Have you been noticing how strangely controlled the creators behind American Horror Story have been this season? With Asylum, the terror took the form of everything from aliens to the devil to nazi doctors to serial killers — and that was all just in the first episode. So far in Coven, there's been witches, a franken-teen and...that's about it.
...Until last night, anyway, when things heated up in the form of zoooombies zooooombies zombies-bies-bies.
Now, let's rank some badass witches!
Fiona, Fiona, Fiona. Your confidence has gotten away with you. You think that just because you pull off a few murders and are widely recognized as baddest witch on the block, you can do anything you want? Even chopping off the head of the lover to New Orleans' most powerful voudon? You can't! These things have consequences, even for you. EVEN FOR YOU, YOU BEAUTIFUL BITCH.
The episode starts with Fiona instructing Spalding — the creepy, doll-obsessed and bewigged butler — to dispose of Madison Montgomery's body.
"She would have made a lousy supreme," Fiona growls as Spalding rolls her up in a rug. (You assume this is for disposal, but it turns out he's just going to take her body away to have doll tea parties with. Cute!) "And that is something this coven just cannot afford at this moment in history."
She's right and she's wrong. Wrong because — quelle surprise — Madison isn't actually the Supreme and Fiona's actually just committed a senseless murder. She's right, however, because, in this moment in witch history, shit is really about to hit the witch fan. It's all Fiona's fault, but more on that later.
Why she's the baddest: Fiona knows she's the baddest. She says it herself (video above) and that kind of confidence is certainly admirable. (+100 points) She also works that pointy witch hat in a way that I didn't even know was possible. (+25) Total points: 125
Why she's not: Unfortunately, Fiona's confidence has grown into full-blown, dangerous hubris. (-50) She's so trusting of her own opinion that she doesn't even stop to think about whether she's right or not. (-25) The fact that she's willing to murder the boyfriend of someone clearly more powerful than her (-50) suggests such a crazy arrogance that she seems likely to barrel head-on into destruction. Total points: -125
Final Verdict: Zip. Fiona is undeniably bad, but she needs to control (though not entirely stomp out) that ego.
Poor Cordelia! All she wants is a baby and what does she get instead? A cheating (and murdering!) husband and jar full of voodoo acid to the face. This week, Cordelia's seemingly milquetoast story got a whole lot darker as her husband Farmer Hank was revealed to be some sort of adulterous serial killer. (Is this a product of the witchy snake sex the pair had a few weeks ago or has Farmer Hank always been eeeeeevil?)
Not that she's cottoned on to any of this. Cordelia, though kind, isn't exactly the most clever witch in the coven. When the Witches Council — which consists of the glorious Myrtle Snow, another lady and Witchy Truman Capote (who, unsurprisingly, gets along great with Fiona) — comes to investigate the missing Madison, Cordelia defends her mother, saying that there's no way Fiona is responsible for the girl's unknown whereabouts.
Of course we know that Fiona is the most responsible, but she lies easily when Cordelia asks her about it point blank. The two then share a rare mother-daughter bonding moment, which ends abruptly when Cordelia is attacked in the bathroom by a hooded mystery monster who throws a bottle burning potion right on her beautiful Sarah Paulson-y mug.
Why she's the baddest: Cordelia has integrity (+60) and she is excellent at healing, as demonstrated in her care of Queenie who was impaled by a minotaur after she tried to pleasure it through her human voodoo doll witchcraft. (Keep up the crazy, American Horror Story. Keep it up as long as you can.) (+60) Total points: 120
Why she's not: Cordelia is gullible (-25) and doesn't know when to shut her mouth and stop telling secrets (-75), as made clear by her spilling her whole life to the witches council during a hearing.
Final Verdict: 20. Here's hoping that this week's disfigurement and betrayal by Hank the Tank will bring out her darker, badder side. I'm sick of seeing her in pastels.
This big bad Grace Coddington-esque witch is finally back after her all-too-brief appearance in the first episode and mama has an axe to grind against Fiona. (Side note: Is there anything better than watching Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy go head to head?)
