'American Horror Story: Coven' recap: 'The Dead'

For The Baltimore Sun

"I would give everything I have, or will ever have, just to feel pain again."

-Madison Montgomery

There was plenty of pain in this week's "American Horror Story: Coven." We also saw new alliances formed and old ones broken.

We open with a flashback. Kyle and his frat brothers are in a tattoo parlor, and the fellas are getting inked. Kyle declines a tattoo, and shares his special dream of one day being an engineer. This was immediately juxtaposed with present-day Kyle, chained up in Cordelia's greenhouse with his cobbled-together boy parts. The poor guy is anguished. Zoe walks in, holding a gun behind her back.

She tells Kyle that this is the way it has to be. But she doesn't really have the heart to go through with her murderous plan. Is it murder if the guy is technically already dead? Kyle takes the gun from her, and turns it on himself, but Zoe wrestles it away from him. She doesn't want him to die after all.

Madison treats us to a voice-over monologue on the perception of Millennials, which might have had more impact had it been delivered by a different character.

She is numb to everything, Madison laments, then goes about popping every pill and drinking every potion that she can find. "One advantage of being kind of dead is that you don't have to sweat warning labels," she says.

One of the potions brings some pigment back to her skin, but otherwise they have no effect on her. "We think that pain is the worst feeling; it isn't. How can anything be worse than this eternal silence inside of me?" she asks. Didn't The Lumineers write that lyric about a year ago?

New BFF's Queenie and Delphine hit up a fast food place and pull a modified version of "The Maneuver" in the parking lot. "The Maneuver," for those of you that may not be familiar with it, is when you eat fast food in your car while listening to talk radio with your shirt off. Thank you, Chad Dukes.

There's no radio here, and the ladies remain fully clothed, but there's plenty of talk. "I'm starting to understand why you're so enormous," Delphine tells Queenie. "I dragged my ass all the way here from Detroit to be with my 'sister witches', and instead I'm sitting in a fast food parking lot at three in the morning with an immortal racist," Queenie counters. This was a delight.

Cordelia answers a call from Hank in the middle of the night. She hangs up on him, but we see that he is heavily armed and prepared to storm the school to carry out his mission. Once awake, Cordelia goes tripping through the school and encounters Madison, who saves her from tumbling down a flight of stairs. When she grabs her, Cordelia sees a vision of how Fiona killed Madison.

Speaking of Fiona, she and The Axeman have retired to the serial killer's fully furnished abode, a place that he acquired by killing the occupant, whom we see dead in the bathroom. Fiona and The Axeman do the awkward dance of seduction. Fiona gets cold feet when her hair starts to fall out, but eventually falls prey to The Axeman's charms.

Queenie pays Marie a visit at her salon. Marie promises that, should she bring her Delphine, she would teach her voodoo, giving her a lethal combination of magical abilities that would make her so powerful that even a supreme witch couldn't stop her. Queenie leaves, pondering the offer.

Zoe is trying to teach Kyle some basic things, like what food is, when Madison interrupts them. Against her better judgment, Zoe leaves Kyle alone with Madison and goes off to talk to Cordelia. Madison tries to bond with Kyle over their shared deadness. I smell trouble.

Cordelia tells Zoe that their real enemy is Fiona, that Fiona killed Madison and that Fiona will do the same thing to her. "If she even thinks you're next, you're next," she tells her.

"We're going to kill my mother," Cordelia says. Zoe stumbles away, troubled by the daunting task ahead of her. She goes back to see Kyle, and walks in on him and Madison having sex.

The morning after, Fiona is getting ready to leave The Axeman's place. He asks her to stay, but she declines and tells him that she's called the police because of the body in his bathtub. The Axeman calls her bluff and tells her that he knows everything about her, because he's been watching over her since she was a student at the school. He even killed a bully for her once, he tells her.

Fiona recalls the incident he's referring to and realizes that he's no ordinary jazz lover. "You were the most fearsome thing that ever lived," he tells her as he recounts how he fell in love with her over the years. Fiona isn't having any of it, though. "You keep your distance, loverboy. Go haunt someone else's life," she retorts, then leaves. She has second thoughts later, though, and goes to back to see The Axeman play his saxophone at a jazz club.

Zoe reveals to Spalding that she found his enchanted tongue and gave it back to him. If she is going to take down Fiona, Zoe wants to be sure that she was the one responsible for Madison's death.

Spalding reluctantly spills the beans, then goes on to proclaim his devotion to Fiona. Once she has the information that she needs, Zoe drives a knife into Spalding's chest. She doesn't need him around helping Fiona.

Madison goes to Zoe. She tells her that Kyle is the only person capable of making her feel anything, and that she isn't going to give him up. Of course, that doesn't mean that Zoe can't have him, Madison says, and talks Zoe into having a threesome with them. Is chronicling a threesome between two formerly-dead people and a witch a new low for me? I think it is.

Queenie, still wrestling with her decision, goes to Delphine for some advice. She asks her what the worst thing she ever did was, and Delphine recounts a horrifying tale of how she used to go about getting the blood for her beauty treatments, and how that lead to one of her slaves throwing herself off a balcony.

In sharing one of her darkest secrets, Delphine is doing her best to show Queenie friendship. Of course this further complicates Queenie's choice.

Ultimately, Queenie is seduced by the idea of the power that Marie promised her and takes Delphine to Marie's salon. "Girl, you've had that same old skanky hairstyle for over 150 years. It's time to switch it up," Queenie tells Delphine as they approach Marie's place. Once inside, Queenie's betrayal is revealed. Marie has Delphine locked in a cage, then Queenie makes an incision.

The last image we see is Marie, painting her face with Delphine's blood. "Beautiful," she says.

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