[Season 1: Haunted House !Season 2: Asylum !Season 3: Coven !Season 4: Freakshow !Season 5: Hotel !Season 6: My Roanoake Nightmare ]
The haunted house is an overused cliche in the horror genre, but this show puts a new spin on it. A husband, wife and Teenage daughter move into an old house (like in Beetlejuice ). Constance the next-door neighbour ( Jessica Lange ) is a southern belle with a Downs Syndrome daughter.
The father of the family (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) is a psychiatrist. Tate (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) is the psychiatrist's patient, with a Columbine fantasy complete with facial skull tattoo and whistling the tune from Twisted Nerve . The daughter starts to see the mental patient, but it turns out that he might know more about the house’s ghostly inhabitants than he ought to.
The shrink (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) has a second patient, a young woman obsessed with the house’s history. She knows about a couple of murders that happened there in 1968, something that the realtor and neighbours failed to tell the new owners. The killings actually resemble a real-life murder spree that inspired Black Christmas , and is thereby the incident that most modern slasher movies are based on. Modern lore is that Ed Gein inspired them (though he did inspire Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs ) but the midnight massacre is the actual original case.
The shrink gets a call from the student he was banging off-screen in the first episode. She is Kate Mara - and she is pregnant. He must fulfil his responsibilities to her, but without telling his wife.
As a result, the wife and daughter are left alone at night ...
We start with a flashback to the 1980s, when the housemaid ( Alexandra Breckenridge ) regretted her affair with the man of the house (Eric Close - Dark Skies ). The lady of the house (a de-aged Jessica Lange ) intervenes, with predictable results. Somehow, the housekeeper's ghost must choose to age while the lady must have sold the house and is still alive, in the house next door. The Housekeeper blames the men for only seeing what they want to see, but if she was not a manipulative bitch she might have been allowed to Rest in Peace.
Back in the modern day, the Shrink (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) has a new patient. She is Tara's mother from True Blood , now the world's most boring accountant. unfortunately the housekeeper is spiking the Shrink's coffee. Next thing he knows, his tape-recorder is missing and there is a cop looking for the patient.
Worse, Kate Mara is back and she wants to blackmail the Shrink. Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare - The Pyramid ) is tired of only being the wise old cripple stereotype, and is also interested in starting a career in blackmail.
The Shrink's wife goes on the Murder Tour that the psychos talked about last episode. The guide (Craig from Malcolm in the Middle) mentions the original owner, a doctor who became an abortionist to pay the bills in the 1920s. With this many murders in the house's history, it will be impossible to sell to anyone except an out-of-town buyer in a hurry. However, they could just rent the place out to the Murder Tours people.
The estate agent advises the house's inhabitants to make an extra effort for Halloween. To help carve the pumpkins they get a couple of fluffers - Zachary Quinto ( Heroes ) and his husband. Unfortunately, they are yet more ghosts who died in the house and cannot leave it.
Halloween is the one time of year that the ghosts can walk the earth freely. Predictably, that means a lot more activity in the haunted house.
Tate (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) is stalked by a group of angry teenage ghosts, and we are treated to the whistling tune from Twisted Nerve . Evidently he acted out his Columbine fantasy complete with facial skull tattoo ... almost twenty years ago.
Not all the ghosts want violent revenge. Some of the spirits who haunt the place are actually helpful. Zachary Quinto ( Heroes ), for example, is still violently house-proud.
The poor housewife is stalked by the supernatural bunny-boiler. Luckily she has the security guard (Connor from Vampire Diaries ) to protect her.
What is perhaps the most unbelievable aspect of the show is the fact that none of the three family members realise their house is haunted. Each rationalises away their encounters away as being normal criminality. Which still puts their house at the centre of a crime blackspot.
The daughter googles her boyfriend's High School, and discovers the truth about the 1994 massacre. The Twisted Nerve tune did get whistled, although the impressive skull makeup was not used. However, now she knows the truth she becomes suicidal.
The mother is concerned about her unborn child. She discovers that the ultrasound tech who saw the child's image was so terrified that she has quit her job.
