American Horror Story recap: Play It Again, Axeman

Death is all around, and eternal punishment awaits the damned. Also: The Seven Wonders revealed!
Ep. 12 | Aired Jan 22, 2014

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Everybody who didn't die briefly set aside their differences to take down the Axeman. But symbolically, they were striking back against the male patriarchy, probably.

Fiona was really making a go of her farewell tour. She sat for her portrait. She saw herself in the mirror, a woman with her youth long gone, knowing that this was how she would be remembered. One of the best things about Jessica Lange's performance as Fiona is how all her flirty, flinty, seductive energy has been slowly revealed as a kind of elaborate performance. Fiona is not, in her own mind, a cool Woman Of A Certain Age -- in her mind, she's still the young and perfect witch, the Supreme who ran rampant across the decades.

It seemed like, perhaps, she had accepted the end of her life. She told Delia that she wanted to be kind to her, for a change. She tried to make peace with her reblinded daughter. Fiona offered her most precious heirloom: Her mother's necklace. (ASIDE: Let's just agree to imagine that Fiona's mother would've been played by Joan Crawford. END OF ASIDE.) Delia was moved. "You're saying goodbye!" Fiona put the necklace on her daughter...and just like that, Delia's Sight returned. In an eyepopping shot suggestive of the climax of Taxi Driver, we saw the ruin of Miss Robichaux's. Madison, Zoe, Misty, Queenie: All dead. And Delia, too, laying on the ground with a bullet hole in her forehead. And the final survivor, Fiona, grabbing her mother's necklace off her dead daughter's body.

Delia sprang into action. She paid a visit to the Axeman. The jazzy serial killer was ready with a joke: "Man shouldn't be disturbed while he's playing with his instrument!" Delia had no time for entendres, double or otherwise. She wanted to open the Axeman's eyes. Fiona can't love anyone besides herself. "She's gonna kill all of us and leave you behind, too." She showed him a vision: Fiona, with a ticket to a faraway place, and no matching ticket for her supposed lover. Did the Axeman really expect anything else? Doesn't he know that -- murderer or not -- he's just a halfway decent musician in a 12-dollar suit?

Delia didn't stop there. It's been interesting to watch Sarah Paulson modulate her performance as this very buttoned-up woman this year. When Delia has eyes, she is a weakling, desperate even. But blind, she becomes confident, aware of the precise course that needs to be taken. She managed to figure out where Misty was buried alive, and she brought Queenie along to use her burgeoning telekinesis. For good measure, Queenie brought the Misty back to life, too.

Everything and everyone was coming together now. Back at Miss Robichaux's, Madison and Myrtle witnessed the surprise return of Zoe and Kyle, who went all the way to Florida before deciding that, actually, they'd rather not go to Florida. An errant hobo unleashed the wrath of Kyle, who killed him; Zoe managed to bring him back to life. She would no longer run away from who she was. Clearly, she was the next Supreme. Unless it was Queenie. Or Madison, who recently added teleportation to her very particular set of skills.

Or Misty, who chose that exact moment to waltz back into Miss Robichaux's and slap Madison in the face and then knock the starlet over. "Get up, Hollywood!" yelled the world's biggest Stevie Nicks fan, setting aside all her Earth Mother Zen for an old-fashioned wrassle. What a fight it was! Misty threw Madison into the column and kicked her in the stomach a few times and looked likely to kill her...if the Axeman hadn't chosen that moment to appear, covered in blood, screaming "You're all gonna pay for what you done!"

The assembled witches of Miss Robichaux's stood facing back at him. The twice-dead Swamp Witch, the everygirl who kills men with sex, her reanimated matricidal Frankenstein, the twice-blinded headmistress whose husband wanted her entire species dead, the human voodoo doll, the drug-addict starlet who was briefly the centerpiece corpse-doll for the vaguely necrophiliac butler: These are not the people you want to unite against you.

But whose blood was the Axeman wearing? Delia used her Sight...and saw her mother, the Supreme. Dead.

NEXT: The best shot of 2014

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