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American Horror Story: Coven Recap: Bees in the Trap

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN Head

This war is getting real, queens. Grab your coffee, guns, and pillows, ’cause this is one bumpy broom.

Hank’s father is the heir to a centuries-old witch-hunter family. While camping with Hank in 1991, he rustles the trees to produce Helena Bonham Carter dressed as the Bride of Chucky. When Hank fails to kill her, the witch breathes fire and is soon shot dead by Hank’s father. “Never forget what they are,” he cries.

Now, in the present day, Hank’s father is CEO of the Delphi Trust (“Since 1826”) — essentially, a witch-extinguishing agency. Hank is a janitor compared to David, the strapping “right-hand man” of the operation. Hank’s father is hella upset: Hank is now, of course, not living at the Academy, and because of his sloppiness in disposing of Kaylee, “an innocent desk clerk and a maid lost their lives.” To be fair, are we sure that Russell Crowe wasn’t also staying at the same hotel?

Hank’s father and David say that they must avoid FEC examination for any suspect behavior. David also reveals that it was Delphi who authorized the attack on Delia. “We needed to make sure she needed you,” David rationalizes. Um, great call on how that would turn out, David. When Hank’s father asks if Hank remembers the purpose of the organization, Hank blankly recites a pledge to the cause, “a brotherhood of blood dedicated to stamping out the pestilence of witchery on the northern continent” (“The GOP,” for short). Hank’s father says that Hank must be careful to remember who Delia really is. “You can never lose yourself to the lie because someday she will have to be put down.”

Fiona makes a visit to Cornrow City with Delphine’s boxed head. (Imagine reading that sentence if you didn’t watch this show.) Laveau tries to shoo Fiona away, but Fiona replies, “Then give the thing in this box a wash and set.” In the back room, Fiona says that she dug up Delphine solely for information. Delphine hilariously can’t hear the conversation well, considering that her head’s in a box; meanwhile, her body is still capable of moving in its fly-swarmed cage. This is all very Return to Oz.

Fiona says that they should form an alliance against the witch hunters, but Marie — who holds a tumbler so fabulously that I want a Tumblr of her holding a tumbler — refuses, stating that “witch hunters are a white woman’s worry.” After correctly pegging Fiona for a cancer patient, she then proceeds to say “shiiiiiit” just like The Wire’s Senator Clay Davis. Rebuffed, Fiona leaves, while Marie tells Queenie to burn Delphine’s head.

But Queenie has another idea for hungry Delphine, to whom she shoots this delectable line: “Girl, you ain’t got no stomach. What are you gonna do — chew it and shit it out of your neck?” Way to spoil what could have been the best visual yet, Queenie. Then Queenie hilariously places Delphine in front of a TV with the intent of showing her the entirety of the Roots franchise, Mandingo, The Color Purple, and BAPS. Delphine, singing “Dixie” for solace, keeps her eyes closed the entire time, but since Delphine can’t cover her ears, Queenie decides to play protest music instead.

Delia can’t make herself eggs without dropping them on the floor. (Maybe Sigourney Weaver could get those eggs cooked for her.) Myrtle approaches, sick at having been found guilty of Delia’s blinding, and offers herself up to Delia’s Second Sight in order to prove her innocence. But Delia states that she would never think Myrtle capable of such a thing. “If I could pluck my own eyes out of my head and give them to you, I would,” Myrtle says – though it’s worth noting that she is wearing gloves when she takes Delia’s hand in reassurance.

After all, Myrtle is a real Lady Macbeth: In false forgiveness for her burning, she has Pembroke and Quentin over for melon balls, pie, and libations. The duo is fascinated by Misty’s swamp mud, but Myrtle tells them that the mud is simply a metaphor; Misty, all the stronger for her resurrection, is “a sophisticated witch with extraordinary gifts hiding out as a hippie swamp rat.” So she’s Britney, then. On the verge of toasting Myrtle, Pembroke freezes: Myrtle has poisoned her guests with monkshood, which causes paralysis. “I do love a key-lime pie even more than an île flottante,” Myrtle says – before scooping their eyes out with the melon baller. Et voilà: Delia now has one blue and one brown eye, just like Kate Bosworth.