The Mother and the Estate Agent take the murder tour again, to get the rest of the story. They have another buyer lined up for the house, but he falls foul of an unlikely trio of accomplices. The blackmailer (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) now wants to buy the house, when he was last seen trying to burn it down. The maid wants the gazebo dug up, so her bones can be discovered. And the neighbour needs the house so she can see her family again.
The Daughter is under a lot of stress, ever since she discovered that her boyfriend Tate (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) was the ghost of a spree-killer. How long will it take the parents to work it out?
We discover how the gimp suit ended up in the haunted house. Zachary Quinto ( Heroes ) bought it so he could spice up his relationship. But he and his lover put aside to their plans to adopt a child, so the other occupants of the House decided to replace them with a more baby-friendly family.
A wannabe actress ( Mena Suvari ) took a trip to the dentist in 1947. The bad news is, the dentist's surgery was in the haunted house. the good news is she became world-famous as a result.
The hospital discovers that the housewife's unborn twins have two different fathers. Kate Mara lays suspicion on the security guard (Connor from Vampire Diaries ). Will the shrink (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) realise that his wife was telling the truth when she said she had been raped by a man in the gimp suit?
Constance the neighbour ( Jessica Lange ) is questioned by Homicide detective Charles S Dutton ( Alien 3 ). Yes, after decades of murderous mayhem someone has finally realised that it has all centred around the house. Or at least one of the former occupants.
A truant officer drops by to discover why the daughter has not been at school in three weeks. He notices blow-flies in the house, although he does not mention that they are known to feed on fresh human corpses. The shrink (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) hires an exterminator - Dan Dorrity from Deadwood.
The babies are finally due. But everyone in the house wants to take them away from their mother. Zachary Quinto ( Heroes ) and his husband start decorating the nursery, all the while planning to keep the kiddies for themselves.
Constance ( Jessica Lange ) wants to protect her grandchild, even though she knows it may be a demonic entity that heralds the apocalypse. She gets her friendly psychic ( Sarah Paulson ) to teach the daughter how to exorcise ghosts – the Croatoan curse!
The mother plans to give birth at her sister’s place, in another State. But merely being in the driveway of the House is enough to encourage the demon-spawn inside her to attempt an escape. The good news is, the House’s permanent occupants include an expert gynaecologist. The bad news is, the House’s occupants are a bunch of crazy ghosts!
The daughter’s other plan is to get Tate (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) to dissuade the other ghosts from interfering. However, the others know some of Tate’s secrets.
The House settles down after the events of the previous episode. There are two babies - one a ghost, the other the spawn of evil. But neither is with their birth-mother.
Is it possible that the Shrink (Dylan McDermott - Hardware ) and his family might actually be able to settle down in the House? After all, once they are dead and their spirits trapped in the house, they should have nothing else to worry about.
A Latino family decide to move into the House. Can the good ghosts chase them off before the bad ghosts murder them?
In the modern day, Jenna Dewan Tatum and her new husband go exploring in an old abandoned Asylum. Predictably, they meet more than they bargained for.
The main story takes place in the early 1960s, when the facility was run by the Catholic Church. Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes - Shakespeare in Love ) is in overall charge, with Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) in charge of the patients and Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ) performing creepy experiments on anyone who falls foul of him.
Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) is a journalist who crusades against the inhuman conditions of the Asylum, like Nelly Bly. Unfortunately she has much bigger problems. She lives with her lover, schoolteacher Clea Duvall , which leaves them both ripe for blackmail.
Sister Jude may be a domineering matriarch, but her character is deeply layered. She believes in strong discipline but is not sadistic, and is genuinely horrified at her suspicions about what the Doctor is up to.
A State psychiatrist, Dr Thredson (Zachary Quinto - Star Trek (reboot) ) arrives to analyse Kit Walker (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ). It turns out that Thredgood is the antithesis of the aging Doctor Arden (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ). He criticises the hospital for using Electro-Compulsive Therapy to treat homosexuality - not for humanitarian reasons of sexual equality, but because in 1961 the standard treatment was aversion therapy! Of course, this is an in-joke because Quinto, like Sarah Paulson , is an out-and-proud homosexual.
