Somehow we’ve had twelve episodes of American Horror Story’s fourth season over the last few months. Which means this, the lucky thirteenth, is the last.
These series always feel far too short, ending just as I’m getting into them. That’s part of the magic I suppose, and in fitting with the circus-y theme, always leave the audience wanting more.
The story of these freaks has been, to my mind, magnificiently woven and has taken the AHS franchise to new places. Not every idea, as ever, has worked, but I would say that more have than in previous series.
Of course, the fear hanging heavy is that Jessica Lange won’t change her mind and return to the series for the next season. So if “Curtain Call” is really her own curtain call, then it had better be good.
If American Horror Story were a religion, Jessica Lange would be its high-priestess. Her virtuoso performances throughout each of the series so far have made her almost synonymous with the show — to the point that there have been numerous articles posing the question of how and whether the show can go on without her.
If she indeed leaves.
But somewhat overlooked in that has been Evan Peters, who has been in each series from the beginning, but here seems to have taken on even more of a leading man role. We’re approaching the end of this season, odd thought that is to say, and I am newly enthused of his abilities to drive forward American Horror Story.
I am, thanks to the internet dark patch resultant from our recent move and general business of relocating an entire flat’s contents (my flat’s contents) from one place to another, running a little late with my reviews. Fortunately, American Horror Story is a week behind due to some American thing. Thanksgiving, or some such.
But anyway, we are well and truly into the season now, and to say that it’s gone batsh*t crazy feels like an understatement. As ever this series has assembled an excellent cast, given them varied characters to develop, and let them run riot.
And, as ever, it hasn’t all worked. The approach is something along the lines of throwing everything at the story and seeing what sticks. It may not be the best approach, but it does work, and now is about the point where a coherent storyline starts to emerge.
So after a week’s hiatus, what does Freak Show have to offer us?
I know that Halloween is next week, and that its always a two-parter, but it certainly underscores the march of time. Halloween is usually the time that American Horror Story does its most overt tilt at the tip of the cultural horror iceberg. There’s a lot that can go wrong here, but I sense that actually Freak Show has the best potential outlet of all the series so far.
Potential is what this series thusfar is thriving on. It’s not delivering on all of it immediately, but to me that has seemed like a sense of timing and rising tension, that an actual misstep. So let’s see what it can do with the first part of its Halloween two-parter, “Edward Mordrake”.
My verdict — sans spoilers — the first episode of Freak Show was in short: good, creepy, not perfect, but extremely promising. Which probably sums up my thoughts of each season’s première. Sucking me in is what American Horror Story has managed to do unlike pretty much any other show I’ve seen.
The result is that I’m prepared to forgive mid-season lulls, which was Coven‘s main issue. I know that each season has had its lovers and loathers, and it has something of a Marmite effect (Which, ironically, I can take or leave… -Ed). I can understand the criticisms, but somehow the series always wins me over.
In one way, this is a plus. But it does give Freak Show a bit of a mountain to climb. “Monsters Among Us” was a strong first step, but there is still a long way to go until Kendal Mint cake at the summit.
Well, somehow a period of time has passed, and we’re stood at the end of another series of American Horror Story.
There is a reason that this show is one of my favourite active programmes, and that’s largely based around its fresh originality. Which has been something that Coven has revelled in it. More than its two predecessors, it has spent most of its thirteen episodes grabbing the initiative with bizarre plot twists and shocking set pieces.
This post will focus on the finale itself, the long-awaited “Seven Wonders”.
American Horror Story is always an exponentially increasing whirlwind of crazy. Given that it started out pretty damn out there, by this point it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it’s like a mental patient screaming in your face. No, wait, that was Asylum…
So whilst you wipe the spittle from your face, it’s worth remembering that despite mid-season stumbles, this has still been the best series so far. The plot twists have been over-the-top, the characters madder than a box of frogs, and the lines of taboo pretty much nonexistent.
And yet, the last episode bathed the camera in blood. What can top that?
What has been a fantastic series, all in all, is slowly coming to a close.
No, actually, forget that. There’s been nothing slow about the last few episodes. For a show which prides itself on fast-paced insanity, it has been building to a borderline-psychotic conclusion. Quite simply, it’s been impossible to predict what is going to happen next.
Apparently, the up-and-down rollercoaster of American Horror Story‘s abusive relationship with its fans is nothing new. From what I gather that was the view of people watching week by week with Murder House and Asylum too.
Given that I watched both series after the fact, if not in one sitting then in substantial chunks, I didn’t get that experience. I saw the stories as a whole, and even with all of their flaws there was never the lingering sense of “Huh…” after the credits rolled because I would just roll straight onto the next one.
Box-set style viewing. It’s the future, apparently.
Which is my long-winded way of saying that this Russian roulette thing where you never know if you’re getting a brilliant or mediocre episode is a bit of a bitch, isn’t it?