Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: American Horror Story: Coven "The Axeman Cometh"

Non Spoiler Review:
The Axeman Cometh introduces a new plot and character to the storyline, as a serial killer crosses paths with the school in 1919. In the present, Zoe's plan to consult a Ouija board to contact Maddie yields mixed results. Delia comes home from the hospital but her new found powers strain her marriage to Hank.

Much like the Black Dahlia from season one, Murphy brings in another historical character, the Axeman of New Orleans, and provides another historical flashback to the witch's school. I have no idea how important this character may be to the season, but he does get slipped into the plot to provide the girls some answers and will have an impact on at least next episode.

Though there were the usual weekly twists and surprises, I found this one to be a mixed bag and one of the weaker ones of the season, but it did have to follow the incredible Halloween two-parter. The Axeman Cometh still entertained, and served best as clean up for last week's mayhem.

Spoilers Now!
New Orleans, 1919. A narrator calling himself the Axeman, who has been terrorizing the city, declares his intention to claim other victims. He sends a letter to the newspaper announcing his plan to spare anyone whose house is playing a jazz band (given he has a thing for jazz). The witches at the school read the article and discuss finding some jazz to play to be on the safe side. One bold witch decides they are powerful (as well as suffragettes) and need to take a stand for once.

The axeman is actually a bartender, and as he walks the streets that night he hears plenty of jazz playing—except the witch school, which is blaring opera. He goes inside where one of the witches waits for him reading tarot cards. He tells her he made his intention clear as she pulls the Death card—his card. Then her schoolmates ambush him and stab him to death.

In the present Zoe goes through Maddie's things and a tiny bottle of liquor rolls out into the closet where she finds a hidden door containing an alcove full of old photos and a Ouija board. She shows the school pictures to Queenie and Nan, explaining how the school used to be full of witches a hundred years before, and now their numbers are down to three. She feels Madison wants them to find her—so she pours each of them a drink of absinthe and vows to watch their backs. Queenie is less than enthused, but partakes. They proceed to use the Ouija board despite Queenie's warnings how dangerous it is. 

First question—are we alone? It moves to no. Did you die here? Yes. Were you murdered? Yes. Who killed you? You did. They ask if this is Madison. No. They ask who it is. Axeman. Queenie puts a stop to it, telling Zoe she best know who she's talking to if she's going to play around with it.

At the hospital Fiona finds herself able to read the minds of those getting chemo with her, something that starts to drive her crazy. She never had the ability before and wonders if it's the medication. The doctor asks her to stay and finish her chemo. He assures her they've chosen an aggressive form of treatment for her. She realizes what she really wants is to belong to somebody.

Investigating the Axeman of New Orleans, Zoe learns he killed eight people and was never caught. Nan explains that his response that we killed him refers to the class of 1919, the year the Axeman disappeared. Nan and Queenie both refuse to continue communicating with him. Zoe is disgusted at their lack of solidarity, so proceeds herself.

She asks where Madison is in exchange for giving him what he wants. He tells her the attic. Zoe goes to investigate, and in Spalding's room is immediately assaulted by the stench. Maddie's decomposing body is in the chest, and Spalding grabs her from behind.

Blind Delia comes home from the hospital with Hank. She's angry she can smell roses. She needs chrysanthemums for strength and protection. Hank touches her again and she gets another vision of the red-haired woman. She demands to know who it is. She had to go blind to see things she couldn't before. Fiona is pleased with their relationship breakdown and laughs she finally has Hank's number. Delia warns him he'll be accountable for all his betrayals and sends him away. 

Fiona explains she's been given the sight, the greatest and hardest gift to live with. When her mother touches her she gets a flash of Myrtle's burning. She's horrified Myrtle is dead and refuses to believe she threw acid in her face. 

Zoe quickly knocks Spalding out with a doll and then Queenie, Zoe and Nan proceed to torture him to confess to the murder. Nan can hear his voice in her head. And he answers yes. He has unique appetites, he reveals. He wonders if they will turn him into the authorities and expose the coven, he adds. Queenie isn't so helpless, and takes a heated spatula and presses it against her face until a welt burns on Spalding's cheek and he passes out. They'll kill him, she says, but Zoe isn't sure he's telling the truth. 