A demonically possessed teenager is brought in for treatment. Luckily it is a Catholic Church hospital, so they are able to call in an expert Exorcist.
A big storm is about to hit the area. Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) has Frank the Security Guard (Frederick Lehne - Supernatural ) hold a film-show to appease the inmates. This is also the perfect opportunity for Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) to lead Kit and his girlfriend on another breakout attempt.
The virginal nun ( Lily Rabe ) is acting in a much more worldly manner. Nobody ever wondered where the demon went after it was exorcised in the previously episode.
Anne Frank ( Franke Potente ) is the newest patient in the asylum. Well, she claims to be the infamous victim of the Holocaust but she is probably a fantasist like Anastasia. However, she gets Sister Jude's interest when she claims that the mad scientist (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ) was a doctor at Auschwitz. In all fairness, this Holocaust link is laying the metaphor on a bit thick to say the least. It is one thing to say that the Asylum Doctors were LIKE Mengele, but it is a bit over the top to say that one actually WAS him!
Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) the journalist wants to do in the 1960s what Nelly Bly did in the 1890s - publish an expose on inhuman treatment in the lunatic asylum. Unfortunately she has to get out of the place to do so. Luckily the Nice Shrink has a plan to cure her lesbianism without using Electro-Convulsive Shock Therapy. Instead he gives her aversion therapy, by making her vomit while she looks at photos of near-naked women. Just like in Clockwork Orange .
It turns out that Anne Frank ( Franke Potente ) has a husband. He wants his wife back, so it seems like he will save her from Doctor Arden (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ). However, this show has a heavy-handed moral to tell us. We already know that Arden's skill as an Asylum doctor is the same kind of skill that Doctor Mengele had. Now we learn that he gets away with his (literally) Nazi war-criminal tactics because of the heterosexual men of 1950s America, who want their women to be the perfect submissive housewife.
Dr Thredson (Zachary Quinto - Star Trek (reboot) ) offers to help Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) to escape the Asylum. Yes, he seems too good to be true. Lana never wonders what his true intentions are.
This starts in the modern-day Asylum, where the police discover what happened to the Bloody Face impersonators. However, the fate of Jenna Dewan Tatum is a mystery for a future episode.
The main story continues back in the 1960s. Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) has a new patient at Briarcliff Asylum - a young girl who is a cold-hearted killer. The place does not have a childrens' ward, but Sister Mary Eunice ( Lilly Rabe ) is possessed by the devil and thus makes the perfect baby-sitter. When she is not playing mind-games with the other staff and inmates, that is.
Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) finally gets what she wanted - a personal interview with Bloody Face the serial killer. He gives her his backstory, a tale of abandonment by his mother. All this is important in the final episode.
Sister Jude's Nazi-hunter is in town, and has done research on Doctor Arden (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ). Likewise, the Monsignor (Joseph Fiennes - Shakespeare in Love ) discovers the fate of Chloe Sevigny and confronts Arden.
The devil's cousin, the Angel of Death, pays Blackfriar Asylum a visit. She drops into each of the storylines, starting with the local fallen angel. Lilly Rabe does some amazing work as the victimised Sister Mary Eunice and the demon that possesses her.
Grace is dying after she was mysteriously hysterectomised at the end of the previous episode. Doctor Arden (James Cromwell - Star Trek: First Contact ) denies all responsibility when Sister Mary Eunice confronts him. Surely if it was done by the aliens who abducted her then they would have done a better job of stitching her back up again. However, Arden is at least capable of saving her in order to clear his own name.
Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) gets close and personal with the subject of her investigation. This Pulitzer-worthy undercover work is not what she had in mind.
Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) bottoms out too. Her allies have gone, and she has a flashback to the last time she hit bottom in 1949. That was when she retired from her lounge singer career and became a nun.
Kit Walker (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) breaks out of prison. He tries to get back into the asylum, where his girlfriend is. Unfortunately Frank the Security Guard (Frederick Lehne - Supernatural ) is waiting for him.
