Well, I guess even American Horror Story is allowed a filler episode every once in a while.
Unfortunately, The Axeman Cometh didn’t really advance the season’s main arc in any significant way. While admittedly creepy, the introduction of the Axeman felt like a detour from the witch war that’s been forming at the heart of the season.
Thankfully, Delia has some juicy material to work with now that she’s blind and blessed with the gift of second sight. It was most satisfying to watch her lash out at Hank, her psychotic husband, much to the delight of Fiona who’s finally getting a second chance to reconnect with her daughter. As an added complication, we discover that Hank was hired by Marie Laveau years back to eliminate the witches. This adds a compelling layer to his murder of Kaley who is unveiled to have been a pyrokinetic witch. There are a lot of chess pieces at play, so I do hope the writers can bring them all together in a cohesive and thematically-satisfying manner by the time the finale comes along.
Finally, Madison is back in the game. I usually loathe it when characters pop up from the dead, but it fits the story with Misty’s possessing the power of resurrection. Emma Roberts was superb in the openings hours of the season, so I’m pleased that she’s made a return (although conveniently, she has no memory of Fiona slicing her neck).
Speaking of Fiona, she felt strangely detached from the episode’s proceedings. Still, it was enlightening to watch the Supreme undergo chemotherapy and try to cope with the deepest thoughts of her fellow patients. Interestingly enough, Fiona reveals that she wants one last epic love affair – a plot point that’s paid off in the episode’s final moments as she finds herself miserable at a bar (while pulling hair out of her head) until the Axeman joins her. It’s not the most thrilling of cliffhangers, but it gets the job done for now. I just wish we don’t shift focus from the stuff that matters (the Salem witches vs Laveau and her voodoo creepiness).
– Absolutely fascinating teaser with the Axeman threatening the town with jazz (apparently this was a real incident, and the writers used his exact words from the letter). Naturally, the witches drew him in and collectively stabbed him in a highly effective sequence.
– No Kathy Bates this week. Seriously? How will they explain her omission? She is the maid after all and the Axeman caused hell on earth in the manor.
– Myrtle’s coming back people! Misty currently has her recuperating underneath a pile of dirt. Charming.
– The girls’ torture of Spalding was awesome.
– I don’t see much of a point to Kyle’s Frankenstein shtick this year. Plus he really messed up Misty’s place. Dude that’s not nice.
– I swear to God, Angela Bassett’s performance is so brilliantly over-the-top and spectacular. I honestly watched her monologue three times in a row. She just spouts marvelous venom with every enunciation.
– Misty packing all the food in the manor into her purse was an utterly hilarious touch.
– How weak a witch is Delia? Can’t she do anything besides plant stuff and get a few visions? Because Mr. Axeman could have easily killed her right then and there.
Madison: (after coming back to life) I need a cigarette.
Hank: An acid attack?
Marie: You think I did that? I look like the Taliban to you?
Marie: No more nonsense. You go back there and you bring me their heads. All of them – Fiona, her daughter, and every witch bitch in that house! You bring me their heads, all of them, then you BURN that place to the ground.
Bringing the show’s momentum to a halt, The Axeman Cometh is a filler episode in every sense of the word.