American Horror Story: Coven Premiere Post Mortem: 12 Burning Questions Answered!

American Horror Story Coven SpoilersAmerican Horror Story: Coven no doubt left you with visions of bull-head-wearing slaves and soul-sucking witches dancing in your head. So, before you try nodding off after viewing such nightmarish images, allow us to present you with a cauldron full of spoilery, jaw-dropping twists to come this season, courtesy of scoop-happy executive producer Ryan Murphy.

QUESTION | The premiere feels a bit lighter than anything seen in Horror Story seasons past. Was that intentional?
Last year was so dark and grim and hard, but I loved it. But this year was designed to be scary, make no doubt, but more fun. I heard a lot last year, ‘I love it but it’s hard to sit through.’ So I wanted this year to be easier to sit through. A little more light in tone.

QUESTION | What’s the dynamic between Jessica and Kathy’s characters moving forward?
Jessica plays this great Supreme witch who also happens to be the world’s biggest liberal. She brings Kathy’s Madame LaLaurie back to the house, and the arc for her is a little bit about [how] even though she’s the most powerful woman in the world, she’s still fighting aging and struggling with that. She doesn’t want to die and wants to live forever. So, she realizes that Madame LaLaurie has been given something to make her live forever, so she’s trying to get to that — she’s holding Kathy Bates’ [character] ransom. [Laughs]

Interestingly enough, she starts to find out about the horrors of that character, who’s a real woman who actually did all the things we showed you… and worse. So, she makes Madame LaLaurie be Queenie’s (Gabourey Sidibe) personal slave as payback. Through that relationship, she has an entire season of guilt and remorse and finally learning about the gravity of what she did.

It’s a meditation on race relations in this country. There’s a very strong arc about the Salem witches and the Voodoo witches and can’t we all get along to fight our common enemy. It really is an allegory for any minority group in this country. Her stuff with Kathy, in the second episode she has an entire scene where she taunts her with a chicken leg, which is quite funny… I just spent the weekend with [Kathy], and she said it’s her favorite part she’s ever played. She loves the comedy and the costuming.

QUESTION | Will we see Angela Bassett in the present day, as well?
Yes, in the second episode Fiona finds out that Marie Laveau — who is also a real person — has put this spell on Kathy’s character. It turns out Marie Laveau runs a hair salon called Cornrow City where she’s gone undercover… And [Jessica says to her], ‘I want the eternal life stuff.’ And Marie says, ‘You give me back Madame LaLaurie. I know you dug her up’… So, that begins the war. Those two are also quite amazing, Angela and Jessica.

QUESTION | How were each of the girls’ powers decided upon?
We thought a lot about it, and we researched a lot about the Salem witches — some of these powers, actually, the girls back then [were] prescribed to have had. The ability to f–k someone to death actually was a real [one], I think. I love the Nan power, the ability to read minds… I always love the clairvoyance thing that Emma Roberts’ [character] has. But we researched all that Salem stuff. We have a lot of Salem flashbacks throughout the year, where the girls learn about their ancestors. And more people come into the show, other witches to that house, and they also have very specific powers. And the great mystery is which of these people you have met is the Supreme? And who is going to take Fiona’s throne? …We really don’t find out until Episode 12 who that is.

QUESTION | Does that mean Jessica’s character will become a threat to students?
Oh, she kills one of them in Episode 3 — she’s not giving it up! [Laughs] Fiona thinks she’s found out who the Supreme is, and that person gets killed. She’s not giving up that throne, no way.

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QUESTION | Talk a little about Evan’s involvement this season and how he comes back into play.
Evan’s story kicks off in Episode 2… I’ve always been very obsessed with anything Mary Shelley. So, that’s another thing that we deal with: the Frankenstein. In Episode 2, the big girl story is that Taissa Farmiga’s Zoe and Emma Roberts’ Madison go to the morgue, because Zoe is obviously in love with Evan’s character Kyle. They find out that the boys are badly, badly mangled and decapitated, so Madison decides to build the perfect boyfriend. She takes Kyle’s head and other parts that she desires and creates this thing and they use a spell — and that’s his arc; that’s his season. He’s brought back… or not. And she falls in love with him and [wants to] rehabilitate him, but of course she can’t be with him because she’ll kill him again.

