[American Horror Story] Chapter Two – Episodic Review

Still+from+%22American+Horror+Story%22+on+FX

Still from “American Horror Story” on FX

Joel Freecheck, Editor-In-Chief

 

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ROANOKE

EPISODE TWO: CHAPTER TWO

SCORE: D-

In this series of reviews, Joel Freecheck and Emily Walker will be switching off each episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke (season 6), giving their thoughts on each episode. !!!SPOILERS!!!

For a television show renowned for its layers, AHS: Roanoke is starting to feel redundantly simplistic. The first episode, “Chapter One”, felt like a rebirth of American Horror Story, but its follow-up is quite the opposite.

The documentary format introduced last episode felt new and compelling, almost as if a six-season show was trying to break free of an established mold. Now, just one episode later, it has sucked all the tension out of the show. What made AHS  scary was that if felt like a story that, while fake, was so well structured and atmospheric, it dared the viewer to imagine another reality. We don’t need a lifeline to drag us back into our world because we chose each night to sit and watch a new episode of this show to escape it. The new format is a big, fat blotch in the tone of the new season. Every time something starts to feel visceral, the scene cuts to the “real-life” character who is still alive, despite all the horrors happening in the “dramatic reenactment”. Death is a part of fear, and if you spoil the fact that all your main characters are alive, then what’s the point of making a show that you can’t feel invested in the characters. The show has made it’s characters gods, and as it ticks on, each character starts to feel out of place and invincible.

Still from "American Horror Story" on FX
Still from “American Horror Story” on FX

All the actors and actresses reliably give excellent performances, but the way their roles are written makes them unbelievable. One of the genre’s most used cliche is when a person/family feels stuck in a place they can easily leave. This season is the epitome of that cliche. The first episode featured some gruesome and horrific events, things that would make a normal human being light their haunted house on fire and drive out of that profane region. Our main character, Shelby, was the center of all the paranormal horrors that went down last episode. She was caught in a rainstorm of rotting human teeth, almost killed by a pack of violent tribesmen, and was lost in the woods with the same tribesmen that performed a human sacrifice. Instead of yelling at her husband to leave, she unrealistically declares that they must not leave and must stay to…scare off the local band of tribal humans out for blood???

Unlike last week’s episode where we got a rain of teeth, this second chapter featured a shower of cliches so blatant that the new theme: Roanoke, is already starting to feel dated and boring. Try to watch without counting the numerous Hollywood horror tropes, I dare you.

I miss the good old days of the show when it was a story, and not some “true story” based in fiction. Hopefully, this was just the rough patch of season 6.

Thanks for reading.