‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Kathy Bates Gets Decapitated
Maybe it was the sheer absurdity of watching an Academy Award nominated actress (Angela Bassett) deliver the decapitated head of an Academy Award winning actress (Kathy Bates) to yet another Academy Award winning actress (Jessica Lange), but boy was that ending just delightful. Ryan Murphy knew he had a golden opportunity when so many divine, seasoned actresses signed up for Coven, and so far he has not disappointed. Jessica Lange forcing Kathy Bates into slavery? Check. Angela Bassett performing a sexual voodoo montage to unleash an army of zombies? Double check. Jessica Lange slitting the throat of Julia Roberts’ young niece? Check, check, check.
But nothing — not even a limbless Chloë Sevigny terrifying a gaggle of 1960’s schoolchildren — compares to what happened at the end of “The Sacred Taking.” Kathy is a household name; the type of universally loved and respected actress who typically appears in Oscar-bait films, not as a literal talking head on a platter on a kooky FX show. When she arrived this year as the evil Madame LaLaurie we all expected her to be this menacing, larger-than-life villain, and instead AHS pulled a number on us by making her the butt of the most grotesque “joke” of the season. It proves once and for all that Kathy is game for absolutely anything, and how can you not love her for it?
Why The ‘Talking Head’ Comedy Was Needed
Don’t get me wrong, here — I adored AHS: Asylum, and Coven has been very enjoyable so far. But AHS plays around with so many uncomfortable, hard-to-watch themes that a little bit of shock and levity is often needed. “The Sacred Taking” was disturbingly difficult to watch before Kathy’s mood-changing moment at the end — that scene with Fiona dying of cancer, anyone? — so I honestly breathed a sigh of relief when the visually jarring and laugh-out-loud hilarious moment arrived. AHS should absolutely continue touching upon the difficult themes that no one else would in their right mind address, but adding these bits of harmless, old fashioned shock value is what makes the show a truly great watch.
What did you think of Kathy’s big moment, HollywoodLifers? Do you agree that it was the most shocking scene yet?
— Shaunna Murphy