American Horror Story: Coven ‘The Axeman Cometh’ Review

The Facts Axe of Life

Once again… you have outdone yourself American Horror Story. And the more I delve into the history and story of the Axeman of New Orleans, the more I realize how brilliant this television show is! Not only were the writers able to bring in the actual Axeman of New Orleans but the REAL story is actually aligned with the way they are presenting the plot! In other words, our Axeman friend was very much real and was never found until AHS decided to write us a nice little story about what happened to him.

With the exception of FrankenKyle (please, please, please get rid of him… I almost feel like they didn’t know what the hell to do with Evan Peters so they just threw him into that bullshit role), ‘The Axeman Cometh’ had a little bit of everything and told an extremely interesting story with some history to go with it! I still have faith though… I mean, this show somehow turned Hank into a relevant character, more on that later, so maybe FrankenKyle will finally do something other than smash a bunch of stuff!

When The Jazzman’s Testifyin’

We had Black Dahlia in Season 1, Anne Frank in Season 2 and now it looks like The Axeman of New Orleans has found his way into our story this season. The really interesting thing about all of this is that the Axeman of New Orleans is an actual person who existed and American Horror Story not only stayed true to the actual real-life story but they also ended up giving us their own explanation of what happened to the Axeman as his identity was never revealed in reality and the serial murders had stopped just as quickly as they started.

So on last night’s episode, we start off in New Orleans in 1919 with a letter sent by the Axeman himself, based entirely on the ACTUAL letter sent by the REAL Axeman of New Orleans. We even got to see the Coven’s reaction to the Axeman’s letter as a young Anna Lee decides that they can no longer stand idle. And we also get a glimpse of the Axeman committing one of his murders. You will have noticed that he had murdered a man and a woman, and this is true to the actual Axeman’s modus operandi. Apparently the Axeman only targeted women, but would kill a male victim if they obstructed his attempts to murder the intended female victim. This makes sense since, in some cases, the Axeman would only murder the woman of the household and not the man.

And check out the letter below… this is all very real by the way which makes it super disturbing even if it did happen 94 years ago! The writers didn’t include the entire letter and jumbled some of it up, but every word they used was pretty much word for word from the actual letter:

Hell, March 13, 1919

Esteemed Mortal:

They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether which surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and fell demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians call the Axeman.

When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe. Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.

Now, to be exact, at 12:15 o’clock (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to the people. Here it is:

I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose house a jazz band is in full swing by the time I have just mentioned.  If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.

Pretty creepy stuff! If you want to check out the full excerpt from the Axeman’s actual letter, check it out on Wikipedia here.

The cool part about all of this is that AHS actually follows up on the story even though no one really knows what happened. As addressed in his letter, the Axeman says that he is very fond of jazz music and that anyone not ‘jazzin’ it up’ on Tuesday night will get the axe! In other words, time to break out your best jazz moves, unless of course you happen to be the Jazz from American Gladiators:

Jazz

In which case, you’ll be good to go (plus I couldn’t resist some classic ’90’s nostalgia)! But for the rest of us, we’ll be throwing on some Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong and gettin’ our jazz on!

Now you might be wondering the significance of the jazz music. Well, another, rather interesting, theory is that the Axeman of New Orleans committed his murders in order to promote jazz music– which oddly, and disturbingly, makes sense in a way. What better way to promote jazz music than threaten to murder everyone in town who is NOT playing it! Community marketing at its finest!

And so, on the night of March 19th, 1919 all of New Orleans’ dance clubs were filled to capacity and jazz bands played at hundreds of houses around town. And– guess what? There were no murders that night! Well, except one:

The Axeman ends up going ‘under the knife’ literally! So even though the Axeman disappeared in reality and no one ever identified him, I absolutely love how AHS was able to explain the rest of the story… even if it’s completely INSANE (in a good way)!

So obviously the Coven doesn’t take kindly to axe murderers! They decide not to play any jazz music and instead play tarot cards in the dark… which obviously leads to the Axeman showing up and becoming a human pin cushion! Of course, we haven’t seen the last of Mr. Axeman!

