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American Horror Story Wiki

Zoe Benson is a member of the Witches' Council and an instructor at Miss Robichaux's Academy. She is a character in American Horror Story portrayed by Taissa Farmiga.


17-year-old, Zoe Benson has her life turned upside-down in an instant when her true lineage is violently revealed. Ripped from her family and the only life she has ever known, Zoe must all-too-quickly learn to navigate her strange and uncontrollable gifts.[1]

Zoe is a witch with the uncontrollable power to cause whoever she is currently engaging in intercourse with to haemorrhage until they die. It is only upon the untimely death of her boyfriend that it is revealed that her great-grandmother shared her "curse". She is then whisked away to a school, where young witches learn to control their gifts; a school supervised by Cordelia Foxx.

Personality and Appearance[]

Zoe is a young girl with chest-long, straight, dark blonde hair, usually wearing it down with a center parting. She is about 5'4" with long legs and a very slim build. She has light skin and an oval-shaped face with caramel eyes. She often wears very little makeup and dresses in dark colors, occasionally pairing a black hat with her ensemble.

Initially a shy, quiet girl, Zoe found difficulty in remaining calm under pressure (unlike her fellow witches), as she blurted out that she and Madison were witches when the police questioned them about the events that took place during a fraternity party. She is described by Fiona Goode as soft and emotional. However, while Robichaux was under siege, in the absences of Cordelia and Fiona, Zoe took charge, acting as a leader for Nan, Queenie, Madame LaLaurie, Spalding, and Luke, confronting the forces of Marie Laveau.

Zoe later developed a deeper passion for her witch status and a familial love for the Coven. Following her admission to the Witches' Council, she grew into a confident woman, with the able to instruct classes and mentor her fellow witches. She also develops a sense of responsibility due to her position in the Coven's hierarchy.



Zoe comes home with her boyfriend presumably from school and plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Charlie. However, in the process of having sex with him, she accidentally gives him a fatal aneurysm. Her mother explains that her great-grandmother bore the very same curse, revealing her as a witch. Soon after, Myrtle Snow and her valets retrieve Zoe and whisk her away to New Orleans to attend Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. Upon entry, she is immediately subjected to a hazing by ghastly masked fellow students, Madison Montgomery, Nan, and Queenie. Afterward, the headmistress, Cordelia Foxx, gives her a tour, tracing the history of witches and instilling the importance of discretion. Zoe accompanies Madison to a college party, where she meets a charming scholarship student, Kyle Spencer. The frat boys drugged up Madison planning to rape her. However, their flirtations are cut short when Kyle breaks up the gang-rape of a drugged Madison perpetrated by his frat brothers. Madison recovers enough to wreak her revenge by telekinetically wrecking the escape vehicle with them inside. The next day, upon learning that the tragedy yielded two anonymous survivors, Zoe visits the hospital in hopes that one may be the innocent, heroic Kyle. She is disappointed to find two undeservedly living rapists instead, ringleader included. In a perverse combination of sexual desire and monstrous revenge, she finds the boy responsible for raping Madison, who is paralyzed in critical condition, forcibly stimulates him, and starts to rape him, and he suffers her deadly curse.[2]

Zoe and Madison are then questioned by officers, regarding the deaths of those on the bus and the survivors that Zoe visited. Zoe cracks under pressure and begins to tell all. After this situation is magically and mercilessly remedied by Supreme Fiona Goode, Zoe suffers the wrath of the Supreme, who calls her the weakest among them. Later, she and Madison break into the morgue to revive Kyle with a stolen resurrection spell. As the boys are now a jumbled mess of dismembered limbs, they resign themselves to assembling a boyfriend from the choicest parts. As the spell appears to fail, Madison leaves Zoe to say goodbye. Zoe apologizes to Kyle and gives him a kiss that unexpectedly completes the resurrection. After Franken-Kyle answers the imposition of a security guard with a savage beating, Zoe escapes with him in the watchman's car. Misty Day, drawn by Zoe's necromancy, rises from the back seat and offers her help. She takes them to her bayou cabin and nurses Kyle back to health with a homemade poultice, as she bonds with Zoe over witchcraft and music. She agrees to look after Kyle in Zoe's place, who must return to the academy.[3]

