You know it’s a good week for ‘American Horror Story’ when the new episode opens with an orgy of stabbing. That’s just the kind of show this is.
Episode ‘The Axeman Cometh’ introduces Danny Huston as the title character, a saxophone player by night and a psycho killer by later at night. (In either case, he’s great with an axe.) In 1919, he terrorized the city of New Orleans, murdering women who didn’t show proper appreciation for his beloved jazz music, until the coven of witches at Miss Robichaux’s Academy (led by Grace Gummer from ‘The Newsroom’) lured him into a trap and stabbed the shit out of him. That’s right, Meryl Streep’s daughter killed John Huston’s son. I feel like there must be some subliminal connection there. (Gummer played Anjelica Huston’s daughter in ‘Smash’, so I guess that makes her Danny’s niece, right?)
In the present day, Zoe finds a hidden crawlspace behind a closet in Madison’s room. Within it are a bottle of absinthe and a Ouija board, among other things. Zoe convinces Queenie and Nan to try to contact Madison’s spirit with the board. Instead, they reach the Axeman. Zoe believes that she can trick him into helping her find Madison. The other two girls bow out, afraid to risk releasing the Axeman back into the world, but Zoe pushes forward on her own.
Indeed, the Axeman’s spirit leads Zoe up to the attic to find Spalding’s creepy doll room and Madison’s corpse. Spalding tries to sneak up and accost her there, but he turns out to be a total wuss and is easily overcome by the young girl. At this point, Nan and Queenie return to help. The three girls torture Spalding into talking – well, into thinking answers to their questions, which Nan can telepathically hear. Spalding falsely confesses to killing Madison in order to protect Fiona.
Next, Zoe asks Misty to resurrect Madison. The hippie witch refuses at first, claiming that Madison is too far gone, but acquiesces with a little goading. She manages to “push the death out” and bring the girl back to life. Unfortunately, Madison doesn’t remember what happened to her. All she can say is that there was no heaven waiting for her on the other side of death, “Just black, forever.”
When Zoe reneges on her deal to release the Axeman, his spirit goes nuts and terrorizes Cordelia, who has gained the power of Second Sight since losing her vision (more on this in a bit). Zoe attempts to rescue Cordelia with a spell intended to cast the Axeman’s spirit out of the house. Unfortunately, without realizing it, she has erroneously unleashed him back onto the world. As the episode ends, he walks into a bar and tries to pick up Fiona. This can’t be good.
- As I mentioned, Cordelia has returned to the academy. Although blinded, she’s now tortured by psychic visions. Anytime anyone touches her, she can see flashes of their deepest secrets. This isn’t good news for her husband Hank when she sees that he had an affair. Luckily for him, she hasn’t yet seen him murder the other woman.
- Fiona has also developed new telephathic powers. She believes this is somehow the result of her chemotherapy, but I wonder if something else is at play.
- Kyle returns to Misty’s swamp shack, where he has a major freak-out and smashes her stereo. Misty is very upset that he broke Stevie.
- The biggest revelations this week concern Cordelia’s husband Hank. It turns out that he’s actually a witch hunter who was hired by Marie Laveau and has been undercover for the past six years. His relationship with Cordelia is a total sham, designed to get him access to the academy so that he can identify and target other witches, such as the girl we saw him murder. (I guess the sex he had with her was a fringe benefit.) Now, Laveau is tired of being patient. She accuses him of having genuine feelings for Cordelia which have made him weak, and demands that he bring her all the witches’ heads.
With these developments, the show is really building up steam. I can’t wait to see what happens in the final three episodes of the season.