AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Children Are Creepy

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Episode 65  “Chapter 2”
Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Michael Goi

[photos: FX]

The faux documentary is staying, and we’re not complaining! This is by far the best season to date, with more scares than we’ve ever encountered with AHS. We’re only two episodes in and already so much has happened, it feels like six. The amount of connections already made to past seasons, as well as other horror movies, and real life murders, is mind boggling. If you haven’t seen Chapter 2, do not enter if you wish to live.

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Shelby (Lily Rabe/Sarah Paulson) is lost in the woods and comes upon a gathering of people in drab simple clothing, covered in dirt, around a fire pit. It appears to be a pagan ritual, for the head woman (Kathy Bates) was uttering what sounded to be a type of prayer, as she and those around her took a deserter from their clan, nailed a pig’s tail to his lower back, tied him to a spit, put a pig’s head over his own, and lowered him into the pit to burn.

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Shelby is caught spying, and makes a run for it, somehow finding her way out of the woods, and back on the road, only to be narrowly run over by Lee (Adina Porter/Angela Bassett). It is still not known if the people in the woods are ghosts, or a sort of witch cult, which could explain why the head woman managed to survive being struck by a car.

Shelby is taken to a hospital, and her blood is drawn to test for hallucinogens, after she describes her tale of the people in the woods, her blood is clear, and the police were unable to find any evidence to her story. Matt (André Holland/Cuba Gooding, Jr) is frightened for his wife’s well-being and believes it best that they leave, but Shelby is adamant that they stay and fight, so they do. Shelby and Matt go home, and as they are settling back in their place, Lee gets her daughter Flora (Saniyya Sidney) for three days. Lee claims that if she keeps a close eye on her daughter everything will be fine. Meanwhile I’m shouting at the screen to get her daughter out of there, that it was no place to have a child, especially since Lee just experienced a mob break in and vandalism at the house! Naturally, the viewer has more insight and is generally right, and in this instance I was, for as soon as Lee turned her back, Flora was standing in front of an open door, looking down into a dark stairwell, talking to an invisible friend named Priscilla.

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Lee, believing that her daughter simply has an imaginary friend, thinks nothing of it and asks her innocent questions about her friend Priscilla. Flora mentions how Priscilla wants to make her a bonnet, but what Flora then says, sends chills down our spines. “She says she’s tired of all the blood.” Flora continues on as if nothing has bothered her, when a crash is heard and Lee goes to investigate. A breeze plays with the window curtains, and on the floor lays a broken vase of flowers, with a bonnet laying next to them.

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Later that night, the squealing can be heard again, and a pissed off Shelby decides to go looking for the source. Matt accompanies her into the forest. Strange sounds echo around them, and Shelby yells into the dark in response, hoping she could prove that she wasn’t scared. Before long, Matt and Shelby get separated and lost, until they each end up in a clearing with a burning crucifix, chains of meat and intestines hanging from it. Matt, in a fury knocks it down, and then calls the cops. For once the police have actual evidence, and possible suspects. Shelby verbally tears into the cops for their lack of action; the police decide to leave a squad car out front, for protection.

Later into the night, after they had finally fallen asleep, a telephone rings, and Matt goes to answer it. On the other line, a woman’s voice can be heard, begging for help, proclaiming that she was in pain. Matt tries talking to the woman but she can’t seem to hear him, and the connection is lost. He looks down at the cord of the phone only to see that it was cut the entire time. A light catches his eye down the hall and he follows it into a room where an old woman named Margaret (Irene Roseen) lays, while a nurse hangs over her ordering her to drink the medicine. Matt tries to interfere but it’s as if they can’t see him, so he just stands there and watches. The first nurse is accompanied by another, and when it is revealed that Margaret won’t take the medicine, the second nurse pulls out a gun and shoots the old woman. They both laugh maniacally, and Matt believes he is dreaming. The women spray the letter M on the wall, laughing “M is for Margaret.”

Matt can be heard from outside screaming at the cop that someone was in the house. He drags the cop inside to investigate but nothing can be found. Interviewee Lee retells the events, and adds “My brother and sister-in-law were fast getting the reputation for being kooks, kooks who like to cry wolf. I knew the next time the cops might not be so quick to respond.” This could potentially be foreshadowing that something major was really about to happen.

