‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Someone Has an Axe to Grind

Published 11 months ago by

The Cast of American Horror Story Coven Episode 12 American Horror Story: Coven: Someone Has an Axe to Grind

[This is a review of American Horror Story: Coven episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]

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As far as penultimate episodes are concerned, ‘Go to Hell’ winds up being a more structured chapter of American Horror Story: Coven than may have been expected. There were still plenty of the season’s patented twists and turns, but overall the episode read like it was headed toward a necessary and specific conclusion for the season, rather than simply upping the ante with the kind of craziness AHS normally engages in prior to sending one of its chapters to bed.

In fact, comparatively speaking, the episode came off as a rather subdued affair – which says a lot about the sort of insane shenanigans the series has gotten up to in the past, considering the bloodletting of Fiona and the Axeman in ‘Go to Hell.’ This time around, however, Coven benefits from having a destination for its characters in mind.

Even though there’s no obvious ending to anyone’s story, the competition for who will be the next supreme has been one of the primary objectives of the season all along. And while it’s almost certain not to wrap up neat and tidy like a bow (though that would be a rather transgressive move for the series to take), having an aim or a specific purpose at this point in the season feels like a different sensation from American Horror Story.

Then again, having a particular destination in mind has been something of a stumbling block for the storyline this season, as many of the episodes (and ‘Go to Hell,’ despite its determined appearance) have felt a little like Coven was simply twiddling its thumbs, going through the motions, and waiting for the final competition where each young supreme-in-the-making takes part in the trial of the Seven Wonders to prove her mettle.

And, to a certain degree, with Queenie venturing to hell in search of Marie Laveau, Misty being resurrected and promptly throwing Madison a beating, and Zoe returning from her magical escape to Epcot with FrankenKyle, it feels as though the witches have already taken part in the Seven Wonders ritual to a certain extent.

Danny Huston as the Axeman in AHS Coven Episode 12 American Horror Story: Coven: Someone Has an Axe to Grind

At this point, despite the season’s preoccupation with the concepts of aging and fading beauty and power (along with racism and sexism, of course), the setup for next week’s finale has a group of young women set to choose a replacement for a woman Cordelia describes as a selfish, ineffectual leader who put her needs ahead of the coven’s.

With that setup, it’s interesting that the three elder stateswomen – i.e., Fiona, Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie – have all received some sort of comeuppance, the latter two being handed a particularly hellish one. Perhaps it’s because the season is so close to the end, but with all the half-baked allusions to social matters having been smattered about haphazardly this season, the idea of generational divides, and the desire of baby boomers to dig in and retain their current positions feels especially resonant, and seems like it might actually have had the chance to gain some traction, had the season chosen to focus more on one topic rather than as many as possible.

Then again, this is American Horror Story we’re talking about, so the kitchen-sink approach to social issues is nothing new. Besides, with all the death and resurrection that’s occurred this season, chances are, the fate of Fiona, and possibly Marie and Delphine (though it would be disappointing), may yet be undone.

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American Horror Story: Coven will conclude next Wednesday with ‘The Seven Wonders’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: Michele K. Short/FX

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TAGS: american horror story

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  1. This show is great as long as Emma Roberts is in it! :D

    By the way…I’m FIRST!! :D

  2. Wow…if Jessica Lange is out, so am I. She was the only thing that kept me watching. Of course, death has had little consequence or finality on this show, so she’ll probably be back.

    • Next week is the season finale… You’d really skip the finale because they (possibly) killed Fiona?

    • Isn’t this the last season with Lange?

      • No she’s signed on for next season, which she’s talked about maybe being her last.

  3. This season really dropped the proverbial ceremonial dagger in my opinion. It started out really great but somewhere in the middle… There are several things that I think should have happened.
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    Bates’ character should have been torturing people soon after she got out of the ground. I read an interview where it said her character in Coven was supposed to be even more wicked that her character in Misery. It is not. It comes close when she is torturing black people and spreading her blood on her face but what happened to her character this season was a little lame. SEVERED HEAD!!!
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    Papa Legba should have been in this season A LOT more. I agree with the reviewer. He is my favorite character. He should have popped up a few times like the Angel of Death in Asylum. Those eyes…
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    The witch hunters were kind of pointless. They really needed a three four episode arc. Have Coven set up the hunters in one episode, show them getting ready in the next episode, then have the next episode have several hunters storm the mansion and have a great battle. The axe man could do his thing. People could be set on fire. suicide by mind control. Have someone bite the dust for real. That would have been great.
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    This is my least favorite season. I still love Asylum more and think Murder House is a bit better. it is still a fun series and can’t wait to see how this season ends.

  4. I’m wondering if only one of them will survive next week, as an amalgam of sorts with all the powers (and perhaps personalities) of the others imbued in her. A coven of one.

    I did like seeing all the witches work together, even after Misty gave Madison a righteous beating. Next week, though, it’s every witch for herself.

  5. The season, like all the other seasons, will end tragically. Don’t count Cordelia’s vision out yet. Her meddling may have been what prompts Fiona to kill them all. A self fufilling prophecy.

  6. Loved seasons 1 and 2. Even this first half of this season was good but the last half just hasn’t kept my attention for some reason. Hopefully the season finale will be a great one and turn my judgement.

  7. I really liked the cold open…
    That segment was a great example of what this show can do when it’s on the right track.

    The rest of the episode…
    Yeah, Fiona’s not dead. Other than that I don’t really have much else to say.

    1 episode left. :)

  8. Emma Roberts!! :D

    • I want to see Emma Roberts in a hot bikini along with Jessica Lange..Damn that will be good! I need a tissue right now! :D

  9. Misty whooped that ass! I totally clapped my hands and was rooting her on. So next episode will be super awesome and my money is on either Zoe or Queenie. Madison will lose her s*** and try to kill them thinking the supremacy will have to pass to someone else. And all the girls will have to fend her off. or, Nan will come back, be the new supreme and they’ll end the season dancing to that “I like to move it, move it” song.

  10. All I can say is that Go To Hell aired last night and my reaction once the episode finished was “can’t wait for next week, this show just needs to end”.

    Characters and situations are used flippantly and briefly, they back peddle on situations to bring characters back from the dead/permanent vacation and it’s just repeating the terrible boredom of Murder House instead of the brilliant “what happens next?” anticipation of Asylum.

    I’ll watch the finale next Tuesday to see if/how they resolve this mess but after that, I’m stepping off from the show for good.