We all love ‘American Horror Story’ but let’s face it — at some point this year, ‘Coven’ just lost us. I’m not sure whether it was the endless resurrections, the stunt casting, the ever-changing rules of the show’s universe, or all of the above, but one thing has become abundantly clear — something’s gotta change if the show wants to return to its ‘Asylum’-level glory.
American Horror Story has become famous for its A-List celebrity roster, its refusal to back away from tough issues, its unforgettable imagery and, of course, Jessica Lange. However, something was a bit.. off… about the show’s third season, Coven.
‘American Horror Story’: 5 Ways To Fix The Show Next Season
1. Chill Out On The Stunt Casting. I will always treasure Ian McShane‘s reign as Santa Claus back in Asylum, mostly because his episodes were icky and terrifying and his character — albeit indirectly — affected the overall arc of the show. Patti LuPone was given an entire useless arc on Coven, and its sole purpose was obviously to lead us to a point where the Broadway star had an excuse to sing. Yes, the Stevie Nicks thing was freaking awesome, but we need to limit Ryan Murphy‘s obsession with stunt casting — and especially, creating unnecessary side plots to justify said stunt casting — for Season 4. With only 13 episodes a season, we really don’t have time to cater to each and every one of Murphy’s casting whims. (Unless they involve Adam Levine losing an arm, because why not?)
2. Establish Some Actual Rules. Why was Misty’s death permanent during the Seven Wonders, but Zoe’s was not? Why could Fiona bring a baby back to life when she couldn’t even restore her daughter’s eyesight? It seemed like the rules in Coven‘s universe changed week after week, creating a messy, confusing, chaotic scenario where actions didn’t have consequences and major events carried no weight. In Asylum and Murder House, once you were dead, you were dead (unless aliens resurrected and impregnated you, but that was an established part of the universe, and it was used sparingly, so it was okay!). When Constance’s daughter died in Murder House, she wasn’t on the actual property, so we all had to face the hard truth that she was gone forever. And no one came back from that damn Asylum in one piece — creating a world where there are actual hard consequences to one’s actions would be a really solid move for Season 4.
3. Don’t Keep People Around Just For The Hell Of It. I mean, I get it. We all love Evan Peters. He was great in Murder House and even better in Asylum. But his plot line was downright painful in Coven, to the point where I kept thinking that Evan should probably have taken the year off and pursued other projects. Murphy cut out Taissa Farmiga from Asylum when there wasn’t a place for her — why create tedious plots for show-favorites just to keep them on the roster? It didn’t help Evan, the show, or the viewers to keep him around. Trust me.
4. Give Us Someone To Root For. Throughout all of Asylum, Lana Winters was our eyes and ears into the madcap universe created on the show. When she fell through Zachary Quinto‘s floor moments after we thought she’d been rescued, it felt like we were suffering right along with her. And when she triumphantly murdered her own son at the end of the series, it felt like we all got a happy ending, in a sense. Coven, on the other hand, didn’t give us one solid character to root for. It seemed like Zoe would be the one at the beginning of the series, but her plot line went absolutely nowhere, and she quickly faded into the background as some utterly unlikable people dominated the action. Then the final episode made us think that Cordelia was our one true hero, but we really didn’t spend enough quality time with the character to make her ascension to Supreme all that exciting.
5. No. More. Resurrections. Death has always been a huge part of AHS — it is a horror story after all — but Coven sucked the life out of death by eliminating the one thing that makes death so terrifying: its finality. After Madison, Misty, Myrtle, Kyle, Queenie, and the entire population of the Ninth Ward were resurrected after their untimely deaths, the shock value was nonexistent. The show kept killing people off week after week, but it was nearly impossible to care. Even when Fiona was seemingly chopped into a million pieces and fed to the gators, she still managed to come back, which pretty much everyone expected. Remember back in Season 1, when Violet died and unknowingly became a ghost, until she saw her own decomposed body weeks later? I still remember the blood draining from my face during that scene. It was powerful. A young girl’s life was tragically taken from her in the most brutal of ways, and now she’d have to spend an eternity watching life go on without her. Now that, my friends, is horror.
What do you think, AHS fans? Were you also disappointed by Coven? Do you have any ideas on what you’d like to see for Season 4? Let me know in the comments!
— Shaunna Murphy