Previously on American Horror Story Coven, “Burn, Witch. Burn!”
Tonight’s AHS opens in New Orleans 1919 – which excites me, cuz it’s the truly horrifying crazy stuff that happens in the past. The present day stuff has only been mediocre (bestiality and incest aside).
Anyway, there’s a man typing at an old school typewriter with an axe in his saxophone case – always be prepared, you know. He’s apparently a psycho killer who’s written in to the newspaper to let them know he will kill everyone who doesn’t have a jazz band in their home at the appointed time. Okaaaay… a group of witches debate whether or not to give in to “The Axeman’s” wishes. A girl power speech is given and it seems they’ve decided not to. But hello, they’re witches. Why were they afraid in the first place?
At a bar, a young lady asks the saxophone player to walk her home because she’s scared of The Axeman. I wonder if they’re aware that in present day, The Axe Man is a dude who wears an inordinate amount of cheap and unpleasant cologne. But I digress. It’s Tuesday night, and he’s going to kill someone. He’s also standing right in front of her. But she leaves, and he packs up his saxophone and leaves, all smiles, ready to hack up some folks.
But alas, he’s chosen the home of the witches who are so boldly playing opera when he has so clearly demanded jazz. He waltzes in – the door is, of course, unlocked – and stumbles across one of the witches doing a tarot reading. He shuts off the music and lets the witch know the death card was appropriately drawn. She deftly misses the swing of his axe and tells him the reading was for him (so witty, these witches) and stabs him in the heart. Blood comes squirting out (I think it was meant to be gruesome, but I just found it kinda funny) and he falls to the floor. All the other witches come rushing out in their black robes and stab the guy repeatedly, blood spewing all over the place. Not sure why so many stabs were necessary or why they neglected to use his own weapon against him, but it is kind of a freaky sight seeing all those black hooded witches stabbing away like mad women.
Meh, I preferred Madame Delphine’s Chamber of Horrors to this.
Back to present day and Zoe is going through Madison’s things and boxing them up. She drops a bottle that rolls off into the closet. She follows it and the clothes rustle when she enters, giving her a clue that there’s something behind them. The hidden door opens up (there are no locked doors in Louisiana, I guess) and she enters the crawl space. She finds a box of black and white photos and an old Ouija board.
She takes the box of photos down to Queenie and Nan, having made the brilliant deduction from the old class photos that the number of witches is dwindling. Wait, these witches are the only witches in the world? I call shenanigans. Where is Hogwarts when you need it? Queenie suggests going to Fiona, but Zoe reminds them that Fiona is one of the people killing off the remaining witches. So she pours Nan and Queenie a shot of absinthe and says they need to stick together and have each other’s backs. Nan pounds it back like a pro – I like this girl – and Queenie hesitates. I, too, am unfamiliar with this initiation ritual, but don’t waste perfectly good alcohol. She eventually concedes, and then Zoe takes her shot.
The girls sit around the Ouija board, using the shot glass as the pointer. They ask if they’re alone, and it quickly slides to “No.” The spirit then tells them it was murdered in that house. When they ask who did it, it says “You did.” The girls retract their hands, but the shot glass keeps moving. Oh God, I hate Ouija boards. This is giving me the heebie jeebies. Turns out it’s none other than The Axeman, and Queenie doesn’t like it. She slaps the shot glass away from the board and blows out the candles. Seance over.
Fiona is at chemotherapy and is hearing the thoughts of the patients around her. Considering where she is, the thoughts are not pleasant, and she doesn’t like it. She rips the IV out of her veins and tries to leave. The doctor kindly asks her to finish her treatment, and in completely non-Fiona fashion, she listens. She rambles on and lets the doctor inject the medicine into her and then tells a lady sitting nearby to blow the bank on a dress for her daughter’s wedding. Hmmm. No, I want psycho bitch Fiona. Not this lady.
The girls are googling who The Axeman is and realize that one of the former covens of the house murdered him. Zoe wants to set his spirit free; the other two are not so keen. Zoe gives a guilt trip speech and sets off to do it on her own.
She’s at the Ouija board and asks The Axeman where Madison is, offering his release if he’ll give her information. He spells out “attic”, and Zoe wisely ventures up there alone and unarmed. Right into the freaky doll room. Ugh, it’s even worse at night!! She’s bombarded by the smell of Madison’s decaying body and finds her in the toy box under the giant teddy bears. Right before Spaulding finds Zoe.
Cordelia comes home and is instantly displeased with the roses that Fiona brought into her room. She asks for chrysanthemums to give her strength and protection. Hank takes her by the arm, giving Cordelia another glimpse into his hotel tryst. Cordelia demands to know who the redhead is, but he pretends not to know what she’s talking about. “I had to go blind to see things about you I couldn’t see before,” she says (I’m pretty sure I said something like that a couple episodes ago…) and then kicks him out. Fiona helps Cordelia with her dress, and Cordelia gets a glimpse of the witch burning. Cordelia is horrified and Fiona lets her have some time alone.
