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'AHS: Coven'—Everything Old Is New (Orleans) Again

 'AHS: Coven'—Everything Old Is New (Orleans) Again

Beware of jazzy men with axes.


Because clearly zombies and witch-burnings and Minotaurs weren’t enough, this week on Coven we face a whole new threat; The Axeman. In New Orleans, 1919, with a jazzy film-noir horn underscore, we meet a seemingly average-enough Joe who, in his spare time, writes smoky, poetic murder threats and jams axes into people’s backs. He publicly proclaims that he will be taking a stroll, and intends to kill anyone who hasn’t turned their house into a slammin’ jazz party. Enter the 1919 girls of Miss Robichaux’s, led by an actress that looks so much like a child of Meryl Streep that it did indeed turn out to be Grace Gummer.


Her fellow students believe they should probably just play jazz music on the day the Axeman told them to, but Grace Gummer’s not feeling compliancy. “Not only are we descendants of Salem, but we are Suffragettes!” she exclaims as if being a suffragette is a superpower against axe murdering. Are powerful witches really going to let a human serial killer get them down? No! And so the night of the announced non-jazz massacre, the girls lure the Axeman to their house with some opera. He heads right on in upstairs and is about to go on with his routine axe-murdering when suddenly the girls pop out and stab him far more times than humans need stabbing. Not the witch-iest of methods after all that talk about Salem, but hey, it does the trick.


Back in present day, Zoe goes through a box of her stuff and finds things like a nice scarf and a gun. While chasing after a fallen item, she discovers in her closet the pathway to Coven Narnia (aka a small nook with a Ouija board and info on the 1919 Coven). Zoe takes this info to Nan and Queenie with the confidence of the very mis-directed leader she’s become and expresses her fury that for a century the witches have been drastically dying off. 

Queenie suggests that they go to Fiona, but Zoe reminds her Fiona has been more apt to burn witches these days rather than save them. She then pours them all drinks (oh great, drunk teenage girls making mystical world-changing decisions!) and suggests they use the Oujia to find Madison. Queenie informs her this is a terrible idea, but Zoe’s decisions are usually terrible, so she’s most definitely going to do it anyway.


The girls get out the Oujia board and it immediately starts Ouiji-ing with an angry spirit. The 1919 Coven girls? Nope, that might not turn out horribly. It is in fact the Axeman. Way to go, Zoe. Another shining example of leadership.

While her coven communicates casually with dead serial killers, the former shining example of leadership, Fiona, is on the much more human errand. As she gets her chemo treatment, she discovers she can read minds. She listens in on the thoughts of the other chemo patients, and ends up crying to herself about how she wants to have one last love affair and belong to somebody. It seems like the Supreme Witch would be somewhat able to fix her situation in some way, shape, or form, but I guess we just have to accept at this point that this is out of her hands.


Back at the house, the girls discover that Axeman was killed by the class of 1919. To another distracting jazz underscore, Zoe decides that the girls have to release the Axeman in order to get more information on Madison’s whereabouts. Because this is Zoe’s idea, it is a terrible idea. Apparently she maxed out on any helpful choices after last week’s episode of usefully chain-sawing zombies, and now she’s got to make up for lost time. The other girls don’t agree with requesting help from someone their 1919 counterparts felt was fit to stab a thousand times, so naturally Zoe does it anyway alone by chatting erotically with the Ouija board.


This works, and Zoe crashes Spaulding’s creepster tea party to find Madison’s rotting corpse-in-a-box. Spaulding finds Zoe, but she quickly knocks him off and the girls all tie him up. Queenie tortures him and makes Rocky Horror references while Nan reads his graphically gross mind.


He tells him he killed Madison to dabble in a spot of necrophilia, but Zoe doesn’t believe him and thinks years of living with witches has made him a good liar. Zoe’s got other problems on her plate, and takes Madison’s body to always-glorious Misty Day. Misty is enjoying an afternoon of gardening, and by gardening I mean tending to a dirt-covered Myrtle Snow, whom she seems to be tending back to life.


