The fifth season of American Horror Story turned up Neflix UK the other day, so I watched the first episode last night and am watching the second episode now. (Well, I clicked pause.)
This might be a bit late for people who actually watch TV, but here are my somewhat disjointed thoughts:
I’m not yet hooked by it in the way that I was about, say Asylum or Coven (aka Evil Hogwarts for Girls), but it’s appropriately different from the previous seasons, which is one of the strengths of the show. Even when it misfires, it keeps things fresh.
And then there’s the Sarah Paulson Game, where you wait for each recurring actor from previous seasons to show up. Interesting that they’ve chosen to use Freak Show‘s Edward Mordrake as the apparently sympathetic protagonist, considering how small a role he played in Freak Show (although I understand he’s also in season six, Roanoke, so I guess he counts as a regular now).
Not sure what they’re trying to do with Denis O’Hare’s character, Elizabeth Taylor, this time. Let’s see what happens with that.
The director clearly loves the set/location they’re using for the Hotel Cortez, with long, lingering shots of the art deco. I can see why. It’s lovely.
Lady Gaga seems to think she’s in one of her own music videos, which is appropriate, since the entire thing seems to be a particularly bloody Lady Gaga video, but without her music.
For a show that has frequently dabbled with sex, usually of the really sinister or sordid kind, and just as often represented it on screen, it’s somehow managed to completely avoid any nudity beyond the occasional pair of (usually male) buttocks. That trend continues with lots of careful hair placement and, I think at one point, some digital nipple erasure. American network TV, huh? You can show caved in heads and disembowelled torsos, severed limbs and flayed muscles, but a lady-nipple is a no-no. Still, it helps resist the temptation of turning the show into an HBO-style boobfest which would probably detract from the show’s splatter-horror heart.
That said, how graphic was that rape scene? The reflection in the mirror showed a lot more than you could if the attacker was male. (Was the attacker male? Hard to tell. Not sure it was even human.)
If the show could be said to have any message, it’s ‘VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN, YOU IDIOT!’ I’m just a few minutes into the second episode, and it’s been repeated again, thanks to a stupid mother who read some stuff on the internet. I guess the need to protect children is an important part of the Lowes as characters, but coming at a time when completely preventable, yet extremely serious, childhood diseases are coming back in the US, thanks to the fraudulent work of a stricken-off British doctor, it needs saying.
As mentioned, the show hasn’t quite hooked me yet, but it’s not the first season of American Horror Story that hasn’t. Murder House, the very first season, didn’t grab me with its first episode, but I went back to it nearly a year after and ended up mainlining the first three seasons via Netflix. Even seasons that never quite seem to work out what they are, like Freak Show, are still worth watching. Let’s hope that principle still stands for Hotel.
EDIT, HAVING SEEN THE REST OF EPISODE TWO: Oh look, Dandy’s back, playing another psychopathic man-child! He does it so well though. And yes, it’s Evan Peters, probably the most varied of the regular team, this time chewing scenery as psychopathic Clark Gable.
(As an aside, I really need to work out a Featured Image to use for my posts aboutCold Iron/Streloc.)