‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Breakdown: ‘The Axeman Cometh’


(SPOILERS AHEAD, so witch your step, Coven fans!)

Season Three, Episode Six: “The Axeman Cometh”

Written by: Douglas Petrie; Directed by: Michael Uppendahl

Coven’s burgeoning guest list continues to expand this week with the addition of Danny Huston and Grace Gummer. But that’s OK because the writing team has dastardly plans for Huston’s Axeman. And, apparently, while the more mature witches are distracted, Zoe has too much leeway in running the show at Robichaux’s.

Quick Breakdown

New Orleans, 1919: Serial killer The Axeman (Huston) has announced to the city that he intends to kill on Tuesday night. However, anyone playing jazz from their homes will be passed over — turns out, The Axeman is pretty serious about everyone enjoying jazz. At Robichaux’s, a tight-knit coven of suffragette witches decides (at Gummer’s behest) to not play jazz and face The Axeman with all their strength instead. He hears operatic music playing from the manor and creeps up to the bedroom. There, the witches ambush him and stab him to death Julius Caesar-style.

In the present, Fiona is miserable as she does chemo. She suddenly has the gift to hear other people’s thoughts and is not pleased with what she hears. After a nurse calms her down from a freak out, she pathetically says she wants one last great love before she dies.

At the manor, Zoe is taking charge of her gang. She’s noticed the dwindling number of witches and wants to band together and grow stronger. Nan is noncommittal, too busy pining for Luke; and Queenie is too pompous to be in some white girl sorority. Yet they both relent and do absinthe shots with Zoe before playing with the Ouija board (which mysteriously drew her to it earlier that day). Zoe wants to know where Madison is, and an evil spirit in the house can help.

Queenie warns her not to engage the spirit. But Zoe is foolhardy and strikes a deal with the spirit by herself: she’ll help him move on in exchange for Madison’s location. He leads her to the attic, but she has no intention of releasing the spirit of the Axeman. In the attic, she finds Madison’s decomposing body. The gang of three tortures Spalding for answers about Madison’s demise, but Zoe instinctually knows that he’s lying when he says he did it.

Fortunately, Zoe knows someone who can help. Out in the bayou, Misty is watering her garden, which includes the buried, burned body of Myrtle. Franken-Kyle shows up and has a major freak out when Misty starts acting like his incestuous mother. Zoe shows up just in time to calm him and asks Misty for another favor. At the greenhouse, it takes all of Misty’s finesse and Zoe’s assist to revive the corpse of Madison. Unfortunately for Zoe, all she remembers about her death is the color red.

Fiona and Hank bring Cordelia home, but she screams at Hank when she gets glimpses of the redhead he slept with. He flees to Laveau, his employer. We learn that Hank is a witch hunter (The redhead, Kaylee, was a witch, hence her seduction and execution) and Laveau is using him to diminish the Salem witches. He blames her for the acid attack, but Laveau does not take the credit for it. She tells him he’s gone soft and demands he brings the heads of all the witches at the Robichaux’s Academy to her immediately.

That night, The Axeman appears in Cordelia’s room. He’s still between worlds, but he attacks Cordelia in the hopes of drawing in the other witches. He’s very angry about Zoe’s betrayal. Zoe grabs her girls and finds a spell to remove him from the house. However, that leaves him free to enter the rest of the world — he ends up at a bar where he hits on an unassuming, depressed Fiona.



The writers are doing a great job of balancing multiple storylines this season. And they’re giving us answers to most of the puzzling twists in swift fashion (i.e. Hank’s mysterious past, why is Emma Roberts a series regular). Plus, how many Twitterers are going to ship The Axeman and Fiona now? This has been another solid outing from the team.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

“His prose could use refinement, but we got the point.” – One of the sister witches discussing the Axeman’s warning letter to New Orleans.

“He broke Stevie.” – Misty mourning the destruction of her primitive boom box during Franken-Kyle’s rampage.

Madison is back! And after some herbal lotions and a mud bath, her decomposed skin looks as good as new (Phew! no one wants to stare at zombie Emma Roberts)!

“I need a cigarette.” – Madison’s first words after being resurrected.

The revelations about Hank’s character were so wonderful, how do the writers come up with these great plot twists?

“Go to hell!” –Cordelia fighting with the Axeman. “Ladies first.” – his reply.

Did anyone else pick up on the Smash connection between Danny Huston and Grace Gummer (she played Anjelica Huston’s daughter on the series)? Will AHS’s next season bring horror to Broadway? Will Smash be resurrected?

Also, in a genius casting coup, Stevie Nicks will be appearing later on this season.

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