Update 8:09 a.m. — A New Supreme Has Been Crowned
On Wednesday night, the new supreme of the Salem witches was crowned. Cordelia Goode, daughter of the late Fiona Goode, performed the Seven Wonders and avoided a ho-hum life of becoming a wealthy a salad dressing entrepreneur.
Also, and more importantly, The Wire and more specifically entertainment editor Joe Reid was absolutely correct in his guess as to who the new baddest witch would be:
Our Original Predictions:
American Horror Story: Coven has been one great big mess of a television show, and not always in the way that Ryan Murphy shows can be entertainingly messy. With character motivations shifting like the breeze, a refusal to let the dead stay dead, and a dearth of characters truly worth caring about, the moments of high camp have felt like emptier calories than usual.
Still, Wednesday night's season finale starring Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Frances Conroy is still a season finale starring Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Frances Conroy. And at long last, even if it hasn't been the most compelling mystery on television, we're going to find out who the next Supreme is. The season has offered pretty much every character as a red herring, making it almost impossible to predict a winner. But last week's penultimate episode spelled out exactly what criteria the Supreme will have to fulfill, as they perform the Seven Wonders. Which of these witches have shown themselves able to pull these wonders off? We've charted it:
|Mind Control/ Concilum||Teleportation/ Transmutation||Divination/ Clairvoyance||Resurgence||Descensum/ Visiting the Afterlife||Pyrokinesis||Telekinesis|
|Cordelia||Blinding-induced second sight. Eps 5, 6, and 12||She opens the door for Hank to leave. Ep 5|
|Madison||As tutored by Fiona in episode 3.||She teleported to avoid Cordelia's clairvoyant touch in episode 12.||Resurrecting that man in the cemetery, episode 10.||Setting Patti LuPone's curtains on fire. Ep 3||Yes. Basically all the time.|
|Misty||Basically all the time. Kyle. Myrtle. Probably Nan this week.||Unclear whether it counts that she survived burning at the stake in ep 1.||She uses the knives to kill Axeman in episode 12.|
|Queenie||Saw Marie getting hacked up in episode 12.||Brought Misty back to life in episode 12.||Aided by Papa Legba, she visits hell in ep 12.||She pulls Misty's coffin out of the tomb in Episode 12 .|
|Zoe||She's able to find the exact magic book she needs while fleeing the Axeman in ep 6.||She resurrects the homeless man Kyle kills in episode 12.||Various times, including the murder of the Axeman in ep 12.|
The Final Tally:
Misty: 3/7 (Possibly 5/7 depending on Ryan Murphy's magic rules— she may or may not have teleported into Zoe's car and may or may not have mind-controlled alligators.)
If This Were Vegas:
Just going by the numbers, Madison would be the odds-on favorite to be the next Supreme, with Cordelia and Zoe (and her killer vagina power) bringing up the rear. Queenie would be an interesting case since she didn't start exhibiting more powers until the last episode. Misty was an on-screen favorite at one point, but she really hasn't displayed many powers other than bringing people back to life (which is really one of the more important powers this season).
The Vegas Odds:
Madison, 2:1 — The most powers. The most ruthless. The most likely to immediately kill whomever else might be the Supreme.
Queenie, 5:2 — The most interesting in that she might unite the Salem witches and the voodoo witches into one sisterhood, which would be a fine button to put on the season.
Zoe, 3:1 — Because of her resurgence power displayed last episode, plus that weird hand-blaster power that killed the zombies.
Misty, 6:1 — Because time cast a spell on you, but you won't forget her.
Cordelia, 10:1 — Because of uselessness of late makes her a dark horse.
Why I'm Going with Zoe
The main reason is because Ryan Murphy is a bad writer. Let's be completely clear: the man is really, really great at conceptualizing and producing stories that we're interested in. But story architecture and seeing things to a finish aren't his strong suits.
For example, storylines like Cordelia wanting a child (and willing to risk visiting Marie Laveau to get one) and Fiona wanting to study Delphine LaLaurie's immortality are mysteriously forgotten. Also, are there other members of the witches' council? Why aren't they worried about their top three leaders (Myrtle, Quentin, and Pembroke) all missing?
And there are also nagging questions like: Why would a coven whose numbers have been dwindling from being hunted down for generation after generation decide that the most sensible way to determine a new leader would be a test where whoever doesn't die becomes the supreme? Or: Why would someone invest millions of dollars into a witch-hunting company, when all the witches are busy killing themselves?
Murphy is like a chess player who only plays one way — he always likes to end his American Horror Story seasons with twist that he doesn't think you see coming. Like, he probably thinks that we're all expecting a Queenie/Misty/Madison showdown since their powers are keep growing, when really it's probably going to come down to the human Eeyore that is Zoe or salad dressing saleswoman Cordelia.
Zoe, since the beginning, has had weird, unexplainable powers (killer coitus power, and her zombie-killing magic blast). And Murphy probably thinks we'd never expect her, to be the supreme since she's flown under the radar. Ergo, if I know my Ryan Murphy well enough and he hasn't changed his ways, expect Zoe to be your Supreme. Or Cordelia. —AAS
A Second Opinion
I get why someone would think the next Supreme is Zoe. She's the pessimist's choice, and this season hasn't done much to convince viewers to abandon their pessimism. Zoe's the good girl. The Final Girl. The one who gets to be the Chosen One because the show was already in her corner anyway. She's also probably the worst-drawn character of the season (and while Taissa Farmiga was dynamite in season one, she hasn't added much to Zoe than what was—or wasn't— already on the page). Almost anybody else would have been a more interesting choice for Supreme. Madison. Misty Day. Queenie. Nan (R.I.P.). But each one of them had their time as a red herring and thus would feel like sad afterthoughts if they actually were the Supreme.
One of the rules of thumb with mediocre horror movies (and Coven is a mediocre horror movie) is that the killer is always the one whose red-herring moment is least pronounced. So when last week there was the faintest suggestion that Cordelia might be in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Supreme, only for said notion to be swallowed by the run-up to the weird little Hunger Games that Myrtle is devising, that raised an eyebrow. Besides Zoe—actually, far moreso than Zoe—Cordelia as new supreme makes narrative sense. The season could end with Delia coming into her own, stepping out of her mother's shadow, truly taking the position as a leader and teacher and mentor to a new generation of witches. If there is anything approaching a "message" still left in this season, that would be it. —JR
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.