A man referring to himself as "The Axeman" claims to be the culprit of a string of recent gruesome murders, many of which targeted women and the men who attempted to protect them. The Axemen continues to type and plans to send the letter to the papers with a threat and a specific set of instructions. He explains that he is partial to jazz and tells the public that if they do not play jazz music loudly in their homes on Tuesday night, he will break in and murder them. In Miss Robichaux's Academy, the witches debate whether or not they should play jazz music, and they decide that, as women inspired by the suffrage movement, they will not be scared of the Axeman anymore.
On Tuesday night, after the Axeman finishes his job as a saxophonist, he walks the streets of New Orleans to the sound of jazz blaring from the houses. He is dismayed, however, when the Academy is very quiet save for the sound of opera music and enters it to kill the students. He finds a student there playing with tarot cards in the dark and tells her that he warned her. The girl pulls a card saying "Death", and he agrees. However, the other witches appear with knives and tell him that the card was meant for him. The women surround him and begin to stab him to death.
Zoe rummages through Madison's items, and a fallen bottle rolls to Madison's closet to reveal a hidden compartment in the closet. Inside, among other things, are pictures of the declining numbers of witches and a spirit board. They make a pact over absinthe shots to watch each other's back, despite Queenie's misgivings about working alone. Queenie provides a cautionary tale, but Zoe pushes through with the ritual. The three young witches use the board to contact a spirit. They asked if the spirit was murdered in the Academy, and he says that he was murdered by them and he is the Axeman.
Fiona is receiving Chemotherapy in a room with other cancer patients. Suddenly, she hears the thoughts of a woman praying to be alive for her daughter's wedding, and then the thoughts of a woman glad to have her husband holding her hand and being with her. She tries to leave, not wanting to listen to their thoughts, but she is convinced by her own words and the doctors that she is choosing to try to be cured for Cordelia's sake and that all Fiona wants is to have one more chance in love.
The witches research the Axeman on the Internet, and along with the diaries of the 1919 witches, deduce that the 1919 witches murdered him and he thinks that they are the same witches. Zoe wants to revive his contact to get answers on Madison, but Queenie and Nan refuse. Zoe is angry at them for giving up and leaves to contact him on her own, promising him freedom if he can answer her questions. He directs her to the attic via the spirit board, and Zoe investigates to find Spalding's dolls and Madison's hidden rotten corpse. She is discovered by Spalding, and he silences her scream by covering her mouth.
Fiona is preparing Cordelia's room when her daughter enters with Hank. She is unhappy with the significance of Fiona's flower selection since roses signify love and she had only recently found out about Hank's infidelity. A move from Hank leads to a repeated vision of Hank having sex with Kaylee. Cordelia confronts him about it, but he stammers. She drives him away, much to the pleasure of Fiona. As Fiona is helping Cordelia get out of her coat, a touch from Fiona shows a vision of Myrtle's execution. Cordelia is aghast that Fiona didn't tell her. Fiona leaves her daughter to her grief.
Zoe easily got free from Spalding's grasp and subdued him by hitting him on the head with one of his porcelain dolls. The girls interrogate and torture Spalding, with Nan to read his responses. At first, he says he will not let anything slip, saying he is not scared of children, but changes when Zoe places a hot spatula on his chest. He lies, claiming that he killed her to feed his necrophilic appetites, but taunts them, saying that if he is sent to authorities, they will expose the Coven. Queenie responds by proxy torturing him into unconsciousness, wanting to kill him later when he can feel pain. Zoe does not believe Spalding killed Madison.
Misty waters her garden in the swamp, including Myrtle's resurging body gestating in the mud. Kyle arrives, and she bathes him, but he begins to act violently when she tries to clean his genitals. He has visions of his mother's sexual abuse, and violently destroys everything he can grab. Misty snaps when he destroys her radio. Zoe arrives in the nick of time and says she is taking them both out of there.
Hank shows up at Cornrow City, and Marie is not surprised to see him. He heads inside, telling her that they have a problem.
Zoe tethers Kyle to the wall of a laboratory while Zoe urges Misty to do what she can for Madison. Misty says the best she can do is help dig a grave for Madison but is convinced by Zoe to try. She re-attaches Madison's arm to her body with dung and they manage to expel the death (and roaches) out of Madison, and her corpse rises.
Back in Cornrow City, Hank meets with Marie Laveau. He is a witch hunter who has been undercover for the past six years, having killed nine witches. Using Cordelia's extensive research to take witches to the Coven, Hank hunts down the witches who refused refuge and murders them. In a flashback, it was revealed that Cordelia found Kaylee after she was twice convicted (and twice acquitted) of arson; Kaylee burned her last boyfriend to death with pyrokinesis when he refused to marry her under his mother's warning about her. Cordelia offered Kaylee refuge in the Coven, but Kaylee turned down the offer, saying she doesn't want to be powerful and just wants to find a husband. Unknown to them, Hank was taking note of Kaylee. Hank accuses Marie of the acid throw, saying it has made his job harder now that Cordelia can see what he really is if he touches her, but Marie denies it, saying she could have blinded Cordelia if she wanted to without leaving the room. Marie says that if Hank is using Cordelia to find the witches, she should just pay Cordelia and not Hank. She monologues about Fiona's disrespectful encounter, their uncaring attitude towards crossing the territory line of the witches and the voodoo, Fiona's releasing of Madame LaLaurie from her grave, and Fiona's killing of Bastien, saying they have gone far enough. She accuses him of going soft and falling for Cordelia and orders him to kill everyone in the Academy and bring back their heads or she will kill him.
The girls swear secrecy about Madison's revival to Fiona and Cordelia. They also keep quiet about Kyle, who is chained in the greenhouse. Misty steals some of their food, and they don't mind but are uncomfortable when she says she is not bringing Kyle back to her swamp because of what he did to her radio. When she asks for a ride home, Zoe offers her a night in a real bed, but she refuses, saying she senses bad vibes in the academy.
Cordelia adjusts to getting ready for bed alone but detects The Axeman's spirit at the foot of her bed. He remarks that he was killed in her room.
Madison's recovery is slow. She chokes on some Ginger Ale, while the other girls question her. All Madison remembers is the color red (which the audience can recognize as a hazy vision of Fiona wearing red moments before she killed Madison), and darkness. Nan asks if she saw a light and Madison says there was none, only darkness and nothingness after death.
The Axeman wants to be released and says that Zoe reneged on her deal, leaving him a ghost, but having enough power to take a human form and physically grab Cordelia and harm her. He chases Cordelia around the room, chopping up the furniture and threatening her. The girls hear her cries but are unable to open the door. Zoe, on instinct, locates the incantation she needs and chants it with Nan and Queenie. The Axeman disappears from the room and they come to Cordelia's aid. Unbeknownst to them, the incantation gave The Axeman the freedom to leave the Academy. He walks outside calmly and makes his way to a bar where he offers to buy a drink with Fiona.
- The Axeman: "I am not a human being, but a spirit and fell demon from hottest Hell."
- Kathy Bates (Delphine LaLaurie) is credited but do not appear (although her character is mentioned).
- Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) is shown to divine the location of the spell for releasing the Axeman, marking the first time her character performs magic belonging to the Seven Wonders.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Danny Huston in Coven.
- The letter The Axeman is shown typing at the beginning of the episode is an actual letter that was written by the real Axeman of New Orleans in 1919.
- ↑ TheFutonCritic.com Listings – AMERICAN HORROR STORY on FX
- ↑ American Horror Story: Coven: Ryan Murphy talks Boy Parts
- ↑ Axeman of New Orleans in Wikipedia