Spirit Boards and Demon Lords

Back in the present, Zoe is doing some digging and finds a hidden stash where she discovers a bunch of old photo’s from back in the day when Witches weren’t an endangered species. And Zoe wants to know why these Witches have been dying off so she does what any good, young detective would do:

Shots Shots Shots

UNDERAGE ABSINTHE PARTY!!!! Slam that, girl! Just don’t get too ‘white girl wasted’. And for a good laugh, watch the clip below:

That clip will never get old! After slamming their ‘drink of the divine’, Zoe decides they gotta find Madison and get to the bottom of this whole Witch extinction problem so the three girls make a pact to watch each other’s backs– and this means they will have to keep their secrets from Fiona which will make for awesome suspense going forward.

The girls decide to check out the Spirit Board that Zoe found and I’m allllll for this! Is it just me or can anyone else relate to having played with a Ouija Board with their friends when they were younger! Of course, there was always that one asshole kid that would ruin it for everybody! But I don’t know too many people that haven’t tried one of these at least once so this whole scene was fun (with a dash of creepy).

So the girls start asking Mr. Spirit Axeman all sorts of questions and apparently he still holds a 94-year grudge against the Witches that murdered him. And when the girls asked who killed him… he responds with a resounding “U DID” on the spirit board which would freak out anyone who is under the influence of Absinthe. So upon discovering the spirits identity on the spirit board, the girls do some research and come across a little diary from 1919 (the same year the Axeman disappeared) and there is a quote that says “this jazz killer has killed long enough, the city has been trembling– tonight it ends!”. So now the girls know that the Witches were responsible for this spirit’s death… but Queenie and Nan want no part in releasing an axe murderer– so Zoe is flying solo.

This is where things get a bit tricky because I don’t know if lying to a spirit will actually prevent their release– but Zoe apparently did just that. And in exchange for this so-called ‘false’ release, the Axeman provides the location of Madison’s body so Zoe heads for the attic and finally finds poor Madison chilling in Spaulding’s junk trunk. She is attacked by a creepy looking Spaulding, but is easily able to dispatch of him since, ya know… she’s a Witch and he’s not!

Stranger Danger

Then the torture begins! The girls decide they need to know what happened to Madison, and since Spaulding has no tongue, they can only communicate via Nan’s clairvoyant power! Of course, Spaulding lies to all of them and says he is the one who murdered Madison. Of course, it was Fiona who did all the murdering, but Spaulding is a creep and is obviously going to defend her until the very end.

Even with his admission though, Fiona doesn’t buy it and Spaulding ends up getting a hot metal spatula to the face… Voodoo Doll style:

BBQ

So they still haven’t solved the mystery of Madison’s death but at least they’re getting closer!

Hank The Witch Hunter

So I’ve been a little hard on Hank the last couple of weeks but boy did this show change that quickly. As it turns out, our good friend Serial Killer Hank is actually not a serial killer after all. It appears he has a little bit of Hansel and Gretel in his blood! And he’s really on a witch hunt for the Voodoo Queen– wait, WHAT!?

I swear there is never anything random on this show. Everything has some kind of meaning– and having Hank actually be a witch hunter hired by the Voodoo Queen is just some beyond brilliant writing… it advances the plot, makes Hank a relevant character, and introduces the concept of ‘witch hunting’.

Before this reveal though, Delia is being escorted back up to her room at Witch Manor and is quite unhappy to come to a room full of roses:

Chrys

And Delia ends up using her new powers again– not once but twice! First on Hank… where she sees him gettin’ it on with that red-head! At some point, she is going to know the whole truth so I’d be careful if I were you, Hankie! And second, she gets a glimpse of Fiona and the other girls burning Auntie Myrtle at the stake! Needless to say, Delia is not too happy about this and refuses to believe that it was Myrtle that threw the acid in her face… and she is right!

So the acid attack has provided Delia with a sort of ‘second sight’… which of course complicates Hank’s plans. Because, as it turns out, Hank is a hired gun! And we learn that he is in cahoots with the Voodoo Lady when he pays her a visit to explain the circumstances of Delia’s vision loss.

And if you remember the sexy red-head Hank shot in the head a couple of episodes back… well as it turns out SHE’S A WITCH! And we see a flashback of her with her ex who no longer wanted to marry her…. well apparently this red head Witch doesn’t take too kindly to break-ups:

WHY!?

Flamer

FLAME ON! So the red-head was a Witch all along which would explain why Hank the Witch Hunter was out to kill her in the first place. This, once again, proves how good this story is at filling in all the blanks and literally making sense of every DETAIL, no matter how minor! Luckily for Hank, he was able to get rid of the Witch before she could turn him into the human torch like her ex-fiancee! If only she had chosen the Academy over a life of fantasy football and working out– you chose poorly red-head! The moral of the story here: Stay in school kids.

