It was an indisputably morbid joy to return to the Crime House, which had made us go through such amazing times in American Horror Story: Murder House (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, 2011), during the first part of “Rubber (Wo) man” ( 1×01), episode with which it begins American Horror Stories (since 2021). It was nothing new because we had returned to that bloody scene, as we said, in Hotel (2015) and Apocalypse (2018), but there are tastes that remain. I wish we could return to Asylum (2012-2013), although Freak Show (2014-2015) already gave us that satisfaction.
In any case, one fears an absurd homicidal drift at the beginning in the second installment of this double chapter like that of 1984 (2019). Fortunately, he continues with a good approach, perhaps too simple, which includes a couple of unexpected but perfectly consistent twists with the mythology of the original series. And yes, there is blood gushing; but the public must take it as an obligation to condense what would have happened if this story lasted a full season. Because, in fact, it’s about the things that happened at the Murder House.
The inertia that hurts ‘American Horror Stories’
But “Rubber (Wo) man, Part II” (1×02) involves certain problems, actually, attributable to the script by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (The Politician); because Loni Peristere (Castle Rock) does what she can. Apart from some somewhat crude moments, the enormous impudence in his proposal of homicides and afterlife, which is more like soulless satire than the simple amusement of black humor, borders on the ridiculous.
And what one does not manage to understand are the reasons why they have not wanted to give to the faithful viewers of American Horror Story, whose tolerance may be bomb-proof, the cameo of one of the main actors by Murder House. Yes, certain more or less subtle references to their characters have slipped into us, but nothing like a direct intervention, even a small one, with an open face. We would have appreciated it a lot, really. And verisimilitude, too.
On the other hand, one of the central sequences, set in one of the most significant days for the series so that it uses another of the most recurrent patterns in its terrifying mythology, has a certain spirit of gloomy surrealism that fits you like a glove. But he falls back into murderous arbitrariness without his impulses being duly justified with more than four words; with what a little more effort and run away from inertia In this episode of American Horror Stories, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk could not have done wrong.
Far from the original blackness
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That one of the conflicts developed lacks true strength it is clearly seen in his last turn, although the previous face to face did not manage to tense our muscles even one iota. This weakness is due to the lack of persuasive appeal that his dialogues suffer, to a surprising misdirection of actresses and the reluctant staging, all due to the blunder of assuming that the audience’s knowledge of how dynamics works in this fantasy world, and its usual brutality, exempts the scriptwriters from holding onto their narrative mechanism firmly.
And if, nevertheless, the moment of the fundamental farewell does prove convincing in your planning and with the slapping of one of the two remaining loose ends it is resolved in a fairly reasonable way, that resolution more pink than as black as it would have corresponded it screeches those of us who fondly remember the hopeless and unforgiving season one of American Horror Story. Looking at the origins would have been better.