TV Recap: 'American Horror Story: Coven' Episode 306 - 'The Axeman Cometh'


American Horror Story: Coven Episode 306
“The Axeman Cometh”
Written By: Douglas Petrie
Directed By: Michael Uppendahl
Original Airdate: 13 November 2013

In This Episode...

In 1919, a serial killer stalked the women of New Orleans. Dubbed the Axe Man - not just for his manner of killing but because he plays saxophone - he killed eight women and terrorized the city.  The Axe Man sent a letter to the local newspaper, saying the only way to stay safe was to play jazz music and let it pour out into the street. The coven of 1919 at Miss Robichaux’s decided that they were tired of being scared and weak. They were going to do something about the Axe Man. So on the designated night, they played opera on the victrola - they were the only ones. Insulted, the Axe Man crept inside, intending to slaughter whoever he found in there. Instead, the coven, all dressed in black robes, descends on him and they stab him to death in an orgy of blood and blades.

In the present, Zoe finds a cubby hidden in a closet that contains old photos and diaries of past residents. She also finds a spirit board, and enlists in Nan and Queenie (and a bottle of absinthe) to contact a spirit who can help them find Madison. Queenie is scared. Spirits contacted through a board always want to be released, and she claims a released spirit tore her grandma’s face off. Zoe, with a new sense of kinship and legacy, is insistent they find their missing witch. The spirit they contact is not Madison, but the Axe Man. Queenie and Nan refuse to play anymore, but Zoe is on a mission. She continues on the spirit board alone, and asks where Madison is. She gets flirty (no, really) and offers him release if he helps her. “Don’t you want to be released?” she asks coyly. The spirit of the Axe Man leads her to the attic, and Spalding’s creepy room. She finds Madison in the chest.

Zoe gathers the girls and they tie up Spalding to interrogate him. He thinks his answers, and Nan relays them to the girls. He accepts full responsibility for Madison’s murder, that he just couldn’t help himself and knew that in order to reaffirm his masculinity, he needed to drive deep into her “cold mound.” He’s not afraid of this admission. What are the girls going to do, call the cops and in the process reveal themselves? Nope. But they are going to torture Spalding until he passes out.

Kyle had wandered back to Misty’s encampment, and she tries to take care of him, but bathtime leads to flashbacks of his mom’s sexual abuse and Kyle becomes violent and scared. He calms down when Zoe comes in. With Kyle clothed and chained up, Zoe reveals the real reason she is there: so Misty can resurrect Madison.  She says there is too much decay, but Zoe is insistent, so they get to work. It seems to work. Unlike Kyle, Madison comes back with complete control of her mental facilities. She doesn’t remember what happened, but she knows who she is.

Cordelia comes home from the hospital. She has lost her vision but has gained the gift of sight. Like spiritual sight. She sees Hank’s affair and throws him out in a rage. She also sees Fiona burning Myrtle at the stake, and is upset by this - but not quite as angry as she is with Hank. Determined to do everything on her own, she locks her bedroom door and undresses for bed. The Axe Man “appears” (Cordelia can see him with her “sight”) and threatens her. She screams and the girls come running. Zoe realizes that her lie is putting her mentor in danger so she, Nan, and Queenie cast a spell to release the Axe Man from the house. He walks out that front gate with a bounce in his step and a whistle on his lips.

Fiona has decided to undergo chemo. Not for her, but for her daughter. The chemo, or the illness has given her the ability to read minds, which overwhelms her. She goes to the bar for a drink, and maybe to find one last, great love. A handsome gentleman sits beside her and buys her a drink. It is the Axe Man.

We finally find out what Hank’s deal is. He is a witch hunter, hired by Marie Laveau to kill off the remaining Salem ancestors. He has been working for Marie for six years, but she is getting impatient that her foes are still alive - and mouthier than ever. Hank insists he is playing the long game, using Cordelia’s connections to find other Salem witches - one of which was his fuck-bunny Kaylee. Marie thinks he is just playing house and insists he finish the job.

Dig It or Bury It?

I don’t have a good sense of Zoe as a character. She seems to wobble between being sweet, shy, and nervous; and being bossy, flirty, and aggressive. 

Does anyone else feel like the Axe Man is a slightly less gruesome retread of last season’s Bloody Face? This season of AHS  didn’t really need a serial killer - even if it is a ghost.


Marie is trying to lure Queenie onto “her side.”