A couple of men are boating through the swamps hunting alligators – and getting quite a large haul. Apparently this is illegal so they’re a bit nervous when they return to their camp of dead gators and find a strange woman there – it’s Misty, she-who-was-burned-to-death-but-apparently-got-better. She doesn’t like alligator hunting and brings the poor innocent creatures back to life. And they promptly eat the hunters.
At the Academy it’s morning – and Zoe is looking up lots and lots of articles about poor poor Kyle was almost a saint and totally didn’t deserve to die and Madison, who probably doesn’t need a guilt trip about not being careful enough in her post-rape revenge – has little sympathy for the man whose frat brothers raped her.
Fiona has Madam LaLaurie tied up in her room because she wants to know why the centuries old woman who was buried alive isn’t actually dead, somewhat hindered by her screaming in panic at being kidnapped, at the phone ringing and likely various other 21st century things
Time for a flashback to Queenie’s past with her selling fried chicken and getting into a dispute about the number of pieces of chicken she gave a customer. He insults her weight and she uses her voodoo doll power and plunges her arm in a vat of hot oil. This caused quite a stir as the man was horrendously burned but the police couldn’t prove anything – it did bring her to the attention of the Academy though.
Queenie didn’t want to join the Academy because she’s only ever seen media depictions of White witches and never applied the idea to her. She’s descended from Tituba (yes, witches = Salem, it is known). Madison opens her mouth and Queenie gets angry – Cordelia tries to tell them to stick together in fear of their many enemies… and some police arrive.
Well, on the plus side, Cordelia, it underscores the “many enemies” point. The police question Zoe and Madison on the bus flip and the death in the hospital (since it’s very similar to another death in Zoe’s past). Zoe cracks and starts babbling about witches (really?)
Fiona arrives and sends the girls out – (“are you in charge here?” “I’m in charge everywhere.” She does have some awesome lines). She enchants some water, forces them to drink it and messes with their minds, problem solved.
Madison is busy berating Zoe about being a complete fool when Fiona arrives to slam them into walls. It seems to be her problem solving method of choice. Zoe protests that the police just knew so much and Fiona has the second awesome line of the night “I couldn’t toast a piece of bread with the heat they were putting on you.” She goes on about the inherent superiority of witches, of standing together and that the only thing they really need to fear is Fiona.
Next we go to the morgue – Madison fees she owes Zoe for killing the guy in the hospital so in response she’s stolen a spell and they’re going to bring Kyle back to life! Unfortunately the bus crash was really really really bad and Kyle is in lots of little pieces (though surprisingly unburned). Zoe collapses into teary emotionalness while Madison thinks this is a great opportunity to take the best bits of each dead guy and make their own super Frankenstein.
To Cordelia – and Hank, her husband – in hospital receiving the bad news that she is infertile despite the fertility drugs she has been taking. The doctor discusses other options and Hank hustles him out to suggest Cordelia just use magic but she won’t – she feels using magic to get what she wants makes her like Fiona. Using magic to ensure a pregnancy is “playing god” using a doctor to get a pregnancy isn’t. Hank doesn’t follow the logic.
Fiona tries to entice her prisoner with fried chicken and tells her how long Madame LaLaurie has been underground. Flashback time! After waking up from the poison that Marie Laveau gave her she staggers outside to find Marie Laveau and a crowd of Black people calling her out. LaLaurie scorns them – and then sees her family have been hanged. She collapses in shocked grief but Marie Laveau hasn’t finished – the bottle wasn’t poison. It contained life everlasting, immortality.
Marie Laveau’s punishment for LaLaurie is to be sealed in a coffin, never to know the release of death, never to reunite with loved ones, to stay, alive and suffering, in her unmarked grave. That’s a pretty epic revenge.
Meanwhile at the morgue, Madison and Zoe sew their Kyle jigsaw and set the ritual up. Which involves smoke that makes them scream, blood and declaring devotion to the lord of the underworld which is probably not advisable. However, after all that drama, the spell doesn’t seem to work. Instead Zoe takers a moment to be alone with Kyle and say sorry while Madison waits outside –and then bails on her when a car drives up.
