American Horror Story: Coven Season 3 Review “Burn, Witch. Burn!”

In the second half of the Halloween-themed episode of “American Horror Story: Coven,” it was zombie time! Or should I say “Army of Darkness” time? Whatever the case, Zoe certainly got her Ash on in “Burn, Witch. Burn!” We’re talking full-on Chainsaw Sally time, which was a lot of fun, I must say. As much as I love me some “Walking Dead,” it would be fun to see a character on that show that went half as ballistic in such a short amount of time as Taissa Farmiga’s character did here in about five minutes screen time, if that. Crisis adverted, and then some!

Of course, the zombie dance party was all Marie Laveau’s doings, but she literally got a rude awakening when Zoe did her thing. Or should I say the whole “Be in your nature” thing, which I guess is like the zombie reversal spell, being as she’s used it on two people that were up and about that had no business doing so. Whatever the case, Laveau recognized a formidable opponent when she saw one- or sensed one, as it were- and backed off immediately.

My question is, was it really Myrtle that blinded poor Cordelia, or was it actually someone working for Laveau? I mean, it makes sense that Laveau would do it, but why would Myrtle, when it’s Fiona she hates? I guess Delia did poke holes in Myrtle’s accusations against Fiona in the last episode, but still, that seems harsh.

Whatever the case, we did discover late in the episode that it was Queenie that caused the burns on Myrtle’s hands, not the sulfuric acid that whoever did it used. I do believe that Myrtle was stalking Fiona and trying to build a case against her, though. The whole “I Married a Witch” name alias was a cute reference, and she definitely seemed determined to bring Fiona down. I just don’t think she’d strike out against Delia to do it, which means that it was likely Laveau’s peeps that did it.

Speaking of Delia, was it me, or was she the spitting image of the blind girl in “The Beyond” when she went all psychic-crazy? That can’t have been a coincidence. Indeed, a lot of this episode had an Italian horror movie vibe in general. Note the somewhat Mario Bava-inspired title (his was actually “Kill, Baby. Kill!” but involved witches nonetheless) and the intro, which was filmed in a similar way to the opening of Lucio Fulci’s aforementioned “The Beyond.”

The zombies had a more European flair as well, and I believe they did the whole sawing a body down-the-middle thing in “Cemetery Man,” if I’m not mistaken, in addition to Sam Raimi’s epic “Evil Dead” series, which they checked by name. There’s a movie called “Burn Witch Burn” as well, but it’s pretty staid stuff, as I recall it, so I’m guessing the Italian influence was the prominent one here, although the rock quarry witch burning reminded me of something out of a Jean Rollin film, down to the stark white and black outfits, though he tends to traffic more in vampires than witches. Still a European vibe, though, overall.

Other fun moments: the “Chamber of Horrors” bit at the beginning, which was clearly inspired by the famous parlor game, only with the twist of being real, which itself was in, I want to say, a Ray Bradbury story, maybe? Also, we got the answer to what would happen if Queenie did something seemingly fatal to herself- in this case, slit her own throat- which was, nothing fatal. I liked that dust came out of the zombie’s neck when she did that. That was a nice touch.

I guess Fiona has the power to raise the dead, too, if that bit with the baby was any indication. I love that she was so belligerent and verging on cruel about how she went about it. How very Fiona to do something nice, but be such a…um, witch about it. She wasn’t wrong to be on Hank’s case, though, as we already know he’s dirty…and it would seem so does Delia now. Can’t wait to see how she gets her revenge on him.

I presume that we’re meant to assume that Zoe’s the potential Supreme, given Laveau’s reaction to her. I liked that Fiona used that prospect to butter up Queenie when she started having second thoughts about framing Myrtle. She might want to rethink that if Myrtle finds out, given that Misty Day revived her at the end. My only question there was: how the hell did she know about that in the first place? Isn’t she living in the swamp somewhere? Still, small complaint as it sets up the inevitable showdown between Myrtle and Fiona, again. Only this time, I suspect Myrtle will come more prepared.

Finally, I loved that whole rock quarry scene in general, especially how it was shot. I loved that Fiona set off the burning with a casually tossed cigarette and that the whole thing was scored to, of all things, Dr. John’s spritely “Right Place, Wrong Time” (that’s putting it mildly!), and that final shot of a horrified Zoe watching Myrtle burn as the camera zoomed in to reveal it reflected in her eyes…just wow.

The only complaint I have is that the show missed an opportunity to have Madison join the risen dead and extract her revenge on Spalding for whatever icky things he is up to with her body that we didn’t see. Not that I wanted to, mind you. What we saw was bad enough, thank you very much. I guess if she does return now, she’ll be down an arm!

All in all, a pretty excellent episode, if a bit nutty. But hey, it wouldn’t be “American Horror Story” if it didn’t go off the rails every now and again. Great stuff. This may well end up being my favorite season yet.

Let me know what you think in the comments section, including how you think all of this will turn out in the end. I’ll see you next week!