‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 9 Recap: “Head”


This week, we get a nice little break from all of that pesky estrogen that’s been driving the denizens of New Orleans so crazy and get some father-and-son bonding on what is a rite of passage among most Southern young men: the first hunting trip. Of course, the young man in question is Hank Foxx, the husband to Cordelia and not-so-secret witch hunter. You see, being a witch hunter is as much of a legacy as it is to be a witch, and young Hank’s creepy father is bringing him along to kill his first witch — who appears to be the character from Into the Woods before she went ugly and started rapping about field greens. In a very Disney animated classic moment, Hank cannot shoot the woman, who then sets his father on fire. Isn’t that always the way? Hank learns a valuable lesson: never show a witch mercy, even if that witch is the woman to whom you are married and had crazy-ass dark magick sex with once so that you could get her pregnant.

Back in present-day New Orleans, Fiona Goode tramps right back into Marie Laveau’s beautyshop to deliver back the head of Delphine LaLaurie. Because creatures like undead, prejudiced white women and minotaurs remain animated despite decapitation, Delphine is still pretty chatty, and the lady is pissed. Of course, Fiona just wants to form an alliance with Marie to combat the witch hunter that attacked the home next door, not knowing that the hunter in question is her son-in-law, or that Marie hired him to kill the white witches. “You’re insane!” Delphine suggests. “What the head said,” Marie chimes in before doing her best Clay Davis impression (“Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiitttttt”).

Hank, back in modern-day times, goes to visit his father at his very fancy corporation. Apparently witch-hunting is very big business! Such good business, in fact, that Hank’s dad is super disappointed in him for not having killed all of the witches in New Orleans yet. You see, like any major corporation, it’s under pressure from THE LIBERALS IN WASHINGTON. (I’m sure they are just as mad as everyone else about having to pay for their employees’ birth control now.) Anyway, Hank’s relationship with his father proves that Ryan Murphy doesn’t have just a thing about women: dads are pretty shitty, too. But Hank promises to kill all of the witches, including his wife, who he has grown to love, despite the fact that she’s back in the Real World: New Orleans house, fumbling around in the kitchen and breaking eggs while everyone watches.

Myrtle Snow, saddened over Cordelia’s blindness, invites the other members of the council over for snacks (melon balls are snacks for witches). They’re all, “Ha ha ha, you look great despite the fact we burned you at the stake, we’re cool, right?” Of course, Myrtle isn’t super pleased with them. She poisons them, scoops out their eyes (girl loves a melon baller!), and chops them up, giving their eyeballs to Cordelia and restoring her vision. Weirdly, Myrtle does nothing for Cordelia’s overbite, but I guess the eye thing was a really sweet gesture. Of course, Cordelia loses her ability to see all past transgressions committed by whomever she touches now. But hey, now she can make an omelet without knocking over the eggs in the kitchen!

Madison and Zoe head to the hospital, where Nan is moping outside of Luke’s room. Patti Lupone, who I will refer to as Patti Lupone rather than her character’s name because she’s fucking Patti Lupone, hovers over her comatose son like some maniacal, evangelical Mama Rose, and she’s not happy that the teen witches have come to visit despite the fact that a witch did bring her back to life. Nan starts to tell her Luke’s thoughts, and asks her to sing to him, which is quite a tender moment because Patti Lupone sings, as if this show wasn’t gay enough.

Even though she was instructed to burn Delphine’s head, Queenie takes it home with her because, I suppose, you can’t really pass up the opportunity to hang out with a chatty dismembered racist. But Queenie decides to torture her in a new way: by making her watch Roots. It’s an odd Clockwork Orange-type of anti-prejudice therapy, which only ends in the dismembered head of Kathy Bates singing “Dixie.” Who, exactly, is learning a lesson here? We are. (It is, “Ryan Murphy is insane.”)

While Marie Laveau is poking needles into a voodoo doll version of Hank in order to poke him in the direction of murdering her enemies, Cordelia and Misty Day are chilling in the botanical garden, listening to Bella Donna like a couple of chill white ladies. It makes me wonder: if Misty is the Stevie, is Cordelia the Christine? And what does that make Hank? John McVie? Lindsey Buckingham? If only he had the eyeballs to be Mick Fleetwood. (Call Myrtle!) Anyway, he drunkenly stumbles back to the house and Cordelia throws him out, but she doesn’t sing “Songbird” or “Oh Daddy,” which is a completely missed opportunity.

Back in the hospital, Patti Lupone expresses her comfort that Nan is around to read Luke’s thoughts to her, which totally backfires when Luke is like, “Mom, you’re THE WORST, I know you killed my father with bees!” (just go with it) and she kicks Nan out. How fickle we are! (She kills Luke later, but let’s just get it over with now, OK?)

When Madison and Zoe come back home, they find Fiona and their Teen Frankenstein boyfriend in the parlor, playing gin. Fiona discovered him in their room and decided he’d be perfect as a human guard dog, which really was just a quick decision on her part after he actually murdered the dog. I’m sure this will play a major role later in the series, but let’s just be happy that we didn’t have to watch him have sex with the dead girl and the girl with the murdering vagina in this episode.

Back in Queenie’s place, she’s not shocked that Roots didn’t have an effect on Delphine, so instead she puts on a supercut of images from the Civil Rights Movement set to a soulful hymn by an African American choir. Just before you can say, “Oh, it’s cute that Ryan Murphy thinks that media can influence the prejudices of terrible, sadistic racists, too bad The New Normal failed,” Hank strolls right into Marie Laveau’s beauty shop and starts shooting everyone, including Queenie. The dirge swells, and while the white man murders all of the black folk downstairs, the severed head of Kathy Bates starts to cry. This is very, very subtle, thoughtful, insightful, and not at all uncomfortable commentary about race. Right before he’s about to shoot Marie, Queenie grabs one of Hanks discarded guns and shoots herself in the head, killing Hank with her human voodoo doll powers.

Is this American Horror Story‘s Red Wedding? I guess, because between Queenie and the cute boy next door, there are a lot of dead people now, and I’m guessing that neither are important enough for Misty to bring back to life, which says a lot about how Ryan Murphy feels about black people and hunks compared to bitchy white women.