If you failed to watch the first two seasons of American Horror Story, I strongly suggest checking them out. But the beauty of this show is that it doesn’t matter what order you actually watch the seasons in, or if you skip them, because each season tells its own story with its own unique characters. I will say, however, missing a season does kind of detract from the sort of delight you might get in seeing brilliant actors returning in completely different roles. For example, the brilliant Evan Peters. Season one, he’s evil. He’s a kid trapped in the afterlife, as a ghost, after being shot by police for a school shooting. He rapes the mother of the family who have moved into the house he resides in, and ends up being the father of the antichrist. And yet, Evan Peters makes Tate sympathetic. He creates a character you actually feel sorry for, and as a result, you’re watching him with completely conflicted feelings. Season two, he’s a sweet guy who gets arrested when people mistake him for a serial killer, and he’s thrown into a mental asylum. In this season, he appears in the first episode as a frat boy, trying to keep his brothers in line so they don’t get their fraternity disbanded.
Three totally different characters, and he brings them all to life.
Season One told the story of a family who moved into a haunted house. Season Two was about a mental asylum, with some not quite holy nuns running the place. So far, we have ghosts, serial killers, possession and aliens, all in two seasons. So what could season three possibly bring to the table?
We’re introduced to the main character, Zoe, played by Taissa Farmiga. I have to admit, I kind of missed her in the second season, and loved seeing her come back. There’s a nice teenage-show touch to this season, with Zoe’s monologue playing at the start and towards the end, taking a feature of TV and turning it around, as Zoe discovers her powers. After she kills her boyfriend, she’s shipped off to a school where she meets three other girls like her, and the headmistress, there to try to help these girls control their powers.
They’re not typical witches, with wands and broomsticks and the like. Instead, each girl has their own individual power, something they can do and others cannot. It’ll be interesting to see this played with throughout the show.
It feels like a pilot episode. In a way, it sort of is, with each season being told separate to each other. And it works, to introduce the characters, themes and to show us what to expect. There’s some lovely dramatic, horror-moments, as well as some real drama underlying it all, especially when two of the girls go to a frat party. On the surface, it really does look like it could be a teenage programme about witches, but dig a little deeper and you find a lot more about that. There are issues being raised here, something that personally (with the exception of some Glee episodes) I think Ryan Murphy does well. Nothing is thrust into your face with this show, and most things are simply left for the viewer to decide, left for the viewer to make their own judgements on. And it works. It makes American Horror Story not just something to watch, but something to think about. And it’s one of the reasons I love the show. It treats its audience as intelligent, able to think for ourselves. We’re not spoon fed with “Oh, look how evil this person is,” but it does show how evil actions can be done by the most human, and how those actions can sometimes have consequences (and how sometimes, evil gets away with it for a while.)
Overall, I loved the opening episode of this season, and I think, with the characters and ideas introduced, I’m going to really enjoy the rest of the season.