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Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Groove Tube: Myrtle Snow & the Supremes

Love it or hate it, you have to agree that American Horror Story: Coven was one wild and crazy ride. I named the third season of this anthology series as The Grooviest Television Show of 2013 because of its deliciously demented storylines performed with scenery-chewing glee by an amazing ensemble of actors. However, when it returned in January after a brief holiday hiatus, the final four episodes were a bit disappointing as many of my favorite characters were abruptly killed off. This also happened at the end of the first two seasons, but this time around I kept asking myself, "Was that really necessary?" Some of these sudden deaths just seemed rather pointless to me. But even with that said, I still enjoyed Coven, so now let's take a look at the Best and the Worst of the season:

Grooviest Witch: Frances Conroy's fabulous theremin-playing fashionista Myrtle Snow.

Grooviest Witch Runners-Up: Nan and Misty (I would have preferred to see either of them become the new Supreme).

The Greatest Invention of This Century: According to Myrtle, it's the wrap dress created by fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg.

Hottest Hunk: Alexander Dreymon as Luke Ramsey, the academy's shirtless new neighbor.

Grooviest Guest Star Honorable Mention #1: The Tony Award-winning Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens, 42nd Street) as Anna-Leigh Leighton, the reigning Supreme and academy headmistress whom Fiona killed in 1971 in order to take the throne herself.

Grooviest Guest Star Honorable Mention #2: The always amusing Leslie Jordan as Quentin, a "vicious old queen" and a member of the Council of the Witchcraft.

Grooviest Guest Star Runner-Up: The Tony Award-winning Patti LuPone (Evita, Gypsy) as Joan Ramsey, Luke's Bible-thumping (and enema-happy) mother.

Grooviest Guest Star: Stevie Nicks in her acting debut as Herself (and Fiona's friend).

Best Couple Runner-Up: Nan and Luke

Best Couple: Queenie and Delphine, whose evolving "friendship" provided much humor.

Worst Couple: Cordelia and her witch-hunting husband Hank

Best Threesome: Zoe, Kyle and Madison

Best Zombie Killer: Zoe and her chainsaw

Worst Party Hostess: Madame Delphine LaLaurie served eyeballs and intestines (from her slaves) to her guests at her All Hallow's Eve ball in 1833.

Worst Cook: When Madison refused to flush her toilet, Delphine made a "poop soup" and served it to the witches (but perhaps she should be considered the "Best Cook" since everyone seemed to enjoy her culinary creation).

Best Resurrection: Misty brought Myrtle's corpse back to life after Myrtle was framed by Fiona and burned at the stake for Cordelia's acid attack and Madison's murder.

Most Unexpected Nice Gesture: Fiona brought a stillborn baby back to life for a young mother in the hospital.

Most Disappointing Death Runner-Up #3: After Joan smothered her son Luke with a pillow, she had him cremated (I was hoping that Nan might bring him back to life).

Most Disappointing Death Runner-Up #2: Marie and Fiona drowned poor Nan in the bathtub.

Most Disappointing Death Runner-Up #1: Myrtle insisted that she be burned at the stake a second time because she killed the Council members.

Most Disappointing Death: Misty Day disintegrated to ash when she was unable to return from her personal hell - dissecting a frog in school - during the Seven Wonders competition. This wonderful Stevie Nicks-loving gal certainly didn't deserve such a lame exit.

Most Deserving Death Runner-Up: Nan forced Joan to kill herself by drinking bleach as punishment for murdering her handsome son (but co-creator Ryan Murphy really should give Patti LuPone a chance to sing if she returns for Season 4).

Most Deserving Death: Kyle choked Madison to death for refusing to revive Zoe, who fatally impaled herself on a wrought-iron fence (Madison was my least favorite witch).

Most Enjoyable Head: Delphine's, which Marie sent to Fiona in a box.

Most Creative (and Disgusting) Use of a Melon Baller: Myrtle got revenge on Council members Quentin and Cecily by scooping out their eyes and giving them to a blind Cordelia.

Most Disgusting Use of Gardening Shears: Cordelia pierced her new eyes in order to regain her second-sight power.

Least Favorite Storylines: I could have done without both Papa Legba and The Axeman.

Alternative Ending: I thought for sure Fiona was going to kill Cordelia in their final scene together and become the Supreme again. Obviously this would have been a less happy ending, but it is supposed to be a horror story.

Best Line Honorable Mention: "This coven doesn't need a new Supreme - it needs a new rug" - Fiona after cutting Madison's throat and then watching her bleed to death on the floor.

Best Line Runner-Up: "It was horrible. I was stuck on a network musical. It was a live version of The Sound of Music. I wasn't even the lead. I was Liesl" - Madison discussing her own personal hell.

Best Line: "Balenciaga!" - Myrtle's last word (referencing the French fashion house) before her second death.

Season Grade: B (although I enjoyed Coven, it did lack the scary "on the edge of your seat" horror of the first two seasons. Instead most of the horror was played for laughs and/or shock value, which was still entertaining to watch. And the "Who is going to be next Supreme?" story was never as dramatically compelling as a family dying in a haunted house or a young woman trapped in a mental institution. But I'm already looking forward to Season 4, which will be set in the 1950s and once again star Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett and Sarah Paulson)


joel65913 said...

I'm not a big horror fan and the first season was too ghoulish for me but I did watch this whole season because of the lineup of phenomenal actresses. I was loving it at the beginning but it seriously tapered off to a disappointing conclusion. It used neither Kathy Bates or especially Angela Bassett correctly and I was really let down at the way they cavalierly dropped the ball on Misty Day. She should have been the new Supreme, she was by far the most interesting of the young girls. Jessica Lange however continued to amaze.

Marc said...

I agree that they definitely dropped the ball with the disappointing death of Misty Day. And Ms. Lange can do no wrong - I've liked her ever since King Kong.

Christoph said...

I agree with many of your comments. This was actually my first time watching a season of AHS at the insistence of my mother and work colleagues/friends, and I thought it was a wickedly surprising good time. I was disappointed in how they wrapped up the Marie Laveau, Delphine and Misty Day characters. Also, sometimes the death count per episode was astounding. Unlike a number of people, I actually enjoyed both Gabourey Sidibe and Jamie Brewer's performances here (Queenie and Nan), and was disappointed with how blithely Nan and Luke (the next door neighbor) were thrown away for no good reason. Was there any more a tragic character on this show than Luke? He turned out to be a genuinely beautiful person both inside and out in love with the girl next door, who was attacked by zombies, revealed a history of being savagely tortured by his religious zealot mother, was gunned down, discovered that his mom was a serial murderer and then smothered to death by her, and then had his last chance of happiness/resurrection snatched away by the same woman (I mean at least the nearly as-tragic Franken-Kyle got a happy ending). And now to let my more prurient interests show, were the writers kidding us that they could find no reason for getting the scorching Alexander Dreymon naked at any point?! I was, however, pleasantly happy to see the outcome of the Supreme and found Fiona's personal hell rather amusing.

Marc said...

Thanks for your comments, Christoph! I was hoping for a happy ending for Nan and Luke - but, alas, AHS is not known for treating its characters well. And I agree that we should have seen A LOT more of Mr. Dreymon (Luke) and his fine physique. Maybe he will get invited back for Season 4 - here's hoping. I also recommend that you check out the first two seasons of AHS - you might like them.