It is Xmas already. One of the inmates is a murderous Santa impersonator (Ian McShane - ). He has been in solitary since the previous Xmas, which explains why he has not appeared on-screen so far. The virginal nun ( Lily Rabe ) decides to let him out if he promises to be on his best behaviour.
Lana the journalist is back inside, and the psychiatrist Dr Threadson decides to drop in and see her.
Sister Jude decides to confront her replacement. She enlists Dr Arden to assist her. After all, he seems to feel the same way about Briarcliff as her.
Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) has gotten a taste of her own medicine, and she is now in the same position that she put the Journalist in. Not quite, since the Journalist is now pregnant with a serial killer's rape-baby.
Dr Arden recruits Kit Walker (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) to help in an experiment. Both the alien abductions involved women who had sex with Kit. The Doctor assumes that the aliens, like he did for his own Nazi employers, are conducting eugenics experiments on human subjects without their consent.
The Monsignor (Joseph Fiennes - Shakespeare in Love ) thinks he can miraculously cure the murderous Santa impersonator (Ian McShane - ). The ritual involves a full-immersion baptism, which seems unusual for a Roman Catholic priest to perform. That said, this is set in the pre-Vatican Two Church.
The episode ends with TWO serial killers running loose in the asylum.
Sister Jude ( Jessica Lange ) gets a taste of her own medicine - the ECT she sadistically subjected Lana to. It flips her mind and returns her to her previous state of mind - a drunken lounge singer. This leads on to the best scene so far - a musical song-and-dance number where Jude performs the song this episode is titled after.
Kit Walker (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) settles down with his two wives. Unfortunately even in Massachussets there are racist hillbillies, and even the police are segregationist Dixie-land types. However, this is not the worst thing he has to deal with. One of his wives is obsessed with the alien abductors returning, while the other is paranoid and will not even discuss the matter.
Sister Jude is still an inmate at Briarcliff. It is not as much fun as in the movie Frances - her favourite guard Frank is long dead, and the other men are not interested in her. Worse, when the Catholic Church donates the place to the State of Massachussets it actually goes downhill! A group of female convicts are delivered there from the local prison, and their ringleader looks like the Angel of Death.
Lana has done quite well for herself. She published a book based on her encounter with Bloody Face. It is not a factual piece, but a ghoulish and exploitative piece that leaves out her own lesbianism and invents new crimes to accuse the dead man of.
In the modern day, the new Bloody Face is on the loose. The show comes full circle as we see the intro scene from the first episode again ... from the killer's perspective.
A few days later, Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ) is interviewed for a TV special. She gives an extended flashback of the years after her book was published. She became a television journalist, with Rodney Rowland ( Space: Above and Beyond ) as her cameraman. Together they go back to Briarcliff to even some scores and expose wrongdoing.
The loose ends are all tied up, and every major character's fate is revealed. Lana has her climactic confrontation with the new Bloody Face. However, the final twist is ever so slightly unsatisfying.
A teenage girl discovers that she has a magical hereditary curse. But instead of sending her to Haven her mother sends her to a boarding school in New Orleans. It is run by Sarah Paulson and her vicious mother Fiona ( Jessica Lange ). There are only three other pupils there - Madison ( Emma Roberts ), Precious and a Downs Syndrome girl.
We see the newest version of the double standard. Apparently raping someone to death is a good thing - but only if the raper is female and the victim is male!
Hopefully the vampires from The Originals (also set in New Orleans) will punish the witches for using magic within the city limits. Or, if we are extremely lucky, Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural will drop by to sort them all out.
A couple of Gator hunters fall foul of the nature-loving hippy witch. She will probably play a major role later on.
The two main girls go to the morgue. Madison ( Emma Roberts ) talks her friend with the death-vag into using the best parts from different bodies to make a patchwork BF (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ).
The evil headmistress realises that Madison ( Emma Roberts ) is a potential protege. She temporarily puts aside her obsession with aging, and takes her new friend out for a drink.
