‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Recap, Episode 5: “Burn, Witch, Burn!”

Back in the 19th century, Madame LaLaurie is trying to hook her daughter Borquita with a young man of good fortune.  She takes the man into a back room at her house where he puts his hand in a bowl full of “peeled grapes,” which are actually slave eyeballs, and then another of intestines. This is a mighty odd mating ritual. Lalaurie is just torturing her daughters, actually, scaring the young men away. So the daughters devised a plot against their mother. But before they can execute it she brings them to her chamber of horrors, having overheard their plan. She tells them she plans to torture them for a year.

myrtle snowSo it’s no wonder that their zombie selves, all the way up in the present, kind of hate their mother’s guts. Zoe takes charge while everyone else flails about, and in the case of the young Adonis-next-door, runs straight after the zombies like he’s not aware he’s in a horror tv show or something. Ugh, so like a young dude, and then nan has to run out and save him. Of course Zoe helps too, by way of a chainsaw, because the object of this show is to pack as many horror tropes as possible into every single episode. In the end, though, she really ends the zombie siege by somehow blocking Angela Bassett’s spell. “I don’t know what that was,” says Angela Bassett, “but they have real power in that witch house now.” Guess we know who’s the next Supreme.

The Borquita zombie breaks into the house and tries to kill her mother, but does not succeed. (Not too clear on how Kathy Bates survives the strangulation, but maybe it’s that eternal life stuff.) She attacks Queenie and Spalding too, but it’s Delphine who manages, in the end, to kill her daughter with a poker through the heart. Is that the agreed upon way of killing zombies these days? I want to write it down so that when the apocalypse strikes, I’m ready.

Cordelia and Fiona meanwhile, head to the hospital. The burns are from sulfuric acid, and they’ve blinded Cordelia entirely. A bereft Fiona begins to wander the halls in a daze, dreaming that it’s her fault her daughter is blinded. She also takes the opportunity to steal a few more drugs, and has a few hallucinations for good measure. Hospitals are good for this, because they’re creepy. She finds a young mother in a room and revives the stillborn baby in the corner, though this seems to have been largely the product of a dream. When Josh Hamilton shows up, apparently on furlough from his Craigslist killing duties, Fiona insults him by saying he’s hardly a step up from “the men who stand outside Home Depot.” Burn, lady, and a little below the belt. Left alone with Cordelia, he tells her he loves her, but she seems to have some kind of witch allergic reaction to him.

When Fiona returns to the house, the Council’s come to impeach her. Myrtle is only momentarily triumphant, however. Fiona accuses her of having tossed the acid in Cordelia’s face, and even of having somehow possibly maybe been involved in Madison’s disappearance.There’s a whole part about Myrtle living in a terrible motel a Veronica Lake role as an alias that is surely lifted from Ryan Murphy’s own scrapbook of fantasy old Hollywood references. But the coup de grace comes when Fiona points out burns on Myrtle’s hand that closely resemble those on Cordelia’s face. Fiona gets the other two Council members, whatever their names are, convinced that Myrtle’s the real enemy, and she’s sentenced to burn.

“No need to frighten me,” says Myrtle in a kind of weird English accent, “I’ve been swimming against the current my whole life. “I go proudly to the flame.” And indeed she does, in a white robe right out of every goth dream you’ve ever had. There is protracted pouring of gasoline, and then Fiona flicks the fatal cigarette.

And up in Spalding’s attic, Madison rots and rots and rots, so much so that when he pulls her out to do the creepy dance, her arm comes right off.

But! There is an epilogue of sorts this week. First, it turns out the burns on Myrtle’s hands came from Queenie, who did her human-voodoo-doll thing with a glass of acid at Fiona’s bidding; Fiona’s got Queenie sold on the idea she’ll be the next Supreme if she just is obedient enough. Poor Queenie.

And a post-post-postscript, too: guess who, with her power of resurgence, comes strolling along and caresses Myrtle’s corpse. I hope this means we get more Misty this week, ’cause the last two eps really dragged without her.