That morning, Flora’s father Mason (Charles Malik Whitfield) comes to pick her up. Lee welcomes him in and informs him that Flora was playing one of made up games of surprise Hide-And-Seek. A game where she would decide to hide and wait for her parents to find out she was playing and come find her. They look throughout the house calling her name until they find her in a cupboard under the upper stairs.

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As soon as they open the door, surprise lights on her face, and she asks where Priscilla went, for she had been right there and was about to offer her doll Mandy to her. Lee asks why she would do that, and Flora responds, “As a trade. So she wouldn’t kill us. They’re going to kill us all, and save me for last.” Mason runs out of the house with Flora and quickly puts her in the car, threatening Lee that Flora would never be coming back to the house, and that he would be calling the judge. Lee, upset at the possible loss of her daughter, falls off the wagon and imbibes.

Matt and Shelby find her in the kitchen, a broken bowl at her feet. Lee apologizes for breaking it, as Matt starts taking her to her room. Shelby looks up and finds several knives stuck into the ceiling of the kitchen. Shelby points this out to Lee, accusing her, and Lee scoffs, saying “I didn’t do that.” I think it’s important to note here, that Lee was willing to admit that she had done wrong with the bowl, even though intoxicated, was still able to stay truthful. So when Shelby accused her of the knives, and Lee declined, we knew that she was not the one to have been the cause. Matt and Shelby didn’t believe her regardless, thinking that it was due to her intoxication.

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While Matt is in the process of getting Lee to lay down, Shelby calls for him. As he leaves the room, the two nurses appear by Lee’s bedside. Shelby stares out the window, her eyes unblinking. She asks Matt if he can see her, he nods, and it is revealed that outside, a figure, resembling a woman, stands in the distance staring back. Matt and Shelby go out to confront her but she disappears. In her place they find doors to a cellar. Back in Lee’s room, she sees the nurses looming over her, and jolts in her bed. She claims to have remembered Matt leaving, and while she may have been “three sheets to the wind” she still sensed someone watching her.

Lee walks among the house, and comes upon a nightmarish scene, of wiggling entrails and pig’s tails nailed to the wall, smearing blood wherever they touched. Lee, frightened, looks away and leans against a mirror, attempting to compose herself. When she looks up the sight is gone, but in the mirror, the Pig Man appears. She turns toward it screaming but nothing is there.

Outside, Shelby, and Matt descend down the stairs into the cellar, where they find shelves of provisions, a thick layer of dust covering them. It appeared as if someone had lived down there at some point. They come across a camera with a VHS tape inside. Back in their house they play the tape, and are shocked by what they find. A man stares into the camera, his beard long and ragged; he looked to have been living down there for some time. He had used to live in the house until malevolent forces forced him out, and in the process he was mutilated about the chest and neck, so he took residency in the cellar. He screams that he is not crazy, despite his appearance. That he is an academic, an author. It turns out he was the same man in the video with the pig man from Chapter One.

Before I dive into what was revealed on the tape, I want to take this moment to point out some similarities with season one Murder House. First, we have a haunted house that wasn’t known to be haunted until someone else revealed this information to them. This person just so happened to be the same actor in both Season One and this current season, a character who had previously lived in the house, but made it out almost unscathed. Where in season one he had been burned but lived, only to be later killed, in this season he had been mutilated about the neck. Whether he makes it out alive or not is still yet to be seen, but I don’t have high hopes for him.

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Back to the show: his story happens in October of 1997, and his name is Dr. Elias Cunningham (Denis O’Hare), Professor at Raleigh University. He arrived two months previously to write a true crime novel, about two sister nurses Miranda (Maya Berko) and Bridget Jane (Kristen Rakes), who couldn’t stand to be apart. They worked together in an assisted living facility in Rochester in 1988. It was suspected they were behind two deaths but before it could be proven, they quit and moved to Roanoke. They bought the old farm house, since it hadn’t been unoccupied for fifteen years after the previous tenants, a mother, a father, and two daughters vanished out of trace.

The sisters turned it into their own private assisted living facility and made the admission cheap, so they could receive several occupants, but they only wanted the patients whose families members didn’t really care about their older relatives. They also made special note of the first letter of each patient’s name, and this came into effect in their process of admission. They would murder these people and use the first letter of their name to spell out their favorite word. Murder. Dr. Elias found Miranda’s diary, revealing that they believed each person they killed would only further the love the sisters shared, that it would eclipse eternity. In 1989, police entered the facility after receiving complaints that relatives couldn’t get a hold of anyone for three weeks. They found the corpses of all the murdered patients, but no Miranda and Bridget. All that was left behind was the word MURDE written in red.

