Things are changing at Robichaux Academy, and on this episode of American Horror Story: Coven
, the younger witches are calling the shots.
The episode begins in 1919 in New Orleans, and the town is on edge over the threat of attack by the infamous Axeman killer. He has revealed to the town, through writing, that he plans to kill on a specific night at a specific time, but that he will only attack women in houses that are not playing jazz music. Now, I've read some pretty nasty Internet argument about the merits of different genres of music, but that seems a little overboard to me.
The residents of Robichaux Academy during this era, descendants of Salem and sassy suffragettes that they are, decide they aren't going to let this murderer terrorize them, and they provoke him by noticeably not playing jazz music. He falls for their trap, and when he goes to kill one of the girls, they all attack him and stab him to death.
The entire things evokes old school horror movie imagery for me, what with the shadows of the Axeman holding his weapon of choice slinking up stairs and the like. It stuck out to me as a really interesting bit of directing and presentation. In all the gore and sensationalism that American Horror Story usually uses to tell their gruesome tales, it's nice to see they can go in this direction too.
The Ouija Board
While going through some of Madison's things, Zoe discovers a hidden doorway and room that hold a trunk full of stuff that I'm so sure she's supposed to be going through. Since, you know, it was hidden and all. She finds photos and a ouija board, and she brings it to the other girls and makes her case for them to use it to figure out what happened to Madison.
Queenie informs her that Ouija boards have two stages: contact, which they will attempt, and release. Both can be very dangerous. And right about here was when I guessed how Zoe would eventually use the board, so either the writers are getting sloppy about foreshadowing, or they just didn't care if we'd figure it out early on.
The girls ask a spirit they contact some questions, and they quickly realize it's not Madison. It's revealed to be the Axeman, and Queenie immediately shuts down the whole operation. I knew I liked that girl.
But Zoe is determined to figure out what happened to Madison, so she eventually asks the board about the girl's whereabouts by herself. She is led to the attic, and as we know, a grisly sight awaits her. She finds Madison's body there, just as decomposed and smelly as ever. Just then, Spalding comes up behind her, grabbing her and covering her mouth so she can't scream.
Fiona's New Ability
Meanwhile, Fiona gets chemotherapy to combat her cancer, and while getting treatment, she is able to hear the thoughts of other patients. This is not a skill she's had before. Interesting. She's supposed to be getting weaker, not gaining powers, as her role as the Supreme wanes.
In this scene, Fiona reveals that what she really wants is someone to belong to, one last "great love affair," and she worries it's too late. She also comforts a fellow patient and tells her she will make it to her daughter's wedding. Apparently, the looming possibility of death has softened Ms. Goode in some regards.
Cordelia comes home from the hospital following her attack and blinding, and as she settles into her room with Fiona and Hank, Hank touches her and she again sees flashes of his infidelity. She understandably screams at him to get out, and after he does, Fiona offers the sage wisdom that the Sight is the greatest gift to have, and the hardest one to live with.
Cordelia also learns about Myrtle's death when Fiona touches her, and she is shaken by the news. I'm thinking Fiona is going to have to be careful touching Cordelia from now on, if she wants to keep certain things a secret.
Is anyone else wondering if maybe Cordelia is the next Supreme? Or if maybe all of the girls will be "supreme" in some way and bring their own gifts to the table for some massive magic battle later in the season? Might just be me...
The girls question Spalding after Zoe manages to knock him out with one of his creepy, creepy dolls and tie him up. The interrogation involves her asking questions and Spalding answering with his mind, which Nan reads. All while he's threatened with a red-hot spatula to burn him if he doesn't cooperate. These gals aren't messing around!
Spalding's answers are sufficiently disturbing and involve necrophilia with Madison's body and a confession that he killed her that we of course know is false. Zoe suspects he isn't telling the truth, and p.s., where did all her badassery come from all of a sudden? It's like she woke up that side of herself last episode and it's been on the loose since! I worry that it's in direct correlation to Kyle not being around. But anyway.
The girls can't go to the authorities with what they know without involving them further with what's going on at the Academy, unfortunately. And they don't want to involve Fiona, either. These girls are kicking ass and taking names and growing into the witches they are meant to be.
"He broke Stevie!"
Speaking of Kyle, he shows up at Misty's, and zombie boy needs a bath pronto. While they listen to Stevie Nicks music, Kyle is triggered when Misty bathes him, thanks to the disgusting abuse his mother put him through, and he freaks out. He runs around the room, naked, and breaks stuff, including her precious radio.
That's the final straw for Misty, but just then, Zoe shows up. Which is good, because I think it's kind of ridiculous that she let Kyle wander out in the world all that time and didn't seem to think it would be a good idea to go find him. She tells Misty and Kyle she is taking them both with her. Why Misty too? To bring back Madison, of course!
Welcome Back, Madison
At first, Misty is convinced Madison is too far gone, but Zoe makes her try to bring her back. I'm not sure what the rules are in this show regarding the line between dead and too dead, but apparently Madison didn't cross it, because with Zoe's help, Misty brings her back. Her first words when she's resurrected are, naturally, "I need a cigarette."
After that whole ordeal, Misty tells Zoe she needs to deal with Zoe, which I totally agree with, and when Zoe tells her she should stay the night, Misty refuses. Apparently she gets "bad vibes" in the house (hmm, wonder why), and knows for sure that they are not the tribe she's been looking for.
Madison doesn't remember everything about her untimely death, but what she does remember about the afterlife is that there's nothing to remember. Either there is no afterlife in American Horror Story: Coven's universe, or what she experienced was blocked out once she was brought back.
The Witch Hunter
We also learn this episode that Hank isn't just a creep who cheated on his wife and murdered his mistress; he's a creep who cheated on his wife and murdered his mistress, who was a witch, because he's a witch hunter!
Apparently he and Marie have been in cahoots for years, and his job has been to get rid of witches attending Robichaux one-by-one. Nine girls have fallen victim to this plot over the years, including the redhead woman he cheated with in a previous episode. Marie, it seems, is not pleased with his current progress. "Bring me their heads," she tells him. "You do it quick, and I let you live."
But how did Hank end up in her service in the first place? Does he owe her something? Is there an old debt between them?
The Axeman's Return
Turns out, when Zoe asked the Axeman about Madison, he wasn't pleased when she didn't hold up her end of the bargain and release him. He attacks Cordelia in her room, and won't let her leave until the girls release him.
Zoe, Queenie, and Nan hear her cries of distress, and together they recite a spell that is meant to make him move on. By move on, I mean, when it works, he moves right on out of the house.
And where does he end up? With Fiona, at a bar, of course! And she probably thinks this dashing stranger is just the man to grant her that last love affair she's searching for.
But I mean, come on. She's the Supreme. Surely she can figure out he's a resurrected spirit, right? Or is he? He appears to be corporeal, and besides, she hasn't proven to be quite herself this episode, so who knows.
Also, by the way...where was Delphine LaLaurie this episode?!
American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX)