American Horror Story: Coven: Fleetwood Meh

So we had a nice long break from Coven for the holidays, which was a little weird because horror Christmas rocked last season. Still, okay, I understand that FX might have wanted to hold off during the most wondrous time of the year for a horror series. Maybe they even thought that a little distance would help us see through the flaws in the episode while in the midst of anticipation fulfilled.

Nope, this was like watching a birth defect develop in television form, horrible circumstances at inception playing out to their hideous and unfortunate conclusions.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I have found you can definitely tell a TV episode by its title. In this case the title was, I shit thee not sphincter squeeze, "The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks." Dear God and everything Yee Haw, why did this happen?

Ever since the season introduced the character of Misty Day, played by the criminally misused Lily Rabe (who I'm starting to think lost a bet to a cruel writer this season), there has been this weird fascination with Stevie Nicks and her nickname The White Witch in the show. While plenty of neo-pagans, wiccans and the like have tried to claim Nicks as one of their own for decades, the truth is she just likes dressing like that. She's about as magical as a bowl of Lucky Charms.

That didn't stop Ms. Nicks from showing up twice this episode, singing a couple of songs and letting Misty go all fan girl on her. Apparently Nicks really is a witch in this episode. The thing she isn't at all is an actress, and watching Jessica Lange lead her along in her scenes was so painfully awkward that I finally had to put the show on mute and follow the subtitles to reduce the pain of one sensory organ.

Look, I love Stevie Nicks just fine. One of my favorite films of all time is Gypsy 83, and not just because Sara Rue takes her top off. I can appreciate a good fan-letter vehicle. Rock and Roll High School, Detroit Rock City and stuff like that? Sign me up.

But this is supposed to be a gripping horror narrative, not some guest spot vehicle for musical numbers. It's vaguely reminiscent of the very forced cameo by Mena Suvari as the Black Dahlia in Season One. Come to think of it, didn't they have Lily Rabe make out with her for no particular reason that season? Man, what the hell did Lily Rabe do to the producers of this show that caused her to be the host of annoying, pointless sidequests?

Oh, and by the way...Stevie Nicks is in an episode, and then suddenly everyone is doing cocaine. I just spent a couple of paragraphs bashing her appearance on the show, and even I thought that was a little mean.

In other, still ridiculous news, we meet the source of Marie Laveau's immortality, the voodoo figure Papa Legba. I suspected it at first with the way Angela Bassett was being directed, but now I am sure...the makers of Coven got everything they know of voodoo from Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog. And who the hell casts Lance Reddick in that role when Tony Todd is still walking around being Tony Todd? It's like they weren't even trying to get it right.

This season is just so bloody inconsistent and meaningless. Witches are powerless to stop a single man with a gun, yet can cripple a multibillion-dollar corporation with six rats and a balsa-wood maze? Then there's the fact that they've gone from skirting the realization that every murder in the story is pointless thanks to Misty Day's resurrection powers to just openly admitting it.

"We have to find his body so Misty can bring him back," says Nan. It's the television equivalent of freakin' phoenix down.

Immediately after that, Nan makes someone drink bleach to kill herself in a perverse act of cleansing.

Sounds like a pretty accurate metaphor for the show right now to me.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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