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Ranking The 'American Horror Stories' Episodes Ahead Of Season Two

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

By: Kayla Caldwell

FX's anthology series AMERICAN HORROR STORIES returns today with an episode called, "Dollhouse." The beyond creepy advertising seems to promise another supremely unnerving season. But before we check out season two, let's take a look back at the episodes from season one, and if they really met expectations.

Season one featured plenty of callbacks to the original American Horror Story series, as well as cameos by some fan favorites. It also spent quite a bit of time in the "Murder House," which was absolutely fine by me. Scroll on below to read my rankings of all seven episodes from the first season of AMERICAN HORROR STORIES, counting down from least favorite (7), to the best episode (1) in my humble opinion.

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

7. "Drive In"

Summary: A young man - aptly named Chad (Rhenzy Feliz) - who is itching to have sex for the first time, invites his girlfriend, Kelley (Madison Bailey), to a drive-in screening of “the most dangerous film ever made.” Rabbit Rabbit is said to make people go insane, and violently attack each other for seemingly no other reason. Protestors insist the curse is real, and try to warn everyone not to watch it, to no avail.

Why it’s only okay: I mean, the episode starts with a boyfriend trying to guilt trip and shame his girlfriend into having sex with him. The way he and his friends talk about his girlfriend, and women in general, is gross. Yes, it’s true that William Friedkin used subliminal imagery in The Exorcist, like using the sound of bees in some scenes to make viewers uncomfortable, or the flash of a white, demon face. So I see why they went this way with the film. It just wasn’t especially compelling to me. John Carroll Lynch stays amazing as a creepy villain portraying the evil Rabbit, Rabbit director, Larry Bitterman.

Images c/o FX/Hulu

6. "Feral"

Summary: Addy (Tiffany Dupont) and Jay Gantz (Aaron Tveit) try to take their young son Jacob (Colin Tandberg) on a wholesome family camping trip. It starts out as exactly that, until their son goes missing. This has happened IRL in many a true crime story, and it never ends well. Ten years later, a strange man (Blake Shields) visits the then-hopeless Jay and convinces him to return to the forest, because he has seen his son. Jay talks Addy into coming along,

Why it’s great: The park ranger’s (Cody Fern) delivery of this line, “Your national park system wasn’t created to preserve the country’s natural beauty… [It was made] To keep Americans from things that would kill and eat ‘em.” I’m not typically one for the incestuous humanoid thing, but performances from Fern, Tveit, and Dupont make this episode more intriguing. There’s also a gut punch of an ending.

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

5. "Rubber (Wo)man: Part One"

Summary: It's back to the Murder House with Matt Bomer, Sierra McCormick, Paris Jackson, and Gavin Creel. This is definitely one of the horniest episodes of the season, thanks to Scarlett’s (McCormick) fantasies and darker, S&M proclivities. Trigger warning for some pretty messed up bullying, but then there’s also almost instant payback. It’s not wise to mess with someone who lives in the Murder House.

Why it’s great: Anyone who’s ever been a teenage girls knows how brutal they can be. I don’t condone any real-life violence, but it is a bit cathartic watching some cruel bullies bite the bullet. Also, AHS fans are used to the Rubber Man suit, but not when it’s inhabited by a hot, brash young woman.

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

4. "Naughty List"

Summary: This episode follows the stars of popular YouTube series Bro House, which seems less than loosely based on Jake and Logan Paul, and their “Team 10 House.” Kevin McHale (Glee), Nico Greetham, Dyllon Burnside, and Charles Melton (Riverdale) star as the bros whose motto is “No excuses, no limits!” Not unlike Logan’s * infamous video from Aokigahara forest, the Bro House boys film a man jumping off a bridge to his death, cheering him on like they’re watching a football game. They think the new video is going to kill… and it does, just not in the way they’re expecting.

Why it’s great: Having had to cover obnoxious YouTubers like Logan and Jake Paul at different times in my career, I am familiar with how repulsive their antics can be. The whole “no excuses, no limits” mentality leads to a desperation for clicks and subscribers that only begets dangerous and offensive content. There’s a sick payoff to seeing a bunch of inconsiderate jerks get their comeuppance - especially when it’s wrapped in a nice, big bow for the holidays. Also - Danny Trejo is in it. Enough said.

* The video in question was filmed at a forest at the base of Mount Fuji, which is known (at least by foreigners) as the “suicide forest,” because a shockingly large number of people have gone there to complete suicide. Logan’s video actually showed a man who appeared to have completed suicide there.

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

3. "Ba’al"

Summary: A couple struggles to conceive, attempting IVF five times to no avail. Liv (Billie Lourd) knows it’s not an easy journey, but refuses to give up hope, because of how badly she wants to be pregnant. A woman from the clinic gives Liv a small, spooky totem that’s supposed to help with fertility. All seems to have gone well when Liv and her actor husband Matt (Ronen Rubinstein) welcome their little bundle of joy - but months later, Liv seems to be experiencing postpartum depression, and struggling to connect with her baby.

She sees a therapist (Vanessa Williams), who seemingly blames her, saying that her stress could be affecting the baby’s mood. However, things start to become strange when the totem, which now looks like the demon Ba’al, just keeps popping up, no matter how often Liv gets rid of it.

Why it’s great: Two words: Billie. Lourd. Part Rosemary’s Baby, part The Conjuring, this episode follows the stressed and exhausted new mom as her world seems to fall apart, all while her husband insists it’s all in her head. There is a poetic justice to the delicious payoff, especially to anyone who has ever had a gaslighting partner. Also, Liv’s muted yet drool-worthy wardrobe is worth a watch alone.

Images c/o FX/Hulu
Images c/o FX/Hulu

2. "Rubber (Wo)man: Part Two"

Summary: We’re still following Scarlett, except now she’s got a partner-in-crime (literally). Kaia Gerber joins this episode as the dangerous and twisted, yet alluring Ruby. She and Scarlett are a match made in hell. This episode shows the consequences of Scarlett’s violent impulses, as well as her toxic relationship with Ruby that I somehow can’t help but root for.

Why it’s great: First of all, there’s a lesbian relationship, and neither of the love interests die. To be fair, that’s because one of them is already dead, but still. There’s plenty of fighting and gore for horror fans, plus, who doesn’t love a Halloween episode? Shout out to McCormick and Gerber for being truly killer femme fatales. If AMERICAN HORROR STORIES were going to have a "San Junipero" episode, then this is it (especially when paired with "Game Over)."

“You’re the only person in my life whose suffering brings me no pleasure.” - Scarlett

Scroll for more images c/o FX/Hulu

1. "Game Over"

Summary: In a very meta plot, Connie (Noah Cyrus) and Dylan (Adam Hagenbuch), a horror-obsessed couple who happen to be big fans of American Horror Story, pay for a night in the “Murder House” on airbnb, as well as an escape room-esque experience. That actually turns out to be an American Horror Story video game that Michelle (Mercedes Mason) is working on to try to impress her son Rory (Nicolas Bechtel), since it’s his favorite show.

Why it’s great: Scream. The Cabin in the Woods. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. We love meta horror. The episode hops back and forth between the real world and the video game world - “Escape from Murder House” - without much clarity - but that makes it all the more trippy and interesting. There are plenty of familiar faces from previous seasons, like American Horror Story: Murder House and American Horror Story: Freak Show, as well as a conclusion to a beautiful yet destructive romance. It has all the things.


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