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American Horror Story: Coven - Chapter 6, "The Axeman Cometh" - Early Review

“Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.

Now, to be exact, at 12:15 on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people…”

- The Axeman, 1919

A short taste of a letter so chilling it seems only plausible that it must have come from the minds of Ryan Murphy and his awesomely twisted writing team. It certainly makes for a memorable opening sequence - easily my favorite grabber of the season - but no, like the sadistic terrors of Delphine LaLaurie and eerie magical lore surrounding Marie Laveau, the story of The Axeman and his trail of death is all too real to New Orleans. Murphy and this weeks writer Douglas Petrie (one of my favorites from way-back on Buffy) do a phenomenal job weaving the true story in with Coven's bitchcraft mythology, and Danny Huston steals the show in the role of the serial killer in question. But, truthfully, that story is just the tip of the iceberg this week as there’s a lot going on, both covering last weeks twists and moving forward with new ones. Read on for a teaser of what else to expect in this weeks episode “The Axeman Cometh”.

As I mentioned above, my performance of the week definitely goes to Danny Huston as the chilling addition of The Axeman, but the entire present cast puts forth extremely memorable work this week. Taissa Farmiga thrives when Zoe is taking charge, not whining or hiding in the dark as she started out, and this week she certainly asserts herself as a leader of the current pack of young witches. Fed up with not having answers about Madison’s disappearance and realizing that the numbers of her kind are quickly declining, Zoe leads a charge to contact the spirit world in an effort to find out what happened to the movie star witch. And what spirit might be lingering in the walls of the Academy? Well, if you can’t already guess based on the title and everything else, you’ll certainly figure it out before the beginning of the opening credits.

Lily Rabe as Misty Day

This week also reintroduces the story of Kyle, the Frankenstein-like boy-toy-gone-wrong who we last saw two episodes ago wandering into the street after beating his creepy, incestuious mother to death (only on American Horror Story, people). Evan Peters continue to do what few could, keeping Kyle’s childlike man-monster from looking like parody, even as he breaks down completely (while completely naked) and totally loses his mind. It’s the story I’d most like to see further explored because right now it feels most detached from the overall arc of Coven, other than serving as a walking/shrieking lesson about what can happen when magic backfires. Peters has consistently been important in each incarnation of Horror Story though, and much of the fun of this series is watching how it all winds down and comes together at the end of each season.

"The Axeman Cometh" is probably the creepiest episode so far this year and easily my favorite of the first six. Nearly every character has a memorable scene or moment, and not coincidentally pretty much every storyline advances significantly. Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia takes a dark turn as the vicious attack launched against her continues to strengthen her new power of vision, a fact which leads to a few interesting reveals about her husband Hank (hint: he doesn’t like this new power and he discusses it with someone you'll recognizable). Everything is starting to come together as we hit mid-season and I think it’s more than impressive that Ryan Murphy and his team have again managed to craft a fully-formed world in just a few episodes, making the returning cast only recognizable as their most recent incarnations. So what are you guys most looking forward to seeing in this episode, and while we’re at it, what are your thoughts on Coven so far? Before you hit the comments, I’ll leave you with a few last things to look forward to on Wednesday night.

Stuff You’ll Love:

- Fiona’s story has continued to evolve and grow more complex with each episode. This one is no exception, and the final scene left me wishing these early previews came with a “Scenes from Next Week”
- Wondering how long that stench in the attic can stay covered up? Not long, I assure you…
- Season 1 Murder House favorite Alexandra Breckenridge shows up in a flashback as Hank’s dead lover Kaylee
- While it was recently announced that Stevie Nicks is now set to appear on the series this season, her music makes a comeback this week in a fantastic scene between Misty Day & Kyle. The tune is “Lace & Leather” which features Don Henley

American Horror Story: Coven airs Wednesdays at 10 on FX. “The Axeman Cometh” premieres November 13th. Feel free to check out my Twitter for updates on Horror Story & all my SpoilerTV work.

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