American Horror Story Coven, Episode 302: “Boy Parts”

I’ve never written about American Horror Story, mainly because I like to zone out and enjoy Evan Peters after a stressful Sunday of analyzing The Walking Dead. However, in light of the fact that The Walking Dead has not required much thought or analysis as of late, I have found myself scrutinizing the new season of AHS. Mind you, past experience with this show has prepared me to be fully disappointed by the season’s conclusion, but for the time being, I have been geeking out.

First off – Stevie Nicks gets a shoutout as “the white witch.” What’s not to love? “Edge of 17” and “Rheannon” feature predominantly throughout “Boy Parts,” and Misty reveals that Stevie was really the only role model that she [Misty] had. Pure awesomeness. I’m even told that Ryan Murphy has Ms. Nicks’ blessing. Gosh I love that woman.

Moving on, “Boy Parts” successfully evokes some of my all-time favorite themes, and it did so beautifully. Of course, we have the Frankenstein-inspired piecing together of Kyle Spencer who, once resurrected, is notably mute. This is butted against that incredibly awkward sex scene in which Cordelia evokes black magic in an attempt to stimulate her lacking fertility. This is a motif that Stephen King brilliantly pulls off in Pet Sematary; sex scenes tend to take place near the occurance of death. Life and death are intertwined, as life cannot exist without sex. But, both King and AHS thicken the pot with the added bonus of resurrection. Where does resurrection fall in the natural spectrum of sex, life, and death? It doesn’t. It is a gruesome parody of the natural, and those responsible for the resurrection are bound to pay some sort of toll. In King’s world at least, when man attempts to play God, he must pay for this transgression. The same is true for Victor Frankenstein, who, like Madison and Zoe, evokes the dark magic of alchemy along with science to bring the creature to life.

Some people seem troubled by the show’s meshing of Satanism and witchcraft, as the two are not necessarily linked. I would argue that they are not merged, a line is clearly drawn by Cordelia. At the doctor’s office, her husband questions why they are going the medical route to conceive when Cordelia can make this happen herself. Cordelia responds, “This kind of magic – it’s dark. It’s about life and death, and I don’t wanna play God.” With that sentence, she reveals that even witchcraft has its limits, and anything dealing with life and death would be crossing the line. Of course, she ultimately does cross that line, but it is obvious that there is a division.

This does bring into question the role of Misty Day, whose witchy talent is the power of resurrection. Does this cross into the realm of dark magic? Since it’s her gift, is it somehow different territory? The answer has yet to be seen, but I am certainly curious to find out.

There are some drawbacks. Some of the dialogue is offensively terrible – I’m specifically thinking of Marie Laveau’s “And what is your wish, witch?” *Shudders in remembrance* Moreover, the fact that Zoe’s special witch power is the ability to cause a sexually induced brain anneurism makes me cringe. That’s the best they could come up with? How is that even a talent? Nevertheless, the underlying themes are worth contemplating, Jessica Lange is amazing as always, and I’ll keep writing until I have a reason not to.

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