American Horror Story: Coven Season 3 Review “The Axeman Cometh”

On the latest “American Horror Story: Coven,” we met a new character in “The Axeman Cometh.” Last season, the show overplayed its hand somewhat by offering several serial killers in the same season, but this time around, I didn’t mind it as much. For one thing, it was used in a clever way that tied into the plot perfectly, and unlike last season, it was essentially the first such character they introduced, although I suppose you could count Madame LaLaurie, technically. (We’ll get to Hank in a minute, as he was a bit different from the others, being a hired hand and all.)

Here, it was actor Danny Huston, as the Axeman, who was like a character out of a film noir: part-time saxophonist, part-time killer. A sax-man who doubled as an axe-man, get it? Keeping his axe in the same case he put his sax, he stalked his prey by night after late night gigs in the Quarter. He was also a bit of a publicity hound, collecting articles about himself, and contacting the local paper to let everyone know, if they played jazz music, he’d skip paying them a visit, which is kind of a neat, oh so NO caveat I liked very much.

In the intro, we discovered that the witches that stayed at the Academy circa 1919- including one named Millie, the ringleader- banded together to bring the Axeman down by committing a most egregious sin by his standards: having the nerve to blast opera music instead of jazz. Like a moth to a flame he came, and down he went, being no match for the coven, who mercilessly stabbed him to death, trapping his spirit there in the process. Millie was played by Grace Gummer, aka Meryl Streep’s daughter, which was another nice touch, considering that Houston is also Hollywood royalty, being related to Anjelica and John.

All was well until Zoe and her fellow witchy students brought back the Axeman, despite the warnings of Queenie, who at least knew better not to mess with an Ouija board at a freaking witch academy, lest they stir up some evil spirits. On the plus side, though, this also led to the resurrection of my beloved Madison Montgomery, when the Axeman led Zoe to her body and she absconded with it to Misty’s, who applied a little swamp mud and viola! MM is back!

At first, I feared it would be another Kyle situation, and had a mental picture of a sort-of “Bride of Frankenstein”– type scenario, but thankfully, after some screaming and bug-vomiting (ew!), she was up and at ‘em, demanding a cigarette as if nothing had happened. While MM did remember who she was, she hasn’t yet remembered what happened to her, so that little revelation will have to wait, but that’s okay. The important thing is, she’s back!

I liked that Zoe is showing more and more backbone in more recent episodes. After going all Ash in the Halloween episode, this time she took matters into her own hands with the Ouija board, even if it did come back to bite her, or at least Delia, in the behind. Spalding, of course, took credit for the crime, but to her credit, Zoe wasn’t buying it. I think on a certain level, she knows it was Fiona. I also think she’s starting to realize she’s most likely the new Supreme as well, given all the newfound powers she’s exhibiting.

Ditto Misty May, who, while helping Zoe with her MM problem, drew the line with Kyle, after he bludgeoned her beloved tape deck, with its ever-present Stevie Nicks tuneage. This led to the best line of the night: “Get him out of here! He broke Stevie!” LOL. (On a related side note: it was just announced that producer Ryan Murphy has successfully lobbied to get Nicks herself on the show, and she reportedly accepted, though in what capacity we don’t know yet. My hope: she’ll appear as May’s guardian angel/witch in the moment she most needs her. How awesome would that be? Fingers crossed!) Note also that Misty knew enough not to stay at the academy, saying it had too many bad vibes.

We also found out what was going on with Hank. Rather than being a whack-job who kills his one night stands, lest his witchy wife find out, he’s actually a contract killer for hire that’s been working undercover for none other than Marie Laveau. Those of us who thought he really seemed to care for Delia weren’t wrong, it seems. In fact, it’s precisely that which has caused Laveau to move up her timeline of taking down the academy, not satisfied with the work Hank has been doing anymore, even though he’s nabbed nine witches so far, including Kaylee, the redhead we met recently, only to see unceremoniously executed after sleeping with Hank in the worst one night stand ever.

Alexandra Breckenridge reprised the role in a flashback, as we learned she was a witch that had set fire to her man in a fit of rage, without meaning to, and was subsequently brought by Delia to the academy to help her out, which she refused. Hank overheard her lamenting wanting a normal life and pounced. (I liked her bit about just wanting a husband, listing her pluses as “I work out, I play fantasy football,” among others.) I don’t think he stands a chance with the academy witches. I’d say he should just get out of town, but Laveau would only voodoo him wherever he went, since, as she mentioned, she doesn’t have to even leave the house to do so.

Laveau also confirmed that she wasn’t the one who threw acid into Delia’s face, which means it was someone else entirely. I still find it hard to believe it was Myrtle, but I’m not sure who it is if it wasn’t someone Laveau sent, so maybe it was after all. (If you suspect someone else, let me know in the comments section!) I suppose it could be Fiona herself, although her behavior suggests otherwise, as she even went ahead with the cancer treatments in order to stay sharp for Delia’s sake, though boozing it up doesn’t exactly help matters. Also not helping matters: the fact that the Axeman made a play for her at the end of the episode, and she fell for it.

So, another great episode all around. Like I said, the addition of the Axeman worked well, and I especially liked that he immediately went after Fiona, rather than going after the other witches. I suspect he’ll be back to the academy, as he wasn’t amused when Zoe initially reneged on their agreement. But he also knew the age-old prison rule: go after the biggest, meanest one first, and that would certainly be Fiona. The twist of Hank being a witch hunter, and an undercover one working for Laveau at that, was also clever. And of course, I’m thrilled Emma Roberts is back in more lively form. Wonder how Fiona will react to that!

What did you think of “American Horror Story: Coven” this week? Like the Axeman character? Like what they did with the Hank character? How do you think he’ll fare against the main coven? Will he tell them Laveau was the one who sent him? Will Zoe and her crew figure out it was Fiona that killed Madison? What will they do when and if they do? Sound off below, and I’ll see you next week!