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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN “The Sacred Taking” Recap

After the rather dull episode we had before break, things start to pick up again this week.  We open with Queenie (rapidly becoming one of my least favorite characters on the show) walking through a bad part of town at night, where she is menaced by a homeless man.  However Queenie uses her voodoo powers to knock him out.  Just then Madison and Zoe approach her, asking her to return to their coven.  Queenie refuses, stabbing the homeless man dead and carving out his still-beating heart to help with a new voodoo recipe for Marie Leveau.  Yikes!

Sick in bed, Fiona’s physical condition worsens as her cancer deepens, looking “less Samantha and more Endora every day” (a nice nod to the classic TV show “Bewitched”).  She laments about her situation to the Axeman, since her daughter Cordelia will have nothing to do with her.  She knows that a reason she is deteriorating is because one of the young witches is rising to power, though she doesn’t know which one.

At his home, Luke’s mother doctors his axe wound from the zombie attack several episodes ago.  She doesn’t like him hanging out with the witches and decides he needs to be cleansed…by giving him an enema (lovely!).  At least it’s better than castration, which is what I thought she was going to do…

In the coven house, Nan can sense what is happening to Luke and is upset.  However Cordelia shrugs this problem off, addressing the three young witches.  Together they try to devise a plot to kill Fiona, but the meeting is interrupted when the doorbell rings, introducing another ally…Misty Day!

Misty is terrified and seeking refuge.  In flashback we see that a witch-hunter is after her (Cordelia’s husband Hank), and she has come to the coven for help.  When Cordelia holds Misty’s hand, she sees flashes of Misty’s past, being burned at the stake and coming back to life.  Cordelia is happy to take Misty in as one of their own.  Misty also shows Cordelia that Myrtle has been reanimated and is present as well, though now with a burned-up face.  Interestingly, when Cordelia touches Myrtle’s hand she does not get a flash of Myrtle splashing her in the face with acid, so either Myrtle didn’t do it as I had been theorizing, or she has a way to mask the truth from Cordelia.  Either way, Myrtle is convinced that Misty is in fact the next Supreme, given her incredible power of resurgence.

Later Zoe tries to teach Kyle more words, using an educational program on her laptop.  Madison enters the bedroom, clearly not as interested in Kyle’s educational development as Zoe is.

American Horror Story Taking
I remember a lot of warm-ups in drama class starting out like this…

Downstairs, the witches prepare for a ceremony called “The Sacred Taking.”  For the ritual to work the current Supreme must kill herself, allowing a new witch to take up the mantle (in a cool black-and-white flashback we see this occurring during the Salem witch trials).  Of course the bigger problem the witches face is how to find a way for Fiona to kill herself.

Upstairs, still barfing in the toilet, Fiona turns at the sound of music playing (Donovan’s “Season of the Witch”).  She enters the bedroom to see Madison dancing in a red dress (if you remember, Fiona still believes she had killed Madison).  Using her best acting chops Madison tells Fiona that she brought herself back to life, and that she knows Fiona killed Myrtle.  She promises that they’ll all burn Fiona at the stake soon, unless Fiona swallows a bunch of sleeping pills, stops suffering, and dies peacefully.

American Horror Story
There was a sultry red dress on “Asylum” too!

After Madison leaves, Fiona panics and begins packing her bags only to see Myrtle appear.  Myrtle claims Madison resurrected her using one of her new powers, and further convinces Fiona that it is time for her to die.  Fiona still resists, mentioning how she has finally found a man who loves her.  Yet when Fiona has a vision (helped by Myrtle’s deriding words) of being abandoned by the Axeman on her deathbed, she grows truly crestfallen.

Outside the witches wonder how well Myrtle’s persuading is going, and Nan wonders if she herself could in fact be the next Supreme instead.  Madison taunts Nan, causing her to head outside into the night, upset.  As she heads next door to Luke’s house, we see that Hank is waiting in a car.  Nan uses telekinesis to unlock Luke’s door (a power we hadn’t seen her display thus far…interesting!), and finds Luke upstairs suffering.

