I’m a little behind in my reviewing, probably because there were so many premieres this week. I should be back to my regular reviewing habits by mid-October, though. But here’s my review of last week’s episode with no bells or whistles though.
Lets pick up where we left off, when Shelby got lost in the forest after hitting an old woman on the road, when she fled from her new home. There’s a cult engaging in some kind of weird punishment, sacrifice, where they have put a pig’s severed head on some guy, and started to burn him alive, over a spit. We find out later that he is the previous owner of the house, and that Shelby is seeing images of the past. Kathy Bates makes her season debut playing, yet another, villain.
So, the show really kicked it into high gear in this second episode, pulling out all of the various haunted house cliches, some of them effective, some less so. If you have ever watched the original Amityville Horror, the Paranormal movies, some of these tropes will be familiar to you. Im not saying some moments weren’t scary but a lot of them were predictable.
Shelby reports to the police that she saw a human sacrifice in the forest. The wooden structures are there, but she’s still not believed. Nevertheless, she has decided without any proof, to blame everything on her hillbilly neighbors, The Polks. I agree, I think they might actually have something to do with all these visions, just probably not the way Shelby thinks.
Lee’s daughter comes to visit. Take note that children only exist within most adult narratives to be put in danger. The only time you don’t see that trope is when the show, or movie, is specifically about kids. Flora meets a ghost girl named Priscilla, who offers her a bonnet, in exchange for her help. Later, Lee finds an old style bonnet on the floor. Now that moment was actually kinda creepy.
That night, Matt and Shelby hear pig noises and find a burning construction of some kind in their backyard. Shelby pushes the police to go question Ishmael Polk and his sons. Shelby insists they offer police protection because she thinks the Polks will retaliate for reporting them to the police. The couple get 24 hours of police protection.
Later that night, Matt has visions of two psychotic nurses torturing and shooting an old woman, while she lies helpless in bed. (Warning: this scene is pretty graphic for those of you who are sensitive to such imagery.) The story deepens, as Shelby and Matt find out their house was the scene of several murders, as the two young women ran an elder care facility, where they killed their patients based on whether their first initials matched the letters of their favorite word: Murder. They would then paint the letters on the wall in what is now the main room of the house. The trope of the ominous reappearing bloodstain comes into play as the word refuses to stay painted over. Finally, the word is just covered with ugly wallpaper.
The cops investigate Matt’s claim to have seen the two women under someone. My question is why no one ever turns on any lights in the house. Everybody just walks around in the dark, with one flashlight. I know the house has electricity and that there are lamps so why everyone is running around in the dark, is the actual mystery here. Naturally, the cop finds nothing and Shelby and Matt are getting a reputation as kooks.
Lee’s daughter plays hide and seek when her dad comes to pick her up. I was immediately exasperated by the trope of the missing kid, which is only setup for when she goes missing for real later on.That whole pretending to be missing is a habit I would’ve nipped in the bud years ago. Ain’t nobody got time to be constantly looking for their kid all the damn time. Lee, and her ex, find Flora in a closet. She claims she was talking to Priscilla who told her they were all gonna die. Dad, understandably upset at this piece of information, takes Flora and leaves in a huff. Lee’s response is to get falling down drunk.
Shelby and Matt find Lee in the kitchen with knives stuck in the ceiling directly over her head. That was a genuinely scary moment because we didn’t see that happen and we know it wasn’t Lee. After getting her into bed, the two of them spy a little girl, outside, in old fashioned clothes, and discover a hidden door to an underground cellar, where she was standing.
Lee experiences haunting visions ,while Matt and Shelby investigate the outdoor cellar. They find a tape made by the last inhabitant of the house, who is paranoid that he’ll be killed by something in the house, and how he’s moved out to live in the cellar. Dr. Elias Cunningham was investigating the story of the two nurses, Miranda and Bridget, two sisters who liked to kill their elderly patients. His theory is that something got to them before they could finish their project. In other words, as evil as the nurses were, they met a bigger shark.
After all this, Matt and Shelby find they can’t sell the house.
Lee has the bright idea to kidnap her daughter from Mason, and brings her back to the house, but soon loses her in the forest because kids only exist in such stories to be put in danger. Flora’s sweater is found about fifty feet or so, up in a tall dead tree. Cue ominous music.
So, I’m hoping this season will be a little more cohesive than past seasons, with a through storyline, and fewer dangling plotlines. Since each episode seems to end on a cliffhanger of sorts, it looks promising that the writers will remain focused, although once again a lot of plot threads have been introduced. I’ve gotten pretty used to the setup, and kind of like it, although I’ve heard from elsewhere that a lot of people don’t like it. There are apparently going o be lots of twists and turns, according to the writers, and I’m looking forward to those. I kind of like it when stories move in unexpected directions.