Slowly but surely, Coven‘s awesomeness is waning, at least in my eyes; “The Axeman Cometh” proved to be another mediocre episode uncharacteristic of the grade-A horror that AHS so often delivers. It brings the introduction of yet another madman character with no purpose but to kill for the pleasure of it, features some quite-cliche classic horror scenes, and fails once more to answer the dying questions in fans’ minds.
The episode begins, as most do, with a flashback to this “Axeman”, a lunatic who kills women that don’t play jazz music when he orders them to. It serves to show how his ghost came to haunt the present day Robichaux academy and foreshadows his appearance later in the episode, but doesn’t really do more than that; he’s your typical serial killer, much less frightening than Madame Laveau and her human-bull pet.
While Zoe and her witch friends are busy looking into the death of Madison, Kyle is off destroying more furniture and proving once more his irrelevance to date. Don’t get me wrong–I respect Evan Peters and his superb acting in prior seasons, but producers have turned Kyle Spencer into a brainless Frankenstein’s-monster who has yet to prove himself worthy of a part in this story. Zoe also proved to be somewhat obnoxious in this episode; after being fairly absent for the past two episodes, she suddenly reappears and is bent on finding Madison’s killer, even if it means releasing Mr. Axeman out into the open (because what could possibly be wrong with that?). It seems a lot to ask, Zoe, after you ran off with your zombie boyfriend to play God.
Apart from that, there were a few moments in this episode that had a good amount of suspense wedged in. The disclosure of Cordelia’s husband as a witch hunter was unexpected, and as always, Jessica Lange is extraordinary in depicting Fiona’s pain, internal and external. As well, one of the more frightening scenes was when Zoe seeks out Madison in Spalding’s creepy attic room of porcelain dolls, and when she finds Madison’s body in the chest. It seems, however, that nothing can stay dead for long this season before Stevie Nicks fanatic Misty Day comes by to pop them back up again. There were some impressive effects and makeup used on Madison’s “dead” body, but it seems a bit unfair that Kyle awoke so brain dead while Madison simply sat up and demanded a cigarette.
When the Axeman attacks Cordelia in her room, I nearly heaved my remote at the TV; what else can you expect when a teenage girl makes a deal with a murderous ghost? And how in the world could Zoe summon up a ritual, but not get the door to Cordelia’s room open to help her? It seems that for a coven that claims to be so powerful, these witches hardly use their powers when they really need to.
As for Myrtle Snow, who was revived by Stevie–I mean, Misty–last episode, she’s being grown back into the story, much to Fiona’s disappointment. Though it does seem she won’t be around much longer to mope about it; she’s wrought with cancer and slowly dying out, which can only mean one thing: the new supreme will soon take charge, whoever they may be.
Coven, at this point, has to pick up the pace, answer some questions and work more on developing the plot and giving certain characters solid roles. The scary aspects of the show have held this season up so far, but now some of it is collapsing, and they’re falling back on their use of notorious murder stories and typical horror show Ouija boards. Not to mention, fans are probably wondering: after Kyle, Madison, and Myrtle, who will be next to be brought back? Score:6/10.
Nataly Capote/A&E Editor