Television: AHS: Coven, "The Replacements"

It's the night for people setting fire to things with their minds (see Revolution).

But let's see if I can encapsulate the various story lines. For one thing, we see how Fiona became the "Supreme" (are they Taco Bell items?) by murdering the one who came before. The common witch lore is that, as a new Supreme grows in power, the reigning one begins to fade.

Zoe has the really awful idea of taking Kyle away from Misty and sending him back to his mother. I know she means well, but she must be the biggest idiot ever. (Oh, and his mom sexually molests him? So, you know, when he bashes her head in with a trophy it kind of makes sense.)

Zoe and Nan decide to pay a visit to the hot guy moving in next door. Turns out his mom is a Bible thumper, though. You'd think they'd have done a little more research before buying that house, right? I mean, not like they knew there were witches next door, but even an all-girls school might have been a reason to pick somewhere else (if you didn't want your son tempted)?

Fiona wants a facelift, but her blood work disallows it.

Cordelia wants a baby, but her blood work disallows it. So she goes to see Madame Laveau. Who refuses her because she's already had one row with Cordelia's mom.

And Fiona sets Madame LaLaurie up as a maid, and when LaLaurie refuses to serve Queenie, Fiona makes LaLaurie Queenie's personal slave. (Best moment was LaLaurie's "That magic box lies," her response to learning there is a black president. Kathy Bates is the best part of the show.) LaLaurie's houseboy returns, complete with "minotaur" head, and Queenie takes a dishtowel with some of LaLaurie's blood on it and leads him away from the house, tries to Dr. Phil him with some talk about the need for love, and to entice him . . . Only to have him attack her.

Fiona acknowledges Madison as the new, up-and-coming Supreme. But she can't step aside gracefully of course. She tries to get Madison to cut her throat but oops! Madison is the one whose throat ends up slit.

Beastliness and/or baseness seems to be the theme here. But maybe that's the theme of every episode, and of every season of this show. Motivations always seem to be primeval. Sex, beauty, power . . . And these things all boil down to forms of control. And while I can understand the entertainment value, I still can't be wholly okay with the way women are portrayed and used. Most of them are evil, the few good ones are really stupid. There is no middle ground. (Cordelia maybe? Though we've seen so little of her, and she too is driven to extremes by a very basic desire.) The wisest of them is the girl with Down syndrome, and I'm sure there's a message there somewhere, but it's sunk under all the soapy story and blood and lust.

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