American Horror Story

Season 1 Episode 5

Halloween (2)

20
Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 02, 2011 on FX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

8.6
out of 10
Average
236 votes
  • Ghosts Gone Wild

    7.5

    It's a testament to the writing staff that, after only a handful of episodes, how incredibly layered this show already feels. Sure, you spend half of your time screaming at the TV about how idiotic anyone would be for staying in the house, even after only experiencing a fraction of what has plagued this family so far; but due to some consistently strong performances and, for better or worse, never a dull moment to be had, there is just something so watchable about all of this starking madness.


    A good way of keeping us glued every week is meeting us half way. There are enormous amounts of questions raised in a given episode, that are thankfully [almost] always answered sooner rather than later. Like, Tate, for example, is revealed, amidst Constance's emotional breakdown (and Jessica Lange's powerhouse performance) to be her son. It's something we've all expected, but it's nice to have it in writing. So I'm guessing Tate has no idea that he's dead? I had the idea that perhaps the slaughtered breakfast club that visited him were apparitions from his future, but then it all sounded a bit too sci-fi, and so I rolled with that his dreams were just repressed memories resurfacing and he really did dress as a skeleton and gun down his school. Eeek.


    The entire bunny-boiler (or should i say dog-microwaver) scenario with Vivien and Hayden didn't exactly set the episode alight (though not for Larry Harvey's lack of trying) and Ben's denial over everything that's going on certainly took the biscuit here. Apparently being repeatedly hit in the face by a shovel was some elaborate ploy by Larry and Hayden to swindle Ben out of a measly grand? Um, ok, buddy. But, no, I mean, c'mon, her face was fine here, Ben! Not a mark! And you saw him bury her. AND you built a freaking gazebo over her. Who is she, Houdini?


    Overall, though, there was enough momentum and pathos from the House's ghostly prisoners to round out the hour. Tate's subplot was a very strong, twisted, and ultimately sad tale; and I do wonder what the House will do in order to keep Ben from leaving. Strong performances and a few jolty moments also help things along. But clouding characters' judge...er, sanity, for the sake of milking a few plots, strains an otherwise strong continuation of the season.

  • Best Epi So Far (Mid Season One)

    9.0

    This episode was great, I think the best one yet.I love the culmination of all the ghosts returning to the house!


    I did get upset about the doggie in the microwave, (as another member mentioned) but the dog was NOT killed. We were led to believe she was a new ghost after "seeing" her explode in the microwave and then hop up on the bed a few scenes later.


    However, when Hayden was in the security guards car at the end of the episode, she said she didn't kill the dog, she put tomato's in the microwave as a joke to make it look like it was the dog exploding. Sick little ghostie, isn't she?

  • Firing on all cylinders right now

    9.0

    For all their outward ghoulishness, there's a great sadness to every one of the ghosts depicted so far. Personally, it's a little surprising for me. In his most recent work, Ryan Murphy has specialized in giving his characters the most basic of personality traits, whether it's the obnoxious entitlement of Elizabeth Gilbert, the smugness of Will Schuester, or the illogical cruelty of Christian Troy. While certainly Glee and Nip/Tuck started out exploring the inner conscience of its characters, both shows eventually settled on making each member of their respective ensembles a certain 'type', forgoing any real depth. American Horror Story's ghostly antagonists (and even 'antagonist' seems wrong now) could so easily be one-dimensional and campy, and for a short time it appeared that that was entirely the case. But gradually as this show unfolds, said characters are becoming so complicated and fascinating, suggesting that Murphy and his collection of writers aren't so eager this time to fall back on one-note protagonists.

    The theme that really resonated with me after this episode wrapped was the idea that these ghosts aren't entirely in control of things. I guess it comes from being so used to 'haunted house' stories, where it's the terrified family being victimized by the all-seeing, all-knowing home they're residing in. Halloween Part 2 showcased how trapped all these people are, both literally and figuratively. There's Moira confined to the house, Chad trapped in a loveless marriage to a sex addict, Hayden coming unglued after being used for sex and casually tossed aside, Tate's victims stuck in some eternal hell where their only thoughts are about the lives they should have had and goddamn deserved to have had. Even Constance sees the world itself as the real villain in this story, sadly used to the unnecessary cruelty we all witness every day.



    A lot happened this week, but Tim Minear's gorgeous script shared equal time to each of the stories currently spinning. Vivien spent most of the episode running around in terror with Hayden lurking behind every corner, running both from the unbalanced girl who wants to tear the unborn fetus from her belly, as well as from the truth about Ben. I thought it was an appropriate metaphor for the storyline. Hayden could be dismissed as a crazy ex-fling along the lines of Fatal Attraction, but Kate Mara sold the sadness of this character as she attempted to piece together her own self-worth following Ben's actions. The writers lifted from that, making the story far more important than it could have been and using it as both a means to illuminate the state of Ben and Vivien's marriage, and (potentially) allowing Vivien justification for her own flirtations with Officer Morris Chestnut.



    Elsewhere, the seemingly one-note Tate was granted some wonderful characterization with his date with Violet being repeatedly interrupted by the Ghosts of Breakfast Club Past, a motley crew of high school stereotypes with a serious grudge against him. It was clear from the get-go who the kids were, but I loved how human they all became. I think it was that one girl's cry about where she should be right now, instead of supernaturally pursuing her murderer, that got me a little choked up. Then there's the one guy asking why he was targeted, when he was just as avant-garde and unpopular as Tate was, not like he was captain of the football team or whatever. It was an interesting approach, these semi-teenagers in eternally teenage bodies, but with the bitterness and sense of loss that comes from knowing you'll never hit adulthood.



    Halloween Part 2 was my favorite episode so far, an hour that featured so many different levels of emotion and an absorbing theme that flowed through almost all the stories, while at the same time maintaining the batsh*t awesomeness that just radiates from this show. Am I the only one who thinks American Horror Story is suddenly becoming pretty damn spectacular? A+


    --


    Read more at Unwelcome Commentary.

  • is the pooch a spook now?

    10

    wow what an episode! you gotta feel sorry for the wife, she's given the dumb ass a second chance, and what does he do? get his mistress pregnant after he's made up with his wife. he desrves the boot. the only problem is that now the wife is alone in that creepy house. well i guess she has spooky pooch to keep her company.

  • Halloween (2)

    10

    Halloween (2) was a perfect episode of American Horror Story and I really enjoyed watching this episode because there were a few great moments that made me jump or gasp. The story was pretty good, and the actors were perfect in their roles. Violet's story line is really building up as she learns more about Tate who has some memory issues when confronted with his past. I loved that Ghosts could freely roam on Halloween and it was interesting to see them out and about. I wonder if the dog may be a permanent resident despite Hayden's explanation. Ben was crazy and fun to watch in this episode. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!

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