American Horror Story recap: Burn or Boil

Zombies come a-knocking on Halloween night. Warning: Bloodshed and maternal anxiety may ensue
Ep. 05 | Aired Nov 6, 2013

BURNING LOVE Zoe watches in horror as the Coven executes one of its own.

"Who is Jennifer Wooley?" asked Fiona, which seemed like a rhetorical question. Until the warlock on the Council piped up: "It's the Veronica Lake character in the movie I Married a Witch." Helpful! And accurate. But Jennifer Wooley was also the pseudonym Myrtle used when she checked into a hotel in New Orleans. Spalding found the room...and inside, found the wall where Myrtle had set up a Carrie Mathison-esque investigation of Fiona's activities. The Council were horrified: Why hadn't Myrtle mentioned that she'd been in New Orleans this whole time? Then came the final piece of evidence: Fiona pulled off her rival's red glove, revealing a hand burnt by the same acid that robbed Delia's eyesight. Ciciley -- the quiet one on the Council -- delivered the verdict. "You give us no choice. Burn the witch."

The decision was already made. Myrtle stood up, not for a final argument, but for a weary final speech. She had spent her life swimming against the tide. She thought she had finally found a place for herself in the Coven. She was wrong. She wanted it to be over. "I go proudly into the flames," she said. "Go ahead. Burn me."

CUE UP: "Right Place Wrong Time," a sizzly track by New Orleans legend Dr. John. The hilariously inappropriate number lent a funky undercurrent to the sight of the Coven marching all in black to burn Myrtle at the stake. The men in suits poured gasoline on her, dousing her fiery red hair. She had some last words to share. "You're all a bunch of little toads in a pot Fiona is slowly bringing to boil," she said, really painting a picture. "You won't even feel it until it's too late. I'd rather burn than boil."

Fiona took a last drag on her cigarette and made Myrtle's wish come true. (The only thing that would've made this scene better would've been Fiona pausing before she burned Myrtle to say "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.") If you're keeping track, nearly half of the credited regular cast of American Horror Story: Coven has died in the first five episodes. Misty, Kyle, Madison, and now Myrtle -- and it's more than half if you consider LaLaurie's centuries-long imprisonment a kind of death.

Back at Miss Robichaux's, Queenie had a question for Fiona: "Did I help you frame a guilty woman, or an innocent one?" We saw Fiona's closing arguments from another perspective: Around the corner, Queenie thrust her hand into a cup of sulfuric acid right before Fiona revealed Myrtle's newly-burnt hand. "I thought we were gonna oust her, not roast her," said Queenie. (ASIDE: I still can't decide whether we were meant to think Myrtle threw the acid or not. The way that she just gave up to Fiona made it seem like she had a guilty conscience. But could it be that she didn't throw the acid? And if not, who did? END OF ASIDE.)

Fiona gave Queenie a speech that we may remember from a couple episodes ago, when she was taking Madison under her wing. She told Queenie she was getting stronger and she told her that she would achieve magnificent heights; she whispered in her ear that she might be the next Supreme. Of course, we recognize the threat intrinsic in that statement. (How many more young witches will Fiona kill this season?) Lest we forgot what Fiona's tutelage has wrought her other students, we cut over to Spalding preparing for an All Saint's Day tea party. He tried to pull The Metaphorically Decomposing Corpse of Emma Roberts out of its hiding place, and he wound up pulling Emma Roberts' left arm right out of its socket. Truly, it was one of the craziest episodes of Unfabulous ever!

We cut back to the remnants of the Witch-Burning, where the burned-out husk that once was Myrtle Snow lay. Cue Misty Day, who always seems to perambulate towards the strangest places. She cradled Myrtle's head in her hands...and Myrtle's eyes shot wide open.

Five episodes in, and it already feels as if we've cycled through several seasons' worth of mythology. Where does the show go from here? Will the resurrected Myrtle continue her plans to take down Fiona? Will she provide Misty with the friendship the Stevie Nicks fangirl so desperately requires? Who do you think is the next Supreme? Also, lest we forget, there's a reanimated matricidal fratboy-Frankenstein just wandering around the streets. Hopefully they figure that out before All Souls' Day.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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