Five episodes in and we finally get a dud. 

Bring back Madison Montgomery! 

This week's episode of American Horror Story: Coven just did not work for me. The hour felt uneven and strangely flat for having some very cool zombie gore. Is "Burn Witch Burn" the first time zombies have been featured on American Horror Story? I think it is, although that feels fundamentally wrong. But after all of the top-notch gore and violence The Walking Dead offers every week (the only thing that show does well), the decent scares offered up by AHS this week couldn't help but fall short. 

It was great seeing Zoe step up and show some real power this week, although it felt more than a little abrupt. I knew she'd eventually become the Supreme, but I thought something more interesting would draw her out of her shell. A few zombies show up and all of a sudden she's a chainsaw-wielding badass? I mean, I'll take it, but I wouldn't have minded a little lead time into her transition. 

The zombie scenes felt oddly incongruous against Fiona's hospital scenes as she tends to the burned and blinded Cordelia. (Now THERE'S an interesting development - I'm very intrigued by her recent clairvoyance, and dammit if Sarah Paulson doesn't look incredibly cool with her new scars.) And then Fiona's betrayal of Myrtle Snow, and Myrtle's later trial by fire, felt like an entirely different episode. Doesn't The Council actually research anything? Require evidence? They just seem to take the word of whatever witch is loudest in these trials.

Overall this felt very much like a stepping stone ep: soon we'll see what comes of Queenie's new ill-adivsed alliance, Cordelia's clairvoyance and revelation about her husband (who, at least, does appear to truly love her), Myrtle's resurrection at the hands of Misty. Nothing of consequence really happened this week, and it didn't feel like time well spent in such a short season. We're STILL not getting any real storylines for Angela Bassett or Kathy Bates, and at nearly halfway through the season, that feels like a criminal waste.

Last thoughts:

I am so on board with the romance between Nan and the neighbor. I hope it turns out pleasantly, although of course it will not. 

If Fiona can bring life to a stillborn, why can't she heal her own daughter? Does she want to? Was the entire disaster part of her plan to frame Myrtle, or is a third party involved?

The costumes on this show get better every single week. It's a gorgeous series all around.

As I said at the start: bring back Madison! Emma Roberts added so much verve to the show. It feels hollower without her.