For anyone waiting for the macabre and gore to amplify are about to have their wishes fulfilled. Episode 11 steps up the suspense and blood levels to create a more engaging episode. This being said, there are still issues with script including scenes that should be tense but aren’t.
As far as plot construction goes, the writers have done a good job. By this I mean, the scenes are pieced together well, creating chemistry that moves seamlessly from scene to scene and balances high and low emotional points.
The episode does well in put characters on collision causes with each other, but the without the proper development in their motivations, goals, flaws and other such aspects, nail-biting suspense is not produced. It is more like watching chess pieces move rather than people in danger.
The episode is organised with the plot at its core instead of letting the story develop from characters. As the usual suspects of the “Golden Age” of television (Breaking Bad, Mad Men and others) have exhibited, narrative is created from characters making choices that impact their wellbeing and relationships. That is how true conflict is created and where believable characters emanate. When discussing the horror genre, it’s our engagement and emotional investment into the characters that allows us to feel truly horrified.
Some scenes too, have nothing at stake and we aren’t enchanted into connecting with the characters. The suspense is short lived if it lived at all and at times the episode becomes boring. An entertainment value still exists, thanks to special effects and scenes specifically designed for gore, torture and mutilation. It may be low-brow but at least there is some shock factor in this episode. This includes an education on how Madame Delphin developed a taste for the macabre and Madison turning from malicious to despotic and its only a short time until somebody gets on her bad side (besides Misty, of course) and all hell breaks
The camera work is impressive as always. Its interesting to witness the movement the director bestows upon the camera, letting it swirl around, in and out to create hypnotic sensation during voice over monologue and montage Episode 11 doesn’t take a sophisticated path and the characters arcs within the episode and throughout the season haven’t allowed the characters to transform.
The pace is lively and if its violent entertainment without much thought you’re after, Coven delivers.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
American Horror Story: Coven airs Monday nights on Channel Eleven.