Last week on American Horror Story, we learned the new season takes place in Roanoke, North Carolina, which most people should know as the location of one of America’s greatest mysteries — The Lost Colony.
For those a little less familiar with the legend, a group of over 100 colonists came to American in 1587, establishing the first American settlement. In this group was John White and his pregnant daughter. White’s daughter gave birth to a daughter and ten days later, White returned to England to get supplies for the colony. Three years later he returned only to find that the settlement was deserted and the word “Croatoan” had been carved into a nearby tree. White never discovered what happened to his family and the other settlers, leaving the settlement dubbed “The Lost Colony.”
During the season premiere, we witnesses Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Shelby (Sarah Paulson) being mentally tortured by a group of people carrying torches and pitchforks, lead by an older, frightening woman (Kathy Bates). Could this group be The Lost Colony? Once again, we are left in the dark.
Episode two picks up where the premiere left off, with Shelby lost in the woods. She witnesses as Bates and her crew sacrifice a man by fire before she runs to safety. The man had a pigs head placed over his own before being murdered. If you remember, there was a man with a pigs head in the video Shelby and Lee (Angela Bassett) watched in the first episode. Apparently, this is how Bates and her group punish those who wrong them.
Finally, Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.) begins to experience a bit of his own haunting, witnessing an old woman murdered in this own home. For the first time it seems that maybe, just maybe, those redneck men aren’t behind everything at all.
Lee’s daughter comes for her monthly visit. Why one would bring a small child into a house where bad things are already happening is beyond me, but she does. Perhaps bad decisions like these are why she only gets her child once a month. Flora (Saniyya Sidney) makes friends with a girl in strange clothes named Priscilla who says they are going to murder them all. No one else can see Priscilla.
Matt and Shelby find a storm door on their property. Note to self: Never check inside a storm cellar on old property. There is never anything good inside. Another good rule of thumb: if you find an old video camera inside a storm cellar, it probably wasn’t used for happy home videos. Thankfully, this is where Denis O’Hare is finally truly introduced to the season. He never does anything but improve the show and he certainly helped make this episode a spooky one.
From the beginning, Shelby already confused me. She very clearly sees a man, with his hand cut off, burned to death by the fire and yet, tells her husband that it is just an elaborate hoax to scare them away from their home. The man was burned to death in front of her eyes. There was no way for it to be a hoax. It was a lazy way for American Horror Story writers to explain what Shelby saw and segue into a theory about the “mountain men” trying to run them out.
Now, that being said, the second episode was far more eventful and scary than the premiere. Where episode one seemed like a TLC show, episode two was more like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I only wish we had that theme song to keep the creepiness throughout the episode.
I am not a fan of Cuba Gooding Jr. on this show. I don’t feel like he is meant for horror at all. I find his sensitive act to be more annoying than believable. The “real life” Matt (Andre Holland) is the best actor this season. He is the one we should be seeing more of. “Real life” Lee (Adina Porter) is also a favorite of mine this season. I am happy she has been added to the cast, I just wish she had a larger role.
So far, this is my least favorite season of American Horror Story. In just two episodes, the season has already ripped off of Amityville, The Blair Witch Project and season one of the series, Murder House. The mystery surrounding the theme gave me the expectation that we would be given something original and terrifying. That hasn’t happened and that has created disappointment. I sincerely hope the show improves from here.
American Horror Story airs on FX on Wednesday nights at 10PM EST