New Show Recap

New Show Recap: American Horror Story 3×13, “The Seven Wonders”

In this week’s American Horror Story, we realize that Ryan Murphy thinks women are our own worst enemy. Ugh.

[Please see stegawhorusrex’s post for a list of warnings and triggers. I would add non-consensual sexual behavior.]

We begin in a 1980s music video by Stevie Nicks. She sings as the girls prepare to perform the seven wonders. I fast forwarded through this the first time because I really hate song in television and film (sorry not sorry, Gleeks), so I missed the little shout out to Nan. It would’ve been super cool if she could’ve stayed on to perform with them, but I guess Ryan Murphy didn’t find that prospect as interesting as the rest of us.

When we return from the credits, the coven has a last dinner of sorts before they begin the seven wonders. We begin with telekinesis which Misty clearly has the most difficult time performing. Uh oh. Next up, the women perform mind control in pairs. The women all make each other slap themselves in turns.

Gif of Zoe hitting herself in American Horror Story episode 3x13, "The Seven Wonders"
Taking the “stop hitting yourself” bullying tactic to a new level.

Predictably, Madison and Zoe face off, and we’re treated to more of their useless, boring, irritating love triangle with Kyle (who is filling in as a makeshift Spaulding at the moment). They both make Kyle kiss them, and Madison makes Kyle strangle Zoe before Cordelia steps in. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if we’re going to talk about the problematic implications of these women making Kyle perform non-consensual sexual behavior, especially given his abuse relationship with his mother. No? Of course not.

Next up the girls must visit hell and bring themselves back by dawn or stay there forever. Queenie, having done it before, returns first. Next up Madison pops up grimacing about how her personal hell found her stuck acting in a network musical.

Image of smiling face.
I see what you did there.

Zoe comes back crying about how her personal hell found her and Kyle breaking up on a continuous loop. Oh, shut up. The women wait and wait and wait on Misty who finds herself bringing a frog to life only to be forced to dissect and kill it on a loop. Unfortunately for her, Misty is unable to stop the loop, and she literally fades to dust as dawn approaches. Aw. I liked Misty.

The remaining women next try teleportation and engage in a game of tag until, oops, Zoe teleports herself right onto a fence stake.

Screencap of Zoe impaled on a fence spike in American Horror Story episode 3x13, "The Seven Wonders"
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a kidney.

Queenie can’t perform vitalum vitalis even though she previously did it with Misty because fuck internal story consistency, I guess. Madison can do it but refuses because she’s a relentlessly selfish jerk and thinks Fiona had the right idea being the same. Cordelia and Kyle are distraught over Zoe’s death, and Cordelia believes that if Madison is the best they can do for a Supreme then they deserve to die out. This triggers something in Myrtle who realizes that Cordelia could just as well be the next Supreme and should also perform the seven wonders. Cordelia is doubtful, but she enters the competition.

Cordelia and Madison first square off in pyrokinesis, and Cordelia kicks ass. She quickly runs through the other five wonders before they go head to head on divination. Cordelia quickly conquers that bit of competition as she divines the location of hidden objects in the house from a pile of rocks. Madison, unable to do it, pitches a fit and decides to peace out this muthafucka while making threats to expose the coven.

While Madison packs, Kyle confronts her about refusing to bring back Zoe then promptly strangles her to death as she cries and pleads for her life. I find it difficult to believe that a powerful witch that just performed six of the seven wonders couldn’t easily dispatch of this clown, but then we wouldn’t be treated to yet another instance of a man brutally murdering a woman or using violence to put Madison in her place. After she dies, Spaulding returns to take her body again because I’m sure he wants an accessory to go with the black baby he kidnapped to be a living doll and no one ever spoke of again. You’re so classy, Ryan Murphy.

Meanwhile, the rest of the women give precisely no fucks and continue on as Cordelia breathes life back into Zoe. When she does, her eyes are magically restored because the Supreme must have perfect, glowing health (which isn’t ableist at all). They all behold their new Supreme, and Cordelia promptly reveals the coven to the world on her terms and beckons any young witches out there to come to Miss Robichaux’s. We expect she won’t try to murder all of them like Fiona did.

At some point during all of this, Myrtle insists that she be burned at the stake for murdering the former council members (and also suggests promoting Queenie and Zoe to the council). She just wants for Cordelia to start off on the right foot, so to speak. Cordelia initially refuses, but Myrtle says she’s ready to meet the flames. So, she’s burned at the stake again. It’s weird and kind of stops everything dead for a moment (no pun intended).

But, we pick right up because Fiona’s back! But, she’s terribly ill. Cordelia taking her rightful place as the next Supreme has all but killed Fiona. She admits that she planted those memories of her death in the Axeman to ferret out the new Supreme so she could come back and kill her. But, that plan didn’t exactly work out for her. They open up to each other about Fiona’s failings as a mother, and Fiona begs Cordelia to kill her. They hug it out, and I’m fairly screaming, “Protect ya neck, Cordelia!” She doesn’t listen, but it’s okay because Fiona just wants to hold her daughter as she dies.

Fiona awakens in a dingy little house that stinks of catfish and realizes she’s doomed to spend eternity with the Axeman living a distinctly unfabulous existence. This is interspersed with bonus domestic violence (because why not?) and the implication that the Axeman will force Fiona to perform non-consensual sexual acts. Bad women must be punished, y’all. Fiona eyes Papa Legba laughing at her from another room as she and the Axeman dance forever in hell.

We return to Miss Robichaux’s one final time as Cordelia welcomes a very large class of new young women to the school and gives them the same speech that she gave Zoe when she arrived. Cordelia is all smiles as she looks upon on the faces of the future of her coven.

Screencap of Cordelia (Sarah Paulsen) as the Supreme in American Horror Story episode 3x13, "The Seven Wonders"
All hail our new Supreme.

As I discussed this episode with a friend of mine last night, he noted that despite having to face the Delphi corporation and others who would want them dead, the coven’s real danger lay in their own walls. Even with a corporation of powerful rich men after them, their “real problem” was their inability to put aside their petty and racial differences and work together. It seemed a trite, shallow, and very misplaced commentary on how of how (Ryan Murphy believes) women relate to each other and, perhaps, of (how he perceives) feminist politics. Hm.

Anyway, that’s all, folks. What did you think of this season?

By Marena

Marena recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Social Justice & Human Rights & primarily explores social justice issues in the production & consumption of popular mass media. You may find her creating fanworks, testing her hand-eye coordination with beadweaving, flailing over her fictional faves, reading everything from fanfic to theory texts, or watching low budget sci-fi. You can find her writing on Marena ni yukyats.

2 replies on “New Show Recap: American Horror Story 3×13, “The Seven Wonders””

I was disappointed, really, in the whole thing. I admit to laughing a bit at Fiona being stuck in a fishy-smelling house for eternity but other than that, I felt pretty manipulated and was mostly left thinking how much better it could have been. :-(

Yeah. :( This season just seemed really…off and disjointed and especially problematic. That’s not to say the other seasons were not without problems, but I got very little enjoyment out of this one aside from watching my favorite characters do their thing, Fiona included. Sigh. (I lol’ed about that too though. Oh, Fiona.)

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