Evan loves that part because, for the first six episodes, he doesn’t speak. We had to do a lot with body language and mime. I made him watch Bride of Frankenstein several times. [Laughs] It’s a great part because he’s such a great physical actor. And it’s very different than what he played last year, which I think [the cast all] really loves.

QUESTION | Was it always the plan to pair up Evan and Taissa again?
I love that relationship, and I loved them together; I thought they had really good chemistry. To me, that’s in the tradition of movie stars who work really well together, [so they'll] make four or five movies together… I thought that I wanted to write something for them, a love story. But I wanted it to be different. It’s shocking to me how much Taissa has grown up. She finished Season 1 and then she went off to make [The Bling Ring] and there was really no part for her [in Asylum], so after Jessica and Sarah [Paulson], she’s the one I called in. She liked it; she loves working with Evan, and Evan loves working with her. It’s odd that Evan’s girlfriend [Roberts] is also on the show, but I’ve made that work. [Laughs] I like doing that because there’s a shorthand and they’re comfortable. I think the fans like that that love story is reincarnated in some weird way in that myth of the show.

QUESTION | Does Coven has its own version of Bloody Face or Rubber Man?
[The] arch-villains of the season are probably The Minotaur, from the cold open of the premiere, and The Ax Man. Those are the two mythological creatures of this season.

QUESTION | Sarah’s character Cordelia seems to be repressing her powers. Will her arc involve embracing her inner witch?
I was always fascinated by the dynamic of the show Bewitched. And then I thought, ‘Well, what would happen if Samantha listened to Endora and want completely bats–t dark crazy?… What would have happened [if she'd said], ‘I don’t want to be normal, I don’t want to be suburban, I want to be dark’? [Laughs] So, Sarah starts off very prim and proper, and then there’s something that happens to her character around Episode 5 that forces her to realize, ‘OK, my mother may be right.’ And that’s also a great dynamic to play — an off mother-daughter who really don’t like each other.

Where Sarah starts and where Sarah ends up is completely the opposite of where she’s playing in that first episode. It was hard for her to play that, very buttoned up and prim. She likes to vibrate and do stuff that’s a little more out there… But she gets to, soon enough. [Laughs]

QUESTION | Is Frances Conroy’s character secretly based on infamous Vogue creative director Grace Coddington?
[Laughs] Did you get that I copied Grace’s hair? She’s got Grace Coddington’s hair and then she’s got [fashion columnist] Diana Vreeland’s voice. [Laughs]… She’s amazing, I love that character. [Her character Myrtle] is truly [Fiona's] nemesis. There’s an entire episode where we show her and [Fiona] when they were 18 at the school and why they became bitter rivals. Fiona was very deadly, even as an 18-year-old. That was fun because we got to cast an [teenage] Jessica Lange.

Myrtle’s really, really funny and very specifically stylish and odd. They mention The Council in this first episode, so those people come back and are quite flamboyant. It turns out one of them is a male witch — played by Leslie Jordan, who I love — who’s modeled on Truman Capote. It turns out if Jessica Lange is your friend, you can have a bestseller time and time again and again. It’s fun in that way. We find out real-life people who we say are witches — it’s very fun and peculiar and pop-culturey.

QUESTION | Does the snake image in the promotional poster manifest itself at all this season?
Yes, there is a three-way. [Laughs] … That is a clue that I don’t want to say too much about.

QUESTION | Can fans expect the usual hints about Horror Story‘s next chapter in either the penultimate episode or finale of this season?
Right now we’re writing Episode 9 or 10, so I will definitely get that in. I always thought it would be cool — and I think I might do it this year — to have the finale end then I announce what next year’s show is by using some sort of visual thing. I think I’m going to try that this year because people would really love it… I think the last image of this season will be, “This is what you’re getting next year,” and we’ll announce the title.

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77 Comments
  1. Alice says:

    First time to watch AHS and that was the weirdest show I have ever watched….still not sure about it tbh.