Soon after, she returns for Kyle, whose wounds have healed, and returns him to his mother. Later that day, Zoe visits Spencer's house having been previously invited to dinner. She enters the house after no one answered the door after she knocked, and it is then that she stumbles upon the mutilated and bloody body of Kyle's mother. She screams in horror and spins around to reveal a blood-caked and wide-eyed Kyle (unbeknownst to her, Kyle killed his mother due to her incestuous inclinations towards him).[4] The next morning, Zoe is close to tears and Kyle reaches out to touch her cheek, but Zoe pulls away, saying he must be hungry. She goes to the kitchen to make him food and notices rat poison in the cabinet. She reaches for it, but whether she actually puts it in the food is left ambiguous. She returns to the bathroom with the food to find Kyle missing.[5]

Back at the house, Zoe is questioned by the Witches' Council about Madison's disappearance (unknown to them she was killed by Fiona).[5] Later that night the house was attacked by Zombies sent by Marie Laveau. Zoe then takes charge of the situation having everyone lock doors and windows, draw the drapes and send a wounded Queenie upstairs. Zoe then goes outside to save Nan and Luke Ramsey by causing a distraction she then uses a chainsaw to kill the zombie’s and then successfully breaking Marie Laveau’s spell stopping the Zombies altogether. Afterward, Marie Laveau states “they’ve got some real power there now”. Zoe later attends Myrtle burning at the stake which horrifies her.[6]

Zoe believing Madison dead begins an investigation to find out what happened only to be led by the ghost of The Axeman to proof of his own murder, first believing this is Madison she gathers Queenie and Nan to use a “Ouija board” to communicate with her but only the Axeman responded and reveals himself to them, Queenie end it and the three of them research the axeman. Zoe uses the “Ouija board” again promising the Axeman release from the house if tells her where Madison is, under the Axeman instructions Zoe goes to Spalding’s room in the attic and finds Madison’s Body. Later Zoe returns to Misty’s shack to ask her to resurrect Madison only to find Kyle throwing a violent tantrum, smashing Misty's things and finally her radio, which causes Misty to cry. Seeing Zoe Kyle immediately runs to her clinging to her like a scared child. Misty tells Zoe to take Kyle out of there, upset because "he broke Stevie". Zoe says she needs both of them to come with her. In the Coven’s greenhouse, Zoe chains Kyle to the wall by the wrist, this upsets him but Zoe has a calming effect on him. Zoe then convinces Misty to bring a rotting Madison back to life, though Misty is reluctant to do so she succeeds and Zoe, Queenie, and Nan take Madison to her room and recover. Later, Zoe offers for Misty to stay and she refuses, also telling Zoe that she will take Kyle back due to his animalistic and primitive inclinations. That same night the Axeman attacks Cordelia and to save her she use exceptional power and releases the Axeman.[7]

Zoe brings Madison's handgun to the greenhouse in an attempt to end Kyle's life. Kyle aware of what is about to happen and snatches the handgun from Zoe, but then puts it in his mouth to attempt suicide with it. He fails to take his own life due to interference from Zoe who cannnot bear to lose him and they cry in each other’s arms. Zoe brings Kyle into the school building, and to her and Madison's bedroom. Using flashcards, she tries to teach him how to communicate but he interrupts the lesson with bursts of violence. Madison cuts their lesson, delivering the message that Cordelia's asking for Zoe. Madison offers to look after Kyle while Zoe was gone, Cordelia congratulates Zoe on the power level it took to release the Axeman and that she may be the next Supreme and to keep it secret for Fiona will kill her and that they should stop her. In the short time, Zoe's gone, Madison and Kyle connect on the fact that they are both undead and when Zoe returns she finds Kyle having sex with Madison up against the cupboard.[8]

In fear for her life, Zoe interrogates Spalding by restoring his severed tongue and forcing him to tell the truth about Fiona right before she stabs him in the chest killing the butler. Zoe washes off Spalding’s blood in the shower until confronted by Madison about what she saw between her and Kyle, Madison states that Zoe obviously likes Kyle and that they should be together as Kyle would now be immune to her "Black Widow" power. Zoe considers this, though Madison makes it clear that she does not plan on giving Kyle up, explaining to Zoe that having sex with him was the first and only time she has felt anything since her resurrection. Zoe offers to take turns, but Madison proposes they share. Taking Zoe by the hand, Madison leads her to their bedroom where Kyle is sitting expectantly on the edge of Zoe's bed. Zoe drops her towel and the trio engages in a threesome.[8]

