American Horror Story: Coven – The Axman Cometh, Review

While a little more subdued than previous episodes, there's still plenty to love about this episode...

American Horror Story: Coven spends its latest episode slowing the pace down a bit from its recent output. The episode largely looks as though it’s setting up the pieces for a bigger event episode. That doesn’t mean that tonight’s outing is devoid of action or momentum, but in comparison to the last two stellar weeks, it is a bit of a breather. Regardless of the pacing, there were definitely some landscape changing moments that happened.

“The Axman Cometh” had me enthralled from the get-go with Danny Huston’s spectacular Axman monologue. The Axman’s chilling words set to the ominous streets of 1919 New Orleans definitely started the episode off with the right set of menace. Watching the Axman stalk the streets in New Orleans searching for jazz, you just knew he’d find his way into Miss Robichaux’s school, but what I didn’t expect is that he’d be met by an aggressive offensive by a gang of knife-wielding witches. This episode’s cold open was my favorite so far, and I hope we get more Danny Huston monologues in the future.

The rest of the episode finds the young witches trying to unearth Madison’s killer upon Zoe’s realization that the witches’ numbers are dwindling. With the help of a Ouija board and the Axman, Zoe finds Madison in Spalding’s room. The girls viciously question Spalding, but Spalding remains loyal to Fiona and lies with his thoughts. This isn’t enough for Zoe though, and she decides to seek Misty to have Madison reanimated. When we find Misty, she’s tending to Myrtle and a randomly resurfaced Kyle, who yes, still continues to be the least interesting aspect of this show. I know girls find Evan Peters to be cute, but he isn’t adding a lot to the fabric of the show. Anyway, Misty begrudgingly brings Madison back, but she doesn’t have much memory of her death upon reawakening.

The rest of the episode is spent watching Cordelia readapt to life as a blind woman and the effects that she is having on the other characters, like Fiona. Fiona begins chemo for cancer solely for Cordelia’s sake. She’s realized her faults as a mother and decides she wants to be around to help her daughter now when she needs her most. The dissolving of Fiona’s hard exterior has really worked for the show, just like Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude’s character reversal last season. We also see how Cordelia’s condition affects Hank, who is being shunned after Cordelia can now see his infidelities with her newly acquired second sight. Hanks’s exile leads him to Marie Laveau, who we learn has been paying Hank to serve as a witch hunter. I love this new angle for Hank, and I cant wait to see him and Cordelia have a showdown in the near future.

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The episode ends with the Axman stalking Cordelia through her second sight. The scene is a bit confusing, but it is suspenseful in its direction by director Michael Uppendahl. The scene ends with the Axman being released from the house, where he walks to the bar to find himself flirting with Fiona, who earlier in the episode expresses her desire for a romantic companion. Hopefully this means there will be more Axman in future episodes.

Though not a lot happened in total this week, we did get Madison back and learned the truth about Hank, which definitely is going to have a great affect on things going forward. Hopefully this season of American Horror Story doesn’t fall prey to the same mishaps as earlier seasons by starting strong and falling apart by the end.

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3.5 out of 5