American Horror Story: Coven Season 3 Review “The Sacred Taking”

American Horror Story Season Episode 8 The Sacred Taking (2)

On the latest episode of “American Horror Story: Coven,” which was transitional by necessity, the ladies of the Academy banded together in order to properly defeat the nefarious Fiona, thus kicking into motion the new Supreme in the process, whose identity remains a mystery, though most everyone thinks they know who it is. To do so, they perform the titular ritual known as “The Sacred Taking,” which has only been done three times in witch history, notably during the Salem Witch Trials, when then-Supreme Prudence Mather, weakened to the point of death by consumption, sacrificed herself to complete the process of setting into motion the new Supreme.

So, Delia comes up with a plan to trick Fiona into taking her own life, by way of showing her that her efforts to destroy her perceived enemies have failed miserably. Enter a taunting Madison and Myrtle, both alive and well, albeit only by the grace of likely Supreme front-runner Misty Day. Of course, Fiona doesn’t know that, and between that and her cancer taking hold and not wanting to wither away in front of her beloved Axeman, she falls for the ruse and takes a handful of pills to go out in the way of the other MM, Marilyn Monroe.

Unfortunately- or fortunately, as the case may prove to be- the triple M duo aren’t the only ones making with the resurrection, as Spalding is able to communicate to Fiona that she’s being duped and spur her into throwing up said pills, thus saving her life. Fiona being Fiona, she’s more impressed than pissed off, and opts to band together with the coven to fight off Laveau, as well as the witch hunter on the prowl, who is Hank, still unbeknownst to Delia. From the look of next week’s preview, that will change soon enough, although it looked more like Laveau was terrorizing Hank than Hank terrorizing the girls.

That was really about it, save the fact that Queenie doubled-down on her loyalty to Laveau, letting the girls know in no uncertain terms that war between the two factions is on its way and it ain’t gonna be pretty. Also not pretty: Queenie ripping out the heart of her would-be rapist under the bridge in the opening scene. Not sure what the “dark” heart was for yet, but it can’t be good. That said, Queenie isn’t quite fully lost, as she did do LL the courtesy of a burger, right before Laveau stepped in and lopped off her hand, and then later on, apparently, LL’s entire head, which she sent in a box to the Academy at the end of the show! “Se7en,” consider yourself one-upped.

Transitional or not, this episode zipped by like nobody’s business, thanks to a taut script by co-creator Ryan Murphy, and the typically stylish direction from series regular Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. I just love the way he uses wacky fishbowl-style angles and oddball filming techniques to disorient the viewer. The flashback/present day montage of the Sacred Taking was particularly inspired, looking like a combination of old newsreels and one of those old-school Hollywood synchronized swimming routines or a psychedelic kaleidoscope of bodies in various clever formations.

Regardless of what you make of the content, this is undeniably one of the best-directed shows on television. That said, you’ve got to love it that a good half of the characters on the show are dead and still around- more now, actually, with Spalding back and Joan about to rejoin the fun, as per next week’s preview. Speaking of which, what the what was that with the…um, satanic enema cleanse, I guess? Ick. (Sounds like the worst spa weekend activity ever.) Much less his being hogtied and gagged in the closet? Kind of getting a Carrie White’s mother vibe off of Joan.

And who knows who the hooded guy (or girl, as the case may be) was, and if they are alive or undead? I suppose it could be Hank, but I’m guessing it was another witch hunter. Who says there can only be one, after all? But there has to be a reason their face was covered up, I think. Regardless, nice to see Misty onboard with the Academy now. Myrtle, too. Did you notice that she was surprised about Delia’s eyes? That means, as I predicted, she wasn’t the culprit, which moves the hooded stranger up high on the list of possibilities. Though why blind her, not kill her? That remains to be answered, though, from the looks of it, Delia will have her sight back soon enough.

Some fun Murphy touches here and there throughout the episode, like the quirky quips:
Fiona: “I’m starting to look less like Samantha and more like Endora every day.”
MM, on Nan’s unlikely Supreme status: “Because you have no style and your pits smell like fish sticks.”
All that plus Fiona’s rambling musings about her wild hook-up with Levon Helm of the Band, circa Woodstock and LL’s talking head at the end. Fun stuff! Well played, Mr. Murphy.

So, what did you think of “American Horror Story: Coven” this week? Did you enjoy the hallucinatory storytelling style? How about the “Glee”-style quips from Mr. Murphy? What did you make of the Sacred Taking ritual? Glad Misty reconsidered staying at the Academy? What will happen to Hank next week, and how will Delia get her sight back? Who’s the masked man (or woman)? Will Queenie ever come back to the coven? Let me know what you think in the comments section, and see you next week!