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|American Horror Story: Coven|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Original run||October 9, 2013– January 29, 2014|
|List of American Horror Story episodes|
|American Horror Story: Coven|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Original run||October 9, 2013– January 29, 2014|
|List of American Horror Story episodes|
Like its predecessors, Coven was met with both mostly positive reviews and strong ratings, with the premiere episode attracting a series high of 5.54 million viewers. As with the previous seasons, Jessica Lange was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film (with Coven being nominated for Best Miniseries or Television Film). Lange also garnered her third Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series nomination. Co-star Kathy Bates received a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film nomination.
The third season of American Horror Story primarily follows the antics and events of a coven of Salem descendants who reside within a boarding school, Miss Robichaux's Academy, centered in New Orleans, Louisiana. The academy is run by Headmistress Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson), who has always lived in the shadow of her mother, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange). Fiona is the Coven's "Supreme", a witch born every generation who embodies countless gifts and magical abilities, namely, the Seven Wonders of Witchcraft. Danger lurks inside the academy's past due to the mysterious butler Spalding (Denis O'Hare) and his relationship with Fiona. The entire coven is accessed and evaluated by the Council of Witchcraft, which includes Fiona's old rival and Cordelia's mother figure, Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy).
Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) is sent to the Academy after discovering that she possesses a strange genetic affliction that traces back to the days of Salem. She is a descendant from the Salem coven and therefore is a witch herself. Upon arrival, she meets telekinetic movie star Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), human voodoo doll Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), and enigmatic clairvoyant Nan (Jamie Brewer). One night, Zoe and Madison attend a frat party and meet a fraternity headed by Kyle (Evan Peters), who takes a likening towards Zoe. Madison is gang-raped by the other frat members and vengefully flips their bus with her powers, killing seven on board including Kyle. Madison attempts to revive Kyle by attaching other limbs to his body and cast a resurrection spell. The revival works but Kyle returns as an aggressive and simple-minded creature. The presence of a revived corpse attracts Misty Day (Lily Rabe), who has the power of necromancy and even revived herself after being burned at the stake. Misty begins a friendship with Zoe and often takes care of Kyle.
Meanwhile, Fiona is cursed with an untreatable cancer due to a new Supreme rising to power within the Coven. Fiona tries to cure herself and regain her youth at all costs. A famed voodoo priestess and rival of the Salem witches named Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), has regained her youth and immortality by bargaining with the voodoo devil, Papa Legba (Lance Reddick). To get a rise out of Marie, Fiona frees the immortal and buried alive Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), a 19th-century slave killer, who mutilated Marie's lover by transforming him into a Minotaur. Delphine becomes a maid at the Academy and struggles with adjusting to the modern world due to her past history as a racist.
The past slowly unravels as it is revealed that Fiona killed the previous Supreme in order to take charge of the Coven. Myrtle discovered the truth and tried to reveal it by enchanting the only witnesses tongue, Spalding. Spalding later cuts his own tongue out in order to protect Fiona and has remained mute ever since. Spalding also helps cover up the secrets of the Coven including when Fiona slits Madison's throat, believing her to be the next Supreme. Zoe discovers Spalding's secrets and kills him, turning him into a ghost that haunts the Academy. Cordelia is blinded by acid in a freak attack by witch hunters, one of whom she is married to. Myrtle is framed by Fiona as the attacker and is burned at the stake. Misty revives Myrtle along with Madison, all who return to the coven with vengeful notions as Madison seduces Kyle and Myrtle slaughters the rest of the Council.
A notorious serial killer named The Axeman (Danny Huston) was killed by former students of the Academy in the 1920s. Since then his spirit was confined inside the Academy's walls, but is freed when the current students are trying to contact the ghost of Madison via an Ouija board. The Axeman later begins a romance with Fiona. Recruited by Marie, Queenie joins the voodoo women and in turn gives over Delphine, who is immediately tortured and beheaded, but remains alive due to her immortality. Cordelia's husband slaughters the voodoo tribe including Queenie. Marie hopelessly joins the Academy. Nan is killed by Fiona and Marie to get rid of a Supreme candidate and fulfill a deal with Papa Legba. At the funeral, Queenie returns with a reattached Delphine due to new powers developing. Marie, Fiona, and the Axeman slaughter the witch hunters. Delphine and Spalding manage to knock out Marie and dissect her, spreading her body parts all around various parts of town.
