RedEye's Show Patrol TV columnist Curt Wagner offers his snap judgment of FX's "American Horror Story: Coven," Episode 3, "The Replacements."

As if we already didn't have enough divas in "American Horror Story: Coven," Patti LuPone joins the show in Episode 3, "The Replacements," although her arrival is upstaged by two murders, bull-riding and one sick mama. (If you can't view the video above, click here.)

SPOILERS! If you haven't seen the episode.

LuPone plays Joan Ramsey, the Bible-thumping new neighbor to the gals at Witchwarts. Joan's first meeting with her neighbors ends with Madison (Emma Roberts) kinetically throwing a knife at her and torching her drapes. Joan kicks Madison and cake-baking Nan (Jamie Brewer) out of her house before delivering a Bible to Fiona (Jessica Lange) and telling her to keep the girls away from her family.

She would have made better use of her time by praising Jesus at midnight in the middle of Bourbon Street.

Meanwhile, Zoe the killer vagina (Taissa Farmiga) picks up Frankenboy Kyle (Evan Peters) from Misty Day's cabin and delivers him to his mother, Mrs. Spencer (the marvelous Mare Winningham), who is absolutely crushed that he's dead. Why? Well, that's a little stomach-churning. If Frankenboy could actually talk, he would have said, "Yeah, I love you too, but stop touching me down there. C'mon Mom!"

Instead, he bashes her head in with a trophy. Despite the joy that little comeuppance brings, I'm still a litle bored with KV's storyline. She seems to be brining Misty Day into the larger story so I'm being patient.

Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) provide some super creepy in this episode, too. Cordelia visits the salon, asking Marie to take her jean-jacket-wearing hubby's baby gravy and do the funky fertility dance so Cordelia can get preggers.

Marie declines, and not too respectfully. "You were born into the wrong tribe," she says, explaining how Fiona already showed up at the salon. "She done messed with the wrong witch. And she knows it."

That showdown ain't gonna end well for somebody.

Feelings of loneliness, loss and the lack of love permeate "The Replacements."

After Zoe takes Frankenboy away, Misty Day (Lily Rabe) is left to dance her Stevie Nicks spin all alone.

Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), who explains to Madame LaLaurie that Dr. Phil says food is a replacement for love, is so desperate to be loved she decides to ride the bull—yes, I'm talking about that creepy Minotaur, who comes a callin' and scares the crap out of Delphine (Kathy Bates).

Even Delphine, despicable as she is, bears a lonely cross: "Liiieeesss," she screams at "the magic box" when it informs her that a black man is president. Also, Fiona has commanded she be the Witchwarts maid and personal servant to Queenie, which has to be driving her crazy.

But none of these situations compare to the lonely life someone as fierce and fabulous as Fiona leads—self-inflicted as it is.

Fiona talks about the dance no one had to teach her and all the nameless partners she's had over the years. "I never suspected the night would come when the dance would end," she says, adding later: "I led a disreputable life but I've done it with style, and I'll die likewise."

She meets with a plastic surgeon and demands "Don't make me look like a god damn trout when I get out of here." Wouldn't it have been great if Ryan Murphy hired Julian McMahon or Dylan Walsh from his earlier series, "Nip/Tuck," to play the plastic surgeon?

Despite all Fiona's treachery, you can't help but feel for her when she talks about her regrets: She was a shitty Supreme. She was a horrible mother. She killed her mentor.

Oh yeah, we see Fiona back in 1971 as she cuts the throat of then-Supreme Anna Leigh Leighton (Christine Ebersole, yet another diva!). There's talk of the Seven Wonders, the gifts a skilled young witch should master before becoming the Supreme. Or she can take Fiona's route and kill the current Supreme first.

Fiona believes that the future Supreme is right there in Witchwarts and draining her very life force. It's Madison, who has been adding witchly powers to her arsenal daily.

When Fiona takes Madison out for coffee and tells her that self-preservation is the most primal instinct, you just know things are about to get primal down in New Orleans. Later she takes the youngin' out for a night of pool and partying and when they return to Witchwarts, Fiona slashes her throat! With the same knife she used on Anna Leigh.

With so many necromancers around, I'm not convinced this is the last we'll see of Madison. Maybe Misty Day will find a family after all?

The big question is: Was all Fiona's blather about having so much to give and so much to teach just an act to get Madison to let down her guard? Or does she really feel that way? OK, two questions. I think she was being honest, but remember what she said about self-preservation; it's survival of the fittest out there.

"The coven doesn't need another Supreme," she purrs as she looks at Madison's body. "It needs a new rug."

Yeah, Club Soda won't work on that stain, oddball house man with no tongue, er, Spalding (Denis O'Hare).

This week's big lessons:

  • Incest is never best.
  • Peach cobbler won't keep you warm at night.
  • Bible-thumping hypocrites and racists are bad.
  • Don't mess with the bull, you'll get the horny.


Speaking of horny, did I mention Joan's hunky son, Luke (Alexander Dreymon)? Finally some hot beef is injected into this season. Screw your mother, Luke—I mean, ignore your mother—and keep that shirt off.

What did you think of the episode?



Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page