After failing to convince Queenie to return to the coven, Zoe attempts to teach Kyle to regain his ability to speak with a "Speak 'n' Spell" app on her computer. Though Madison would prefer to merely use Kyle as a sex toy, Zoe is determined to get him functioning again "so he can communicate and maybe even rejoin society". Seeing as they will be busy all night with the "Sacred Taking", Zoe leaves a contented Kyle with some preschool computer games to keep him occupied. Later that night, the coven discovers that they are under attack. Zoe tries to take Kyle away from the danger, but he refuses and says his first turn of phrase: "This road goes two ways", which he had learned and repeated from the computer game. He then confesses he loves her, which she reciprocates. Madison, who overhears the confession, is visibly hurt.[9]

Zoe and a now lucid (but still traumatized) Kyle grow closer, and comfort each other at Nan’s funeral. When Zoe discovers that Nan was murdered and Madison shows no concern, Zoe calls her out on her behavior and remarks “we should have just let you rot”, Madison begins sexual advances on Kyle to spite Zoe to which she acts nonchalant but Kyle angrily denies her and proclaims his love for Zoe, and Madison becomes enraged and uses her telekinesis to attack them, hitting Zoe in the back of the head with a lamp and the scuffle is broken up by Myrtle.[10]

Madison threatens the three of them that she will be the next Supreme and that she will undo Kyle. Later that night, Zoe and Myrtle talk in Cordelia's greenhouse. Myrtle tells Zoe to escape with Kyle while she still can, giving her a unique and expensive piece of jewelry to use for money but Zoe will not leave due to her commitment to the Coven and her belief that she is the next Supreme. Myrtle reminds her that she has enemies everywhere and must leave, specifically Madison and Fiona. Zoe decides to run away with Kyle and asks him to pack but Kyle is afraid of leaving because of his rages and tells her that his leaving is not her decision to make. Zoe lovingly assures him that she is not afraid of him and they gleefully flee to the bus terminal headed to Orlando.[10]

In Orlando, a homeless man verbally accosts them for stealing his spot under a tree and Kyle kills him, Zoe then revives him with her power of Vitalum Vitalis and concludes she might be the next Supreme. They return to the Coven in the middle of a conflict between Misty and Madison. Kyle stops the fight between Misty and Madison and separates the two right before the attempted attack of The Axeman. The witches disable the Axeman and discover he has killed Fiona. Zoe, Madison, Misty and Queenie then kill the Axeman, mirroring his murder in 1919.[11]

At the “Trial of the Seven Wonders” during the “Trial of Concilium” Madison uses Kyle to show her power by controlling his mind and antagonize Zoe by forcibly controlling him to kiss her and lick her boot, but Zoe retaliates by having Kyle passionately kiss her to which he does not fight, Madison then has Kyle choke Zoe but Cordelia telekinetically throws him aside and ends the fight. At the “Trial of Descensum” Zoe’s experience of hell is an endless loop of Kyle saying he does not love her and them breaking up and when she returns she is distressed and consoled by Kyle. Zoe, Queenie, and Madison turn the “Trial of Transmutation” into a game of “tag” to unwind but Zoe accidentally transmutes to the top of the iron gate outside the house and is impaled, a distraught Kyle attempts to save her as she dies. In the greenhouse Queenie attempts to resurrect her to no avail (thus failing the test) and a crying Kyle is consoled and taken into the house by her, Cordelia and Myrtle request Madison to resurrect Zoe but she refuses.[12]

In the Greenhouse Kyle cries over Zoe’s dead body saying “you said you’d never leave me”.In a rage he strangles Madison for refusing to save Zoe, but Zoe is resurrected by Cordelia. Cordelia then assumes the responsibilities of Supreme and she brings the coven to a new age by revealing the witches to the world and asking Zoe and Queenie to become the new members of the “Witches' Council”.[12]

Zoe stays with Kyle and the Coven under the new reign of Cordelia’s supremacy as part of the Council and Kyle is now the house butler, replacing Spalding.[12]