The pair have been rivals since the seventies when they were both students at Miss Robichaux's and Snow was the only person to suspect Fiona of murdering Christine Ebersole in order to become the next Supreme. The only other person who KNOWS Fiona murdered Christine Ebersole is Spalding, but he cut his own tongue clean out of his mouth just so he wouldn't have to snitch. (Poor Denis O'Hare — doomed to spend AHS season after AHS season in love with Jessica Lange, only to have her never him back.)
Now that Madison is missing, Snow (accurately) blames Fiona and (accurately) accuses her of tearing the coven apart. Unfortunately, she's got no proof and Fiona will continue to mock her with her icy smirk and quick wit until she gets it.
Why she's the baddest: Myrtle wildly intelligent (+100), sees what's going down (+80) and won't let Fiona's overwhelming glamour and confidence suppress her suspicions. (+30) She's also G-O-R-G GORGEOUS and we should dress like her everyday. (+40) Total points: 250
Why she's not: Her bark is unfortunately bigger than her bite. (-50) Total points: -50
Final Verdict: 200. While she might be the smartest witch around, she is not the most powerful. Until she gets that figured out, she's always going to lose.
Nan has been unfairly left out of the rankings for the past few weeks because, although she has some of the most clever and funniest things to say, she also hasn't had much bearing on the plot. Last night, however, she became a much more powerful player when she fucked things up for Fiona in a very real and royal way.
As a telepathic, Nan's the first to realize that Madison (with her very loud thoughts) is has been murdered. While everyone else thinks she's just run off for the weekend, Nan is certain that she's deader than a doornail. How certain? Certain enough to call in the witches council for an investigation. Shake up that witchy hierarchy, girl!
Why she's the baddest: Nan is so self-assured, you guys, and not in that scary and destructive Fiona way. (+100) She is the first to realize that Madison is dead (+50) and is the first to do something about it. (+50) Also, she's totally going to get off with the hot neighbor boy. (+100) Total points: 300
Why she's not: No reason so far.
Final Verdict: 300.
DO NOT FUCK WITH MARE LAVEAU. This witch has been around for centuries — how have people not learned this yet?
Early on in the episode, we see Laveau get sent a box in the mail. Upon opening it, she finds the bull head of her lover Bastien. It was sent by Fiona, who killed the minotaur after finding him in her greenhouse after he impaled Queenie, causing her to nearly bleed to death. (TO BE FAIR, Queenie was sexually assaulting him and kind of deserved a good stabbing.)
Unfortunately, for Fiona, decapitating Bastien is possibly the dumbest thing she's has ever done because Laveau ends up going hard as a mother fucker and uses voodoo to raise the dead left and right, all with the purpose of sending them to destroy the coven.
This isn't the first time Leveau's done this — she's indulged in a little necromancy at least once before as we see in an incredibly upsetting flashback to the early '60s when she revived a bunch of corpses to literally rip apart a group of white supremacists who were responsible for lynching a black teenager. (It's the lynching that's upsetting, not the zombie attack. Never before in my life have I been more happy to see a disembowelment than I was when watching those murderers get their guts ripped out.)
The entire flashback (before the zombies show up at least) is nightmarish and uncomfortable in the most effective of ways. By showing the brutality of this country's racial history and holding up a mirror to America's true horrors (our horrors), we're able to feel something disgusting and visceral in a way that ghosts and aliens can't provoke. In this episode, the horror is America's deeply embedded and violent racism. In past seasons, it's been how we treat the mentally ill (as seen at the Briarcliff Mental Institution in AHS: Asylum), our nation's history of treatment towards gay people (the conversion therapy scene from Asylum continues to be the most sad and terrifying scene in all of AHS thus far) and America's gun culture (the school shooting in AHS: Murder House).
Why she's the baddest: Learn your lesson, witches. Hit Laveau and she will hit back 100 times harder. (+1000) Why haven't you learned your lesson yet?
Why she's not: Sorry, she is. PLUS ANOTHER THOUSAND POINTS.
Final Verdict: 2,000. Winner winner snake blood dinner.