Misty then gets a surprise visit from the less than socially inclined Kyle, who falls out of all of Misty’s good graces when he comes in like a wrecking ball to her cabin and destroys her Stevie Nicks-ifed radio. “You broke Stevie!” she yells as Zoe arrives and Kyle runs up to be cradled by her. Zoe’s also lost a lot of patience for Franken-romeo and chains him up while she and Misty examine Madison. At first, Misty will only offer to bury Madison because she’s rotted to much to be revived. Misty, you’ve got a charred crisp of a human sprouting back to life in your garden and you’re going to let a little case of the rots stop you? “Too much death inside,” Misty proclaims, and I’m wondering what her more hopeful choice of words would be for a somewhat compact pile of ashes. Luckily for all of us (or just me, because I adore Emma Roberts so much I even forgave Nancy Drew), Misty agrees to help and after some blood spewage and mouth bugs Madison shoots up and proclaims, “I need a cigarette.” Of course.


Because Madison’s coming back to life was so wonderful, it’s time to deal with the downer that is Cordelia’s random fuzzy-faced husband. Cordelia comes home from the hospital, and struggles to adjust to blindness while also struggling to adjust to getting graphic glimpses of her husband’s steamy love affair every time she touches him. She is also less than pleased to know her mother is responsible for the burning of the woman she calls, “Auntie Myrtle,” not to mention that “Auntie Myrtle” may be the reason she’s blind in the first place. It’s hard out here for Sarah Paulson on a Ryan Murphy show, I tell you. Girl can’t catch a break.

If you thought that was bad, it turns out Fuzzy Husband Hank is a witch hunter who’s been spying on the witches for Marie Laveau for six years. We discover that Alexandra Breckenridge’s character was a Salem Descendant with a penchant for pyrokineses and had visited Miss Robichaux’s, so at least we know why he unfairly shot her in the completely gorgeous head. Sidenote: I continue to be furious that Alex Breckenridge wasn’t allowed to be in the whole season, because I firmly believe she is actually one of the most captivating people the world has ever produced.


Marie Laveau points out that for a witch doctor he is a huge letdown because all the witches in the Coven are still alive and the ones that die keep coming back to life. She accuses Hank of being in love with Cordelia. He insists it isn’t true, but her presently beating heart says otherwise. Laveau is over him and demands he kill everyone, which seems a little unlikely as a) nearly everyone’s already been dead at least once and b) you need actors for a show to keep running.


Misty Day helps take Madison back to the House of Horrors, but decides to ditch as fast as possible. Even though she’s been looking for her own Coven, she’s getting  “bad vibes” here and flees back to her garden of dead people. Cordelia, in the meantime, is getting some bad vibes of her own as it turns out the spirit of the Axeman is actually inside her room. What an interesting challenge to be faced with, especially for someone who is very recently blind. The cherry on top of a lovely last few days for this woman.


For all Misty’s insisting her rotting corpse would deter resurrection, Madison is quickly back to be awesome. When asked if she saw a light when dying, she replies, “There’s nothing on the other side. Just black forever.” How optimistic. As the girls reacclimatize Madison to humanity, the Axeman advances on Cordelia. Apparently, Zoe promised to release him in exchange for info on Madison but never followed through, and he’s not thrilled with the idea of just letting that fly.


Just as he’s about to kill poor Cordelia, Zoe magically finds the right spell and poofs him back out into the world. Another A+ idea, Zoe. As much as I love having Emma Roberts around, was it really worth it to release a sick murderer upon the world? We can tell the Axeman is going to struggle with this world, as the second he steps onto the sidewalk a car drives past blasting rap music. Maybe Axeman will just learn to expand his iTunes library? That or he’ll end up killing a lot more people.


Before our time is up for the week we see Fiona hanging out in a club as that familiar jazz music underscores her drunken sadness. But it’s not all bad news! Remember that love affair she was hoping for? Well, the ever-charming Axeman shows up right next to her at the bar and turns his flirt on. Oh, hoorah! A new love story, how beautiful. Fiona does seem like she can take care of herself, though, so there’s probably nothing to worry about. After all, they are both pretty horrible people. Maybe this really is the love story this season has been leading to. Lord know everyone else’s options are looking bleak.


Next week, it looks like Kathy Bates will return, Axeman will continue to earn his title, and Cordelia will finally discover the truth behind Madison’s murder. All exciting things, except I’m really on the edge of my seat for if Misty Day gets another radio. Someone should tell her Stevie Nicks is lined up to guest star. That would surely make her feel a lot better. 

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