Cordelia is cured of blindness by Myrtle only to blind herself again to regain powers she had developed while blind. New powers develop throughout all the witches. Kyle chooses Zoe over Madison and is also mentally revived by Fiona. Kyle becomes a "watchdog" for the coven. Madison also knocks out Misty, locking her in a coffin in order to eliminate Supreme competition, but she is later freed and revived by Queenie and Cordelia. Confident after killing Laveau, Delphine leaves the coven to become a tour guide at her old house. Queenie kills her by dealing with Legba to return her mortality. Marie and Delphine become trapped in hell for eternity due to their murderous life actions and are forever taunted by Legba. The Axeman is believed to have killed Fiona as Cordelia envisions her death. Zoe, Madison, Misty, and Queenie kill the Axeman in return. The Coven sets out to find the new Supreme through the test of Seven Wonders: seven acts of magic that, when performed successfully, determine who is next in line for the Supremacy. Zoe and Misty are killed when attempting to perform different tests. Queenie is disqualified for not being able to revive Zoe. Madison refuses and then angrily leaves the Coven after also not being able to complete a test once Cordelia enters the competition, as advised by Myrtle. Madison is strangled by a mournful Kyle. Cordelia performs the Wonders successfully and revives Zoe. Cordelia becomes the new Supreme, regains her sight, and reveals the Coven to the world. Myrtle wishes to be burned once again for her murders of the Council and Cordelia tearfully agrees. Zoe and Queenie become the new Council and Kyle becomes the new butler. Cordelia finds Fiona alive but withered from the cancer. In a vision, Cordelia foresees Fiona, who implanted a false memory in the Axeman. Fiona and Cordelia make amends after a life of disapproval. Fiona then dies in Cordelia's arms and is banished to hell with the Axeman, where she is also taunted by Legba. Cordelia, Zoe, Queenie, and Kyle opens the doors to the Academy welcoming the Coven's new recruitment of witches.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production|
|26||1||"Bitchcraft"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk||October 9, 2013||3ATS01||5.54|
|Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) plans to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time, but something goes horribly wrong when the loss of her virginity leads to the discovery of a hidden power. Zoe learns she is a descendant from Salem and is in fact a witch. Her specific power causes violent hemorrhaging and certain death to whom ever she has sex with. Fearing their daughter may become a hazard to the ones around her, Zoe's parents send her to a mysterious private school in New Orleans that teaches young witches how to survive in the modern world. Upon arriving, she meets her classmates: Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a spoiled brat teenage movie star, who can move objects with her mind, Nan (Jamie Brewer), a girl with down syndrome, who can hear the thoughts of others, and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), who descends from one of the only African-American lines of salem witches. She is a human voodoo doll who can transfer her own wounds onto someone else. The school is owned and run by Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson). After a young witch named Misty Day (Lily Rabe) is burned at the stake, Cordelia's mother, reining Supreme and most powerful witch of her generation, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange), arrives to ensure their protection. However, Fiona also has her own agenda: finding a way to regain her youth.|
|27||2||"Boy Parts"||Michael Rymer||Tim Minear||October 16, 2013||3ATS02||4.51|
|Still seeking to be perpetually young and beautiful, Fiona questions her new captive, Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), who in the previous episode was dug up from an unmarked grave, still alive. Delphine tells Fiona that 180 years ago Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) gave her an immortality elixir , killed her family, and buried her alive. In hopes of becoming immortal as well, Fiona visits the still living Laveau in a 9th ward salon and creates a renewed rivalry between the Salem witches and the voodoo practitioners. Meanwhile, Zoe and Madison (Emma Roberts) decide to cast a resurrection spell in order to bring Kyle (Evan Peters), a boy Madison murdered, back to life. When Kyle reanimates as a scared, angry monster, Zoe must seek help from a necromancer, Misty Day. Elsewhere, Cordelia and husband Hank (Josh Hamilton) have trouble conceiving a child, so he wants her to perform a fertility ritual.|
|28||3||"The Replacements"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||James Wong||October 23, 2013||3ATS03||3.78|
