American Horror Story Coven, S3E6: The Axeman Cometh
Original Airdate: November 13, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
New Orleans, 1919. A man with a husky voice tells the story of terrorizing New Orleans. He’s known as the Axeman. He sits at a typewriter and tells of the nefarious things he has done and the plans he has for the future. He is composing a letter to the local paper telling citizens that the following Tuesday he requests that ever house has a full jazz ensemble playing. The house that isn’t following his instructions will be at risk of being his next victim.
Miss Robichaux’s school is full of young women who are gathered in the sitting room reading the Axeman’s letter in the paper. By next Tuesday, they wager, no band will be available. Will the Victorola suffice? The headmistress stands up and proclaims that the coven has yet to believe in the power they possess. All of the girls are dressed in plain and demure dresses, fitting for proper young women. But they are descendants of Salem, the headmistress insists, and they are also Suffragettes. They have power and it’s time to use it to help their city.
Tuesday arrives and the Axeman finishes playing his saxophone at a local club. One of the waitresses asks him to escort her home in fear that she might be attacked, but the Axeman assures her that she’s safe because she has “jazz in her soul.” His axe is hidden in a secret compartment in his sax case, but she doesn’t know that. As he walks home through the Garden District, he hears jazz all around him and it makes him smile. When he passes Miss Robichaux’s, however, he hears opera. This makes the house his target. He enters the house with his axe in hand, and he goes up the grand staircase to the room where the music is playing. There he finds the headmistress sitting in the center of the floor in a black cloak, a deck of tarot cards in front of her. The Axeman approaches and turns the music off. She pulls another card from the deck and it’s Death. He raises the axe, but she blows out the candle and vanishes, reappearing behind him. “That reading was for you,” she says, and she stabs him. Blood spurts out and the rest of the coven hurries out from their hiding spots to stab him. The Axeman collapses on the floor in a pool of blood, surrounded by the young witches in black cloaks.
Zoe is in Madison’s room going through her personal belongings. She finds her sunglasses, a flask, a gun…and a small liquor bottle that rolls across the floor to the closet. Zoe follows it and finds a secret panel behind her clothes. Inside is a crawlspace full of dusty stuff. Pictures, boxes, bags, and a spirit board that looks to predate the Ouija Board by fifty years.
Later on, Zoe shares the photos with Queenie and Nan. She points out that the number of people in the pictures is declining, and that’s because witches have been dying off for a century, and now there are only three and none of the people in charge seem to be doing anything about it. They need to watch each other’s backs. She pulls a bottle of absinthe from the cupboard. Nan drinks it down enthusiastically while Queenie hesitates, wondering if she can trust two sorority sisters to watch her back. She thinks they should go to Fiona, but Zoe points out that Fiona just killed a witch. Queenie drinks it down.
Zoe gathers the girls around the spirit board that she found. Queenie tells Zoe that the boards work two ways, contacting and releasing spirits. Her grandmother thought it was cool until she released a spirit who burned down her house and burned half of her face. Zoe tells her to “witch up” so that they can find Madison. The three girls place their fingers on the shot glass.
“Are we alone?” No.
“Did you die here?” Yes.
“Were you murdered?” Yes.
“Who killed you?” The shot glass moves around the board. You did.
Is it Madison? No, the board says. When asked, it spells out “Axeman.”
Queenie commands everything to stop. She slams the shot glass on the ground and blows out the candle, warning Zoe that if she wants to survive, she needs to know who she’s talking to.
Fiona is in the hospital, but she’s the patient. She’s receiving a chemotherapy treatment. As she sits in the chair, she starts to hear the thoughts of people around her. She’s never had that gift before. A man wants to blow his sick time in Vegas. A woman frets that she won’t live to see her daughter walk down the aisle. Fiona can’t stand the sound of their thoughts anymore and she rips the IV from her arm. A doctor appears and tells her that she’s not done yet. When she tells him it’s too noisy in the quiet room, he tells her that she can have a sedative. He leads her back to the chair and hooks her up again. She tells him that she wants another great love affair. Can she do that? He assures that she can, given that his mother just met someone on eHarmony. After he leaves her, Fiona looks across at the woman who was thinking about her daughter’s wedding. You’re going to make it, she says, so buy a dress and “blow the bank on it.”
