Oh, Coven. Coven, Coven, Coven. What you could have been, and what you ultimately were, are so disappointedly disproportionate. Luckily, the first chunk is so strong that it almost erases how bad Coven gets by the end. And by bad, I mean racially offensive and cruelly misogynistic in some truly baffling ways.
Let’s start with the good: the costumes, that house, those actresses. With New Orleans as a setting, and witches as a hook, Coven is a spoil of aesthetic riches. Lange as “Supreme” witch Fiona Goode, whose only vulnerability is aging out of relevance, is both a hero and a villain, someone you root for and against with an equal measure of delight. It’s also our introduction to Angela Bassett as real-life voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and Kathy Bates as real-life serial killer Delphine LaLaurie. The younger cast members are also strong, and Lily Rabe makes a real impression as Misty Day, a necromancer who’s obsessed with Stevie Nicks, as does Frances Conroy as Myrtle Snow, the Balenciaga-obsessed head of the Witches’ Council.