Protect the Coven

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"Protect the Coven"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 11
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Jennifer Salt
Production code 3ATS11
Original air date January 15, 2014 (2014-01-15)
Running time 47 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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American Horror Story: Coven
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Protect the Coven" is the eleventh episode of the third season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on January 15, 2014, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by Jennifer Salt and directed by Bradley Buecker.

In this episode, Fiona (Jessica Lange and Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) face off with The Corporation while Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) makes a desperate sacrifice to protect the coven. Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, and Danny Huston guest star as Marie Laveau, Queenie and the Axeman, respectively. This episode is rated TV-MA (LV).



Newly arrived in New Orleans from Paris, Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) is worried she will be bored and intellectually unfulfilled. She beheads a chicken for dinner and is entranced by the blood. She later finds a slave in the attic with a badly injured leg, spurting blood from his wound. She pretends to help but instead renders him unconscious and ties him up, and comments that she's going to like it in New Orleans.


In the cemetery, Fiona (Jessica Lange) delivers a eulogy for Nan (Jamie Brewer), who "fell in the tub", which includes a mention of the new union with Marie (Angela Bassett). Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) arrives with a leashed Delphine, to Marie and Fiona's dismay. David (Mike Colter) reports to Hank's father, Harrison Renard (Michael Cristofer), that Hank will be identified by NOPD as a homeless veteran with PTSD. Harrison wants a reprieve from the witches, and calls to set up a meeting with Fiona.

Delphine internally muses on her childhood while ignored or scoffed by the other household members (except for Myrtle's gushing over her cooking). Marie threatens what she will do to Delphine in the future. A bleeding black gardener reminds Delphine about what used to feed her soul, and she tortures him while he is bound and gagged. Kyle (Evan Peters) watches as Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) performs a spell in front of a bathtub which reveals that Fiona and Marie killed Nan. Madison (Emma Roberts) enters and begins a fight about their ménage à trois. Myrtle (Frances Conroy) intrudes, and Madison puts them all on notice that there will be changes made and scores settled when she becomes the new Supreme.

The Axeman plays as Fiona dresses in his apartment. He suggests they go live at his family's farm after killing the new Supreme. She agrees, but asks him to do her one small favor. Spalding's (Denis O'Hare) ghost appears to Delphine as she wraps the dead body of the gardener. He suggests that she can regain her sense of purpose by killing Marie and offers to help if she will get him a special item. Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) tries to welcome Queenie back to the Coven, but an angry Queenie will have none of it. She shows Cordelia the silver bullet with which Hank shot her before she killed him. She says she has gained new powers and may even be the new Supreme.

In the greenhouse, Cordelia prepares a potion to restore her Second Sight, but it fails. She then pierces each eye with a pair of gardening shears. Fiona searches for Cordelia and finds Myrtle, who tells her that Cordelia is now a hero. She says Cordelia sacrificed her eyes to regain the Sight and protect the Coven. Myrtle dares Fiona to have Cordelia read and expose her. Fiona nearly does, but turns to go downstairs instead. Delphine gives Spalding the item he wanted, a very expensive designer doll. He gives her a package of Benadryl, telling her to dissolve a few tablets in Marie's drink, and to not say aloud the name of the very powerful potion.

Myrtle tells Zoe to escape with Kyle while she still can. She gives her a unique and expensive piece of jewelry to pawn for funds, but Zoe does not want to leave. Myrtle reminds her there are enemies everywhere and she must leave. Zoe considers it. The Delphi Trust men arrive for a meeting with Fiona and Marie. The men will make reparations to Marie and a 100-year truce in exchange for an end to the magical siege. Fiona counters with a demand for the dissolution of the witch hunters, a house and a private jet. Or that they all just die. The waiter reveals himself to be the Axeman and kills all the men except Harrison, who says killing them will not end the war and tells Fiona to go to hell. Fiona hacks his throat with the Axeman's axe.

After Fiona goes to meet the Axeman, Marie insults Delphine while drinking a Benadryl-laced cocktail. Delphine stabs her, but Marie pulls out the knife and tells Delphine she is a fool for trying to kill her with an antihistamine. As she chases Delphine, Spalding steps out and hits her in the head with his doll, knocking her down the stairs. He tells Delphine she was the only one he could trick into helping him and suggests that she bury Marie in a way that she cannot ever escape, as Marie is immortal and cannot be killed. He goes back to play with Marie's stolen baby. Zoe wants Kyle to pack for their escape. He refuses at first, but she insists, and the two catch a bus to Orlando.


Rotten Tomatoes reports an 85% approval rating, based on 13 reviews. The critical consensus reads, ""Protect the Coven" satisfyingly sets the table for the season finale with a suitably gross installment whose extra plot point makes its hard-to-follow storyline even more confusing."[1] Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club rated the episode a B+, stating, "Broadcast television could stand to be a good measure weirder and more outrageous, especially when affording some of the country's greatest actresses (actresses 'of a certain age' no less) a chance to really go for it in prime time."[2] Matt Fowler from IGN gave the episode a rating of 7.2/10, stating, ""Protect the Coven" already had its fair share of take-backs and fizzle-outs as it was, what with Delia re-blinding herself (which, I believe, is the first reversal of a reversal) and the disappointing end to the witch hunter story."[3]

The episode received a 1.9 18–49 ratings share and was watched by 3.46 million viewers in its original American broadcast, a decrease from the previous episode.[4]


  1. ^ "Protect the Coven – American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 11". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  2. ^ Perkins, Dennis (January 15, 2014). "American Horror Story: "Protect The Coven"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Matt (January 15, 2014). "Doll Babies and Baby Dolls". IGN. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (January 16, 2014). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'Duck Dynasty' Tops Night + 'American Horror Story', 'Crazy Hearts: Nashville', & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 

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