American Horror Story season finale recap: Me, Myself, and My Mother's Daughter

The Coven welcomes a new Supreme. Not everyone gets out alive.
Ep. 13 | Aired Jan 29, 2014

ASLEEP ON THE JOB Is there any creature more pitiful than poor Misty Day? She wanted only to do good, to bring life back to people and animals killed by the malice of evil men. We met her when she died the first time. She died again in a coffin, buried alive by a girl who was only alive because Misty brought her back to life. And in the finale, she joined her sisters on the journey to the underworld. They made it back. But not Misty, poor Misty Day.

Michele K. Short/FX

I guess you could argue that my description hyperbolizes Madison a little bit. Maybe she really never loved Kyle. Maybe she could never have been the Supreme. (Given the hazy rules around Supremedom, who the hell knows?) But there's a nice caffeine-pulp coherence to her story arc -- the beautiful grotesque, the notion of a barely-legal starlet as a cynical has-been -- and Emma Roberts clearly had a blast playing the proverbial Child Star Breaking Bad. It makes me wonder if there was a different version of Coven that took the implicit Hollywood symbolism and made it explicit -- a Coven where Miss Robichaux's was an old mansion on Sunset Boulevard, where all the witches were also young actresses struggling for success or older acclaimed stars struggling against obsolescence.

(ASIDE: Lest that sound like a wild unlikelihood, keep in mind that all of Ryan Murphy's shows are partially about Hollywood. Popular played around with typical teen-drama iconography, refocusing on characters types classically defines as "outcasts." Glee did the same thing, in a world where "Let's put on a show!" is standard operating procedure. Nip/Tuck dug into the beauty industry before finally just moving to Los Angeles; Murder House was set in the decayed dreams of Old Los Angeles, while New Normal imagined a flip-side nouveau-LA where Andrew Rannells' TV producer lived a yuppie dreamlife with a sassy assistant who looked like a Bravolebrity and a lovable blonde dame who looked like Ellen Barkin. In an ideal world, Murphy would reboot LA Confidential as a vaguely historically accurate musical anthology and let Alfonso Gomez-Rejon shoot it like a Douglas Sirk movie. END OF ASIDE.)

So Madison died and Zoe came back to life, and Delia was crowned the new Supreme. Her eyes grew back, her garden glowed with beauty, there was a general sense of true happiness all around. Worth pointing out that, with Zoe's death-and-resurrection, Delia was the only person who didn't die this season: An indication that the Horror Story writers were playing the long game, maybe.

And then BOOM: We cut forward in time a few months, to yet another iteration of Sarah Paulson giving yet another TV interview in yet another iteration of American Horror Story. The witches had gone public: "Women who identify as witches are born as such. It's not a choice being a witch...when you hide in the shadows, you are less visible." This was a Theme Dump: You could replace "witch" with all kind of real-world synonyms. Delia explicitly mentioned anti-witch Hate Crimes. She gave out her email address. (On the TV, the news crawl promised, "Up Next: Liza Minnelli Talks About Her Hip!")

Delia promised to be a new kind of Supreme. She would rebuild the Coven, bring it back to its place of prominence. Her mentor, Myrtle, was proud of her. But she also knew that Delia had to perform a horrible act. Myrtle had killed the other members of the council. Witch Had Killed Witch. "You want to be burned at the stake...again?" Myrtle did. "The last thing you need is an AbScam, a Watergate. I killed so I must pay for it."

Myrtle has always been, above all, an idealist. She put the needs of the Coven ahead of herself. So I liked how she pulled a Cincinnatus, staying true to her principles even when absolute power beckoned. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that she pulled a Terminator 2, sacrificing herself for the good of her young charge. So "Silver Springs" played, and so Myrtle marched once again up to Burning Hill. (Once again, she was flanked by her assistants, one bald and one not bald.) And when Myrtle burned again, the last vestige of her Witching generation died off. A new generation would take over now.

Or would it?

NEXT: Yes it would. Or would it? Yes.

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