With all due respect to Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel was the series’ worst season to date. It’s not that it was terribly bad, it just couldn’t compete with its predecessors or its follow-up, Roanoke. Maybe we were just missing Jessica Lange or maybe it was the overdone ‘vampire’ plotline, but somehow we just couldn’t connect to the overall jive of the season. We did, however, enjoy the incomparable Liz Taylor, played by Dennis O’Hare, a character so unique to the AHS universe she was able to soften the hardest of hearts, dead and alive. Other than Liz Taylor, Matt Bomber dancing to Drake’s Hotline Bling, and the American Horror Story comeback of Chloe Sevigny, Hotel simply fell flat. The 10 Commandments Killer wasn’t enough to distract us from the disappointment we felt after the check-ins at The Cortez included only 2 characters from previous seasons. If we remember correctly, Ryan Murphy promised us more.
Truth be told, Coven would’ve probably ranked higher on our list if it wasn’t for that lackluster finale. Also, the relationship between Jessica Lange’s character, Fiona Goode, and the axe-man became kind of stale after a while. The introduction of voodoo at the hands of Marie Laveau, however, was a nice addition to the season’s plotline. Angela Bassett and Jessica Lange were the ultimate power house, making Coven a true, feminist anthem for the anthology series. In spite of the excessive dark magic, Stevie Nicks references, and the cultural New Orleans setting, Coven ended its run leaving us unsatisfied. Madison Montgomery’s death was inevitable and each witch’s condemned afterlife was well-suited, but otherwise, we just kind of wanted… more. Fiona gave up without a fight at the end of the finale and Evan Peters barely came back to life. Besides, the sexist and racist undertones of the story were inadequately addressed and that’s just not cool, at all.
Roanoke was easily the most innovative season of American Horror Story yet, we just wish we got to see more of our favorite AHS cast members throughout the 10, painful weeks of anticipation. We were constantly craving a larger dose of Evan Peters, the return of Taissa Farmiga, and an appearance by Matt Bomer (which by the way, never happened). Watching Roanoke felt like playing a cruel hide and seek, where you never actually found what you were looking for to begin with. Although, we have to give Ryan Murphy credit where it’s due; the reality concept was enthralling, Kathy Bates as the Butcher haunted our nightmares, and even though we didn’t get our on-screen reunion between Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga, it was still exciting to see the Murder House alum return to her roots. Roanoke was different than any other AHS season for the most obvious reasons – the mid-season twist turned us on our heads, the cinematography perfectly accommodated the timeline’s settings, and that final… woah.
Many readers probably disagree with Freakshow snagging the #3 spot but give us a chance to speak our piece. Embarrassing singing numbers aside, Freakshow was a pleasant surprise after the anti-climactic finale of Coven. We finally gained insight to the backstory of Pepper, our pinhead friend from AHS: Asylum, which as a result became one of the most monumental episodes in the entire American Horror Story series. Ryan Murphy took a killer clown and somehow, someway, managed to make us sympathize with him because after all, he wasn’t a murderous villain at heart. But the real reason we love Freakshow, no matter what the critics and mainstream audience haves to say, is the teardrop finale. For an entire season, we watched a band of mutants and misfits try to protect one another and in the process, make a plethora of unforgivable mistakes. Yet, they all ended up where they were meant to be. Either alive and in each other’s arms or together in the afterlife, performing for eternity in sheer bliss. We got a happy ending with a disturbing story to match and at the end of night, isn’t that what we came for anyway?
#2: Murder House
Where do we begin with Murder House? It was the perfect opening to the AHS anthology series and was consistently creepy, as well as shocking in its turn of events. To be fair, the season was organically shocking because it was the first of its kind and it’s continuously getting more difficult for Ryan Murphy to make our heads do a double-take by now. Still, Murder House had it all. The classic American haunted house that served as the primary spectacle for society’s worst imagined fears, a modern family with first-world problems, and a collection of spirits that each represented the time period they came from. It’s hard to compare any other season with the original American Horror Story, so we think it’s safe to say, that Murder House will always have the #2 place in our hearts purely based on nostalgia. Also, thinking about that black spandex suit still gives us shivers down our spine.
Chances are, Asylum will never beat any AHS season to follow in the next coming years. The second season of American Horror more than surpassed public expectations with possessed nuns, Nazi doctors, corrupt priests, alien invasions, and a serial killer, named respectively Bloodyface, being investigated by an undercover reporter. It wasn’t just the gimmicks of Asylum that kept us tuning in every week, although, that Anne Frank segment was so brilliant it could have spawned a spin-off of its own. The emotional pain from each character portrayed on screen was touching, and not always in the most light-hearted of ways. Asylum was the only season in the American Horror Story series to make us cringe not because of the “jump-scares” or gory murder scenes, but because we felt loyal and truly supportive of the characters we cared for most. Hands down, AHS: Asylum is still best installment of the anthology. If you feel the sudden, indescribable urge to sing the “Lana Banana” song like Sister Jude now, we wouldn’t blame you one bit.