Back in the attic, Zoe, Queenie, and Nan have the butler restrained. They have a metal spatula on a heated plate, and Zoe presses it to his chest, scalding his skin, to let him know she means business. He takes the rap for killing Madison, claiming to have done it for sex and then points out there’s nothing they can do about it. If they bring him to the authorities, they’ll expose the coven. Queenie decides it’s her turn to inflict some pain and scalds his cheek until he bleeds and passes out from pain. Queenie says they’ll wait until he wakes up to kill him so he can really feel it, but Zoe doesn’t believe he really killed Madison and he’s just keeping someone’s secret. Considering how few people actually live in that house, the possibilities are few, yet they still seem stumped by who it could’ve been.
Misty is out in the fields, watering her plants and a mound of dirt with a human buried inside. You know, your normal mid-day chores. She’s startled by Kyle but is happy to see him. She gives him a bath that he doesn’t seem to enjoy. Or maybe it’s the Stevie Nicks she’s playing. Seriously, she needs a new CD. But Kyle is clean soon enough, and she beckons him out of the tub. He has flashbacks to mommy dearest and her inappropriate touching and flips out, breaking a chair and growling a lot. Misty tries to calm him down but when he breaks her radio and the Stevie Nicks turns off, Misty is really upset and calls him a monster. Bashing his mother’s head in, traipsing around all bloody, breaking glass, and throwing things at her – these are okay. But mess with Stevie? That’s where he crossed the line. Zoe shows up – the girl with the world’s most impeccable timing – and says she’s taking them both away from there.
Marie is opening up shop when Hank shows up declaring they have a problem. Interesting.
Zoe unveils Madison’s dead body and asks Misty what she can do to help. Misty says she can help dig a hole; it’s too late. Plus, she’s missing an arm. Zoe says no problem, she can sew it back on, like she did with Kyle (Ha! Predicted that one!). Misty chastises Zoe for her poor needle and thread skills and tries to lead her away to dig the hole for Madison. Zoe pushes Misty to help revive Madison, and Misty gives in. She pastes Madison’s arm back on with some green mud and tries to work her magic. At first nothing happens – there’s too much death inside her. But when Zoe starts helping and pushes Madison’s stomach, Madison begins to breathe and cough out some cockroaches. Once she’s fully revived, Madison declares she needs a cigarette. Considering a moment before, Misty declared her a lost cause, that was a little too easy.
Marie chastises Hank for showing up and risking exposing them, but he felt it was necessary since Cordelia has developed The Sight. Marie is upset that she believed she’d hired herself a real witch hunter and, after six years, they’d gotten nowhere. Marie wants all of the Salem descendants, and he’s only given her some (Aha! The redhead was a witch! She’d come to Cordelia previously but decided against staying in the house. That explains why he so randomly killed her off.)
He protests that he’s killed nine witches for her, five of which he only found because of Cordelia. He claims this is the reason he hasn’t killed Cordelia as instructed; Marie calls bullshit. She knows he’s actually in love with Cordelia. She tells him he has to kill every witch in the house and bring her their heads – or she will kill him.
Back at the house, Misty is raiding the fridge while the girls talk about what to do with Madison and Kyle. Misty says she will not take him – Zoe made him, he’s her problem now. She loads up her purse with some bagels and asks to go home. There’s bad vibes in the house, and she wants out.
Cordelia stumbles around her room and takes some medicine (Can’t she keep her eyes closed like normal blind people? Those milky whites are freaking me out!) and feels a presence in the room. No worries, it’s just The Axeman.
Madison is lying in bed, and Zoe offers her some ginger ale that Madison quickly vomits back up. Queenie asks if she knows who she is, and she does. Zoe tells her she died, and Madison takes it in stride. They ask what the last thing she remembers is and Madison can only recall the color red. Nan asks if she saw a bright light but Madison says no, it’s just black. Forever.
Cordelia asks The Axeman who he is, but does not bother to put her robe back on. He demands to be released but Cordelia says she can’t do that. He gripes about being trapped in the house and about Zoe falsely promising to release him. He swings his axe at her and she screams, alerting the girls. Despite being blind, she avoids that axe better than most people with perfect vision could. The girls run to get a book with the proper spell and Zoe closes her eyes, letting her witch intuition lead her to the one she needs. She stumbles across the right one, the wind blowing the pages to the exact spell she needs and The Axeman is freed.
Fiona is at the bar running her fingers through her hair – and it falls out. I watch Breaking Bad – it takes longer than one session for the hair to start falling out, but all right. A man sets his hat down next to her and it is none other than The Axeman.
I’m left underwhelmed. Not enough Angela Bassett, too much milky white Cordelia eyes. I want more creepy Misty and bitchy Fiona. I never thought I’d say this, but I preferred when there was minotaur rapes and mommy loving. At least it got my attention. This feels like an awful lot of “set up” and not a lot of meat. I hope things get better in coming episodes. AHS has a legacy of making my spine tingle and my skin crawl and leaving me a tad unsettled when I turn the lights off. I did not get any of that this episode and I want a nice healthy dose of all of it next week.