Three years after Cordelia's interview and one year after Queenie's death in Hotel Cortez, Zoe is now an active member of the coven, taking the mantle of an instructor and mentor witch at Miss Robichaux's Academy. Three years before Earth is decimated by a nuclear apocalypse, Zoe, under the watchful eye of Cordelia, teaches a group of new students how to change the color of a rose using their powers. Zoe mentions that Joséphine de Beauharnais, a known witch, was proficient with this ability. Zoe is impressed when one of the young witches, Mallory, not only changes the color of her rose, but also transforms its petals into butterflies. Zoe later confides to Cordelia that she feels that Mallory is special, recognizing her unique abilitiest.[13]

Zoe joins Cordelia and a resurrected Myrtle after they are summoned by the warlocks of Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. While there, the witches meet Michael Langdon, who unbeknownst to them is actually the antichrist disguised as one of the young warlock students. Michael is able to resurrect both Queenie and Madison due to his advanced powers. Upon seeing her fallen fellow-witches, Cordelia passes out.[13] Cordelia experiences a vision of the future, and upon awakening, she reunites with her girls. Madison asks if they even noticed she was dead, to which Zoe answers they did. Cordelia later confides her vision to the warlocks.[14]

Later at the Academy, Zoe, along with Queenie and Mallory, test the limits of Coco's new power: Calorie Detection. After Coco dies whilst practicing this technique, Zoe realizes that Mallory's powers are equal to that of a Supreme, after witnessing her manually resurrect Coco. She later relays this information to Cordelia and it was Zoe's second confirmation of Mallory's power that urged Cordelia to have Mallory attempt the Seven Wonders.[15]

After finding out the warlocks killed one of their own, Zoe aided Cordelia and the other witches in resurrecting John Henry Moore by magically consolidating all of his dust from the area where he was murdered. Followed by Mallory using her powers to magically reconstruct John Henry with her Time-warping powers.[15]

She was present when the coven laid judgment upon the traitors by punishing them with death by fire.[15]

She then resumes her activities as a teacher of the Coven when Dinah Stevens breaks the protective spell on the Academy, allowing Michael Langdon to infiltrate the facility along with Ms. Mead's robotic clone. Recognizing the threat, she telekinetically launches a flurry of nails at high speed at them, but Michael halts it and fires it back against all the witches sitting around the table, killing Bubbles McGee in the process and most of the other novices. She managed to dodge it, but Ms. Mead unscrewed her own arm, which concealed a bionic shotgun, and proceeded to shoot her in the head, effectively ending her life.[16]

After taking refuge in Misty's shack with the surviving witches of the Coven, Cordelia astrally projected herself to the now abandoned Academy and tried to resuscitate Zoe and Queenie, to no avail, as in her vision, their bodies vanished into thin air. After leaving her trance and explaining what happened and her inability to bring the witches back from death, Madison tells her of Michael's ability to wipe disembodied souls from existence, making it impossible to use Vitalum Vitalis on the remaining bodies.[16]

Zoe's death is reversed by Mallory via time travel, in which she kills Michael, preventing her demise at Ms. Mead's hands in the previous timeline. Following this, Mallory enrolls herself at Robichaux once again, during which she spots Zoe tutoring her fellow witches.[17]


Zoe is a quite powerful natural born witch who is shown to have mastered six of the Seven Wonders.