|Madison and Nan take a liking to the new next door neighbor, Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon), but have problems with his overly-religious mother Joan (Patti LuPone). After an encounter with the Ramseys, Madison develops the power of pyrokinesis. A weakened Fiona learns she has terminal cancer and believes it to be caused by one of the students rising to take her place as Supreme. After hearing of Madison's growing power, she takes her under wing. She shows Madison what it means to be a real witch, and gets her to reveal another new power she possesses. Realizing she is the next Supreme, Fiona plans to get rid of her. Meanwhile, Zoe visits Kyle's distraught mother (Mare Winningham) and takes him home, not knowing of her true colors. Cordelia is told by her doctor that she can never have a baby and goes to Marie Laveau for help. As punishment for her crimes of torture and abuse of slaves in 1830, Delphine LaLaurie is forced by Fiona to be a maid to the students, causing tension between her and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe).|
|29||4||"Fearful Pranks Ensue"||Michael Uppendahl||Jennifer Salt||October 30, 2013||3ATS04||3.71|
|Continuing from the previous episode, Fiona tells Spalding (Denis O'Hare) to get rid of Madison's body and rescues Queenie from the minotaur, that was sent by Marie Laveau. At Kyle's house, Zoe hastily cleans up the mess that he created, but ends up losing him as Halloween commences. Away on a "business", trip, Hank cheats on Cordelia with his girlfriend, Kaylee (Alexandra Breckenridge). The Council of Witchcraft pays a surprise visit the Academy to discuss Madison's disappearance. After receiving a gruesome present from Fiona, Marie officially ends the truce between the witches and Voodoo practitioners and calls upon the dead to wreak havoc on the Academy.|
|30||5||"Burn, Witch. Burn!"||Jeremy Podeswa||Jessica Sharzer||November 6, 2013||3ATS05||3.80|
|Continuing from the last episode, Zoe and the others go on the defensive when zombies attempt to get into the school. Faced with death, Zoe unleashes a new power. Madame LaLaurie deals with the fact that she was a horrible mother when she sees her own daughters amongst the hordes of zombies. After an attack on Cordelia leaves her blind and helpless, Fiona also deals with the fact that she was a bad mother. The Council returns after the attacks on Cordelia and the girls, but Fiona manages to persuade them into believing head of the Council, Myrtle (Frances Conroy) attacked Cordelia due to her grudge against Fiona. Myrtle is sentenced to burn at the stake for harming another witch.|
|31||6||"The Axeman Cometh"||Michael Uppendahl||Douglas Petrie||November 13, 2013||3ATS06||4.16|
|Zoe, Queenie and Nan decide to come together as a coven and use a spirit board to make contact with the other side in order to find Madison. The girls end up making contact with the spirit of legendary serial killer, the Axeman of New Orleans (Danny Huston). Queenie warns Zoe to stay away from that kind of witchcraft because it has dangerous consequences, but Zoe is determined to find out what happened to Madison. Zoe uses the spirit board alone, and summons the Axeman, who wants something in return for helping her find Madison. After decades of being held inside the Academy's walls, he asks Zoe to release his spirit that was trapped there by its former students. A now blind Cordelia, develops the power to receive visions and finds out about Hank's indiscretion, causing him to worry that she will find out his real secret. Fiona desperately wants to have one last whirlwind romance before she inevitably dies.|
|32||7||"The Dead"||Bradley Buecker||Brad Falchuk||November 20, 2013||3ATS07||4.00|
|Fiona has a tryst with the Axeman, which is complicated by the side effects of her chemotherapy. Zoe casts a spell to restore Spalding's tongue and interrogates him, killing him after he admits Fiona was Madison's real murderer. A newly revived Madison bonds with Kyle over being undead. Delphine and Queenie also become closer, and Delphine tells Queenie that the other witches will never truly accept her because of her race. Queenie visits Marie, who offers to let Queenie join the voodoo practitioners if she brings her Delphine.|
|33||8||"The Sacred Taking"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||Ryan Murphy||December 4, 2013||3ATS08||4.07|
|Fearing for their lives, Misty and a resurrected Myrtle arrive at the coven to escape a witch hunter. The coven prepares for the Sacred Taking ritual; which is only invoked to protect the coven in which a Supreme takes her own life to ensure the safety of the coven, hastening the next Supreme. As Fiona's health begins to fail, she finds Madison dancing around her bed. Madison claims to be the next Supreme by reviving herself and Fiona's punishment will be burning at the stake. She convinces Fiona to avoid that fate and swallow the handful of pills given to her. Fiona takes the ipecac, vomits the pills, and vows that she will avenge both Spaulding's death and her own. At Marie Leveau's, Delphine is being held in a cage with no food or water. Delphine scoffs at Marie's taunts, pointing out she cannot die. Marie produces a large sword, mocking Delphine's lack of imagination. She hacks off Delphine's hand, warning that she's just getting started. With no servants to be found, Fiona answers the front doorbell, only to find a cardboard box on the porch. She scans it with magic, takes it inside and opens it. Inside is Delphine LaLaurie's head staring back at her.|