The trio of young witches is doing research on the Axeman. According to one of many of his fan sites, he killed 8 people. And an axe is a nickname for a saxophone. Did he kill because he didn’t have enough fans? Nan finds a picture of Miss Robichaux’s class of 1919. Witches killed the Axeman, they realize. Zoe wants to use the board to find out about Madison, but Queenie draws the line. It’s too dangerous. Nan agrees. That leaves Zoe to find out on her own.
Zoe returns to the board and tells the Axeman’s spirit that she will grant him his release if he tells her where Madison is. Attic is his response. Zoe goes up to the attic and is immediately confronted by the stench. Spalding has lit lots of incense but it’s not helping. She looks around the room at the dolls and tea sets, and then she sees the huge chest. When she bends down to open it, she doesn’t see Spalding standing behind her. She opens the chest and sees Madison’s decomposing body. She covers her mouth but doesn’t have time to react as Spalding grabs her from behind.
Cordelia returns to the school with Hank. She has a cane and dark glasses to cover her white, blind eyes. Fiona is also in the room turning down her bed. Hank tells his wife that she’s supposed to be resting, and when she touches his arm she sees the redhead he’d been screwing while he was away. “Who is the redhead?” Cordelia demands. Hank thinks she’s high, but Fiona is glad that her daughter can finally see the truth. In a twist of cosmic irony, Cordelia had to go blind to finally see what was going on. She vows that her husband will pay for his betrayal. Evidently she hasn’t seen the part where he kills the redhead. She orders him out of the house, using her power to open and close the door when he leaves. Fiona moves to help her change into her nightgown, telling her that the gift of sight is one of the greatest powers, and one of the hardest to live with. As she helps her unbutton her blouse, Cordelia sees Myrtle burning at the stake. Fiona hadn’t wanted to upset her further in the hospital, but Myrtle had to pay for what she did to Cordelia. Fiona decides to give Cordelia some space.
Queenie announces that Fiona has left the house while Nan and Zoe finish tying Spalding to a chair. They plan to interrogate him using Nan as the interpreter. Zoe presses a heated spatula against his chest to drive home her point. She asks if he killed Madison, and he says yes. When they call him sick, he says that he doesn’t have a problem with children. It was an infatuation with Madison, and he had to have her. He points out that there isn’t much they can do with him. Queenie has had enough, and she takes the spatula to her own cheek and laughs as his skin burns and he passes out from the pain. Zoe says they’re not going to kill him. She isn’t convinced that he killed Madison, and after living with witches so long he’s probably learned a trick or two about keeping secrets.
In the bayou, Misty Day fills her watering can with swamp water for her herbs and plants…and the huge mound with a hand coming out of it. She waters the mound, noting that it likes her swamp water. When the hand tries to dig out, she tells it that it’s not time…yet. She stands up and turns to see Kyle there. He hugs her and she says he needs a bath. Zombies don’t seem to like water, especially not Zombie Kyle, whose last memory of his mother begins with an ill-fated shower. When Misty tries to wash his boy parts, he flips out. She holds out the towel and it reminds him of his mother, which sends him into a naked frenzy. Misty tells him to stop, but he’s beyond control. He smashes a chair and several bottles, along with her prized radio. “You broke Stevie,” Misty cries. That’s when Zoe arrives. Kyle runs to her and hugs her. Zoe tells them that she’s taking them both out of there. And she needs Misty’s help.
Marie Laveau is about to leave the salon for the day when Hank shows up. “We have a problem,” he says, going inside.
Zoe takes Misty and Kyle to Cordelia’s conservatory. While chaining Kyle to the wall, Misty tells her that Kyle loves her and they’re meant to be together. Not likely, given that he killed his mother, she replies. They focus their attention on Madison’s body. Misty offers to help dig a hole for the girl, saying she’s been dead too long. She doesn’t even have an arm. Zoe has the arm and can stitch it on, but Misty is not impressed with Zoe’s sewing skills and chooses to use her swamp mud. She tries to bring Madison back but there’s too much death inside of her, so Zoe pushes on her stomach while Misty works. Suddenly Madison starts choking, and a large bug and mouthfuls of blood come forth from her mouth. She sits up and looks at them. “I need a cigarette,” she says.
