THE PERFORMER | Jessica Lange
THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Coven
THE EPISODE | “The Replacements”
THE AIRDATE | Oct. 23, 2013
THE PERFORMANCE | Ironic, isn’t it? In “The Replacements,” Fiona tried to come to grips with the idea that she might not always be the Supreme, and — at the very same time — Lange let us know in no uncertain terms that she would always be the Supreme.
Early on, the sorceress waxed nostalgic about the power her beauty gave her over men. Drawing them to her, seducing them, she said, “it’s my dance… I never suspected a night would come when the dance would end.” So, upon being informed that her failing health made her ineligible for plastic surgery, she could no longer hold back her tears.
Later, when not tormenting Delphine with her modernism (“I voted for [Obama],” she gleefully told the racist, “twice”) or shrugging off Madison’s knife toss at new neighbor Joan (“She has to work on her aim”), Fiona took the bratty starlet under her wing. On one hand, she couldn’t help but be impressed by the girl’s talent and looks. On the other, she was green with envy — a point driven painfully home when all eyes were focused on the younger woman during their evening of booze and billiards.
Finally, Fiona explained to her ward that she was dying — a process that was only being expedited by Madison’s proximity leaching away her life force. The ingénue eagerly offered up her connections — she could get Fiona a great oncologist! But the elder witch wouldn’t hear of it. “I’m not going out bald and shriveled and begging for morphine,” she scoffed.
Then, in the hour’s most shocking turn, Fiona handed Madison the very knife she’d used to murder her Supreme decades earlier and instructed her to “kill me for the sake of the coven.” When Madison refused, a struggle ensued that left her dead and bleeding on the floor. “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme,” smirked Fiona, triumphant once more, “it needs a new rug.”
From the depths of despair to the high of victory, Lange — who’s already earned enough awards to necessitate an entire trophy room, never mind a trophy case — once again reminded us that, with or without a ritual sacrifice or a book of spells, she’s absolutely magical.
HONORABLE MENTION | In the span of one episode, Klaus and Cami’s twisted relationship on The Originals became one of the spinoff series’ richest thanks to Joseph Morgan and Leah Pipes‘ subtle, heartbreaking performances. Layered with sadness, kinship and a shared haunted spirit, their emotionally fraught scenes anchored the supernatural/vampy/witchy goings-ons with genuine human feeling. Klaus erased Cami’s realizations about her brother’s tragic death, but it’ll be a long time before we forget his devastation at what he had to do and her equally heart-wrenching pleas for him to let her hold on to her memories.
Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!