|34||9||"Head"||Howard Deutch||Tim Minear||December 11, 2013||3ATS09||3.94|
|Marie scoffs at Fiona's offer of an alliance, but must later reconsider when witch hunter Hank turns his attention on her voodoo tribe. Myrtle gets her revenge upon the council that betrayed her. Queenie attempts to force Delphine to appreciate the African heritage. Nan's Clairvoyance(telepathy) allows a comatose Luke to reveal a dark Ramsey family secret. Myrtle restores Cordelia's eyes and allows her to see again. In doing so, Cordelia loses her power of Second Sight.|
|35||10||"The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||James Wong||January 8, 2014||3ATS10||3.49|
|Marie and Fiona form an alliance, in order to protect themselves from the witch hunters. Nan develops new powers, while Madison tries to sabotage the other witches in the race for the Supremacy. Fiona tries to show Misty the wonderful things a Supreme can enjoy, by introducing Stevie Nicks to her. It is also revealed how Marie is still beautiful and alive after so many years.|
|36||11||"Protect the Coven"||Bradley Buecker||Jennifer Salt||January 15, 2014||3ATS11||3.46|
|A flashback to the 1830's reveals the origins of Delphine LaLaurie. After she moves to New Orleans, she fears she will tire of the city's atmosphere, she discovers her shocking attraction to blood and torture. In present day, a newly reassembled Delphine takes up an old hobby to pass the time. Marie and Fiona have a deadly face off with witch hunters of Delphi Trust, while Cordelia makes a desperate sacrifice to protect the coven. Meanwhile, a jealous Madison doesn't accept the fact that Kyle is in love with Zoe. The two argue over who deserves him more and Madison uses magic to hurt Zoe.|
|37||12||"Go to Hell"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||Jessica Sharzer||January 22, 2014||3ATS12||3.35|
|Knowing her death from cancer is approaching, Fiona attempts to make amends by saying goodbye to Cordelia, giving her a family heirloom. Cordelia regains her power of Sight and foresees the harrowing future of the Coven. Cordelia goes to the Axeman and shares her visions with him, which later leads to the murder of Fiona. With Fiona gone, the girls finally band together as a Coven. Also, Queenie summons Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) and visits her own personal hell. Later Queenie kills Delphine LaLaurie, inadvertently killing Marie (as Papa Legba terminated their immortality after breach of contract) and find themselves in their actual hell, which is an eternity of Delphine being tortured by Marie in her own torture chamber.|
|38||13||"The Seven Wonders"||Alfonso Gomez-Rejon||Douglas Petrie||January 29, 2014||3ATS13||4.24|
|In order to identify the next Supreme, Zoe, Madison, Misty, and Queenie undergo the tests of the Seven Wonders. The Seven Wonders are seven acts of magic so advanced, each pushes the boundaries of witchcraft. One who performs them all successfully is the next Supreme. At first, the girls pass each test of magic with ease, until they reach the test of Descensum, where they must send their spirits to hell and return before sunrise. All pass the test except Misty whose spirit remains trapped in her own personal hell. When the sun rises, her body turns to dust. They recommence the tests with completing the act of Transmutation (teleportation). This leads Zoe to her own demise when she teleports herself through the iron gates of the academy, impaling and ultimately killing herself. Queenie tries, but can't resurrect Zoe. Madison has the power to perform the resurrection, but refuses. By process of elimination, she believes she is the new Supreme. Fearing Madison as Supreme will be no different from Fiona, Myrtle convinces Cordelia to join the competition. Cordelia completes all the tests successfully while Madison fails at Divination. Cordelia brings back Zoe and is crowned Supreme. Myrtle later requests to again be burned alive for her dishonorable actions of murder. Kyle kills Madison for refusing to resurrect Zoe, and Spalding takes her body. Cordelia makes peace with her dying mother, after inheriting her powers and title of Supreme. Fiona then joins the Axeman in her personal hell where, as he informs her, they will spend the rest of eternity. Cordelia comes out to the public on television informing of the witches' coven. Along with new council members Zoe and Queenie, she offers hope to young witches everywhere.|
In January 2013, series creator Ryan Murphy hinted that a clue about the third season would be hidden in the tenth episode of the second season. In a later interview discussing that episode, he stated: "I sorta feel like for the third version I want to do something that's a little bit more 'evil glamour.' Just something that's a little bit more...one of the things that I missed this season was I really loved having that Romeo and Juliet youth story with Violet and Tate [from the first season]. I want something like that again and we're doing something like that in the third season. And we're contemplating shooting the show in a different place. We're contemplating shooting it in a place in the country where true horror has been." In a later interview, Murphy added that the season would be set in the modern day.
