We open on some more of New Orleans' bloody history with the Axeman (Danny Huston), based on the real-life and highly loquacious serial killer who savagely murdered at least eight people between 1918 and 1919. He's typing his infamous letter to the police, with some noir-ish mood lighting and a sax-y jazz soundtrack that's probably 30 years too early. (C'mon — John Coltrane wasn't even alive yet! Okay, so, maybe this shouldn't bother me, but it's sort of like portraying a rock-obsessed killer from the 1960s and soundtracking it with, like, Nirvana.)
The decidedly un-swingin' young witches of Robichaux's — played, as is the habit with these period flashbacks, by the wooden cast of whichever regional theater was most available — decide that it's up to them to save the city from this bloodthirsty monster with vigilante murder magic. Somehow, the script ties this in with the suffrage movement. I missed the part in the 19th Amendment about the right to exact extrajudicial killings, but, then again, I don't work in Washington.
There are a lot of time-filling scenes in this cold open: the Axeman at work (literally, at his place of employment), being a hepcat, and polishing his axe. Later, it's nighttime at Miss Robichaux's, and our killer makes his way to the house, where the young witches have set up a trap. Not a super-exciting scene here. The Axeman cometh, and the Axeman get stabbeth. Roll titles.
Then, we're back in the present. Zoe's snooping through Madison's belongings when she discovers a cubbyhole full of old witch stuff. Naturally, that includes a Ouija board — except it's called a "spirit board" here, probably because FX didn't want to eff with Hasbro. She brings it down to Queenie and Nan, who's too horny for Luke to pay attention.
Zoe plies them with absinthe, and they connect with the ghost world. Queenie's mighty skeptical and points out that spirit boards not only contact but also release the screaming souls of wherever. Zoe gives her some lip: "Witch up." They're looking for Madison's ghost, but they find Axeman's instead. He's like, "I Know Who Killed Me." And, then, Queenie cuts the cord because ish starts getting freaky.
Back at Robichaux's, Zoe's looking up the Axeman on the World Wide Witch Web. She reads some apocryphal letter from him about wanting to kill women — even though the real Axeman targeted both sexes equally — and Queenie finds a diary passage from 1919 that says, "Tonight it ends." They deduce that their ancestors killed the Axeman. Uh-doy.
Out of an abundance of caution, Queenie and Nan tell Zoe that they don't want to emancipate the spirit of a multiple murderer, but she just thinks they're being wusses. She reopens the spirit board and connects with the Axeman. She fingers the rim of a shot glass and coos, "I know what you like. I can give it to you — release." Is this some kind of shady, spiritual massage parlor? The Axeman blows his horn and leads Zoe to the attic, where she finds Spalding's American Girl collection and also Madison's well-decayed corpse. Dun-dun-dun!
The next morning, Cordelia arrives home with Fiona and Hank, and she is in a bad mood, indeed. "Why are there roses in here? I need chrysanthemums." Hank touches her arm, and she sees all of his lightning-flash murder-sex memories with the Thomas Kinkade mega-fan. Cordelia orders him to leave. "I had to go blind to see things I couldn't see about you before." Oh, brother. Then, Fiona touches Cordelia's arm, and she sees a flashback of the Witches Club Roast of Myrtle Snow. She can't believe it and decides to take a rest.
We then head over to Misty Day's backcountry lean-to, where Myrtle is still stewing in her Crock Pot of swamp water and dirt, slowly resurrecting. Suddenly, Kyle shows up, still covered in his mother's blood. "You look like you've been rode hard and put up wet," she says. (If only she knew!) Misty takes Kyle in for a bath, but he has some unfortunate flashbacks when she loofahs his downstairs parts. He flips out — KYLE SMASH! — and we get a gratuitous shot of Evan Peters' bare backside that exactly no one will complain about.
Just then, Zoe arrives. She takes both of them back to Miss Robichaux's, where she enlists Misty to resurrect Madison's dead body. She's pretty rotten, but Misty works her magic on her anyway. Madison scream-vomits blood and cockroaches and then asks for a cigarette. So, it's like any other morning for her, probably.
Over at Cornrow City, we get a surprise: It's Hank! With a lot of heavy-handed explication, we find out that he's actually a sleeper-cell witch hunter working for Marie Laveau. He's been using his connection with Cordelia to find and kill other witches, including Miss Kinkade, who was something of a pyromaniac. Marie denies that she had anything to do with Cordelia's acid attack and demands that Hank bring her the heads of all the Robichaux witches.
The Axeman shows up in Cordelia's room, pissed that Zoe lied about giving him a spiritual happy ending. He continues to demand release from a half-naked Cordelia, whom he calls a "dirty pussycat," and we are certainly no longer talking about transmigration of the soul. He chases her around the room, and the girls hear her cries for help. They head downstairs and magically (of course) find an old Latin spell book that instantly sets the Axeman free.
And, where does he head? To The Only Bar in New Orleans, of course. There, Fiona's sucking back martinis as her hair begins to fall out. But, the hepcat Axeman bellies up to the bar and orders her a drink, and we know that this won't end well.
Next week: Axeman and Fiona bump uglies, and Zoe probably kills Kyle. Queenie defects to Camp Cornrow, Cordelia finds out her mom is a murderer, and Delphine comes back from vacation.
Missed last week's episode? Catch the recap, here.