Episode three of “American Horror Story: Coven” kept us on the edge of our seats with multiple storylines and shocking twists. “The Replacements” focused on the backstory of Fiona (Jessica Lange); more specifically, how she came to be the coven’s Supreme (hint: it wasn’t by handing out baked goods and taping up campaign posters), her fear of growing older and giving up her title, and her continued quest to gain immortality.
Fiona learns that she has cancer and only months left to live right around the same time she begins to suspect that Madison (Emma Roberts) might be the new Supreme, or the most powerful witch in the coven. Fiona refuses to face the reality of her disease and mortality, believing that her weakening is a direct result of Madison’s growing strength and inevitable rise to Supreme. She begins to spend more time with Madison under the auspices of mentoring her and cultivating her talents. At the end of “The Replacements”, Fiona slits Madison’s throat to protect her own power, just as she did with her mentor and the Supreme before her, proving that those with the most also have the most to lose.
“The Replacements” had a number of other intense and unsettling subplots. It tackled racism, with former slave torturer Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) being forced to be a slave to Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), who is African American. It also addressed infertility, with Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) turning to her mother Fiona’s sworn enemy, Marie (Angela Bassett), for a voodoo spell to impregnate her. Cordelia’s struggles with infertility in “Coven” are somewhat of a foil to the struggles of Sarah Paulson’s character in the last season of “American Horror Story”, who unwillingly became pregnant as the result of rape and wanted to abort the baby.
The most interesting and raw subplot in “The Replacements” was that of Kyle (Evan Peters) and Zoe (Taissa Farmiga). After bringing Kyle back to life, Zoe returns him to his mother in an act of kindness. Unbeknownst to Zoe, Kyle had been a victim of rape at the hands of his mother, who raped him upon his return. Kyle finally was able to protect himself (no doubt as a result of his altered state) by killing his mother.
Zoe and Kyle are a perfect albeit troubled pair given their past sexual experiences. What makes them unique is that they have flipped gender stereotypes on their head: Kyle is the victim of sexual abuse, and Zoe’s special “skill” necessarily makes her an aggressor. As “American Horror Story: Coven” progresses, it will be interesting to see the development in their relationship; specifically, whether they can help each other, and whether Kyle will be immune to Zoe’s skill and thus a potential sexual partner for Zoe.
Does “The Replacements” sound spellbinding? Stay tuned for more “American Horror Story: Coven” every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m.