‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 6 Recap: “The Axeman Cometh”


The episode opens with yet another historical flashback, this time to the era of the Axeman of New Orleans. He’s “not a demon but a spirit, a foul demon from the hottest hell.” He’s also played by the guy who played Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks. Probably no one but me and Ryan Murphy think that is funny. It gets funnier when it turns out that the Axeman was felled (heh) by one of Meryl Streep’s daughters. If you can’t get the diva original I suppose a descendant will do. She was some kind of leader at Miss Robichaux’s in the Axeman era, as it turns out. And she lets herself be bait for the man, playing tarot alone in a room with a candle. She stabs him, there’s a massive spray of blood, and birth-of-the-jazz-age girl power abounds!

Zoe, Queenie and Nan are left largely unattended for much of the episode, and Zoe, in her newly-empowered-by-chainsaw mode, is ready to take charge. They all drink absinthe to seal the deal, then play a little ouija board, as all great sleepover attendees do. They’re trying to summon Madison, but instead they summon the Axeman himself. On suspicion that the Axeman might know where Madison is — logic’s a little hazy here — Zoe calls him up on the Ouija board on her own, and he sends her up to the attic — where, yeah, she finds Madison, though she has to fight Spalding for her. Spalding explains that he’s a necrophile.

Misty Day, meanwhile, is just chilling in her best imitation-Stevie outfit and watering the mound of Myrtle Snow she’s got growing in her swampyard when along comes the long-lost FrankenKyle. She tries to give him a bath but this triggers latent FrankenKyle memories of the way he was abused by Mare Winningham, and he just starts destroying things. He even destroys the radio, which is playing “Leather and Lace,” and which Misty calls “Stevie,” and that makes her cry.

They are interrupted by Zoe to fetch Misty so that the latter can exercise that wonderful power of resurgence on Madison, who when she awakes, just wants a cigarette. She doesn’t seem to remember much about what happened to her. Evidently death’s kind of disorienting.

Cordelia, whose nickname I feel I only learned this week was Delia, is released into Jessica Lange’s care. Jessica Lange has begun doing some kind of chemo to try and remain strong to care for her daughter, but it’s obviously not going to work. Cordelia’s post-burn makeup job suggests a really localized attack of the measles as well as blindness, but no biggie. The problem is really that now whenever someone touches her she can see the truth about them. For example, when Josh Hamilton touches her she sees him killing the redhead, who turns out to have been a witch. (Also, that her mom’s fried Myrtle Snow.)

But yeah, anyway, Josh Hamilton: he’s still a witch hunter, and he’s been hired by Marie Leveau, we see. She’s not happy with his services though, because he’s fallen in love with Cordelia and been dragging his feet. Marie tells Josh Hamilton she’ll only let him live if he brings her the heads of the three witches at Miss Robichaux’s on a platter. His task is very nearly made much easier by the Axeman, who has chosen to rematerialize in Cordelia’s bedchamber to make Zoe follow through on her promise to release him, which she does just in time to save Cordelia from being hacked to death. And Leland Palmer, just like that, is free to wander into the night beyond. His first pitstop? The bar where Jessica Lange’s gone to drown her sorrows.