Not even a human sacrifice to the voodoo devil Papa Legba could have saved the latest season in the “American Horror Story” franchise.
This season started out intriguing with all the witchcraft, voodoo, immortality and a dash of serial killer, but in the end all the ingredients left fans with a bland concoction. Perhaps a little more eye of newt could have spiced things up?
Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans seemed like the perfect setting to introduce the young witches to an almost anti-Hogwarts type of school. The girls had to deal with threats of witch hunters and undead voodoo armies from day one, while simultaneously trying to develop their powers and learn about their coven’s rich history.
The main hook for this season was finding the next Supreme, a powerful witch who is able to flawlessly perform the Seven Wonders.
The current Supreme, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), was slowly losing her powers as the new, unknown Supreme started growing into theirs. Not wanting to lose her powers and position as leader of the coven, Fiona spent all season tracking down and killing potential new Supremes.
While Fiona’s daughter Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) was the headmistress of the academy, she was nowhere near as powerful as her mother. Cordelia had been verbally abused by her mother since childhood and both despised and feared her greatly because of it. She is meek as she is weak, yet suspects Fiona of being behind the deaths of several of the students.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, voodoo priestess Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) has been at war with the witches for several centuries and makes it her goal throughout the season to wipe out their kind completely under Fiona’s reign by any means necessary.
Human voodoo dolls, minotaurs and a notorious serial killer from the 1920s known as the Axeman of New Orleans kept things interesting, but “Coven” didn’t have the same pizzazz like the second season of “American Horror Story: Asylum” did last year.
One of the great things about “Asylum” was the combination of an insane asylum, demonic possession, a serial killer that was present in two different decades and aliens. Showrunner Ryan Murphy was able to weave all categories together seamlessly, leaving fans speechless and craving more.
Then we had “Coven,” which seemed like the perfect set up for witchcraft and voodoo in New Orleans, but the main reason the season fell flat is because none of the characters had anything to lose.
One of the new witches, Misty Day (Lily Rabe), was a necromancer and able to bring anything dead back to life. Seeing how several witches die in numerous grizzly ways throughout the season, Misty brings a majority of them back into the land of the living with no repercussions.
Viewers would casually roll their eyes whenever a main character got killed off, because chances were they would return in one piece by the next episode. Without the suspense, there was no reason to perch on the edge of one’s seat like with seasons one and two.
One thing “Coven” did get right was the casting. A majority of fan-favorites returned from previous seasons (Rabe, Paulson, Lange), but it was the addition of Bassett, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Gabourey Sidibe and Danny Huston that really made the show feel somewhat more prestigious this time around.
Apparently the newcomers had such an enjoyable time participating in “Coven” that quite a few of them will be returning in the next season (Bassett, Bates), revealed to be set in the 1950s.
While Lange will be returning for season four, she has stated that it will be her last. After “Coven” went out with a sizzle, season four needs to make sure that Lange and all her brilliance goes out with a bang.
Although “Coven” wasn’t the strongest season, it did have its moments. The catty dialogue and gruesome torture scenes were well done, but the smaller subplots jumped around too much and never settled or expanded on the ideas that could have been much more interesting.
While “Coven” was a miss, here’s hoping for season four to make up for it. If Murphy is able to get Dylan McDermott, Kate Mara and/or Zachary Quinto to return, it could make for some serious potential.