Oh, “American Horror Story: Coven,” how you do love to surprise me. This week, pretty much everything we knew has been proven, if not wrong, at least somehow different than we thought it was. How so? Let’s start with Hank. The show does, after all, and what we learn about him puts an interesting new twist on the world of witches as we know it — at least it does for the time being.
We kick things off with Hank hunting with his dad. I’d argue that the big, ominous music cues give away the twist long before we see it, but maybe that’s just a sign “AHS” has warped my thinking. Anyway, Hank and his dad aren’t hunting small woodland creatures, but witches. I’m not quite sure why the witch his father kills is living in the woods dressed like an extra from “The Hobbit” in 1991, but maybe they do things a little differently in the Chattahoochee National Forrest. Maybe it was “Dress Like A Hobbit Day.” Who knows? The point is that Hank has long been a witch hunter, and it’s a hobby he picked up from dear old dad.
But wait! It’s not just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle (and it’s not just for breakfast anymore!). It turns out Hank’s dad runs the Delphi Trust, which is committed to witch hunting and making money, though not necessarily in that order. As we suspected, Hank isn’t quite the cold-blooded killer his dad wants him to be. Even the time he did get it together to have sex with that poor red-headed witch before blowing her brains out, it wasn’t the success he thought it was — Dad had to clean up his mess by having an innocent desk clerk and maid killed to cover Hank’s tracks. Oops!
Hank is horrified to learn that the Delphi Trust is responsible for blinding his wife, but Dad is even more horrified that Hank seems to think of his target as his loving spouse. “Someday she will have to be put down,” he growls to an increasingly wild-eyed Hank. As far as that deal Hank struck with Madame Laveau, that isn’t a hit with Dad, either. When Hank’s proactive, he usually makes a mess of things, it seems.
For the first time in a long time, it’s possible for us to say, oh, poor Hank — and he becomes even more of a bloody Charlie Brown sad sack as the episode continues. First, Marie rips into him, cutting him up like a cured ham via voodoo doll satellite, so to speak. She makes it clear to him that the witches die tonight, “or the next needle I use puts a hole in your heart.”
While we’re still amazed by how awesomely bloody voodoo dolls are, Hank manages to hobble over to Delia’s house to beg forgiveness. Delia, who has lost her “sight” but regained her sight (we’ll get to that) still sees right through her husband and informs him she’s filing for divorce. Watching Hank, debased and beaten, begging for Delia to understand he’s actually on her side and is so at great personal cost is surprisingly wrenching, especially since we now realize Delia was, for a moment, the only person in his life who truly loved him. That’s a hard win to release, and, unsurprisingly, Hank is determined not to take the easy way out — which would be, honestly, killing Delia and all her witchy pals.
Before we get to the end of Hank’s story (and it is, alas, the end), we should address the truly gory and gross scene in this week’s show — Myrtle giving Delia a hand (and a couple of eyes). It’s a nice gesture, but popping out eyeballs with a melon baller from people who are not dead but only paralyzed seems pretty vengeful whatever Myrtle says. Delia might have liked a nice cane or maybe a seeing eye dog. Myrtle should have asked first, really, as I’m sure Chanel or Hermes or someone makes a nice cane on request.
As an aside, Myrtle has become one of my favorite characters this season. “I do love a key lime pie!” she trills just as she’s about to start popping eyeballs. That and the charcuterie line? Divine! Watching her merrily chop up body parts suggests she has a real shot at turning up on, say, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” someday.
The gift of sight unfortunately robs Delia of her visions, but I suspect actually being able to see who’s shooting at you is of more value these days, especially since Hank is clearly not going to be the softy carrying a gun — at least, not at Delia’s house.
While they were secondary to Hank’s tale of woe, we got some interesting storylines for Queenie (well, to a point) and Kyle. When Fiona finds Kyle tucked away in his secret room courtesy of a recently purchased guard dog, she wants him out — right until he eats her dog. Then, she has a brilliant idea — she gives Kyle an “upgrade” and sets him to the task of protecting the coven. Even though this is likely a suicide mission, I’m sure he’s happier with this assignment than just being a sex toy for the girls. Sex good, playing cards with Fiona, better!
We also discover that Queenie, though ordered to burn Madame LaLaurie’s head, instead smuggles her upstairs and makes her watch “Roots.” When LaLaurie keeps her eyes squeezed shut the entire time, Queenie tries footage from Selma, which does the trick, thawing LaLaurie’s racist heart. Aw, shucks! It would be even more Hallmark card-touching if Queenie hadn’t been gutted downstairs when Hank barged into the hair salon, spraying the place with bullets. Unfortunately, he’s too slow to take down Laveau, as Queenie shoots herself (actually Hank) in the head first.
Another storyline that was expanded upon, though not all that well, was Luke’s. Luke is still in the hospital with dear old Mom, who is none too excited when Nan, Zoe and Madison come to visit. Joan changes her tune, however, when she realizes Nan can tell her what Luke is thinking — right up until it turns out Luke has been hobnobbing with God, who says Joan killed Luke’s dad. In the flashback, we find that Joan released bees into her husband’s car, which kill him in a horrible way (and, best of all, leave no trail back to her). Luke (through Nan) swears vengeance. All I can think is that Luke may have wanted to keep this to himself until he’s no longer lying like a limp dishrag in a hospital bed, and guess what? Joan smothers him, which falls under the heading of duh.
Still, there were some satisfying twists and turns, and when Marie Laveau actually humbles herself enough to go to Fiona to make that truce Fiona had asked for earlier (and gotten laughed out of the salon for suggesting), I’m excited to see how the new alliance fares against the Delphi Trust.
What do you think will happen between Fiona and Marie? What do you think will happen to Madame LaLaurie? What do you think of the Delphi Trust?