    • Guest says:

      The premise got me intrigued, which is all I expect from the American Horror Stories

      • Annie says:

        This opener was perfectly executed. Truly stellar stuff. It’s about the only thing on TV now that I’m truly looking forward to – not very impressed with the returns of my previous faves, and losing faith with Sleepy Hollow fast, so it’s lovely to have at least one show out there that hasn’t let me down yet.

  2. dude says:

    Best opener yet. He typically struggles with premiers so it was nice to see such a tight, gripping opener this year. Cannot wait for this season to unfold.

    • DL says:

      Agree 100%. Easily my favorite AHS opener, and simply one of the best “premieres” I’ve seen, pilot or season, in a long time.

  3. Laura says:

    I haven’t seen, and as Asylum was a true work of art, do you think that this season already started as good or better than Asylum?

    • Asylum was my favorite, but this season definitely came out strong. Its definitely all about the ladies this time around and the premise is already good. Will be interesting to see where they go.

    • dude says:

      The opener was MUCH better. Asylum was fantastic but its first episode was pretty weak (as was the case with the first season). It took a few episodes for Asylum to really get rolling. This premier was already seriously intense and exciting and just had really tight storytelling. I’m already hooked.

  4. Joey says:

    I really liked it but….

    “So I wanted this year to be easier to sit through. A little more light in tone.”

    Nothing says light in tone like a gang rape, eh?

    • Tori says:

      Lol, I was thinking the same thing. in every season someone is raped, I say enough with the rapes; with that being said I have a feeling this will be the best season yet. I hope the possibility of a spinoff of this season that Ryan Murphy was talking about becomes a reality, based on the first episode this season,I can see the school being a series, I doubt this type of tv show has ever been done before.

    • Dave says:

      Lighter? Gang rape followed by murder rape?!? Seriously, that’s a messed up light. Not sure I’m going to watch anymore. There is a line.

      • Joey says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I really loved the episode, but just don’t tell me it’s light and feature a gang rape, too. :P

        • dude says:

          Not to mention slaves being chained up and having their organs harvested. That was a laugh riot.

        • mmartian says:

          lighter, as in, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Love the show, loved the first two seasons, but last season you knew right from the beginning it would not end well- it was all doom and dread and you were along for the ride for every morbid step. (and that is what you want from a show called american horror story) But is it is a nice break having a bit of humor mixed in with your horror.

      • alistaircrane says:

        Get a grip! It’s fiction! It’s supposed to be horrific (it’s in the title, duh), and they delivered.

        • dude says:

          It was and it was amazing BUT they’re just saying Ryan Murphy keeps saying this season is going to be “lighter” than Asylum and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s pretty heavy and dark. I was deeply disturbed by the gang rape and slave stuff, which means it was effective but not what I’d call light.

          • Bruno says:

            I felt it was way lighter than Asylum. Asylum got a little too ridiculous for me. While Coven had some cringe inducing moments. The story kept my attention.

            Out of the 3 seasons, this seems like the best so far. It was a very solid episode.

            Also, Angela Bassett is living proof of the saying that “Black don’t crack”. She looks amazing at 55 years of age.

          • Djay says:

            So….this premiere was incredible. It was a jaw dropping, intense and impressive experience. I’d definately give Bitchcraft an A-. Jessica Lange is just pure devilish fun to watch, she plays evil yet comical…dangerous and still somewhat likeable. She definately has charisma on her side. Taissa Farmiga still has that snarky wit and deadpan delivery that I loved in her first season charactet violence, but this time around she has added more character depth, she has the wit, but also the vulnerability and sweet charm that was lacking in violet. Emma Roberts shines and almost steals the show as troublemaking paty girl actress madison. All the people bitter and upset that she was cast, mostly because of thier own obsessions with evan peters…no doubt, are hushed when they watch her saunter in like she owns the place, say funny lines like “its so hot out here, my vaginas sweating” and yet still have the emotional range to handle a delicate thing like rape with both sadness and anger in equal measure. Gabourey sidibe is a hoot as queenie, a human voodoo doll. Nan, who I’m glad to see back after playing addie in season 1, is played by jamie brewer who is just adorable. Kathy bates was just as phonominal as I wanted her to be, and twice as evil. Sarah paulson took a nice turn as a good witch. Shes nice and soft (for now) and a little light in a sea of darkness is always welcome in the eerie, yet campy tone of ahs. I’m soooo excited to see more of francis conroy as the free spirited, quirky myrtle. Furthermore, this season does have a lighter tone. He never said light, he said lighter. While its clear that the dark and macabre will be a constant prescence in the show, and disturbing imagery is what makes the fans tune in, this season clearly has a tongue in cheek sense of humor about it self. If you can’t see that I don’t know what to tell you. My only drawbacks with this premiere episode is the fact that we hardly get to angela bassett as marie leveaou. I’m so intrigued by the character and excited to see mrs. Bassett in the first place that I’m sad to have only been given a slight teaser of what her character will become. Other than that amazing first episode….soooo pleased.