At Misty's cabin, the witch has Myrtle buried in dirt, slowly healing her. Kyle arrives and she cleans him up, but that prompts a flashback of his mother and he freaks out. After breaking a variety of things, including her Stevie Nicks record, Misty is infuriated. Zoe arrives, shocked to find him there. Misty wants him gone, but Zoe says she's taking them both with her as she needs her help.

Hank comes to see Marie, announcing they have a problem. He's angry about the acid attack but Marie assures him she wasn't behind it. She thought she'd hired a professional witch hunter—six years in that house and for nothing. He protests he's killed nine Salem descendants for her (including Cayley, who visited Delia at the school as shown in a flashback). Cayley could start fires with her thoughts. She wasn't open to  Delia's offer and just wanted a good husband. But Marie didn't intend him to play house with Delia. Now Delphine is brought back to life and her Bastian is dead. Marie orders him to bring her the heads of all of them and burn the school to the ground...and she'll let him live.

Zoe takes Kyle and Misty to the greenhouse and chains him up. She shows Misty Maddie's body but she's already rotting and beyond Misty's power. Zoe presses her, providing Maddie's missing arm. Misty concedes and proceeds to do her work. With Zoe's help Maddie begins to revive and scream. Zoe explains everything to Queenie and Nan about their new house guests. Misty wants to be taken home but Zoe offers for her to stay so she has some place to belong. Misty wants to be alone. The school isn't her tribe, and there's bad vibes in the house, she muses.

As Delia takes some pills and gets ready for bed, the Axeman is sitting in the bedroom. I've always hated this room, he says. Delia demands to know who he is. He's been trapped inside the room all these years, until the young witch offered him his release in exchange for a favor. But when the time came for her to release him, she left. He's trapped in there with Delia and refuses to let her out. All she has to do is to sing and dance, he adds.

Maddie slowly regains her senses, but isn't sure how she died and remembers very little. Maddie recalls seeing red, but nothing after that. And there's nothing on the other side, she explains. Just black.

Delia's scream alerts the girls who run up to her room. Zoe says she promised to release him but Delia refuses to allow them. Zoe rushes downstairs to find a spell to make him move on. She pulls out a particular book that calls to her and it flips to the appropriate page. They cast the spell and rush back to Delia's room where she's alone and screaming.

Outside the Axeman walks down the front steps to the gate and starts on his way down the street. At a bar he takes a seat next to Fiona, asking what she's drinking.

The Verdict:
Murphy throws in another historical character with the Axeman, and I wonder how long he'll be wandering around, or how he will be involved with Fiona. What was the true nature of the spell that Zoe (had) selected (for her?). Is there some other twist to it that is yet to come? And is Zoe doing this because she's the supreme or someone else is pulling her strings?

The big revelation this week was Marie and Hank's connection. I was feeling some sympathy for Marie, but it appears she's been working against her truce with Anna for years.

I was surprised to hear the casual line given to Luke, who has been sent home already. Given Fiona's comments last week I assumed he would remain in the house recovering.

My big criticism here is yet another resurrection from the dead. Let's see—Kyle, Delphine, Maddie, Myrtle, and now the Axeman have found their way back to the mortal plane (except poor Bastian) . If death isn't going to stick it's going to be difficult to feel any sense of doom when it comes to character mortality.

To make matters worse, this week was very inconsistent in who can be resurrected—why is Misty leaving Myrtle planted in the ground to heal for so long when Maddie (who has been rotting in the attic and missing a limb, is brought back to life within minutes?). Of course, that might not be Maddie that came back. We definitely need to see some consequences to all this, and maybe that's what Murphy has in mind if some higher power (like the Devil) is going to make its displeasure known with the amount of dead bodies rising at the school.

Some idle thoughts—What's with Fiona's continued Good Samaritan hospital antics? Are they unmotivated acts of kindness or are they more nefarious? And her doctor seemed unusually suspicious, too. Are we to take anything from Maddie's comments that she saw nothing beyond death? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...