Review – American Horror Story: Coven

Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a finishing school for those who exhibit extraordinary talents.  Zoe is brought to this school after what appears to be the freak death of her boyfriend, but in fact it turns out that she is a witch.  She’s brought to Miss Robichaux’s to learn about her power, learn how to control it, and be kept safe from those who may want to harm her or her kind.

But things are not all that they seem, as there are internal conflicts within the coven, and a war brewing between the witches and those who use the dark arts of voodoo.  Witches are dying out, and they have to find a way to keep their tribe alive or be wiped out for good.

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Though the premise of this season starts out looking like some stereotypical YA novel, it turns into something much more than that.  Conspiracies to gain power, warring tribes, an immortal woman who was sealed away in a box almost two hundred years ago.  This turned into something much bigger than it appeared to be from the start, though at this point that’s what I’ve come to expect from this show.

One of the things I really liked about this season was some obvious nudges toward horror movies (which come to think of it have probably been present throughout the entire show, but it was especially noticeable to me in this season).

Some of the characters in this season felt far more unlikable than I’ve seen of characters in the previous two seasons.  As I’ve said before, the other two seasons made me hate all the characters but also fall in love with them all, or at least sympathize with all of them even as I hated them.  This season did the same, though there were a couple characters that I had no sympathy for whatsoever.  Not to mention the entire cast of characters had incredibly questionable morals.  But I suppose that’s what you get when you’re dealing with witches.

While this certainly wasn’t a bad season by any measure, and I had quite a bit of fun with it, it didn’t feel like it tied up all the loose ends quite as well as the previous two seasons.  A lot was happening during this season, but it felt like some things just ended abruptly because they needed to hurry along and finish the show up and they had no more time for those subplots.

While there were quite a bit of horror elements in this season, with plenty of death and gore to go around, it felt a little less horror-ish than the previous seasons did, and perhaps that’s just because of the presence of magic.  There was certainly danger lurking around every corner even for those magic-using characters, but I didn’t feel quite as on edge with this season as I did the other two seasons.  I didn’t feel that same sense of urgency to know what was going to happen next.

The horrors in this came more from seeing what sort of awful things people would do to get what they wanted: power, revenge, a sick sense of fulfillment.  Plenty of blood to be shed.

But now I have to move away from the world of magic and into what I’ve been dreading since I took on this endeavor.  See you at the freak show.

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