        • Carole Miller says:

          Fiction? The fact that it is fiction does not preclude the fact that nothing positive comes from it. Society has now become smitten with evil, satanic crap. If you want that kind of world, you’ll get it. I hate this series. I am a lone voice. When there is nothing but this sort of violent, negative stuff on the air, there will be nothing left that inspires and transports to something positive. Very sad! Oh, and I have ‘a grip’. Those who are thrilled and preoccupied with all things evil, are the ones who don’t have a ‘grip.’ You might be surprised to know that this so-called ‘fiction’ has a number of real-life participants.

      • abz says:

        It’s rated TV MA for mature audiences. If you’re watching this show, you should realize that everything is fair game. Sure it was definitely disturbing to watch, but then again, I’d expect nothing less from American Horror Story.

    • Annie says:

      Yeah, I agree but compared to the last two years, it kind of is! I don’t even know what to do with that recurring theme, but at least this time the women seem to be reclaiming some power.

  5. jeremy.hudson says:

    I haven’t watched the first 2 seasons but this is a miniseries, right? Is there any connection between the first 2 seasons and this one? I’m intending to watch but I’m afraid I won’t catch up with the character. Sorry for the silly question :D

    • Laura says:

      It’s like miniseries, every season it’s a new story, with new characters and new everything. The only same thing is that some actors comes back to play different characters.

    • Joey says:

      There is no real connection between any of the seasons. There are little clues in the first season that hint at what the second season is about if you’re paying attention, and I think is the same in the second season for the third season, but other than that, completely different settings, time periods, characters, etc.

    • Grace says:

      miniseries… each season has nothing to do with the last so you don’t need to catch up at all! the only benefit to watching the other two are seeing these great actresses and actors he likes using do different characters

    • Talia says:

      No each season there is a new story and setting with the actors in different roles.

    • Kyle says:

      Absolutely no connection to seasons past. You can start fresh & not be behind one bit! Enjoy :) This show is the best!

  6. lanth says:

    was that it for lily rabe?!?!?!!?

    • Tim says:

      She’s listed in the opening credits as a series regular and not as a guest star so I’m going to guess that because of that special power of hers that whole barbeque didn’t do the trick.

    • aleksa says:

      Considering what her power is, very unlikely.

  7. Talia says:

    I loved the premiere. It seems so different compared to Murder House and Asylum. Kathy Bates was both amazing and terrifying in that opening scene.

  8. Rahul says:

    This is probably the only season I’ll ever want to own on Blu-ray. So friggin awesome!

  9. Donara says:

    Season 1 was pretty amazing, but Coven has excited the audience very quickly. With such an excellent beginning you must keep the adrenaline pumping with the upcoming episodes!

  10. woodyinho says:

    Evan Peters’s long hair is horrible. Bring back the Kit haircut.

  11. lumpy87654 says:

    Extremely spoilery interview. I only read the first two answers because of that but sounds great.

  12. Jo says:

    Best opener yet! I am very excited for this season.

  13. aleksa says:

    Killer premiere, pun as intended as you’d like.

  14. edna says:

    Emma Roberts is clairvoyant? i thought she was telekinetic or whatever.

