American Horror Story recap: Chicks With Nicks

The body count builds higher as the witches strike against their enemies and each other. Also, Stevie Nicks plays herself.
Ep. 10 | Aired Jan 8, 2014

WITCH LADY SINGS THE BLUES Stevie Nicks agreed to appear on American Horror Story, but only after the writers turned the entire season into a thematic adaptation of the life and work of Stevie Nicks. Also, during Nicks' appearance, there was an Eminem reference. And Ryan Murphy promised we'd start getting hints about next season in the final episodes. Yadda yadda yadda, the next AHS season will star Evan Peters as a Matt Marsh, a tormented young rapper from Detroit who marries his high school sweetheart (Emma Roberts) but doesn't realize her brain has been taken over by his mother (Jessica Lange). Kim Basinger has a guest-starring role in a flashforward, wherein she plays Matt Marsh's daughter. It will be called American Horror Story: Motherboy.

Michele K. Short/FX

As a character, Fiona Goode is all over the place. She's a supervillain and an empress, she's a bohemian and an aristocrat, she wants to defend the Coven and she wants to destroy the Coven, she wants to be a better mother and she wants to eat her daughter alive. She's in love with a resurrected serial killer who's been watching her grow up since she was a teenager. In a moment that set the tone for this whole death-obsessed season, she begged Madison to kill her before she decided to kill Madison instead.

If Fiona weren't played by Jessica Lange, if she were on any show other than American Horror Story, I'm not sure she would make any sense. But at this point in Coven, she looks like an indelible Jackson Pollock portrait: A vision of powerful womanhood in extremis, torn between the urge to leave the world better than she found it and the counter-urge to burn it all to the ground so nobody else can ever enjoy it.

Example: Nan. The clairvoyant witch heard the little baby crying, and went upstairs. Marie told her to put that baby down. Nan refused. "I'm the new Supreme," she said -- at the exact wrong moment, since that's when Fiona walked in. Marie informed Fiona that Papa needed the blood of an innocent. "Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone," said Fiona. CUT TO: Fiona and Marie, freaking drowning Nan in a bathtub. Fiona, with the line of the night: "Don't put up such a fuss. You're not the first witch to be drowned."

Nan isn't the first main character to die this season, of course. (Deaths still pending: Zoe, Delia, Fiona, Marie. I guess technically Delphine never died, but she's been buried and decapitated, so let's not get pedantic about this.) Somehow, though, this death felt permanent. Papa initially refused the offering. But Fiona noted that Nan was innocent, mostly. So Papa took Nan away. "Do I have to wear this outfit for all eternity?" Nan asked. Papa said no: She'd find something more suiting. Nan sounded positively sanguine about this development: "Anywhere is better than here." Off they walked into the shadows.

Then it was back down to the ballroom for Fiona. Stevie was still there, playing the piano. "Perfect ending to a long day," said Fiona. She listened while Stevie sang "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You," a song that's about death and being remembered, or perhaps about the fear of death and the fear of not being remembered. It struck a chord with Fiona, sitting there on the couch. The last shot of the episode was a close-up on her face, smiling and crying all at once.

It was an active episode, fellow viewers, setting up all kinds of potential conflicts as we go into the final three episodes. What did you think? Is Nan really gone? (Ryan Murphy says: yes.) Did I completely miss the part in last episode where Queenie died? (I figured she'd recover from the gunshot, and the fact that the witches didn't find her is encouraging.) Is Misty going to emerge from the mausoleum a changed witch, seeking vengeance?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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