American Horror Story: Season 6 Episode 2 review – Chapter 2
This week, My Roanake Nightmare went from a poor premier to an even more dire second episode. From cliched tropes to the all too rigid entrapment of this year’s theme, we explore where this season is going wrong and how the show is trying to re-live its past glories. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of last night’s episode.
The haunting focus this week was on two nurses who used to kill the elderly within this ill-fated house. If you think back to Season 1, fans will remember that Episode 2, titled Home Invasion, also focused on two nurses – Gladys and Maria, who were killed at the hands of Franklin (which in itself was a nod to real life murders of nurses). Not only is this season pulling the haunted house theme from Season 1 then, but it also appears to be stealing right from Season 1’s playbook, down to the episode order. It all reeks of trying to re-live past glories, but Season 1’s quality cannot be reached and the writers are only coming across as desperate in trying to do so.
The writing surrounding the nurses here was extremely poor and Season 1’s Home Invasion is astonishingly powerful and refined television. Here we had two nurses whose sole goal seemed to be to spell out a word – MURDER – which is the very thing that they were enacting anyway. Psychopaths are mad, yes, but would two women really be so bonkers as to have spelling as their end goal? It was all a little too silly for our liking, leaving these two nurses as something to be laughed at rather than feared.
Elsewhere the cliched scares were just as heavy-handed, with Lee’s daughter Flora talking to an unseen ghost companion who holds murderous intent. It’s something we’ve seen countless times in the horror genre before and without some new twist to the mix, it just felt like lazy writing. As is our main couple’s inability to make the rational decision to go and find the hillbilly clan, to have a discussion with them. Since our couple believe them to be the cause of the horrors, then surely they should track them down to accuse them, or to suss them out via discourse. Shelby even mentioned “giving them a holler” this week, but the writers avoid this vehemently and in doing so, bend reason and logic.
As we stated previously, this season’s documentary theme is very restrictive and thus a highly flawed choice. Not only does it reveal that many character won’t die, which ruins suspense, but it’s also a format with a very limited life span. As we watched our central couple move around the house for a second week, trying to find the cause of noises, our suspicions were confirmed that this format has grown mighty stale already, and at only two weeks in. It’s not looking good for what’s to come, as we can see the show merely following the same pattern week in week out.
Here’s the glimmer of hope, though. Recently, Cuba Gooding Jr. heavily implied that there is a big twist this season which will alter our entire perception of what’s been happening all along. Personally, we not only crave this but we feel this season really and truly needs this to happen, in order for it to survive viewers flocking away from the show in droves. Let’s hope that what he’s referring to happens soon and that it’s a powerful mind-bender.
Within the final scene, something about the lasting imagery of Flora’s hoody hanging on the tree, sitting there in a bright, sharp yellow, reminded us very strongly indeed of M. Night Shyamalan’s excellent The Village. It does make us wonder if that was an intentional reference and if this season is drawing influence from Shyamalan’s film. If so, we’d love to see some fully cloaked monsters trawling through the woods.
Image credits: FX