Executive producer Tim Minear has stated that, while this season's tone might be lighter with more humor, the global themes of it will be "oppression of minorities of all kinds, and within that idea, minority groups going after each other and doing the work of the larger culture." He added, "While there is a strong feminist theme that runs throughout Coven, there are themes of race and themes of oppression, and themes of family — especially mothers and daughters."
Series executive producers and co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk stated that, as with the second season, "many actors" would return for the third season in different roles. Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson all confirmed their returns. Murphy added that Lange would portray a "real glamour-cat lady", who was later named Fiona. Paulson said in an interview that her character would "definitely [be] different". She added, "Basically, she's going to look different, and my relationship to Lange is going to be quite different this time. At the beginning of last season, no one knew that Lana would be the hero, so it's possible I could end up the evil one this year. As of right now, there will be some of Lana Winters' qualities in my character, but I don't know for sure." Taissa Farmiga, who played a leading role in the first season, will co-star as a character that is involved in a prominent romance during the third season. Lily Rabe has also been cast as a lead in the third installment. Frances Conroy has also signed on for the season in a role later to revealed as Myrtle Snow. Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates has also been cast to co-star in the third season. She will portray a woman who, at the start, is Lange's character's best friend, but will become her worst enemy. Murphy has stated that Bates' character will be "five times worse than [her] Misery character" and is also inspired by a "true event". In April 2013, it was announced that Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe would also be joining the cast in an unknown role, later revealed as Queenie.
On May 13, 2013, Murphy announced via Twitter that Oscar nominee Angela Bassett and two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone had joined the cast. In July 2013, Bassett confirmed she would be playing a voodoo priestess, based on Marie Laveau. In a June 2013 interview, LuPone said her character would not be a witch, but "the personification of the religious right, 'like Piper Laurie in Carrie.'" It was also announced in May 2013 that Emma Roberts had been added to the cast. Roberts will play Madison, a "self-involved party girl."
In July and August 2013, respectively, Murphy announced through Twitter that first season alums Denis O'Hare and Alexandra Breckenridge had joined the cast in unknown roles. In August 2013, Ryan Murphy announced that he had cast Christine Ebersole as a "good witch-type gal". In an August 23 interview, Jessica Lange revealed that Mare Winningham had joined the cast. On August 28, Leslie Jordan announced that he had joined the cast. In September 2013, Alexander Dreymon was cast in an unnamed role described as "the handsome young man who moves in next door to the Academy."
Principal photography for the season began on July 23, 2013, in multiple locations, one being New Orleans, Louisiana. "After two seasons shooting in Los Angeles, the series moves to [New Orleans] for its third season," writes the casting call. "Filming begins July 23, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana and will continue through January 2014." Despite Ryan Murphy stating that the third season would take place in multiple cities, New Orleans is the primary setting of the third installment.
American Horror Story: Coven has received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of 33 critics have given the season a positive review. The site's consensus is: "A noteworthy ensemble cast combined with creepy storytelling and campy, outrageous thrills make American Horror Story: Coven a potently structured fright-fest." It scored 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 24 reviews. The ratings slipped for the second episode, delivering 4.5 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49 - down 17 percent from the premiere. 
Coven was also met with negative reviews from some critics. The A.V. Club gave this season a low rating of D+, with critic Todd Van DerWerff remarking "It lurched drunkenly from idea to idea, never settling on one long enough to build anything of worth." 
In their post-season reviews, The Michigan Daily gave Coven a B+ saying, "And while its conclusion, appropriately titled 'The Seven Wonders', never quite matched the high standard it set for itself throughout the season, Coven's reputation will nonetheless remain a solid one." Entertainment Weekly gave the season a B and said, "I can't deny my experience: Week to week, the excesses of Coven were wickedly amusing. Next year, I hope American Horror Story can be more than that, and with less."
American Horror Story: Coven has so far been nominated for 10 awards, won 2, and has 4 awards pending.
|TV Drama of the Year||American Horror Story: Coven||Nominated|
|TV Performance of the Year – Actress||Jessica Lange||Won|
|Campy TV Show of the Year||American Horror Story: Coven||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Jessica Lange||Nominated|
|Best Miniseries or Television Film||American Horror Story: Coven||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing in Television – Short Form: Dialogue & ADR||Episode: "Bitchcraft"||Pending|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Jessica Lange||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Kathy Bates||Pending|
|Best Television Series – Genre||American Horror Story: Coven||Pending|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Jessica Lange||Nominated|