Entertainment Magazine

Review #3857: American Horror Story 2.7: “Dark Cousin”

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Michael Rymer

I’m a bit surprised to find that I’m a bit less enthusiastic about this season than I was at the start of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t be, though. The previous season had its weaker points, even this late in the game, and most of that could be blamed on which story threads the writers happened to be focusing on at the time. In the first season, I was most engaged by Tate, Violet, and Constance; not so much by Ben and Vivien.

Review #3857: American Horror Story 2.7: “Dark Cousin”

This year, oddly enough, the weak link seems to be Sister Jude. This runs entirely counter to expectations, given that Jessica Lange very nearly stole the whole show last season. The Sister Jude character certainly has her strong points, but overall, I’m not finding her as interesting as I’d hoped. Lange’s acting is still excellent, of course, but the character (particularly her backstory) doesn’t warrant so much attention. Her backstory has become tiresome. I’d rather see Sister Jude back at Briarcliff, facing off against foes with her iron determination.

At this stage in the season, I just want answers. And there’s a whole range of characters who seem a lot more connected to the central mysteries of the season; one of whom appears to have been killed off. I find it interesting that Grace was shot in the stomach, given that all the clues seem to point to the aliens having an interest in conception. I was almost sure that Grace would soon become the mother of some awful alien/human hybrid. I guess it’s not to be.

It’s nice to see Frances Conroy back on the show, but I wasn’t terribly pleased with the Angel of Death scenes. It seems a bit too on-the-nose to just throw in an angel. “And hey! If you’re not quite clear on that, we’ve given her wings!” I’d have preferred that a modicum of ambiguity had been left intact regarding Shachath’s true nature. Maybe it’s just that she’s played far too straight. She’s a bit too much of a generic supernatural figure at the moment, which could probably be said for Sister Mary as well.

If Grace’s child isn’t going to be the new Bloody Face, perhaps Lana’s will. Dylan McDermott was born in 1961, so his age seems to fit with the idea that someone is going to give birth to him this season. I think it would make sense for it to be Thredson’s son. Things really can’t get much worse for Lana at this point. Her escape from Thredson leads her right back to Briarcliff. Her scene in the car with the disgruntled husband was horrific in the kind of darkly humorous way that this show so often is.

The first season of “American Horror Story” was a daring, rather novel television experience that brought to mind the weirdness and audacity of cult TV shows like “Twin Peaks” and “Millennium”. The second season is, so far, a very admirable effort by the show to follow in its own footsteps. But I think it isn’t quite having the same impact that that initial season did. Maybe it’s just that the novelty has begun to wear off a bit, or maybe the first season was just more daring in its storytelling.

I tend to think that the latter is at least partially true. This season, we have yet to see anything quite as chilling and close-to-home as the school shooting scene. This season does have daring material and social commentary. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk clearly have things to say about religion, science, sexuality, and other social issues. But this year, I think it’s buried a bit too deeply beneath the genre tropes and over-the-top imagery and shocks.

Score: 7/10

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