    • JeffDJ says:

      Yeah, that gave me pause too when I read it. Since when is the ability to move things with your mind (or the flick of your wrist) considered clairvoyant?

      • Joey says:

        I just think he got his words mixed up, since in the episode itself, Madison (Emma Robert) refers to Nan (Jamie Brewer) as clairvoyant, so in that case, they actually got it right.

        • Frankieboy says:

          yeah, got the words mixed up for sure. Nan has the clairvoyant power. Madison the Telekenetic power, Queenie the real-life voodoo-doll (awesome!) and Zoe the power of… killer sex? Quite an awful power to have LOL

  15. betty says:

    Very happy to have my AHS back. This has been one of the best premiers for them. Love the cast and seeing familiar faces from past seasons was a major plus. The story line looks like it will be amazing. Bring it on AHS ready and waiting. Love Ya.

  16. DoctorWhoFanatic! says:

    When will this be available as a Season Pass on Amazon Instant? I don’t have cable and need my fix! Been waiting for weeks!!!

  17. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    Watch for our “Ten Things We Learned fro American Horror Story Coven Premiere” coming up soon. In the meantime, this should hold you over. Reading Ryan Murphy’s takes and explanations–and of course, his teasers–is always a (sick) treat!

  18. Jenna says:

    I thought the premiere was awesome. And the best cast on television, IMO. Excited for this season!

  19. TobyG. says:

    This season is already 100x better than Asylum. Keep it coming, Murphy and Co.!

  20. Is it me or did Ryan Murphy just make it pretty clear that Sarah Paulson’s character will be the new “Supreme” by the end of the season? Either way, awesome premiere! Can’t wait to see what’s to come! LOVED THIS EPISODE!!!

    • WayneInNYC says:

      My guess (and I’m usually wrong) is that Nan (Jamie Brewer) will end up becoming the reigning Supreme. She has the gift of Claivoyance and can learn all the Supreme’s tricks without her knowing it.

  21. Ezzy Klein says:

    If this season is focusing on 3 women then next season should focus on 3 men. I’d love to see something set in the Wild, Wild West.

  22. Rain says:

    Ok, I’m going to be the little black rain cloud this week – anyone else disappointed in the premiere? I was so looking forward to it all day and then didn’t like it at all. I’ll def. stick around since I originally didn’t like the pilot ep and then LOVED season 1 to bits. I just wondered if anyone else didn’t love it since all the comments on here are making it sound like the greatest episode ever!

    • allie says:

      I liked it BUT I was hoping for something a bit scarier. Still I thought it was a great episode and I am looking forward to the rest of the season. LOVE the cast.

      • abz says:

        With AHS, even the word “horror” is in the title, I feel like they the show is more disturbing and disgusting and cringeworthy rather than scary. Nothing actually scared me in past seasons, however, I was very disgusted and disturbed at times. Still a great show.

  23. Aprilcot says:

    There is no better cast on TV than the cast of American Horror Story.

  24. the girl says:

    I didn’t watch the previous incarnations of AHS, but I greatly enjoyed last night’s season opener. I am in for Coven, 100%. I love that he killed so many series regulars in one night! Crazy.

  25. Nelson says:

    i watched both seasons and now this!…..this season look messy and there is NO mystery!

  26. Heathers says:

    I liked season 1, season 2 not so much. I am in the minority here, but on another page most people felt the same. Weird how every different site or blog has different majority opinions, huh? I loved the Season 3 premiere. The Kathy Bates character was especially frightening. I think when he said a “lighter” season, he meant there would be little bits of humor tied in between the horror and gore. Jessica Lange’s character is humorous, in a dark humor way. Now, can anyone please give me examples of scenes in Season 1 that hinted at what Season 2 was going to be about, and the same for Season 2? I missed that somehow.

    • Rain says:

      In season 1 they had flashes of Ben Harmon being in an Asylum – I’m pretty sure that was the only hint about Season 2 but there may have been more.