Back in Fiona’s bedroom, Myrtle’s chat seems to have worked.  Fiona pretties herself up in a mirror in order to die with dignity, dressing herself in her finest fur coat as she muses about lost loves, lost youth, and the failed relationship with her daughter.  She scoops up some pills and drinks them down, lying on the bed to pass away in peace.  It’s a touching scene, although I will admit that one issue I have with this season is I find Jessica Lange’s arc quite similar to what her character when through last season in “Asylum.”

As the lights dim, Fiona is suddenly “awakened” by an image of Spalding (a ghost?).  He offers her an emetic and explains how he was murdered.  Fiona at first refuses, but Spalding explains how she’s been tricked, and that a “dirty swamp witch” is the one who really brought back Madison and Myrtle from the dead.  Moments later Fiona is throwing up the pills in the toilet with plans to avenge Spalding’s murder…and her own.

Finally we catch up with Madame LaLaurie, trapped in Laveau’s cage.  Queenie offers her a cheeseburger, taking pity on her.  They share a nice moment together, until Marie Laveau suddenly appears behind them.  LaLaurie stands up to Laveau, since she can’t be killed.  Unfortunately Laveau doesn’t plan on burying LaLaurie in the ground anymore; instead she whips out a sickle-shaped blade and slices off LaLaurie’s hand, stating, “We’ve only just begun.”  Uh-oh.

Nan tries to lead Luke out of the house, but they are caught by his mother.  Suddenly, however, gunshots rip through the house, killing the bible-thumping mom, and wounding Luke.  Double uh-oh!  Although it’s not like Hank is the best at picking when to go for his targets, considering Nan walked right by him on the sidewalk earlier.

In the common room, Myrtle plays Schubert’s final sonata on piano (the pianist writing this recap approves!) while the other witches wait.  They wonder if perhaps the ceremony didn’t work out as planned, and their suspicions are validated when a very alive Fiona struts into the room.  Fiona asks if she can see the “gifted little swamp witch,” but Misty has wisely run away.

In fact, Misty has run away next door to Luke’s house.  The paramedics wheel out Luke , and lovelorn Nan follows.  Fiona arrives, using her Jedi mind tricks to talk to the police to find out what happened.  Fiona asks Misty to resuscitate Luke’s mother while observing carefully.  Meanwhile outside the house Cordelia finds a silver bullet on the ground.  Touching the bullet, she suddenly realizes the truth…that a witch hunter is after them (though she is not yet aware it is her husband).

Having learned this frightening news, Zoe returns to Kyle, wanting to get him to a new safer place.  Kyle calms her down, and indeed his speech is improving; he tells Zoe that he loves her, and Zoe repeats the sentiment.  As the two embrace, we see a jealous Madison listening to them unseen.  Despite her callous exterior, Madison indeed has a heart, and it’s broken.

The next morning Fiona and Cordelia have a talk with each other.  As it turns out, Fiona is proud of her daughter for finally showing some fire.  Fiona then notices the silver bullet lying on the table, and realizes how much trouble the coven is in.  Cordelia admits that with this new threat, they need Fiona more then ever.  Just then the doorbell rings, revealing a cardboard box.  Opening the box, Fiona finds…

LaLaurie’s severed head, crying in terror, just like the minotaur head from before.  The rivalry between the witches and the voodoo queen continues!

And it wasn't even James Caan trying to get payback!
And it wasn’t even James Caan trying to get payback!
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The Author

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. Son of an archaeologist, he spent his childhood years developing a fondness of nature and the outdoors, which was rivaled only for his love of filmmaking and storytelling.
In 2008 he graduated from the University of Southern California's film program, and currently makes a living as an editor in addition to working on his own creative projects.
He has a weakness for redheads, seafood pasta, and dinosaurs.