American Horror Story: Coven – The Seven Wonders

The girls attempt to perform The Seven Wonders to find the new Supreme

The new Supreme has been crowned.

The season finale, which is essentially a series finale in the anthological American Horror Story, begins with Stevie Nicks walking through the halls of Miss Robichaux’s Academy. I think the opening scene was actually my favorite scene of the entire episode. Having Stevie Nicks sing the classic Fleetwood Mac song “Seven Wonders” throughout a montage of each girl practicing to attempt the test of the Seven Wonders was genius. Throw in some of the season’s best set lighting and some classic Coven-style fish-eye lens, and it’s magical. As a major Stevie Nicks fan, seeing her play both herself and a witch at the same time on AHS was one of the highlights of this season… and of my life.

Continuing the episode’s strong start, Myrtle Snow provides more of her subtle comic relief as she explains that she has prepared her own take on the “Last Supper,” only instead of bread and wine, she has selected “caviar from the Caspian Sea served on blinis, along with champagne.” Oh, Myrtle, we’ll miss your hoity-toity take on life.

Then the moment we’ve all been waiting for begins: the tests of the Seven Wonders, which will decide who the new Supreme is. Sadly, this is also when the episode began to derail for me. After the tests of Telekinesis and Concilium (mind control), the episode’s pacing began to quicken rapidly. Around this point I started to get the feeling that this episode needed more airtime to give Coven a proper send-off, and maybe a bit more time in the writing room.

The girls attempt to perform The Seven Wonders to find the new Supreme

For the test of Descensum, in which each girl must travel to her own personal Hell and return, one of the two characters whose Hells the viewer got to see was Queenie’s—even though she was the only character whose Hell we’d already seen in a previous episode. Definitely a missed opportunity there, but at least we got Madison’s line: “I was stuck on a network musical. It was a live version of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t even the lead, I was Liesl.” (Did anyone else’s mind first jump to Glee? I love a good self-deprecating meta line, so another tally for missed opportunities in that scene.) The last candidate, Misty Day, failed to return from her personal Hell of a school biology class (which we probably have in common) by sunrise and thus turned to dust. And then there were three…

Then the episode took a turn for the predictable. During the test of Transmutation, the girls turn the test into a childlike game of tag. I don’t know about you, but if I just watched someone die and thought I might be next, I probably wouldn’t be in the mood to live out my childhood by playing tag. As soon as I heard Cordelia’s multiple warnings to be careful, I knew what was going to happen next. You know the phrase: It’s all fun and games until somebody transmutes themselves into a wrought iron gate and dies. (To be fair, I thought maybe they were going to end up in the middle of it and not on top of it, face up. That’s a pretty big mistake, Zoe.)

With only two remaining witches, it was up to Queenie or Madison to revive Zoe from the dead. Despite her efforts, Queenie was unable to, and as usual, Madison proved herself to be the definition of selfishness when she decided to squash a fly and bring it back instead of Zoe. Rude.

Foreshadowing for the new Supreme

Assuming you know how this ends, the foreshadowing of the following scene is blatant. As Myrtle and Cordelia hold a conversation about the next Supreme, we can see that Cordelia’s head is perfectly within the frame of a Supreme’s portrait on the wall. By the end of the scene, Cordelia agrees, after a nudge from Myrtle, to attempt the Seven Wonders herself. Again, the episode’s pacing quickens with the previous tasks happening in rapid succession so that Cordelia can catch up with the other girls. Later, Kyle strangles Madison to death to punish her for letting Zoe die, Cordelia returns to the greenhouse to awaken Zoe from the dead, proving herself to be the next Supreme.

Given that Cordelia is now the Supreme, her eyesight is restored. Throughout the season, it’s been made clear that the rising Supreme is the picture of perfect health. This episode raises a couple questions regarding that sign of the Supreme. If Madison had a heart murmur before being raised from the dead and Cordelia had fertility issues, does this mean that the health issues invalidate your candidacy for Supreme? Or does it just mean that being the Supreme guarantees you perfect health? Even the writers seem to be a bit fuzzy on that.

Once again, we find Sarah Paulson’s character in front of the camera. Much like how Lana turned to the press to expose Briarcliff Manor toward the end of last season’s Asylum, Cordelia turns to the press to bring witches out of the shadows. Personally, I found Cordelia’s interview to be a bit too heavy handed. The parallels being drawn between witches and the LGBTQIA community weren’t exactly subtle. “Women who identify as witches are born as such. Their abilities […] are part of who they are—part of their DNA.” The further comments on hate crimes and the necessity of visibility were written too obviously as metaphors, to the point where I found them a bit cheesy.

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