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They attempted to cover the word with paint, but no matter what paint they used it showed through as if it hadn’t been painted at all, so they covered the wall with wallpaper. Matt, in shock stops the tape mid way through, muttering “M is for Margaret.” He leads Shelby to the room he saw the dream of the nurses, and slowly peals off the wall paper, and there underneath lay the letter MURDE. Everything on the tape was true. Dr. Elias believes that the nurses didn’t leave, but something stopped them, took them away, before they could commit their final murder. Dr. Elias believed that there was something out there, in the woods, in the house, that is far worse than he could have ever imagined possible. He plans to go one more time into the house to see what or who it is.

The video cuts to night vision inside the house, you can hear his panting. He begins to order the specter to show itself. The sound of a handle turning can be heard. He looks into the same mirror that Lee had looked into earlier that day. At first nothing, and then from behind, yet inside the mirror a ragged woman comes charging toward him and the video cuts. At the same time a scream and thunk is heard. Shelby and Matt, visibly shaken, leave the room to find a bloody butcher knife lodged, as if thrown, into the front door.

Shelby and Matt were finally resolved to leave the house. They wanted their money back, but the bank refused. Shelby and Matt met with the bank’s representative, and demanded to get their money back due to fraud for lying about the house’s history and changing the address. The representative reminded them that when they bought the house, they bought it as is, including its past. The representative tells them if they decide to sell the house the bank can offer competitive rates. Shelby and Matt both know they won’t get near enough to what they put into the house. Honestly, at that point, I wouldn’t care. I would get as far away as possible.

While Shelby and Matt discuss what to do, while watching the Rep drive off, another car comes barreling up the drive in a cloud of dust. Lee steps out, and so to does her daughter Flora. She had kidnapped her daughter, claiming she just wanted to see her. Instead of Matt and Shelby interfering from Flora even entering the house, Matt just scoffs, and shrugs. Shelby has Flora retreat to the other room while the grown ups talk. Hold up! You just saw a video about a man who saw ghosts, that you and your husband have now both seen, and instead of packing everything and everyone up and getting out of dodge, you’re playing miss Suzy Housekeeper! Do you really think leaving Flora alone, in another room in a haunted house is wise? Never mind, I’m sure Priscilla will take good care of her.

As soon as Flora is out of the room, Shelby and Matt, chide Lee on her ill thinking. Shelby gets a call from Mason, and notifies him that Flora is there and safe. Somehow Shelby convinces him not to involve the police, and that he can come get her without any fight. Shelby takes this moment to comfort Lee. Meanwhile Flora is doing her homework until a noise outside alerts her to the window. A woman stands there, beckoning to her. Flora smiles. Lee goes to tell her daughter goodbye, but Flora is gone. All three of them search everywhere but find no sight of her, until a scream is heard, and Shelby and Matt race to Lee’s side. She stands at the base of a tree, staring wide eyed, and terrified at the top. There fluttering in the wind is Flora’s jacket, but the majority of the tree is without branches, and far too narrow for anyone, even a child to climb.

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The height of the tree, and the way the jacket is laying reminds me of witches. Not the Coven witches but the ones who ride broomsticks, and have warts all over their bodies. Could we be seeing another form of witch this season? Or could it just be the ghosts, using Flora’s jacket as a warning that what they are dealing with is not human? A theory I have about Shelby is that she is a long lost Coven witch, unknown to herself and anyone around her. Why? Well back in Episode One Chapter One, Shelby managed to bring her husband from the brink of death at her very touch, immediately she lost the child. This is actually a spell called Vitalum Vitalis, meaning to swap one life for another. Also when she first saw the house she said she could sense evil. This could be a part of her witch abilities. What are your thoughts? Is Shelby a witch, or is her and Matt’s love just that strong? Please leave your comments, I want to know what you think. Do you think Flora will live? Will they even find her again? How do you feel about this current season? Until next Wednesday, stay alive my friends.

 

American Horror Story airs Wednesday nights 10/9c on FX in the US, and on FOX UK the following Friday at 10pm.

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