American Horror Story
It’s a weird thing to say about American Horror Story, but I just don’t think there is enough plot this year. Usually, the show stuffs so much in that it’s seeping out at the seams, like when you try to put on your college jeans after skipping the gym for six months. This season is quite the opposite. Since episode three, it has felt like everything is simply vamping to fill up time until episode ten. Now, Roanoke is just sagging like the seat on a three-year-old pair of drawers.
That is why, in episode nine, we got The Millennials. We know they are supposed to be annoying as soon as Sophie (Taissa Farmiga, back for yet another stint) gets mad when her buddy Milo calls his wiener a “Johnson.” She asks, “Why do guys insist on naming their privates?” Um, “Johnson” is not a name for a guy’s pecker. It’s a slang term and if she doesn’t know this, she needs to spend a bit more time falling into Urban Dictionary black holes in the middle of the night. God, is it true what they say? That the Snapchat generation has absolutely no sense of humor at all?
Sophie, Milo, and their friend Todd show up because they’re huge fans of My Roanoke Nightmare. (They keep referring to it as “season one,” which is super annoying because they don’t even have a premiere date yet for season two, so calling it “season one” is like calling it A New Hope even though Empire Strikes Back hasn’t even finished filming yet.) They’re trying to find the original house so that they can post about it on social media and “go viral,” which means that an old person wrote this script because no actual millennial would ever talk like that.
Speaking of the millennials being annoying, there is nothing worse than when this show makes the subtext text, as if the audience is too dumb to understand what is going on. “It’s an interracial story in post-racial America, which doesn’t exist by the way,” Sophie tells her friends. “It’s about the colonization of America. It becomes a matriarchy in a patriarchal system.” Yeah, we got all that. Thanks for millennial-splaining it.
Armed with their GoPros and selfie sticks, these three try to find the house, but only find the body of the dead assistant producer who ran herself off the road when she tried to quit back in episode six. They go to the cops, but the police don’t find a body and just think it’s another prank that fans of the show are playing on them. Intent on convincing their Instagram audience that there really was a ghost, the kids go back to the house. That is when things go horribly wrong.
In an episode full of stupid behavior, this is one of the dumbest things around. These kids have seen My Roanoke Nightmare; they know what the Butcher and the other monsters are capable of. They’ve already seen one ghost — though why they see a ghost of that dead producer and not Sid, his PA, or Shelby, Matt, or anyone else who has died in the past two days is beyond me. Why the hell would they go to the house when there are going to be even more? Todd deserves getting his head sliced off by Lee and Sophie and Milo deserve to be impaled on poles and then set on fire in front of the house just like those giant kebabs that they shave meat off of at the halal carts.
Speaking of stupid moves, Dylan (Wes Bentley) dressed as the Pig Man because Sidney told him to be there at that time dressed in the costume. (Shout-out to the sexy Uber driver and the funniest cutaway of the entire season.) It was not a grand conspiracy. There is nothing interesting about why he showed up. Lee and Aubrey pull him into their plot to rescue Monet from the Polks, find the videotape with footage of Lee’s confession and Aubrey killing Mama Polk, and then get to safety.
Unfortunately, they launch the most idiotic plan of all time. Dylan (who is an Iraq War vet, apparently) will hot-wire the truck while they go investigating, knowing full well that when the car starts the Polks will be alerted and their plan will go awry. Why not wait until they get the tape and free Monet before starting the truck? How dumb are these people?
Turns out they’re dumber than a box of hair trying to solve geometry proofs with a shed full of blunt tools. (Actually, we should have called this season American Horror Story: Shed of Blunt Tools.) After Dylan gets killed for starting the truck (duh) and Lee gets left behind, Aubrey and Monet decide to go back to the house that is full of monsters and windows that look like Art Deco drawings of penis heads because the guy who built the house was gay but Art Deco hadn’t been invented yet. Seriously, are these the dumbest people on the planet? The Polk’s house is already halfway to town. Why go back to the house instead of escaping to a place where the monsters that are trying to kill them don’t have any power?
And why, oh why, are they still fucking filming? Seriously, this “found footage” trope is just for the birds. Yes, Aubrey explains that Lee wanted to film everything to prove that they were innocent and were driven to kill everyone. Okay, fine. But why would she be filming herself and Aubrey talking about destroying the evidence of their crimes? Once they deleted the tape, wouldn’t whomever they showed this footage to be like, “Um, so what was on the tape you are talking about deleting here?”
While I watched this episode, I spent more time figuring out how they might have acquired each shot than I did actually being scared by anything that occurred. Earlier this season, when there were plot holes or jumps in logic, I was at least intrigued enough by the mystery that I didn’t stop to think about these things. With so little left to keep our attention, I can’t help but try to tease out these plot points and find that nothing binds them together.
The one really interesting thing that happens — whatever bargain Lee made with the Lady Gaga Spirit of the Wood — barely gets much attention at all. We see Lee go back to the house, kill Aubrey and Monet, string up and flambé the millennials, and then wake up seemingly forgetting her homicidal rampage of the night before. But the bargain is never fully explained, and neither is how the Lady Gaga Spirit healed all of Lee’s wounds for the night, only to have them come back in the morning. (Obviously and conveniently, the answer is magic.) I guess we’re going to have to wait until the finale to find out Lee’s full story when we see the full Lana Winters interview next week. Sorry, but we already saw this in the Asylum finale. It turns out this season had so little substance that all of its best moments were just cannibalizing (pun intended) from previous installments.