Marie Laveau tells Hank he took a huge risk showing up at the salon. He tells her that Cordelia has acquired a new power of sight and she can see things. Marie says she hired him six years ago to keep track and destroy the coven, and instead he’s there playing house. He argues that he brought down five of the nine witches that Cordelia found. We see a flashback of redheaded Kayley visiting with Cordelia. The last time we saw her, Hank killed her. Evidently, though, she had been taken to Miss Robichaux’s earlier because of her record of arson. Through her flashback we see that she argued with her boyfriend who was leaving her because she made his friends uncomfortable and his mother warned him that bad things would happen if he stayed with her. His mother was right—as he goes to the door, he catches on fire. Cordelia thinks Kayley will be better off surrounded by people who can help nurture her power, but Kayley doesn’t want to be powerful. Now we know how Hank found her. Marie says that she hired a witch hunter and instead the witches have grown bolder, showing up on her doorstep. Fiona killed her beloved Bastien and unearthed her enemy from her eternal slumber. Marie Laveau is tired of playing games. She tells Hank to bring her the heads of everyone in the coven if he wants to live.
Misty goes through the fridge while the trio of young witches figures out what to do with her. They have to keep Madison and Kyle from Fiona for now. Misty won’t take Kyle home with her because he’s a “tornado.” He’s Zoe’s problem now. After filling her bag with food, she’s ready to go home. Zoe offers her a bed for the night, but Misty doesn’t want to sleep there. Though she’s looking for her “tribe,” this isn’t it. The house has some bad vibes. The girls look at each other in concern.
Upstairs, Cordelia locks her door and finds her way to her bed. She fishes her pills out from the drawer and takes them. When she pulls off her robe, the camera pulls back to show the Axeman seated on her couch. “I’ve always hated this room,” he remarks.
Zoe offers Madison some ginger ale, but it doesn’t sit well with her dead stomach and she throws it up. They have her dressed in a sweater with a scarf to cover her neck. She knows who she is but can’t remember how she died. All she can remember is the color red.
The Axeman stalks Cordelia, who can see him with the second sight she has. He wants to be released. He had been killed in that room by a bunch of witches, and then he was forced to stay there as the decades passed and the music played on around him. But that room was always silent. Then a young witch comes along and promises to release him for a favor, but she lied. Now he wants Cordelia to call the witch to her room so that he can kill her. Cordelia screams, which alerts the other girls. They rush to her room and quickly realize that the Axeman is inside. Zoe hurries downstairs to the bookshelf, looking for a spell to return the Axeman to the spirit world. She uses her powers to find the right spell book, and she opens it to the right page. Coincidence? I think not. They all join hands as Zoe reads the spell. All of the candles light up. After the spell is finished, they hurry up to find Cordelia huddled under a table screaming. Cordelia feels Nan’s face and realizes that she’s safe. Outside, the Axeman walks down the walkway and out onto the sidewalk. He’s free.
Fiona is at the bar with her friend the martini. She runs her hand through her hair and a clump of hair falls out from the chemo. Her hands tremble as she hides the hair from the people around her. Just then, a man sidles up in the seat beside her. It’s the Axeman. They smile at each other and he asks what she’s drinking. Could this be the love affair she was hoping for?
So ends another episode of AHS Coven. After several episodes, Kyle has returned, Madison has been resurrected, and Myrtle is germinating. Hank is weeding out the coven for Marie Laveau. Spalding is willing to suffer torture to protect Fiona’s secrets. Misty doesn’t believe that the witches at Miss Robichaux’s school are her “tribe.” And the Axeman is loose.
There’s a lot going on this season, and if you blink you might miss something. You also can’t watch too closely lest you start to see that there are so many things going on, some of the characters just disappear without explanation. For example, where the hell did Kyle go, and how could Zoe just stop looking for him?
At any rate, the tension is building in New Orleans. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Leave your comments below!