American Horror Story Recaps: Chapter Four

by thethreepennyguignol

Aaaand we’re back. I don’t mean these recaps; I mean American Horror Story is back to it’s usual cavalcade of mediocrity, after three relatively promising episodes.

There’s a few things I’d like to talk about this week, most of which have little to do with this actual episode, because there wasn’t much about it that I haven’t already covered. Kathy Bates continues to have a raucously good time as the murderous villain. I still like Andre Holland a lot. Wes Bentley continues to sound like that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia scene where Dennis tries to imitate the British version of himself. The horror is gory, the plot is thin, the acting is solid. This bog-standard American Horror Story, and it’s starting to wear pretty thin.

Denis O’Hare provided a brief glimmer of hope in this episode before swiftly recieving a series of arrows to the chest (“Oh!” exclaims my boyfriend as the scene unfolds. “That reminds me, Arrow was back today!”) and destroying any hope I had that one of my favourite actors of all time might actually get a properly meaty role in this season.We got to see a whole lot more of Lady Gaga’s feral wood witch character, and that was kind of neat- Gaga goes have a magnificence about her that fits with big, sweeping, mystical roles like this-and that’s where everything new that I liked about this episode finished. With a capey fairy with some mud on her face swishing about the woods with YET ANOTHER bad British accent and Denis O’Hare cropping up for ten minutes to deliver some relatively dull exposition before dying. That’s not good.

The episode leaned too heavily on flashbacks for me not to want to yell at the screen “Just bloody get on with it already!”. With as many flashbacks as Batman Vs Superman had dream sequences (well, nearly), the show kept grinding to a halt as it tried desperately to fill in all the gaps surrounding the story of the missing Roanoke settlers and the old owners of the house and what the fuck Lady Gaga’s deal is and-

You get the point. This episode was slow, boggy, and a little boring, despite the gratuitous amounts of gore they hurled in our direction. I have very little to say about it beyond that, in all honesty- well, apart from the fact that we’ve seen this season before.

Yeah. the format’s different, and the “big twist” we’re being promised in episode six (that will have a hell of a lot of work to do to redeem this messy season) could shake things up. But this is Murder House- ie, what the show did in season one. And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s set in an area with ghosts in it. A pig-man leapt out from behind the shower curtain, as a character in season one was afraid of. Nurses haunt the house. Spirits are allowed to move “through the veil” and into the world of the humans but once a year, around Halloween. The season started with the loss of a baby- in Nightmare, a miscarriage, and in Murder House, an abortion. I don’t care how you wrap it up, this is the same shit being served to me again, except without all of Jessica Lange’s Southern-Belle-From-Hell charm or Francis Conroy’s moving performance or…well, any of it, really. Evan Peters has yet to make an appearance in the season to date, and the show is feeling his lack of presence- hell, the scaled-down nature of the cast is taking it’s toll. The whole thing is starting to feel like a cheap knock-off of the first season-and, while that’s an awesome thirteen episodes of television, if I want to watch it, I’ll watch it. What I wanted was new, innovative AHS- and as of now, I’m still waiting for it.