Season three takes a new feminist approach
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 13, 2013 22:10
It’s a shame that nothing stays new forever. Like a fresh new car smell, the same appeal eventually fades away for television. “American Horror Story’s” first season was perfect. Everything about it was incredibly creative and innovative. The creator’s vision seemed so simple but so groundbreaking at the same time. While the second season in our “American Horror” anthology saw the darker and much more disturbing setting of an insane asylum in the 60s, the season seemed to carry much more weight than it was strong enough to handle. While there were a lot of interesting characters, plots, settings and memorable moments, the desire to fill the series with even more seemed to overwhelm the writers who had a difficult time making it all fit together nicely at the end. The season worked overall, but there were a lot of unanswered questions and themes that did not seem to be left out for the sake of ambiguity and discussion, but rather because it was just not handled well. The creators later admitted some of their additions to the season were a mistake.
As the new show smell fades, I find myself feeling in a familiar territory when I see the same actors and actresses appear in different roles. Despite this familiarity, the “American Horror” team seems to know what they’re doing. It’s a bit early to tell, but this season seems to have a lot less going on than Asylum and I mean that in a positive way. With an interesting backstory in two time periods focused on modern witches and their prosecution throughout history, there seems to be more room for development and plot.
Our main story focuses on a young witch who has just discovered her power. Stop reading here if you don’t want to see spoilers. She is sent to a faux Hogwarts type school for young witches where three other girls who know their powers are also attending. Emma Roberts plays the Regina George wannabe of the group. While cruel to her peers, she seems to want them around at least passively. She takes the new girl to a frat party where the queen bee finds herself drugged and viciously gang raped and then takes their lives as revenge. While she violently flips their bus over in an attempt to flee, little does she know the new girl’s curse is that any man who has sex with her ends up with an exploded head when they finish. She is lonely and sad that she will never experience love, but she seems content with using her curse to finish off one of the surviving rapists in the hospital.
I have never seen witchcraft covered in such a gritty and disturbing light. I welcome this. While I found myself a bit disgusted at the end of the episode, which is nothing new for this show, I was still intrigued. I heard this season is going to focus more on feminist themes. The show always seemed to be feminist in nature to me, as the protagonists were predominantly females while the antagonists were predominantly males. Motherhood, female empowerment and male wickedness have also been themes of the past seasons. However, this season seems to take things further. We have yet to see a male character in a positive light. The best we saw was a stereotypical frat boy who was not okay with rape but still tried to cover up the evidence. As a man I may not exactly relate fully to the female empowerment, but I am still happy to see a bus full of violent rapists killed and can appreciate the show’s themes. It’s too early to predict if this will get better or worse with the season’s progression, but for now the show is still as good and as disturbing as we strangely desire it to be, even if the new car smell has faded away. The first season set a high bar that Asylum could not reach and I doubt Coven will either, but it seems like Coven will continue the franchise’s reputation as the darkest, most disturbing and most thrilling horror on television. As a horror fan, this is enough for me.