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Danny Huston (#110 of 4)

American Horror Story: Coven Recap Episode 13, "The Seven Wonders"

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American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 13, “The Seven Wonders”

FX

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 13, “The Seven Wonders”

“The Seven Wonders” finds American Horror Story: Coven largely tending, predictably for the most part, to a final bit of plot bookkeeping. Fiona (Jessica Lange) is finally dead, after one last inevitable revival or fake-out or reversal, and apparently destined to spend her eternity catfishing with the Axeman (Danny Huston) in a realm presided over by Papa Legba (Lance Reddick), a demonic entity that’s retrospectively revealed to be entirely superfluous to Coven’s grand narrative scheme. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) are installed as new Supreme Cordelia’s (Sarah Paulson) upper management, and it appears that their work will be cut out for all of them, as a swift PR maneuver has rejuvenated the institution with a global-wide new influx of troubled witches looking to hone their baffling new powers.

American Horror Story: Coven Recap Episode 8, "The Sacred Taking"

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American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 8, “The Sacred Taking”

FX

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 8, “The Sacred Taking”

If the last few episodes of American Horror Story: Coven were marked by a palpable sense of creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck’s concern with lining up certain narrative pawns in the proper positions so as to satisfy a larger game plan, then “The Sacred Taking” finds the show’s variables nearly, but not quite, cohering into a grand narrative arc. There are pros and cons to this evolution. The pro, obviously, is that there’s pleasure in finally seeing certain hints begin to pay off, but the con is that Coven sometimes threatens to favor a certain heaviness of plot at the expense of the weirder moments with which American Horror Story typically thrives.

American Horror Story: Coven Recap Episode 6, "The Axeman Cometh"

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American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 6, “The Axeman Cometh”

FX

American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Episode 6, “The Axeman Cometh”

In this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven, memorably titled “The Axeman Cometh,” an elegantly interlocking series of plot turns suggests a major character’s undoing. Most pivotally, we learn that Cordelia’s (Sarah Paulson) unfaithful, murdering husband, Hank (Josh Hamilton), has a larger stake in Fiona’s (Jessica Lange) escalating rivalry with Marie (Angela Bassett) than we could have reasonably suspected. Hank’s an agent, of sorts, working with Marie to help ferret out the locations of the remaining descendants of the Salem witches in order to systematically execute them. Kaylee (Alexandra Breckenridge), the gorgeous redhead who Hank killed in a hotel room a few episodes ago, was actually a witch who’d discussed joining the coven with Cordelia, only to resist in favor of pursuing a “normal” life. In one of the episode’s many flashbacks, we see Hank eavesdropping on the meeting and subsequently seeking out Kaylee, who was presumably just one of who knows how many other young victims.

Drowning by Numbers: The Number 23

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Drowning by Numbers: <em>The Number 23</em>
Drowning by Numbers: <em>The Number 23</em>

I’m sure there must have been an episode of Sesame Street where the friendly neighborhood of cheerful humans and adorable puppets wanted to throttle the Count, a character obsessive in his love to count things. Throughout The Number 23, a psychological thriller/puzzle movie where Jim Carrey is driven into a state of heightened lunacy by seeing the magical number 23 everywhere (“You and I met when we were 23!”; “Your license plate begins with the numbers two…three!”; “I was born on February 3…2/3!”), I started thinking of our friend the Count. If he had been cast in the role instead of Jim Carrey, The Number 23 might have been a useful exercise for children of all ages instead of a childish exercise that, in lieu of depth, is content to wallow in protracted, circuitous babble.