American Horror Stories started its second season last week, but how does the start of this volume of stories compare to last season’s? As opposed to last season, the start of this season is two unrelated stories, Dollhouse and Aura.
Let’s begin with talking about the American Horror Stories season 2 premiere, Dollhouse. In Dollhouse, we see a young woman, Coby, kidnapped by Mr. Van Wirt, a dollmaker portrayed by Denis O’Hare. Van Wirt brings Coby to his “dollhouse,” a place where he has a group of young women trapped, and proceeds to put the women through a series of trials, trying to find which of them will be the perfect mother for his child.
First off, I’ll say that I enjoyed this episode way more than any of the episodes from last season. Last season, I was repeatedly disappointed by episode after episode, including the first two, but with Dollhouse, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. It felt like this episode was finally delivering on the promise that was made for season one.
Dollhouse has some major connections to the main series, giving the story a new dimension once you realize how it connects. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any problems with the connections though, as it certainly could’ve been done better. Unfortunately, the links feel incredibly rushed and a bit convenient for the story. Thanks to the connection making sense though, it does feel a bit better because the story gives it a reason to be there. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of making the episode much less scary than it could’ve been.
Then comes the episode Aura, which stars Gabourey Sidibe and Max Greenfield as a married couple who have just moved into a new home, installing a new front door security system named Aura. Sidibe’s character, Jaslyn, is soon haunted by a mysterious man on the security system, forcing her to look inward at her own trauma.
With Aura, the anthology series becomes a bit more basic with some much more predictable twists and turns that don’t land on the audience due to being so incredibly rushed. That being said though, this episode does have some major positives, with it being fantastic to see both Sidibe and Greenfield return to the AHS universe. Sidibe, in particular, gives an excellent performance, really making you feel for her character despite the rushed plot.
Also, while Aura does not have any noticeable connections to other AHS seasons, there is a nice reference for horror aficionados to spot at the beginning of the episode. When Jaslyn is driving, you can catch that one of the streets is named “Elm St.” an apparent reference to A Nightmare on Elm Street, which coincidentally is where the name of this very website comes from.
American Horror Stories comes out swinging with its second installment.
Overall, how do these two episodes compare to the episodes from last season, especially the start of the season with Rubber(wo)Man Parts 1 and 2?
Simply put, they are much more fun and frankly much more watchable. Now don’t get me wrong, season one of American Horror Stories did have its redeeming qualities; the episode BA’AL was good in particular. But there was something that was majorly off about season one. Actors who are normally great were giving incredibly lackluster performances, the stories were completely uninspired and often felt as though they didn’t belong in the realm of American Horror Story.
If these first two episodes of season two are any indication, this series is on a much better track. Though there are still some problems this season thus far, both episodes not only have much better writing, but the actors feel much less stilted in their performances, making for fun and likeable characters. This, along with also having characters who are vile and stories that feel like horror stories in America, makes American Horror Stories feel more satisfying and delivers more on its promise in the first two episodes of its second installment.
What did you think of American Horror Stories season 2’s first two episodes? Let us know down below!