American Horror Story: Coven concludes Wednesday night with an episode that promises to bring some closure to the season’s central question: Who will be the next Supreme? It was a question that haunted Jessica Lange’s Fiona, the reigning Supreme and onscreen incarnation of the last 40 years of female power. Dying of cancer, Fiona could feel her life energy flowing into the younger generation. She thought that she could cheat death by killing the next Supreme; at one point, she decided it was safer just to kill everybody. But circumstances changed quite a bit in last week’s episode. (Suffice it to say, this post will be spoiler central for all 12 episodes of Coven so far.)
Now, all the witches left alive will attempt to complete the Seven Wonders, the rite of passage that either kills you or makes you strongest. As the recapper of Coven, I will attempt to guess the identity of the Supreme; as the recapper of Coven, I realize the intrinsic futility of my hypothesis, since much of the appeal of Coven is how frequently it flips the script (and then sets that script on fire and then throws that burning script into an open tank of gasoline).
Let’s quickly run down who is still on the table, shall we? The clear contenders are: Zoe Benson, the everygal with the Frankenboyfriend; Misty Day, the Swamp Witch necromancer with a Stevie Nicks fixation; Madison Montgomery, a Lohan by any other name; and Queenie, the former fast food employee with the unique best-power-ever Human Voodoo Doll ability.
There are two witches who aren’t necessarily in the competition but who should be considered on account of Not Deadness: Cordelia Foxx, the twice-blinded seer; and Myrtle Snow, the fashionable thereminist. Currently dead but still a potential last-minute entry: Nan the clairvoyant. And Fiona might still make a comeback, because Jessica Lange is bigger than death.
Below is my best guess, plus possible explanations for why the other contenders could stage a surprise victory. I look forward to being very, very wrong when Coven airs Wednesday night, but every fiber of my being tells me that the next Supreme will be…
The least interesting choice, I know, but hear me out on this. Zoe was the centric character way back in the first episode of American Horror Story. She has taken a backseat for much of this season while the show’s more colorful personalities flared up. I think this was intentional. We are meant to see how all of the other candidates were undone by various personal failings. Misty is an optimist who isn’t ready for the cruel demands of leadership; she’s also a lone wolf, and the Coven needs someone focused on team-building. Madison is just Fiona 2.0, as vain and narcissistic (and desperately lonely) as her troubled-starlet image implies.
Queenie is arguably the front-runner right now, but she turned her back on her Coven to join Marie LaVeau; compare that to Zoe, who was explicitly told to turn her back on the Coven and run away to a new wonderful life in Epcot. But she returned. Because Zoe is, first and foremost, devoted to the idea of the Coven: Throughout the season she has constantly preached sisterhood, and begged her fellow witches to put aside their differences.
Mind you, I don’t think Zoe will become the Supreme and then everything will be swell. Far from it: If anything, I think Zoe will be the Supreme by-default, the only person left alive after the witches of Miss Robichaux’s collectively go supernova. True, the other witches all seem more impressive, and we have seen more radical displays of power from Misty, Queenie, and Madison. But to me, Zoe is a little bit like the mythic Odysseus. He wasn’t the best at anything — Ajax was stronger, Achilles was braver — but he was pretty good at almost everything. More importantly, he was smart. Zoe is smart too. She knows that the Coven is more powerful when the witches work together, instead of against each other. Her achieving Supremehood would represent a note of optimism after a bleak season of generational warfare.
Of course, American Horror Story isn’t exactly known for its optimism. And just in case I’m wrong, let’s run down the other candidates’ chances of becoming the next Supreme:
Misty Day: The lovable and endearingly innocent Swamp Witch developed incredible resurrection powers without any help from the witches of Miss Robichaux’s. She’s a self-starter, is what I’m saying. And she’s a great fan of Stevie Nicks, who is basically the God Figure of Coven. She doesn’t particularly seem to want the power…but you could argue that, paradoxically, that makes her the right person for the job. Power-hungry Fiona left the Coven in ruins.
Queenie: A dual citizen of the Salem and Voodoo branches of witchcraft, Queenie has a unique perspective on the Coven that could help pull it into the modern age. She’s demonstrated the most powers of any witches in contention, bringing Misty back to life and briefly visiting the afterlife.
Madison Montgomery: Coven has partially played out as a metaphorical story about the life cycle of the Hollywood actress, with Jessica Lange playing the role of an esteemed old pro watching in terror as a younger generation steals her thunder. If the show wants to pessimistically demonstrate this cycle continuing, Madison is the obvious choice. Also working in her favor: Turns out Emma Roberts can play evil ridiculously well.
Cordelia Foxx: She’s the daughter of the previous Supreme. Could it be that Delia is more like Fiona than we know — that, given the opportunity for Supreme power, she won’t hesitate to seize it from her students?
Myrtle Snow: Seems unlikely, but maybe Myrtle will seize the power that previously belonged to her lifelong rival Fiona.
FrankenKyle: Could a boy become the Supreme? We’ve seen at least one male witch — council member Quentin. Admittedly, Kyle has never shown any magical inclination whatsoever. Admittedly, Kyle hasn’t really done much of anything at all. But, like, surely there’s some reason that Evan Peters was on the show this year?
Nan: The obvious dark horse all season long, Nan got an early seal of approval from Fiona and seemed considerably more capable/less overcome with hormones than her fellow witches. That was before Fiona killed her. And so far, Nan’s the only person to stay dead.
Fiona: She’s dead. And before she died, she got an epic final monologue that played like a handy epitaph for everything great and deranged about the character. Delia used the Sight, and discovered that the Axeman fed Fiona to the alligators, so resurrection is impossible. So Fiona is definitely, absolutely, completely out of the running. Except…Delia did have a premonition of Fiona, having killed the entire Coven, walking away with all her powers recovered. And will there really be an American Horror Story season finale without Jessica Lange?
Stevie Nicks: Unlikely, but never impossible.
Post your own theories below, and check back here tonight for my full American Horror Story recap!