The Dead (American Horror Story)

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"The Dead"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 7
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk
Featured music "Rosanna" by Toto
Production code 3ATS07
Original air date November 20, 2013 (2013-11-20)
Running time 48 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Axeman Cometh"
Next →
"The Sacred Taking"
American Horror Story: Coven
List of American Horror Story episodes

"The Dead" is the seventh episode of the third season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on November 20, 2013, on the cable network FX. This episode is rated TV-MA (LSV).

In this episode, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) questions her place in the Coven; Fiona (Jessica Lange) takes advantage of a love affair with the Axeman (Danny Huston); and Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) makes a fateful decision about her mother. Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, and Danny Huston guest star as Marie Laveau, Queenie, and the Axeman, respectively.


In a flashback to a tattoo parlor, Kyle (Evan Peters) praises the band Toto while his frat brothers (P. J. Boudousqué and Gavin Stenhouse) get tattoos. He explains his future plans to be an engineer.

In the present day, a chained Kyle examines his body and finds tattoos from his brethren. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) observes him, a gun hidden behind her back. Zoe apologizes to Kyle, trying to understand the suffering her ability has inflicted upon him. He acquires the gun and nearly shoots himself in the head.

Madison (Emma Roberts) has been experimenting with potions to improve her resurrected appearance, her insensitivity to physical pain and an insatiable hunger. After trying a bunch of potions, she finds one that makes her look normal and then proceeds to eat all the food in the house as she feels an emptiness inside. After a drunken phone call from a heavily armed Hank (Josh Hamilton), Cordelia searches blindly through the hallways and stumbles into Madison. A vision shows Cordelia how Fiona killed Madison.

Delphine (Kathy Bates) and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) go to a fast food drive-thru. Delphine is ecstatic at the food and tells Queenie that Queenie's efforts to bond with the other witches will fail due to race. Queenie decides to pay a visit to Marie (Angela Bassett), who knows all about her. Over gumbo, Marie tells Queenie about Delphine and offers Queenie amnesty in exchange for Delphine. Queenie leaves, considering the offer.

Back at the Academy, Queenie enters the kitchen while Delphine is slicing a ham. She asks Delphine what her worst act was. Delphine reluctantly tells her about her old handmaiden, Sally (Tenaj Jackson) and the beauty elixir Delphine made from Sally's newborn, an illegitimate child fathered by Delphine's husband. Devastated by the child's death, Sally leapt to her death off a high balcony, her body discovered the next morning. Queenie is horrified, but Delphine tells her that she's being honest because she believes Queenie to be a true friend.

The Axeman (Danny Huston) and Fiona (Jessica Lange) enjoy a nightcap in an apartment that Fiona believes to be his. They talk about his past and she excuses herself to his bathroom. A primp in the mirror results in some hair falling out from Fiona's head. Distraught from the clump of hair in her hand, she is distracted from the fresh corpse hidden in the bathtub. He tries to entice her to stay but she insists on leaving what she deems a failing one-night stand. Not willing to let her go, he holds the door and seduces her into staying for some jazz-inspired sex; the light bulbs explode during their climax. Fiona dresses to leave the next morning and reveals that she is aware of the corpse in his bathtub. She says she's called the police but he doesn't believe her. He thinks she seeks an emotional connection and reveals that he's been watching her since she was 8 years old. A flashback shows a bullied Fiona being protected by the unseen Axeman. He's fallen in love with her over years of ghostly observation, fatherly attention turning to infatuation. Fiona is both intrigued and repulsed by his obsession.

Zoe starts trying to rehabilitate Kyle to functional humanity. Progress is slow and Kyle is frustrated. Madison enters one of these sessions but does not remember her role in Kyle's fate. She tells Zoe that Cordelia wants to meet with her and that the headmistress is more aware than Zoe realizes of current events. Zoe leaves Madison and Kyle alone and Madison describes their shared afterlife experiences. They embrace awkwardly. Cordelia pours tea for herself and expounds on the power releasing the Axeman must imply for Zoe, warning her that if Fiona finds out about Zoe's abilities, Fiona will kill her like she killed Madison. They conspire to kill Fiona. Zoe re-enters her room to find Kyle having sex with Madison.

Spalding (Denis O'Hare) is tied to his bed and is surprised his tongue has been restored. Myrtle (Frances Conroy) had kept it and preserved it with a spell, and Zoe reattached it with a ritual while he slept. She establishes that the truth enchantment is still in place and forces him to admit that Fiona killed Madison. She then stabs him to death. After washing off the blood in the shower, she runs into Madison and tries to act nonchalant about witnessing Madison and Kyle's sexual encounter. While unwilling to give him up, Madison is sympathetic to Zoe's feelings and proposes that they share Kyle; she then leads Zoe to Kyle, and they have a threesome.

Queenie leads Delphine to Cornrow City with the ruse of getting a new hairstyle. Queenie tells Delphine the betrayal is on purpose. A screaming Delphine is locked in a cage. Queenie assists Marie in making a LaLaurie style beauty treatment. Using it as she prepares for bed, Marie declares it "beautiful."


"The Dead" received a 2.2 18–49 ratings share and was watched by 3.995 million viewers, winning the night for cable.[1]

Rotten Tomatoes reports a 100% approval rating, based on 14 reviews. The critical consensus reads, ""The Dead" throws outlandish preposterousness at the wall, not the oddest of which is monstrous Franken-sex, and it sticks – with extra stickiness."[2] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B rating, saying, "There were some genuinely eerie and even touching moments throughout the hour, especially when it came to the show's growing cast of not-so-shambling undead residents, as well as the way it increasingly is drawing up battle lines between all of the characters for the witch wars to come."[3] Matt Fowler from IGN gave the episode a 7.7/10 rating, saying, "Coven gave us a kinder, more 'giving' Madison this week on a busy episode that may have been too cluttered."[4]


  1. ^ "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'American Horror Story' Wins Night + 'South Park', NBA Basketball, 'American Pickers' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Dead – American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 7". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (November 20, 2013). "The Dead". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Fowler, Matt (November 20, 2013). "American Horror Story: Coven – "The Dead" Review". IGN. Retrieved November 22, 2013.

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