Meanwhile, back at the Voodoo Salon, Hank the Witch Hunter finally pays Marie a visit which doesn’t end very well for anyone! Angela Bassett as the Voodoo Lady, still killin’ it as usual, is right pissed off when she finds out that Hank has accomplished NOTHING in the last 6 years and that Delia’s new power has complicated things:

Apparently, their plan was to have Hank infiltrate the Witch Academy and essentially exterminate the remaining Witches. But because Hank = FAIL, Marie Laveau ends up losing her shit and flips right out, demanding that Hank bring her the heads of the remaining Witches and burn their Coven to the ground! If he can accomplish this quest, he will keep his life! Ya, good luck with that Hank:

The White Witch Is Coming

More Stevie Nicks? Sure, why not! I mean, is there a better character on this show than the one played by Lily Rabe? Misty is mysterious, she has the awesome power of resurgence, and she’s a die-hard Stevie Nicks fan! Oh and did I mention… Stevie Nicks is coming to AHS! Yes, that’s right, STEVIE NICKS IS GOING TO BE MAKING A CAMEO ON AMERICAN HORROR STORY!!!!! This has been confirmed by Ryan Murphy himself and she will be appearing in episode 10! Here is the link from Entertainment Weekly, but there are some spoilers in there, so you have been warned: http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/11/14/american-horror-story-ryan-murphy-the-axeman-cometh/

We first meet back up with Misty as she is watering her newly found friend Myrtle Snow:

Nothing better than swamp water in the morning, eh Misty! But then, that stupid asshole FrankenKyle has to show up and ruin the entire scene! I’m sitting here hoping to see Misty and Myrtle team up and get some revenge… instead we get this:

FrankenKyle returns and decides that he’s had enough of bath time and starts smashing everything in sight! Poor Misty:

Either way, the party is interrupted when Zoe shows up and in need of Misty’s resurgence power yet again… Girl, you might want to start charging for your services!

So Zoe takes FrankenKyle and Misty back to the Witch Academy with the hope of resurrecting our dear movie star friend Madison. Eventually, Zoe persuades her to give it a go, so Misty reattaches the arm, adds a little mud and PRESTO:

NOMS

YAY! Madison is back… although she could use a little make-up, maybe a shower… and definitely a cigarette! So Misty decides to peace the fuck out because she’s getting some bad vibes from the house and also tells Zoe to keep FrankenKyle… she’s still a bit upset over the Stevie Nicks cassette smashing incident. Go to your room and stay there Kyle!

Kyle or no Kyle– STEVIE NICKS IS GOING TO BE MAKING A CAMEO ON AMERICAN HORROR STORY and that is all the news I need to make me forget about FrankenKyle!

The Axeman Returneth

I’m not really sure what in the HELL happened next to be perfectly honest but somehow The Axeman is back in present time and for whatever reason Delia can hear him, possibly because of her new power! Zoe mentions at one point that, even though she told him she would release him, that she lied! But does it matter whether she lied or not? Did she actually release him at that point? Either way, the girls run off, find a spell book, perform some witchcraft and the Axeman vanishes somehow! Clearly you got some explaining to do American Horror Story, because I’m still scratching my head on that one! So either Zoe or Delia released the Axeman or that spell they cast had some effect… OR we don’t actually know what happened yet, which is more likely! Answers, please?

And of course, being trapped in that house for 94 years… Mr. Axeman heads straight to the bar where he instantly buys Fiona a drink! Something extremely funky is going on here… Axeman is somehow released (not sure by what or who yet) and randomly meets up with Fiona at the bar? This simply CANNOT be a coincidence!

Even though we have a whole bunch of new questions, a lot of stuff was answered too! I still want to know who was responsible for the acid attack though– that is my biggest mystery and so far we can cross Fiona, Myrtle, Hank and the Voodoo Lady off that list… but I still have no clue who it could have been! All will be revealed soon though 🙂

Episode Score: 9.0 – Another great episode, AHS: Coven is really killing it this Season. If FrankenKyle hadn’t shown up and killed Stevie, I would have awarded another half point!

If you want a sneak peek at next week’s episode titled ‘The Dead’, check out the video below. Enjoy!