Zoe kisses Kyle and then hides when the man who just drove up investigates the morgue. And finds Zoe – but then Kyle does get up. On the plus side, Zoe doesn’t have to explain her presence in the morgue, on the minus side, she doesn’t have to because Kyle breaks the man’s neck and beats on his corpse.
Back to Fiona who, for some reason, decides to go to a Black hair salon where she is very much out of place (remarked upon by both her and the hairstylist) until a Black woman joins the group and chases everyone out leaving just her and Fiona. They spar back and forth with a lot of historical and racial animosity, Fiona deriding Tituba and her magic while the hairdresser points out that the witches of Salem got their magic from Tituba and was then betrayed – and that Tituba was part of a 2,000 year tradition in Africa before white people made her a slave; she adds some pertinent points about African civilisation and how wrong representations of African magic and customs were in the media. Fiona mocks her with Marie Laveau’s tomb now being a tourist attraction. An especially close target since the hairdresser is Marie Laveau – still alive and still young. Which is, of course, what Fiona wants.
Marie laughs at Fiona mocking her magic then coming asking for it and calls some men to kick her out – to which Fiona sets several wigs on fire. Fiona leaves, with an extra attack at Marie for not being rich.
At the Academy, Cordelia and Hank have an elaborate fertility ritual; it involves sex, snakes, blood and latin
Back at the morgue, Zoe sneaks Kyle out of the building and drives off with him in her car – he can hardly walk, is incapable of communicating with her and is generally pretty zombielike. Angry zombielike. Which isn’t going well for her and doesn’t get better when Misty pops up in the back seat.
Misty leads Zoe to her little cabin where she assures her that a poultice of swamp mud will set Kyle right. Normally this would warrant scepticism but since she can literally bring back the dead, maybe not in this case. She was drawn to Zoe while meditating to finally find another witch. They bond over Fleetwood Mac and Zoe leaves Kyle in her care.
At the Academy, Nan is being bothered by Madame LaLaurie (Queenie checks on her to see if she’s ok), eventually going to where she’s tied up and releasing her because she thinks too loud. LaLaurie leaves – and calls Queenie a slave and hits her on the head with a candlestick.
Marie Laveau, talking about someone being back (presumably LaLaurie) unchains… the minotaur. Her lover, Bastien who Madame LaLaurie sewed the bull’s head on. He is now actually a minotaur. Fiona finds Madame LaLaurie being all angsty outside her old home, complaining at it being turned into a museum. LaLaurie makes the excuse “I was a woman of my time” which Fiona calls out for the bullshit it is and adds that even if a fraction of the things she’s read about LaLaurie are true then LaLaurie deserved every minute buried alive. LaLaurie tries to raise sympathy with her murdered family (except her husband, she was going to kill him anyway) but Fiona isn’t moved. LaLaurie goes on to talk about her beloved daughters (even “the ugly one” with the face of a hippo) and the hell of being trapped in the box thinking of them and Fiona hits back with the poignant line that at least in death you can’t disappoint your loved ones.
She then makes it clear she’s in charge (though LaLaurie does ask if she’s a witch so can kill her) and takes her back to the Academy.
Queenie’s backstory… well it confirmed that she is very intelligent. It also had an angry Black woman fight an angry Black man over fried chicken.
Salem Salem, you have witches, you must have Salem. But if they’re going to have a magic tradition based on what Tituba taught, why are all the witches casting in Latin?
I did quite like Marie Leveau’s excellent take down of Fiona’s racism – though I wish Fiona didn’t have the last word – but, ultimately, for all her power, Fiona is turning to Marie for help. I also liked Fiona shooting down the “I was a woman of my time” crap- - because how many times have we heard that same excuse?
And then we have the Minotaur. A Black man literally turned into an animal and kept chained. American Horror Story never failing to fail.