‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Breakdown: ‘The Replacements’

AHSC - The Replacements

(SPOILERS AHEAD, so witch your step, Coven fans!)

Season Three, Episode Three: “The Replacements”

Written by: James Wong, Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Broadway comes to New Orleans in this weeks’ Coven. Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone, veterans of the Great White Way, make delicious guest appearances in “The Replacements,” further solidifying this as the gayest season of television (sorry, Glee). Unfortunately, no one has broken out into song…yet.

Quick Breakdown

Fiona can’t sleep, her mind haunted by what she did in 1971. Back then, Anna-Lee Leighton (Christine Ebersole) was the reigning Supreme. But teenage Fiona could feel her own powers growing ever stronger. She asks Anna-Lee how she became Supreme, a task involving a performance of the “Seven Wonders.” She tells Fiona, though, that she’s too young to become Supreme. Yet Fiona can see that as she grows more powerful, Anna-Lee weakens, relying on medicine to survive (just like Fiona now). She slits Anna-Lee’s throat with a small dagger as Spalding watches. Is Fiona the one who cut out his tongue?

Fiona’s youthful worries continue. Guys no longer pick her up in bars, so she seeks out cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, she and Cordelia have “alarming” bloodwork, and their respective doctors refuse to perform surgery on them. This proves problematic for Cordelia, whose fertility spell failed. She seeks out Laveau for her voodoo magic. But Laveau will not treat the daughter of her sworn enemy, leaving Cordelia in tears (and most likely dwelling on yet another hurt caused by her mother).

Zoe visits Kyle’s troubled pothead mother, Alicia (Mare Winningham), saving her from the brink of suicide. To help her, Zoe pries Franken-Kyle from Misty’s claws and drops him off on his mother’s doorstep, hoping that seeing his mother will reawaken his consciousness. Alicia is so happy to have her son and lover back (incest alert!), but she is disturbed to see that her son’s body is different. As she seduces him, Kyle grows angry and bashes in her head with a sports trophy.

Fiona brings Lalaurie a maid uniform, taking delight in making the racist woman a slave to Queenie. Lalaurie grumpily takes on her role at fear of being boxed up again. As she cooks for Queenie, she is frightened by shadows outside. Her minotaur monster has returned, trying to bust down the door. Queenie tries to save the day by luring the minotaur away with a rag of Lalaurie’s blood. She feels bad about what happened to the boy within the beast, seeing herself in him, and takes him to the greenhouse where she tries to seduce him. When she masturbates herself, does she actually get him off instead? And will his inner man or beast respond to her advances?

Next door to the school, a super religious family has moved in. Madison has eyes for the sexy boy Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon), but his mother Joan (Patti LuPone) does not condone it at all. She banishes Madison from the house, but not before Madison sends a knife flying at her face and accidentally sets the drapes on fire. Disturbed, Joan visits Fiona, describing her horror at what happened. Fiona dismisses the Bible thumper, but is intrigued by Madison’s growing powers.

Fiona takes Madison out, teaching her to hone her powers. She sees Madison’s potential and realizes that she is the next Supreme, and that is why Fiona’s power and youth is dwindling. She tells Madison as much, revealing that she is dying of cancer, and gives Madison that small dagger, urging her to put her out of her misery and ascend to power. Madison, to her credit, does not want to kill her; and they struggle with the knife. Seemingly by accident, Fiona slices open Madison’s throat with Spalding looking on yet again. With a smile on her face, Fiona tells him to bury the body out back. “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme, it needs a new rug.”



This episode gives us more insight into Fiona and her quest for eternal youth. She will clearly do anything for eternal Supremacy, including killing off a series regular. But will Madison rise again like the others from the first episode? This episode also does a great job of tying together the various plot threads thematically (as relates to the episode title, “The Replacements”). This was a solid episode, and one that exemplifies the off-the-rails storytelling we know, love, and expect from American Horror Story.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Best New Insult: Anna-Lee calls young Fiona a “vicious little gash.”

Lalaurie gets a new costume much faster than Crane on Sleepy Hollow.

“Are you seriously ignoring me for dessert?” – Madison to Luke when he gets excited by the cake Nan brought over.

“Your student threw a knife at me. It missed my head by three inches.” – Joan about Madison. “Yes, she needs to work on her aim.” –Fiona

In this and last week’s episode, Cordelia’s been mostly separate from the rest of the characters, when will her story collide with the rest?

Misty is desperate for a “tribe” that she fits into. She is saddened and angered when Zoe takes Kyle from her. Is she a ticking time bomb, waiting to wreak havoc on the coven? Will she bring Madison back to life for revenge?

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