American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 306: “The Axeman Cometh”

Once upon a time in the village of Salem, there was a woman named Sarah Good. Sarah was not very popular with the people in her town; in fact, she is reported as being “a marginal woman and no doubt a nuisance to her neighbors.” One day, some girls in the town of Salem were accusing people of witchcraft, and since nobody liked Sarah in the first place, she seemed a likely suspect. A warrant for arrest on the basis of witchcraft was issued on February 29, 1692 against Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and, of course, Sarah Good. Lots of people spoke against Sarah at her trial. Her husband stated that Sarah was “the enemy to all good.” Even Sarah’s six-year-old daughter, Dorcas, testified against her mother.

Not surprisingly, Sarah Good was found guilty of the crime of witchcraft, but her execution was stayed until she gave birth, as she was knocked up at the time. Even young Dorcas was ultimately found guilty of witchcraft, and the child was imprisoned for seven months. Sarah was eventually executed, but she never ceased with her claims that she had been “falsely accused.”

Clearly all of the “witches” accused at the Salem Witch Trials were “falsely accused,” but Sarah’s refusal to admit guilt at any cost has made her claims of innocence particularly striking – especially since the accused were often offered a reversal of their death sentence upon admittance of their crimes.

Which brings me to Fiona Goode. Her name is spelled differently, but I am assuming that Sarah Good is the tie that Fiona has to Salem. Fiona is not particularly well-endured in her town. Luke’s mom obviously isn’t a fan, Marie can’t stand her, and the girls in the house are leery of her, at best. Fiona’s daughter is, at times, on of her most outspoken critics, and is skeptical of Fiona’s motives at all times. And there’s the fact that Cordelia herself is a witch, much like young Dorcas. Well, Dorcas was six and also not really a witch. Her stay in prison left her mentally crippled for the rest of her life. But that’s not the point – we all know about the theories regarding what really went down in Salem. What remains fascinating is the stigma of the entire episode – the idea that people believed, up until fairly recently, that witchcraft actually took place in the town of Salem. The folklore surrounding the “real” events place Sarah and Dorcas in the center of a witchcraft epidemic, one that is eerily paralleled by Fiona and Cordelia.

The most memorable aspect of the Sarah Good story is her refusal to concede to the guilt. She repeated over and over again during her trial “I am falsely accursed.” In light of the other similarities to our present-day coven, one is forced to consider the fact that although Fiona appears extremely guilty of a variety of crimes, perhaps she, too, has been “falsely accursed.” She claims just that when she stands before the council. Okay, we know that she is not entirely innocent; but maybe she is more innocent than we think.

This has little to do with “The Axeman Cometh,” but the episode involved a lot of setup and made me incredibly annoyed with Zoe. I’m not even a witch and I know that Ouija boards are always a bad idea. Everyone is always mad at Fiona for her misdeeds, but Zoe is racking them up. Unleashing a serial killer from the early 1900s, using black magic to resurrect her boy toy, losing track of said boy toy and forcing him to fend for himself when he has the mentality of a child, forcing Misty to bring back a moldy Madison – this is a pretty impressive list for someone who only just recently realized that she is a witch. Zoe is well on her way to rivaling Fiona; that being said, maybe she does have what it takes to be the Supreme. I really really hope not…it’s still way too predictable.


*All information on the Salem Witch Trials was obtained from – it’s a really informative site, and is definitely worth checking out to learn about poor old Sarah Good and Dorcas.

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