I don’t watch American Horror Story “live,” so to speak, because I don’t have cable. When I do watch it the next day it’s commercial free. I’d already sorta been like, “Wow these episodes are only 42ish minutes? Rip off.”
Guys, this episode was 37 minutes and 43 seconds. I thought the video was going to be messed up, like it would cut out early, but nope: it started with the opening credits (such as they are) and ended with the closing ones. Thirty-seven minutes later.
This short-ass episode was mostly about Lady Gaga. Which is fine, I guess, because at least now I know she isn’t a white-washed indigenous character, and that gives me one less thing to worry about.
The episode opened with Matt and Shelby arguing about Matt’s sexual encounter from last week. He was able to convince her that he had no memory at all of even walking away from the group, much less having sex with Gaga. After that Shelby feels bad she turned Lee in. Waugh waugh, shoulda thought of that sooner, Shelby!
Shelby goes upstairs to get in the shower (PS: she wears UGG boots with socks), but there’s a pig man in there! She screams! Runs! Another pig man is out in the hall, and Matt appears just in time to tackle him. Then suddenly Denis O’Hare shows up, throws out a “Croatoan,” and the pig guys go poof.
He explains to them that he lost the house when he couldn’t pay the taxes, and that’s how Matt and Shelby were able to buy it at auction. He also tells them that Croatoan is a dark spell designed to drive away spirits, and that everyone who’s ever lived in the house has died or disappeared during October, between the 3/4 moon and the full.
He takes them out to where the people killed in the house like to play, and they see Flora. Then suddenly he’s shot full of arrows, and the colonists show up. Matt and Shelby run, and when they get home Cricket is there.
He tells them he met with the Butcher again, but she refuses to bargain now: they had their chance to leave and didn’t take it, so now they gotta die. What a hard line to take; I mean it’s like 3 people in one nasty old house. Just let them leave.
But apparently the whole deal is some blood sacrifice to “purify” the land. Kinda like in that book, Harvest Home, which was Stephen King’s inspiration for “Children of the Corn.” Anyway you know this story and you’ve seen it all before.
Tomasyn kills the entire colony by feeding them poisoned fruit, a kind of Jonestown/Garden of Eden mashup, and then lets Gaga kill her as a sacrifice. Now they’re all bound to the land!
Later Matt gets lured down to the cellar where he starts making out with Gaga. He finds out that she was a Druid stowaway on a ship from England. When the sailors discovered her, they planned to burn her as a witch. Instead she slaughtered all of them and made some sort of fusion between her gods and the gods of the New World. Now she demands blood sacrifices on their behalf.
Shelby hears noises outside and sees the colonists, lead by Tomasyn, with Flora. She yells for Matt, who disentangles himself from Gaga, gets dressed, and runs to join his wife. Tomasyn is about to kill Flora when Priscilla shoves her, and Flora is able to get away. Shelby, Matt, and Flora run inside, then look out the window to watch the colonists butcher poor Cricket.
And, uh. That’s about it.
Honestly. What the hell kind of filler nonsense was this?
We got the kid back. That’s good. We discovered a little more about the house’s history, but nothing groundbreaking. We know who Gaga is now. We also got a Freakshow callback: apparently the house was built by one Edward Phillipe Mott, more than likely freak-loving Dandy Mott’s ancestor.
Why didn’t Matt and Shelby just get in the car and drive away the second they got Flora back? Do they really think they’re going to survive the next several days until the full moon? It seems like October is a great time to take a vacation. Go leaf peeping or something. Get away from the house!
The “big twist” is supposed to happen week after next, and if this episode is any indication, the show is treading water till then…exactly what I was afraid of. I liked the first couple of episodes and thought they had a lot of promise, but this one, only 4 episodes in, was basically pointless.
If the episode was supposed to build suspense, it entirely failed. The only thing left hanging was “Matt and Shelby are still in that damn house they should’ve left weeks ago” and “Gaga has the hots for Matt.”
I really hope next week picks up the pace a bit, because I don’t want to spend another 37 minutes watching Kathy Bates menacingly wield a butcher knife while Sarah Paulson screams and cowers.
One more thing: STAY OUT OF THE DAMN WOODS!!
Images curtesy of FX