where the writers are
American Horror Story: Coven--Episode One
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Photo: Season One's main advertising poster, from the show's Wikipedia site.

 

How do you build upon an already-great show?   Though the first season was okay, the second season was far superior to the first.  What else can you say about a show that seamlessly compounded serial killers, aliens, a Nazi-like surgeon, deformed atrocities, exorcism, a (or the?) devil, lying and violent nuns, a shamed monsignor, and redemption and a sense of peace--all in the same season?

The first season lost its way and got boring half-way through.  The creators clearly got bored with their dysfunctional family and followed the ghosts instead.  The family members all died with a shrug of their shoulders, and...bleh!  ::yawn::

 

So what about this third season?  Already we've had slave torture (perhaps a little overdone, and I'm no prude).  A blood-smearing Countess Bathory-like 1800s Kathy Bates.  A (demented) Hogwarts school for witches.  A gang rape.  A teenage girl who inadvertently exploded her boyfriend's veins and arteries (a la The Fury) while they had sex--and then did it again, purposely, to a guy in a hospital bed.  (Which somehow nobody in the hospital notices, though they were behind a flimsy curtain.)  What else?  A pretty witch who can flip over buses from hundreds of feet away.  (Sort of like Carrie, there.)  A witch who can read minds--even one dozens of feet in the ground, beneath cement.  A voodoo doll witch.  And Jessica Lange--the dysfunctional and narcissistic mother of the mistress of the witch school--who sucked the life out of a shady scientist / businessman (that's Lifeforce, a bad 80s flick, ostensibly about beautiful alien vampires) who's making her a new drug to stay young, but then refusing her access to it. And--oh, yeah--there's a re-animator witch, too.

 

And all this after the show's co-creator said they were going to tone down the darkness and blood this season.  If this is toned down, what were they going to do to spike it up?

 

Was the episode good?  I thought so.  Nothing can ever live up to such huge hype, although this one almost did.  Episode 1 was obviously a set-up episode that introduced many of the plots and subplots that will occupy us this season.  There's the peer conflicts; the mother / daughter conflict; the conflict with yesterday's evil today.  There's the drug conflict to come.  Maybe revenge, too, from Bassett to Bates.  Or vice-versa.  There were so many things set up that it's tough to tell where it'll go first.

 

Where will it go from here?  Who knows.  Will it focus more on the girls, or the older ladies?  And where does Angela Bassett fit in?  And will Kathy Bates be more Countess Bathory than Annie Wilkes?  And how long will it take the re-animating witch to bring Emma Roberts' real-life boyfriend back to life?  I don't know, but I'm all for watching Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates to find out.

 

And it's fun getting all the genre homages, too.