‘American Horror Story: Coven’ recap: The girls conjure a serial killer

“American Horror Story,” you so crazy! I say that with love, by the way. So much happened in this episode, much of it entirely batcrap insane, that it took a while to digest it all. It was like going to a Vegas buffet of all-you-can-eat mucho nutso. Still, that’s a minor quibble. I am hoping, though, that you can stop with the extreme low angle shots. I don’t need to see so many feet, and it’s less spooky than annoying. There are so many other ways for you to trigger nausea. But, again, the loopy cinematography just means you’re trying as hard as you can to bring the shock and awe. Don’t think I don’t appreciate it. 

Witches in the old days weren’t very creative: This week, we start off in 1919 with a previous generation of witches essentially inviting a serial killer into their home so they can stab him to death. It’s supposed to be a feminist moment, I guess (We’re suffragettes! Let’s cut a bitch!), but it’s a little disappointing. Our Axeman (or Axman, if you prefer) richly deserves his fate at the hands of our rather prim and proper witches, but on a show that’s usually so creative in the killing, this offing fell flat. There’s a little witchcraft, yes, but witches of the early 20th century seemed to be too conservative and unsure of themselves to make this dirtbag suffer. 

Zoe is insufferably stubborn: In the present day, Zoe is determined to find Madison. Kyle, she’s not so worried about. As I recall, Kyle seemed to like her quite a bit more than Madison did, but okay, Zoe is mercurial. Instead of worrying about Kyle, she is determined to find her frenemy Madison. Where does that lead her? To a secret room full of stuff from 1919! And a ouija board! 

Excuse me, spirit board (I guess Hasbro holds the rights to the ouija board name). Anyway, Zoe gathers Queenie and Nan (who is very unhappy that Luke has gone missing, though that’s a point that is made once and not again) to make them drink absinthe, ponder the shrinking number of witches, and hop on the spirit board with her. “You want to find Madison? Witch up!” she barks. 

Queenie has an excellent point that spirits that come through the board may not have anyone’s best interests in mind. In other words, they kill people. Zoe doesn’t care! She needs to find Madison! I would argue (man, I argue with the Zoe storyline a LOT)  that before calling up the dead Zoe might have wanted to find a handy tracking spell or, I don’t know, sniff around the attic (and I do mean sniff), but fine, spirit board it is. The Axeman comes through in a hot minute and he’s just so helpful! Queenie stops all this nonsense and tells Zoe to find out who the heck this guy is before she starts chatting him up. I really like Queenie — with the exception of that weird minotaur sex, she’s been a great character. More Queenie, please! And Nan! Really, anyone but Zoe.

Although Zoe could, oh, call on another spirit to talk to her, or SNIFF AROUND THE ATTIC (man, how does the whole house not reek at this point?), no, Zoe is a woman on a mission. Even after Queenie and Nan wisely opt out of this spirit board nonsense, she calls on the Axeman and promises “release” if he helps her find Madison. I take it release has a different meaning when you’re talking to spirits, or else Zoe has taken a very dark path indeed. Kidding! Have I mentioned lately that Zoe is more frustrating than a back itch?

Spalding is nothing if not loyal: Of course, the Axeman leads the junior witches to Spalding and, yes, ew, Madison. Though Spalding eagerly and graphically admits to killing Madison, the witches don’t believe him. This is a good thing, as if they did they’d probably rip his hair out of his head and choke him with it. It’s bad enough that Queenie is enthusiastically burning her/his face, which is only going to make Spalding even less presentable at dinner parties. Think, Queenie! Stick below the neck!

Misty gets to work: Having tortured Spalding, Zoe drags poor, dead Madison to Misty, who has also attracted Kyle to her house. That Misty, she’s just a supernatural magnet! Misty, by the way, is no longer a Kyle fan, as he BROKE Stevie! Not really, but he knocked over Misty’s stereo and the one thing you don’t do is kill the music in Misty’s house. Poor Misty didn’t realize that bathing Kyle is a bad touch issue for him. Anyway, she wants Kyle gone! Thus, it seems Zoe is going to be trading problems — she gets a fresh Madison but has to take a used Kyle. Bummer for her.

Does anyone else feel like Kyle has become the abused puppy on this show? No one wants him, he starts fights with furniture, and the little girl who thought he was so dreamy at the pet store can’t even be bothered to feed him or get him paper trained. Kyle needs his own weepy slow motion “please give to your local pound” commercial, or at least a GIF. C’mon, Internet! Get to work! 

While Misty isn’t too excited about reviving Madison (and I’m not sure why Zoe is, given her track record with bringing back the dead — exhibit A being Kyle), she does it. Madison coughs up a cockroach then croaks, “I need a cigarette” in one of those darkly funny moments that make “AHS” sing. Back at the house, Madison pukes ginger ale and reveals there’s nothing on the other side — just endless darkness. Thanks for the spoiler, Madison!

I will say that Madison seems to be a much more successful revival than Kyle (granted, she wasn’t dead for terribly long, I guess, plus she wasn’t stitched together with other people parts). I can’t wait to see Fiona’s reaction to her wandering around the house — if, in fact, the other witches let her. 

Fiona is fading fast — and Delia’s getting stronger: Fiona is not enjoying chemotherapy, and I can’t blame her. Her doctor won’t stop yapping and she can’t drown out the mind chatter of her fellow patients. It’s not that she gets to rest after treatment, either. Fiona has to get Delia settled, which is more stressful than you’d think. Blind Delia is tightly coiled, barking for chrysanthemums instead of roses as she taps her stick. And that’s even before anyone touches her.

When Fiona touches Delia, Delia is crushed knowing her mom had Myrtle burnt like a cheap chuck roast while she was out. Hank, lovelorn and puppy-eyed, seems desperate to connect with Delia — but even the most gentle physical contact with her only reveals more graphic scenes from his recent past. Delia promises him he’s going to pay for what he’s done. Soon enough, I’m wishing she hadn’t been so easy with the threats…

Hank and Marie Laveau have a secret: In this episode’s biggest “ah-HA!” moment, we learn that Hank doesn’t just know Marie Laveau — he’s working for her. More than that, he’s working for her as a witch hunter. He’s been “deep undercover” as Delia’s husband for six years, which gives him an all-access pass to what the girls are up to. So, Zoe wasn’t wrong — the witches have been shrinking in number for generations, but it’s not due to attrition. Hank (and, I’m sure, others like him) have been killing witches. Now Marie wants Hank to kick it up a notch. When he comes whining to her that Delia knows “everything,” she tells him she wants not only Delia’s head, but Fiona’s and all the other witches’ delivered to her doorstep. I thought it was war before, but I was mistaken. No, THIS is war. I don’t know if Hank really has it in him to kill Delia, but I’m worried for the rest of the witches — even Fiona, who is losing strength by the day. Man, that Marie Laveau is tough!

Also of note — not only was Luke missing this episode, so was Madame LaLaurie. I’m guessing Kathy Bates isn’t committed to every episode so she has to be used sparingly, but still, when she’s gone, her particular brand of crazy is missed.

What did you think of Hank’s secret? Were you surprised Madison came back? What do you think is going to happen to Kyle?