So I’m kind of surprised with “Go to Hell,” American Horror Story: Coven‘s last episode before the finale, because it does manage to wrap up quite a few loose ends. In the episodes before this one, I sat thinking that Coven was so convoluted that it was going to be hard to give a proper climax, that there would be at least a few ideas that didn’t get covered. But “Go to Hell,” despite its clumsiness and often fumbling antics, makes great strides towards getting things set up for the ushering in of the new Supreme.
For one, the season’s main raison d’etre has arrived. Turns out Coven has been about crowning a Supreme all along. It hasn’t solely been about racial tensions or equality among witches or vanquishing the forces that would try to kill off witches entirely. While the Supreme storyline has been around since the beginning, it never felt like the A-plot of the show, but apparently, as Cordelia mentions towards the end of the episode, it has been all along.
But Coven also cleans up its characters quite a bit. Madame LaLaurie, who made an impromptu comeback last episode, admits that she’s never felt her racism leave her; then, she’s murdered by a savage Queenie who bucks Papa Legba’s system by convincing him Marie Laveau can no longer fulfill her contract. Both of them are sentenced to Legba’s hell, which is fairly clever and matches both of their characters rather well.
The same is true of both Fiona and the Axeman, who are the causers of each’s undoing. Fiona admits that she no longer has any interest in the Axeman, and she plans to leave him once she succeeds in killing all of the witches who could potentially become Supreme. The Axeman, finally thinking for himself but also egged on by Cordelia, murders her; but he’s also destroyed by this murder, since all of the witches band together (ironically, over the death of a witch who planned to kill them) and stabby-stab him to death.
It’s a gruesome and strong episode full of acts of retribution, but it finally seems like Coven is understanding its characters a bit better. Cordelia, after stabbing her own eyes out, regains the powers of sight that she’s had all along, and instead of being the cowed victim yet again, she emerges victorious against the devious plotting of her mother. She’s also become the leader that she never thought she could be; props to Coven for giving her something to do instead of bleakly laughing at her bumping into things.
“Go to Hell” is freshly innovative in a way that Coven has lacked since its first few episodes. It begins with the silent film about Supremes in the first scene, then continues to grow with a couple of moments spent in Queenie’s hell and a coolly lit segment in the future that Cordelia glimpses. Everything is sloppy in the way AHS has come to embody, but at least it’s significantly more entertaining.
Surprisingly, I now find myself excited to see which of the witches becomes Supreme. Before, it felt like the stakes were very low, even if failing the seven tests meant death; you’ve got one of the girls to bring you back to life! Now that all of the witches will be taking the test, though, there’s real