Burn, Witch. Burn! (American Horror Story)

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"Burn, Witch. Burn!"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 5
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa
Written by Jessica Sharzer
Featured music "Right Place, Wrong Time" by Dr. John
Production code 3ATS05
Original air date November 6, 2013 (2013-11-06)
Running time 42 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Fearful Pranks Ensue"
Next →
"The Axeman Cometh"
American Horror Story: Coven
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Burn, Witch. Burn!" is the fifth episode of the third season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on November 6, 2013, on the cable network FX.

This episode focuses on Fiona (Jessica Lange) exacting revenge on Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) after Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) is blinded. Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe guest star as Marie Laveau and Queenie, respectively. This is the first episode not to feature Evan Peters.



Madame LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) welcomes Governor Roman (Tony Bentley) and his wife (Ramona Taylor) to an All Hallow's Eve ball. She introduces her daughter Borquita (Jennifer Lynn Warren) to their son, Jacques (Gabe Begneaud) and asks him to visit her "chamber of horrors". She has him stick his hand in covered bowls. The first he guesses is peeled grapes, but it's actually eyeballs, plucked from her slaves. Likewise for the bowl of what Jacques guesses are sausages, which is a bowl of intestines.

Borquita watches, crestfallen, as her potential suitor runs away from her mother in horror. LaLaurie tells her husband Louis (Scott Jefferson) to send Bastien (Ameer Baraka) and two strong slaves after LaLaurie's daughter's plot to kill her. The daughters are dragged out of their beds at night and taken to her torture chamber. She tells them if they're good, she might let them out in a year.


LaLaurie opens the door to the Academy and sees her zombified daughters. From inside they watch the zombies approach, Nan (Jamie Brewer) is sure they're dead since she isn't able to read their minds. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) tells everyone to shut off the lights and close the drapes. Luke (Alexander Dreymon) thinks they're overreacting. He goes outside to tell them off, to no avail. In her trance, Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) orders the zombies to start attacking. Luke is struck in the back with an axe, while Zoe gathers everyone and tells them to head for the attic, though Spalding (Denis O'Hare) doesn't want them in his room since it has Madison's body in it. Nan goes outside to get Luke and drags him into a car. The zombies break into the car where Nan and Luke have taken refuge, Zoe gets their attention by banging pots and pans. LaLaurie gets Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) settled back in bed, then goes downstairs for ice. She grabs a knife when she hears a noise in the kitchen but then she sees her daughter Borquita. LaLaurie opens the door to talk to her, telling her she wants to make amends. Borquita grabs her by the neck and lifts her off the ground.

The zombies pound on the crypt door where Zoe is hiding, as she runs deeper inside until she finds something. Queenie sends Spalding to find LaLaurie, but he meets a zombie with a candlestick in the hallway. Queenie tries using her powers on the zombie, but nothing works. LaLaurie finally kills her with a fire poker. In the car, Luke worries he's bleeding out. Nan tries to drag him to the house, but the zombies gain ground. Zoe appears wielding a chainsaw and mows her way through them until it runs out of gas. One advances on her as she falls, but as she raises her hand and casts a spell, the zombie drops to the floor. Back at the salon, Marie comes crashing to the ground, saying they've got serious power at the witch house.

At the bar, Fiona (Jessica Lange) hears Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) scream from the attack, and calls for an ambulance. In the hospital waiting room, Dr. Wilson (Lyle Brocato) tells Fiona that it was sulfuric acid and they couldn't save Cordelia's eyesight, her face, as a result, is badly scarred. Fiona raids the pharmacy for pills, and she thinks she sees the hooded figure who scarred Cordelia. Fiona stumbles into a room where a woman (Meg Steedle) has just given birth to a stillborn baby. Fiona brings the dead infant to the woman, telling her to hold her and talk to her. She tells the woman what to say to her; as Fiona brushes her hand over the baby, it starts to breathe.

Hank (Josh Hamilton) makes it to Cordelia's bedside. He and Fiona fight with each other until a nurse enters and threatens to call security. Fiona leaves to give him 15 minutes with Cordelia before she throws him out. Hank kneels by Cordelia's bedside and promises her he'll never leave. He takes her hand, and she suddenly wakes to a vision of him having sex with Kaylee.

At the Academy, the undead bodies are being burned and Fiona thanks Zoe for protecting the Coven. LaLaurie comes out to watch her dead daughters burn. The Council returns and reviews Fiona's transgressions. They order that Fiona abdicate her Supremacy, and the Council will rule until the new Supreme reveals herself. Fiona refuses and accuses Myrtle (Frances Conroy) of the acid attack on Cordelia. Fiona saw Myrtle under the black hood in the hospital under a woozy flashback. She also accuses Myrtle of killing Madison, saying she was in town when it happened, surprising the Council. Fiona reveals she and Spalding had tracked down Myrtle under an alias to a hotel, finding pictures of her taped all over the walls with pentagrams drawn on them. Myrtle objects that Fiona has to be stopped and they think that sounds like a confession. Fiona pulls off Myrtle's gloves to reveal her acid-burned hands. Cecily (Robin Bartlett) and Quentin (Leslie Jordan) vote to "burn the witch". The Coven and the Council dressed all in black, walk out to a quarry where Myrtle, dressed all in white, is roped to a stake. Myrtle is doused in gasoline and burned.

Back at the house, Queenie asks Fiona if she framed an innocent or guilty woman. A flashback reveals Queenie standing around the corner as Fiona presents the case against Myrtle: at a key moment, Queenie dips her hand in a glass of acid. Queenie thought they were going to oust Myrtle, not burn her. Queenie isn't sure she can live with it. Fiona tells Queenie that nobody is innocent. Fiona flatters Queenie, telling her she can teach her and help build her powers, maybe even to become the next Supreme.

Up in his room, Spalding prances around in his nightgown and douses the room with air freshener to mask the smell of the rotting Madison (Emma Roberts) in his trunk. He tries to pull her out, but her arm comes off. At the quarry, Misty Day (Lily Rabe) finds Myrtle's charred corpse and uses her powers of resurgence. Myrtle's eyes open.


"Burn, Witch. Burn!" received a 2.2 18–49 ratings share and was watched by 3.80 million viewers, winning the night for cable.[1]

Rotten Tomatoes reports a 100% approval rating, based on 15 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "Philosophical exploration of maternal challenges and a challenging, extraordinary turn for Kathy Bates make "Burn, Witch. Burn!" an excellent – albeit weird – hour of television."[2] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ rating, saying, "The episodes have all been packed with incident, with crazy moments and crazy twists, but there's not yet a center, and without a center, things cannot, well... you know."[3] Matt Fowler from IGN gave the episode an 8.4/10 rating, calling it a great episode, saying, "This week's episode of Coven gave us a half great/half confusing zombie attack and some emotional moments involving mothers feeling shame and regret."[4]

The episode was chosen as one of The Atlantic's Best TV Episodes of 2013.[5]


  1. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (November 7, 2013). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'American Horror Story' Tops Night + 'South Park', 'Key & Peele', NBA Basketball & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  2. ^ "Burn, Witch. Burn! – American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 5". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (November 6, 2013). "Burn, Witch, Burn". The A.V. Club.
  4. ^ Fowler, Matt (November 6, 2013). "American Horror Story: Coven – "Burn, Witch. Burn!" Review". IGN. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Best Television Episodes of 2013". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 15, 2013.

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