Love it or hate, American Horror Story is now in its seventh season and shows no sign of slowing down. I happen to like it. A lot. Like everyone who watches I have my favorite seasons (Asylum being head and shoulders above the others, followed by Freak Show, Murder House, Roanoke, Coven, and Hotel), and even those at the bottom have something to recommend them.
When a seventh season was announced and then the topic was the election, I admit, it gave me half a chub as I knew it would be kick ass. When I started to see the clowns I was a little taken aback but still anxious for its premiere. Even seeing the bees in the previews couldn’t dissuade me. Sure there was no Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett or Jessica Lange, but it did have Sarah Paulson, and most importantly Evan Peters. Sigh…Evan Peters…
Erm, anyway, Episode one appropriately titled, “Election Night”, takes place on that fateful day in November. To remind us of that, we see a montage of pre-election soundbites, followed by the announcement of the winner. We’re introduced to Ally and Ivy and their son Oz being bitterly disappointed. Ally, refuses to believe anything until, as she says, “I hear it from Rachel Maddow. She never lies” That one line tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this couple and their friends. Tempers and resentment run high, and it was an all too painful reminder of exactly how awful that night was for many.
The other side of the coin is Kai Anderson who is so happy he humps the television and paints his face with cheetos he pureed in a blender. That might tell you everything you need to know about him, except you’re not sure what his allegiances are, or even if he has any. Kai’s sister Winter is distraught as she left college to work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Naturally Kai goes to her room to gloat about it a bit.
We then see a couple in a park, with the man about to show his prowess with using cunning linguistics. When the girl hears something she’s told the story of Twisty the Clown. AS if by some stroke of clever (or not so clever scriptwriting depending on your view), Twisty appears, and the scene in which he originally appeared back in Season 4 “Freak Show” plays out. However instead of him being real so to speak, it’s merely in the imagination of 10 year old Oz as he’s reading a Twisty comic book.
When his mother comes in and sees the comic she has a panic attack as she suffers from coulrophobia. Her wife goes to comfort her, and rather than throwing the comic out, she simply puts it away. I found it odd he had it in the first place as I wouldn’t think they’d actually let him read it, given the beliefs they have. We then see Ally in her psychiatrist’s office, and we get to see the true extent of her issues. Since 9/11 she’s suffered from PTSD and various other phobias such as enclosed spaces, blood, and holes. She’s prescribed anti-anxiety medication, which of course she objects to.
At the grocery store, Ally is taunted by clowns. She sees two clowns having sex in the produce section, While another on roller skates chases after her with a knife. She defends herself by throwing wine bottles at them and manages to escape the store. She locks herself in her car, calls Ivy and has a breakdown. Once hom Ivy tells her the police found no clowns, there was nothing on the surveillance tapes and the clerk only saw her spazzing out and throwing bottles.
The next day Ally and Ivy have an argument but make up and as they’re walking down the street from the restaurant they own, Kai happens by and throws a coffee on them. Later on we see some Hispanic workers being dropped off. Kai is about half a block away yelling out slurs, before filling a condom with urine. He throws it at the group and they run after him and beat him up, as someone takes a video of it on their phone (I suspect it was probably Winter).
With Ally going back to work they start to interview for a Nanny to watch Oz. Winter applies for the job, and gets it. Their first night out as Winter is watching their son, she shows him the wonders of the Dark Web, including pictures of dead bodies. When Oz hears a noise he looks out the window and sees a bunch of clowns piling out of an ice cream truck. They go into a neighbors house, and when he and Winter peak in a window they see the Chong’s being murdered.
Ally and Ivy see the police by their house and they run over in a panic. Oz runs over to them and tells them about the clowns. Winter however says none of it was true and that it was his imagination from reading the Twisty comic book. The last shot is a long tracking shot winding through the upstairs to Ally in bed. She turns to the other side to face Ivy, and sees a clown instead.
I liked the episode, but wasn’t in love with it like others. There were certainly some good scares, and plenty of creepy moments, but on the whole, none of it really felt cohesive. Of course that may change as the season goes on, but after it was over I was kind of meh about it. Sarah Paulson’s character is more of a caricature than a real person, and her constant hysterics elicits annoyance more than sympathy. Ivy is forgettable, though if I had to wager money I’d say she’s somehow involved in all this.
As I said earlier, Kai is more an enigma than anything else, and I’m curious to see how his character develops. I find him the most interesting by far (and not just because it’s Evan Peters). His sister Winter is equally as puzzling, and I wish we’d seen just a bit more of her.
The political commentary is ripe for a sharp satire, but I don’t think this is going to be it. I think if anything it’s simply a jumping off point for something else. We shall see. One of the interesting things is there’s a later episode titled, Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag, which has me very curious. Solanas for those who don’t know attempted to murder Andy Warhol in 1968.
While it didn’t grab me as much as previous seasons, there’s enough of an interest to see what happens, and to do a recap/review every Friday. Let me know what you think in the comments and share your theories, I’d like to hear what you have to say.