, it was.

Before I go on to talk about the final act which was an amazingly shocking one, the issue with the talking head and Cordelia's vision just seems hugely unwanted, I mean it was obvious the writers felt lost with Cordelia's sub-plot, hence the reason why they just gave her back her vision with a pretty lame explanation  Oh well, it's another subject matter done and dusted and another thing to stop the show from getting tangled in its own self-indulgence. As for Delphine being a talking severed head, well, that was just stupid. Fair enough, it was fresh to see Queenie try and teach her about the African-American heritage, but what was the point seriously? To show that Delphine actually is effected by this judging by her tears at the end? Pfft, I don't know, but I was just waiting for someone to come up and blow that head to smithereens.

So the final scene saw Hank prepping his weapon stash, ready for an invasion, only instead of it being the coven he hunts, it turns out being Marie and the rest of her salon crew. Now, this made sense after judging by her voodoo gimmick towards him, but when this first happened it blew my mind with shock. It was what happened after the attack that caused such a shockwave with audiences. Hank picks his way through the crew who attempt to take him down wielding some weapons. He finishes them, including a blast to the stomach for Queenie. Once he reaches Marie, he becomes seconds away from ending her life, however, Queenie crawls towards the nearest gun in agony, slides it in her mouth and pulls the trigger, blowing a whole in the back of both her and Hanks skull, killing herself to save Marie. Was this one of the most shocking moments of AHS? Absolutely. Queenie's death was a shock to all, but her way of doing so caused an epic yet satisfactory moment that completely turned the episode within minutes. I loved Queenie, so to see her gone is sadly shocking, but with the end result being that Marie ends up going to the coven was one tasty moment that has still left an aftertaste of pure adrenaline and excitement. All I can say is you all better be ready, as this second half of Coven looks to be something extremely special.

VERDICT: Was this a good way to end the Mid-Season? Well, judging by the final 5 minutes, I would say Absolutely. Episode 9 'Head' had a few pointless aspects here and there, but overall, it proved to be a hugely surprising and taut episode that only makes you screech with glee for the return of it in January. Anyone else excited? I know I am.

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