‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 8 Recap: “The Secret Taking”


A lot of emo this week, as it happens. The episode opens with Queenie striding through a slum built underneath one of those enormous highway interchanges. She attracts the attention of an elderly mugger who she ends up killing. For some unexplained reason Zoe and Madison-Emma have come along on this little excursion. They want to convince Queenie they’re on her side and she should come back to the coven. But Queenie’s not having it; she’s here to collect a dark heart for Marie Leveau, and it turns out the mugger also moonlights in the raping of schoolgirls. Holding the giant heart, she tells Zoe and Madison-Emma she’s sticking to her side. “War is coming,” she says, “and you’re gonna lose.”

Warning: there’s a ton of depressed monologuing from Jessica Lange in this episode. Perhaps a little too much, though you can tell she’s having fun being so languidly, luxuriously depressed. The monologues start in bed with the Axeman, and it’s all a little too Sartre-like to fit with the show. It’s mostly gobbledygook leading up to Jessica Lange donning a turban and channeling Gloria Swanson. You know, the usual Ryan Murphy stuff.

Meanwhile back at Miss Robichaux’s, Cordelia’s ready for action. She is upset that they’ve lost Queenie, but is now focussed on killing Fiona, but the doorbell interrupts the plan. Misty comes running in because she needs help. A mottled, recovered Myrtle saw an assassin outside the swamp shack. The cicadas stopped singing in preparation. And the man came in with some kind of gigantic automatic weapon. Misty hid in the swamp all night with Myrtle. Cordelia puts Misty under the protection of the coven even before she discovers that the beloved Myrtle has come back, if she’s back with a slightly crinkly skin texture. And Myrtle declares that Misty is the next Supreme.

The Zoe-Madison-Emma-Kyle thing is still ongoing. But the girls have to leave Kyle alone upstairs while Cordelia organizes a ritual. They all get in red-cloaked getups to begin a Fiona-killing ritual called a “taking”. Cordelia intones that it has only been used three times before. Once with the Supreme in Salem, who took her own life to let a new Supreme lead the witches away from certain persecution. Madison pints out that Jessica Lange will never kill herself. “Not without a push,” says Cordelia.

Fiona, meanwhile, looking rough, is puking in the bathroom. She emerges finds a red-clad Madison in her bedroom. Madison starts talking about how much she’ll love occupying the bedroom while (what else?) “Season of the Witch” plays in the background. Madison puts a handful of pills into Jessica Lange’s hands and encourages her to take them, “to stop our suffering,, and stop yours.” Jessica Lange just gets out a suitcase, but before she can pack anything Myrtle shows up. Jessica Lange says she’s finally found someone who loves her, but Myrtle begs to differ, telling Jessica Lange that the Axeman will never stay once she’s deep in chemo. Eventually she wears Jessica Lange down and Jessica Lange gets all made up to die and swallows the pills.

Spalding intervenes. He tells Jessica Lange that Madison was brought back by a swamp witch. Then he gives Jessica Lange a lot of ipecac.

Nan, during this long performance, decides to run out to see her Adonis down the street. She finds he needs saving. Patti LuPone has, you see, made a sudden reappearance to give Adonis a thoroughly random enema, wanting to make him clean inside and out after his experiences at Miss Robichaux’s. Tis show continues to let a thousand mommy issues bloom, as it were. But when Nan and Adonis try to run away Patti LuPone plants herself in their path and forbids him to go. “I am your mother and I can unmake you,” she tells him. Except then someone shoots her. Well, glad Patti LuPone took the time to drop by, I guess? The sniper shoots Adonis too.

At last we return to Queenie and Delphine. Delphine is being starved in a cage. She feels very betrayed by how Queenie turned her over, and Queenie’s clearly feeling a little guilt herself because she’s brought food for Delphine. Marie Leveau dismisses Queenie, and she and Delphine trade fabulous barbs until Marie gets bored and cuts Delphine’s hand off. later she’ll cut off her head too and send it back to Jessica Lange, which is confusing because why get Queenie to bring her there in the first place, this whole storyline is a mess.

Fiona goes downstairs, where the women are waiting for the Supreme to be called. “I hear it starts as a tingle in the cooch,” says Myrtle, and I wonder if Frances Conroy really enjoyed saying that. Fiona says no, it’s more like a headache. She seems angry but before the end of the episode she’ll be congratulating Cordelia on the grit it took to make an attempt on Jessica Lange’s life.

Misty’s already run off to Nan’s rescue, and Fiona follows her to Patti LuPone’s house. Fiona commands Misty to resurrect Patti LuPone, but when she does something knocks Misty right out. She’d better not be dead. And Cordelia has a vision of the assassin firing his bullet. “He was after us,” she says.

And just because we needed a moment of romanticism, Kyle regains the power of speech and tells Zoe he loves her. Madison-Emma frickin’ HATES that. Hopefully she’ll die for good again soon, because if Misty’s gone before her there are a million people in America who are really, really angry right now.