  27. abz says:

    Okay, Kathy Bates was amazing, but disturbing to watch. I could barely look when she turned that guy into a Minotaur. That was so gross. Loved this opener though and it looks like this will be a great season.
    I feel like this is the kind of show that works best for Ryan Murphy. New stories and characters each season. Most of his show start off great for a few seasons (e.g., Nip/Tuck was really good for the first couple seasons, and even the first two seasons and parts of season 3 of Glee we’re great IMO), but it seems like he loses interest really fast. It’s still a shame thought that he doesn’t seem to put in the same effort and creativity to improve Glee.

  28. Frankieboy says:

    why are the two colored actresses Angela & Gabourey billed as special guest stars. I thought both of them were also regulars? Not to stir anything here… just found it weird. Or will Gabourey be the one that gets killed in episode 3?

  29. Laura says:

    The cinematography killed!! Every frame was like a work of art. At times I was so struck by the beautiful imagery I would get sidetracked from the story — That’s not a negative… I loved this premiere – I think this is going to be an excellent installment.

  30. DavidSask says:

    I want the slave treatments from Kathy Bates character to end asap, no more GRAPHIC flashbacks. Some sick **** current time wrote this and that is the disturbing thing! USA is still very racist and AHSC is only helping things with that storyline!

    • abz says:

      If you read up a bit on the character that Kathy Bates is playing, Madame Lalaurie, you’d realize that she was actually a real life woman and she was famous for being a serial killer. She tortured and murdered slaves back in the 1800s. They didn’t make the character up. They are basing it off a real life person and the horrific things she did. The same thing goes for Angela Bassett’s character, Marie Laveau. The character is based on the real life, Voodoo Queen in the 1800s of the same name. Now obviously this is still a show and they will add a bit more to the story like the fact that Lalaurie and Laveau are still alive, but the characters were NOT made up.

      • DavidSask says:

        They still are the ones choosing to show what they do visually and its to much!

        • abz says:

          It is disturbing, that’s why I could barely look at the Minotaur, however, its called American “Horror” Story. The fear, gore, horror or whatever is to be expected especially considering what network it airs on, the time it airs, and its rating being TV MA.

  31. DavidSask says:

    It disturbs me this site would edit out a bleep world using all stars, wtf? Now back to reposting my rant. NO more graphic slavery scenes from Kathy Bates character, that was gross and the sick person current time who wrote it, are you proud? Racism is still very present and those scenes could have been done different. You know they will do flashbacks excessively anyway, I hope more will complain.

    • abz says:

      “Comments on TVLine.com are monitored. So don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods. Talk smart about TV!” –> The TVLine staff specifically request in the message before you post a comment not to curse in you’re comment.

  32. jag says:

    I love this show, the graphics are incomparable(in a small screen level). The creepiness is eerie and the artistic level and direction is a class of its own. I think this is why AHS, specifically Coven will be watched even by those who pretend to stop watching but still watched. It caters to imagination, a perfect and far contrast to most of the show. I cant help but compare it to the other show – Witches of the East End. Coven has a intellectual humor and a seductive story.

    I’m just wondering why other people who are complaining about the show gives effort to comment. Its a poor use of their time… and brain for that matter.

  33. Mikael says:

    Amazing premiere! And I don’t think the flashbacks are promoting racism. If anything, they’re showing the horror of what ACTUALLY happened in this country to show just how bad things really were and how far we’ve come. To pretend that stuff never happened is worse.

  34. NYOB says:

    t was ok but why do you Americans alway have to fob off your subliminal racism?

    1. Camera focuses on black student witch. Jessica walks out of the room of student and tells them that they’re going on a field trip and to “……. wear bllllack” . I mean, really? That was so unnecessary.

    2. They’re all line up behind Jessica . Ohhh, the black witch is at the back of the queue. Come on, you guys are really sick.

  35. and articulate scientist in the world. I am not going to go in the game saying, if I dont get hit in the preseason, The site is currently invite-only.coms Web-store experience, Crystal isnt nearly as interesting as,??R. this does not constitute conclusive evidence — such as an incriminating e-mail — that proves the administration granted favors in exchange for past fundraising. so we cant say for sure how much of this stimulus money went to create jobs in China. a Middle East analyst at the Institute for Strategic Studies.