Ryan Murphy's 'AHS: Coven' post-mortem
[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LATEST AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN!!!!!]
Sex with a minotaur. Goat blood fertility spells. Patti LuPone. Episode 3 of American Horror Story: Coven, titled “The Replacements,” certainly was not boring. EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about all the witchy details as well as what’s in store for next week’s two-part Halloween episode (Zombies!!!!).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I loved the flashbacks with Christine Ebersole as the Supreme before Fiona. Will we see her again?
RYAN MURPHY: There are flashbacks with her for sure. There’s a great flashback with her and Angela Bassett that’s set in 1970.
We get to see a young Fiona and it made me wonder, will we get to see Cordelia’s father?
We have talked about that. We don’t know for sure. I’m interested in it but I don’t know that’s really the story. Maybe, maybe not.
Spalding and Fiona clearly have a long history together.
They do. There’s almost an entire act in episode 4 that answers questions like, how did Fiona become the youngest Supreme in the history of the Coven and why does Fiona hate Myrtle so much? Why is Spalding so apparently willing to be Fiona’s right-hand man? There are big flashbacks in the episode.
And does that involve why he has no tongue?
I remember I asked Denis O’Hare on set how Spalding compares to Larry the Burn Man and Denis said he’s even more twisted.
I said to Denis, “In a very early episode, Denis, you’ll be having to wear a granny bonnet and a Kabuki nightgown.” And he said, “Okay, I’m in.” And you see that in the next episode. I think it’s such a great part for Denis, who’s so articulate. It’s almost like he’s in his own silent movie. We do show in the flashback the origins of the tongue loss and the speaking. He’s this silent sentinel.
I feel like this episode really ratcheted up the twists. It appears Queenie is entering into a sexual relationship with the minotaur — is that correct?
Well, I think that Queenie would like to be in a sexual relationship, not just with the minotaur. I think she wants to be accepted. I think what happens to her and the minotaur is also revealed in episode 4.
I didn’t know if it was a friends with benefits thing.
[Laughs] It doesn’t end well is all I will say.
We saw a somewhat darker side to Misty (Lily Rabe). Is it safe to say there’s a more malevolent side to her?
Yes, I think there is. I love that scene. I think she really just wants to belong. I’m very interested in that character because I think she’s representative of the minority group exploration we’re doing this year. I think she feels isolated with her beliefs. But I do think Misty is not just a shawl-twirling lady of the bog. I think that she’s maybe in many ways the most dangerous of them all because I think she has the greatest power of them all. You’ll see her grow into that this season.
We met Patti LuPone’s Joan in this episode. Is her son interested in Nan (Jamie Brewer)?
Yes. I think that he is a good boy who is drawn to a good, clean heart and I think of all those girls, Nan is in many ways the most like him. We haven’t seen Nan’s backstory yet but we will. I think she is in many ways the most innocent, kind and trusting and I think he’s drawn to those qualities of his own. I love that story. That actually becomes something in the next Halloween part one and two that I really think is quite special.
You had teased the Cordelia/fertility spell last week. So that goat thing is a real spell?!
Oh yeah. All the stuff we have in the show is researched. That said, I don’t know many women who have gone to the goat slaughter/in vitro. There was no one we could talk to. We had to base it on our research.
I was thinking Sarah Paulson has had it so easy this season compared to Asylum. But then she had goat’s blood dripped into her vagina. Was that a crazy day on set?
It was crazy. I think Angela really loved that scene. And Sarah I can’t say she enjoyed it but she gave it her all. Her story really ramps up in episode 4. Big plot point.
Are we going to find out why Cordelia is so intent on having a baby? Or is it just because Fiona was a horrible mother?
Yes, there’s that, and that idea that when you have a child, you can sort of heal yourself. But I’ve said it before I was not really interested in that happening. So that pregnancy thing and the voodoo thing are about a longing to be a normal person in a normal marriage. But then in the next episode you will see it goes horribly, horribly awry.
Speaking of horribly awry, Kyle’s resurrection does not go well. Obviously he killed his mother, which is not great.
[Laughs] I always loved the Frankenstein story because I love the idea of when you are created from parts of many people, I like the sort of mystical part of it that those personality traits are literally part of your body. Obviously, Kyle in that bus crash was with those horrible frat boys who did those horrible violent things. He’s created from those things that he detested. So his season-long arc is about him trying to control these horrible dark impulses that are not of him and yet he’s been dealt this bad hand. Also, he’s like a child now. He’s like a little baby Frankenstein just learning how to walk. Evan worked a lot on that stuff.
I love that you got Jessica Lange to play pool. I just love her in designer gown, shooting pool with Emma Roberts.
And slinging back some bourbon! I love that too.
What can you say about next week’s episode?
Episode 4 is called “Fearful Pranks Ensue.” Kathy Bates is very confused about Halloween and when she finds out it’s Halloween she wants to go out and burn a bonfire in the front yard to keep the evil spirits away. We’re doing a real Marie Laveau/white zombie tribute. I recently watched again that movie I Walked with a Zombie. I always loved that movie and the voodoo zombies are very different from The Walking Dead zombies. It’s a very gripping two-parter.
So we’re going to see voodoo zombies on American Horror Story?
You are. Specifically you’re going to see Madame LaLaurie’s three horrible daughters brought back. In part 5, the second part, there’s a brilliant thing that I love of Kathy Bates. You see how Madame LaLaurie used to celebrate Halloween — she had her own chamber of horrors in her dining room that she would make her Halloween ball guests go into.
It also is really about how the character of Zoe really comes into her own and helps save the coven.
So does Zoe defend the coven from the zombies?
Yes, and with Madison out of the way I think all of the remaining girls are like, ‘Well was Madison the Supreme?’ So there’s that battle to stop Jessica. We get into that a bit. Cordelia has a horrible, horrible event that may be one of the hardest things Sarah Paulson has ever shot, which is saying something on this show. It’s plucked from the headlines!
Will we discover who the new Supreme is before the end of the season?
You know I’m not sure. I know who it is but I’m not sure how we’re going to lay that out.
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.