Delia, though grateful, thinks that Myrtle should have asked her about this first. Fiona turns up, asking, “Who let this charcoal briquette back in?” Fiona says that such a resurrection is beyond Myrtle’s powers, but Myrtle asserts that she is newly fortified since her return from the grave.

Fiona says that Myrtle’s sentence still stands and that Madison’s death is no longer relevant since Madison has been revived. She even threatens Myrtle with that vilest of banishments — Paramus, New Jersey. Yet Fiona may have some trouble convening the Council, considering that Myrtle has chopped them to bits. Delia silences the fight, telling Myrtle that Fiona is still their Supreme and that the real danger lies outside of the Academy’s doors. When Myrtle hugs her, Delia finds that with the reappearance of her actual sight comes the disappearance of her Second one.

Zoe and Madison go to America’s ugliest hospital to retrieve a distraught Nan. Joan, tending to a comatose Luke, tells them all to get out. But Nan’s clairvoyance soon takes hold. “We’re witches. Haven’t you figured it out by now?” Madison asks exasperatedly. At first, Joan holds her ground, but when Nan channels Luke’s thoughts, Joan cracks and sings “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” It’s a ballsy thing — finally getting Patti LuPone to sing, yet under a catatonic and grief-ridden pall — but it’s both worth the wait and moving.

Moving, that is, until Nan-Luke also finds Joan guilty of homicide: After discovering that her husband was having an affair with “Mrs. Martone,” Joan killed him by filling his car with bees and watching them sting him to death. Joan tells Nan to get out of the room, and then, when Luke wakes up, still remembering the murder, she tells him to go to bed … then smothers him with a pillow. Paging Dr. Day: We’ve got a revival in Room 435.

To “Kind of Woman,” Misty, dressed this time more like Bat for Lashes than Stevie Nicks, helps Delia perform a special spell in the nursery with bay leaves and asafoetida. “You’re such an awesome leader, Delia,” Misty says, but Delia maintains that Fiona is still the leader of the coven. Then Hank shows up. He’s had a harrowing time, what with Marie Laveau’s having performed an excruciating voodoo spell on him from afar. Taking seriously the threat of having a needle shoved through his heart next time, he tries to reconcile with Delia and is amazed at her newfound sight.

But Delia has filed for divorce. “Your shit is in a box in the closet,” she says, missing the chance to sing, “To the left, to the left.” (FYI, Hank’s shit seems to consist almost solely of a hideous comforter.) Fiona and her new guard dog come upon Hank, and Fiona says that she got a female dog, because “Females are more loyal and aggressive when it comes to protecting their families.” (This episode has more people-as-canines metaphors than Doggystyle.) All the same, when Fiona’s dog wanders into FrankenKyle’s room, he immediately proceeds to kill it.

No worries, though. When Zoe, Madison, and Nan return home, they see a surprisingly eloquent Kyle playing cards with Fiona: “Since none of you girls can play cards worth a damn, I took the liberty of sprucing up your boy just a touch.” Kyle is now the new guard dog — “one who’ll attack on command.”

We see Hank loading up with ammunition — but it’s not to Miss Robichaux’s that he goes. He begins a massacre on Cornrow City while “Oh, Freedom” plays and Delphine, perhaps finally repentant, weeps. Although Queenie has endured being ordered around by Laveau, she is that “loyal and aggressive” guard: Just as Hank is about to shoot Laveau, Queenie shoots herself through the head, effectively killing him. (His coffee shark of a father gets a good weep out of that.) We then end with a turning of tables, as Marie shows up on Fiona’s doorstep and Fiona looks enticingly pleased to have her.

Does anyone else get the sense that Myrtle is (still) a bad seed? Where will Delphine’s head go from here? How will Gabby Sidibe factor in to the end of the show? All I know is that I would voodoo-shoot myself for all of you if it meant having a scene in which Laveau does Spalding’s hair. And P.S. A reminder that this was the mid-season finale; the show doesn’t come back until January 8. Our present this holiday season is, of course, that the next episode will be called “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” — and it will star the White Witch herself!!!

Photo: Michele K. Short/FX