Episode Two gives great drama and suspense as the Roanoke nightmare starts to unfold…
This episode picks up at the exact point were the season’s first episode left us. We are given insight to what Sarah Paulson’s Shelby saw the previous evening: a vision of a captive man wearing a pig-head, feet and hands tied on a piece of wood, dangling over a lit fire, surrounded by what looked like a hoard of people in colonial clothing; all of them chanting. Among the people we see familiar faces in Wes Bentely, Kathy Burke and perhaps someone that remotely looks like Lady Gaga, but we are not sure. Kathy Burke’s character sets fire to the hanging man, he starts to scream in pain, to the horror of Shelby, who is watching, transfixed by the awfulness of what she is seeing. You simply can’t get more American Horror Story than a scene like that.
The episode is somewhat of a sensory overload, not that we are complaining, but it’s pretty full-on and viewers by this episode are fully immersed into the plot. Continuing the theme of interviews and real life re-enactment; Shelby, Matt and Matt’s sister Lee are still relentlessly being bombarded by loud bangs, pigs squealing and horrific visions. It’s fascinating to watch as the three of them descend into madness, in this beautiful grand house with all its faded glamour. All the horror plays out to great effect when Lee’s daughter Flora comes to visit. You instantly feel that something is about to happen. Anybody who’s watched a supernatural horror film knows that ghost or spirits always gravitate towards children and there no surprises here.
From the moment Flora arrives, she keeps disappearing off with her new found ‘imaginary friend’ Priscilla, who Flora described as wearing a bonnet, suggesting that perhaps Priscilla is not from our present time. After a game of hide and seek when Lee’s estranged husband comes to pick Flora up, they find her in a small cupboard talking. When they ask her what she was saying, Flora confesses that she is actually bargaining with Priscilla to give up her doll and in return she spares everyone’s life. Her father livid by what he hears and drags Flora to the car, threatening Lee to never to bring her back to the house. The whole thing proves too much for Lee and the recovering alcoholic turns to drink for support. These scenes are impeccably delivered, the viewers are kept on their toes with the fast pace; it’s all very unexpected, as Flora keeps disappearing.
Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have more in store for us than a simple linear story of the past haunting the present and of course add another layer to plot; possibly more to come. A phone call in the middle of the night wakes up Matt; he rushes to the phone, picks it up and hears strange noises come through only to realize the phone is unplugged. At that moment he turns his head to see a vision of two young nurses talking loudly, hovering over an old woman on a hospital bed. One of the girl pulls out a gun and shoots the old woman in the head and they both start laughing uncontrollably. Matt shocked by what he sees and wakes up the whole house to show them what happened, but of course nobody sees anything.
The next day, Shelby and Matt discover a door outside the house which leads onto a basement, it appears to have been inhabited by someone not so long ago. They find a camera with a tape and they go back to the house to play what’s on it. On the tape we are introduced to Denis O’Hare character Dr Elias Cunningham, a previous resident that seems to have been driven out of the house and into the basement by malevolent forces. On the video, in catatonic and manic state he tells them of the forces that are out to kill him but also recounts the specifics of the story of two nurses who in lived in the house in the late 80’s and they used it as an assisted living facility for old people. Macabrely, there intention was to slowly kill their patients and with their blood spell out the word Murder on one of the walls. When they get to the final ‘R’, it insinuated that the forces in the house got to them before they are able to complete their word. Matt goes to the living room, tears off the current wall paper to reveal the word ‘Murde’ is still there.
The episode ends dramatically, when Lee in a distraught state kidnaps Flora and brings her back to the house, to the shock of Shelby and Matt. They immediately call Lee’s husband to come and pick up Flora. Suspenseful scenes follow when the three of them, frantically searching the house, unable to locate Flora until they go outside and scout the woods to see her yellow jacket hanging high up on a evergreen tree.
Still so much to be discovered with season three, but we still get an eyeful with episode two; it is ever so satisfying in terms of suspense, horror and intrigue. Murphy and Falchuk, create such a convincing and wonderfully dark world, coupled with the flawless acting and the fast paced plot; season six is already proving to be a success. Furthermore, it never veers off topic, the protagonists are always very close to the core of the story, which is the house and the evil it conceals and thus making it easy to follow. We still anticipate the arrival of new characters, but all in good time. Bring on episode three!
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