  • Telekinesis - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to move things with only the power of the mind. She used it to pull a candlestick in the test of the Seven Wonders and also used it to grab a knife then stab the Axeman.
    • Levitation - Zoe used this power to levitate her bed while sitting on it to study.
    • Aerokinesis - The magical ability to control air, Zoe demonstrated this power when she gathered the ashes of John Henry Moore in order for Mallory to resurrect him.
  • Concilium - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to bend the will of another individual and force them to do whatever the user desires. This power is more commonly known as Mind Control. She used it during the test of the Seven Wonders. Zoe also demonstrated some proficiency in this ability; having to break Madison's hold on Kyle during the Trial of Concilium and the only witch first showcased to do so.
  • Transmutation - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to move from one place to another without physically occupying the space in between. This power is more commonly known as Teleportation. Zoe used it to play with Queenie and Madison during the Seven Wonders test, which inadvertently resulted her in the end impaled at the iron fences of the gate.
  • Descensum - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to descend into the netherworlds of the afterlife. This power is also known as Astral Projection. Zoe used it to travel to her personal Hell during the Seven Wonders test.
  • Vitalum Vitalis - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to balance the scales between life and death. Zoe used it to bring back a homeless man who was killed by Kyle in a fit of uncontrollable rage.
  • Divination - One of the Seven Wonders, the magical ability to gain knowledge through indirect means. Zoe developed this power when she sensed that Madison was dead and use it when she needed to find the grimoire with the spell inside to ban the Axeman from the academy.
  • Power Negation - The ability or spell to cancel out someone else's magic or voodoo curse temporarily. This power was shown when Zoe was able to negate Marie's zombie spell simply by uttering the command, "Be in your nature".
  • Black Widow - The magical ability to kill someone by causing fatal hemorrhages through sexual intercourse.
  • Spellcraft - During her stay at the academy, Zoe develops a remarkable affinity for casting spells which allowed her to do a variety of feats. A few years after Cordelia has announced the existence of witches, Zoe has become an expert teacher of this branch of magic.
    • Resurrection Spell - Her first attempt at learning and using magic was to join Madison in a necromantic ritual to resurrect Kyle.
    • Banishing Spell - Together with Queenie and Nan, Zoe was able to use the right spell to bring back to life and banish from the villa the Axeman.
    • Restoration Spell - A spell used to reattach severed parts of the body like Spalding's tongue, a feat that even Myrtle Snow could not cast it in her younger years.
    • Scrying Spell - A spell of divination used to uncover past events about a person, usually used in conjunction with a lighted candle. Zoe was able to discover thanks to this spell that Nan had been drowned in the bathtub.
    • Rose Color Change Enchantment - The magical ability to change the color of an rose. Zoe uses this power to change the color of a white rose to a red rose to demonstrate a lesson to a class of witches, including Mallory.
    • Protection Spell - A spell to protect a location.


  • Zoe is a Greek name meaning "life",[18] which is ironic given the nature of her Black Widow power.
    • It could also allude to Zoe helping to resurrect Kyle, and she herself later being brought back to life after her death.
  • She is the second character to be portrayed by Taissa Farmiga. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
  • Zoe is in a complicated relationship with Evan Peters' character, Kyle Spencer. This is the second pairing between the two actors, the first being Violet Harmon and Tate Langdon. Both characters died within the respective seasons (Kyle, however, was later resurrected by Zoe and Madison).
  • Zoe's power is reminiscent of the plight of X-Men member Rogue, and the protagonist of the 2007 comedy/horror movie, Teeth.
  • She is the last character brought back to life in Coven.
  • Zoe may possess the power of Pyrokinesis as seen in the first episode where the other girls tried to scare her and candles lit up, however, since she is not the Supreme, this could be proven wrong, but she has shown all six of the others in the series. Pyrokinesis is not tested on screen during the group test of the Seven Wonders, although Cordelia performed it as the first one when she took it. She has, however, additional powers not belonging to the Seven Wonders, including her Black Widow power and dispelling voodoo on zombies.
  • Zoe's powers clearly resemble that of the Succubus, which kills those who it engages in sexual intercourse with. However, the succubus absorbs the soul of the men she lies with whereas Zoe does not.
  • Zoe was thought by Myrtle Snow to be the next Supreme, alongside Misty Day.[19]
  • Zoe Benson, Madison Montgomery, Fiona Goode and Cordelia Goode are the only four characters to appear in all episodes of Coven.


  • To Madison Montgomery: "Did we just marry the Devil? 'Cause I don't know if I'm down with that."
  • To a zombie: "Be in your nature!"
  • Zoe Benson: "The world isn't safe for a girl like me, but maybe I'm not safe for the world either."
  • To Archie: "It should have been you, asshole!"
  • To Spalding: "Alright you twisted, tea-serving necrophiliac, what'd you do to Madison?"
  • Zoe Benson: "It's a cliche. But like all cliches, it's the truth. Your life can change overnight."
  • Zoe Benson: "But one thing's certain: Nothing is immutable when the will of a strong woman is applied."