American Horror Story: Chutes and Ladders
October 15, 2015 5:17 PM - Season 5, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Detective Lowe gets settled in to his new digs: he gets a history lesson and his daughter makes a new friend. Drake hosts a fashion show, but the Countess poaches some of his talent. Donovan has ennui, Sally makes her bed, Liz vogues. Introducing: Evan Peters as James March (backstory!), and Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale (not much so far).

A murder hotel with secret passages? You may be saying, "You go too far Falchuk and Murphy!" Not so fast. James March is a fantastic reinterpretation of H.H. Holmes, who himself ran a very similar establishment in Chicago. Subject of the popular book Devil in the White City. A bit more about how reality inspired unreality.
posted by codacorolla (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
No, dummy- when you're in the middle of an '80s New Romantic trash pastiche fantasy and you get a nosebleed, you say "rusty pipes"!

I can't wait for the walk-off between Tristan and Vampire Zoolander!

Also, was Dave Foley unavailable to play the role of Ivo Shandor James March?

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:58 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess it has the right notes for AHS but I just don't feel like everything is gelling quite yet. Too much story not enough plot.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:04 PM on October 15, 2015

I'm liking it so far. Each one of the mains has a compelling story this year. A few episodes into Freak Show and I already didn't care much about many of them. I'm also liking the direction (that one zoom shot!). I do agree that they haven't really shown much interconnectedness yet. People are largely floating around, doing their own thing, and occasionally they bump into each other.

edit: Also, no singing thus far. Did they say if the musical numbers were / weren't making a return?
posted by codacorolla at 9:35 PM on October 15, 2015

I don't see how you're going to book Lady Gaga for a season of something without at least one musical number. This is the show that wrote in a loosely relevant episode to have Stevie Nicks come on.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

OK, so Scarlett's the daughter of a cop, and the younger sister of a kidnapped child, and she doesn't have it drummed into her head that you don't sneak away in the dark with some strange weird kid you just met? And she not only knows how to take a city bus by herself but acts like it's all NBD?

Speaking as the child of overprotective parents and the younger sister of a brother who died before I was born, I'm calling highly unlikely on that one, if not "shennanigans" or "no way."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:34 PM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hey, this was good! I dig the Lost Boys pastiche and the murderous Citizen Kane. The sound design during the 1980s vampire portions is hilarious: it sounds like a John Carpenter movie.

The sexual violence in the first episode was really unappealing and it almost turned me off the season entirely. Glad to see it was toned down somewhat (though I'm sure it'll be back in force, sadly). I'm also glad they came up with a good role for Finn Whitrock; I loved him as Dandy, so it's fun to see him in a completely different cartoonish role.

Also, this is the first time since Asylum that the show has actually been scary. Coven and Freak Show were not really horrific at all. I think the disordered plot is actually helpful to this end... the show is pretty disorienting right now, which is effective.
posted by painquale at 9:47 PM on October 16, 2015

Carpenter is a likely inspiration, I agree, but the music in the vampire sequences also reminded me of Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack work of the '80s (like Cat People). It's very much not of a piece with previous AHS scoring, which is interesting; the music has always been both crucial to the show and really, really good, and it's nice to hear the pallette expand a little, to mix a few metaphors.

Hotel does seem to be mixing and matching the best stuff from Murder House and Asylum, which is a good look. Coven felt more like a mashup of the X-Men and The Craft to me than anything else, and while that had its moments (and while I think Fox would be crazy not to offer Murphy and Falchuk the Hellfire Club show the nerd press has been talking about the past few days), it was only intermittently scary. Freak Show was just too unfocused. But this...this. As much as the episodes have run over, everything feels very controlled, very structured. Everything seems to matter. The show is at its best when there is a strong framework that allows the creators to indulge themselves without losing the plot. It's there now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:09 AM on October 17, 2015

Huh, did not recognize Peters at all.
posted by Monochrome at 6:46 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Huh, did not recognize Peters at all.

His voice work was amazing. He sounded like a cross between Clark Gable and J. Peterman.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:44 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm pleased that he finally has a new role! He played essentially the same character in all the previous seasons: young shaggy disgruntled outcast heartthrob.

That typecasting made it a little hard for me to get used to him as this character. Even though he's probably age-appropriate, he seemed much too young. I'm sure I'll adapt.
posted by painquale at 12:36 AM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]

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