The evil headmistress orders that Madame LaLaurie ( Kathy Bates ) be the personal slave of Precious, as punishment for her racism. Yes, evil has standards! Unfortunately, they are attacked by the Minotaur, sent by Marie Leveaux ( Angela Basset ).
The girl with the death-vag takes her zombie BF (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) back to his mother. Unfortunately the momma is deranged and abusive, not the best person to look after a confused zombie.
The Witches' Council come to town. They have been summoned because of recent events. Sarah Paulson is naturally confused - there have been so many notable events in the previous couple of weeks.
The girl with the killer vag discovers what her zombie BF (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) has done. However, she lets him out of sight for a moment - It is Halloween, and a zombie can blend into the crowds quite easily. On a similar note, the cold war with Marie Levaux ( Angela Basset ) starts to warm up.
The girls have to take on a small army of Voodoo zombies.
Someone attacks Sarah Paulson in order to get at her mother.
The Witches' Council find someone to blame. Will the evil Headmistress get her come-uppance, or has she managed to shift the blame to a rival?
Once the city was plagued by a serial killer named the Axeman. He was a white man who played Jazz music in the 1920s. Then he fell into an ambush by the Coven of the day.
The girl with the death-vag tries to find out what happened to Madison ( Emma Roberts ). She pulls out an old ouiji board, and the girls hold a seance.
Fiona ( Jessica Lange ) tries to have one last love affair.
Her daughter and the others conspire to replace her as the Supreme.
Witch-hunters are on the rampage.
Marie Levaux ( Angela Bassett ) realises that her only chance for survival is to team up with Fiona ( Jessica Lange ). In return for sanctuary, she puts the Witch in touch with the source of her power - Baron Samedi (Lance Reddick - Fringe ). Unfortunately, he needs a human sacrifice - an innocent soul.
Fiona ( Jessica Lange ) tries to ingratiate herself with the new Supreme by introducing her to an old friend - the singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks! Then, Madison ( Emma Roberts ) takes the Supreme for a walk.
Madame LaLaurie ( Kathy Bates ) is back as the house-maid again, and up to her old tricks. She lives in the Butler's old room in the attic, which has a new ghost. And they make an alliance against Marie Levaux ( Angela Bassett ) ...
Fiona ( Jessica Lange ) and Marie arrange a sit-down with the witch-hunters. Naturally there is a double-cross, but it is both surprising and impressive.
Madison ( Emma Roberts ) decides that she does not want to share her Frankenstein BF with Zoe. If Zoe and the BF do not get out of town ASAP, she is liable to turn her wrath on them.
Fiona ( Jessica Lange ) gives Queenie a recap on the seven tests to determine the selection of the next Supreme. Queenie cares more about finding Marie Levaux ( Angela Bassett ), who has disappeared with Madame LaLaurie ( Kathy Bates ). Yet another subplot is put to rest.
Sarah Paulson gets her second sight back. She discovers Fiona's plan, then sets a plan of her own in motion.
With the side-plots taken care of in the previous ep, this week the girls compete to see who the next Supreme is. Since this is the final ep of the Season, any or all of the surviving characters might not make it.
This is set in the early 1950s, in the town of Jupiter in Florida. Presumably the north-west tip of Florida, because the show is still shot in Louisiana. A young woman - or rather, a pair of conjoined twins ( Sarah Paulson ) is discovered at the scene of a gruesome murder. She is recruited from hospital by Elsa ( Jessica Lange ), boss lady of the local Freakshow.
There is a murderer in town - a creepy clown with a mask reminiscent of The Man Who Laughed . This seems to be entirely coincidental, as nobody in the Freak Show seems aware of his existence! Also, there is a rich woman and her spoilt son, a pair of 1950s caricatures of white-bread America who seem ordinary on the surface, but may be more freakish and corrupt at their core than the so-called Freaks themselves.
The Police come looking for the missing Detective. They have no grounds to arrest or detain the conjoined twins ( Sarah Paulson ), so the cop’s death was in fact utterly pointless and even counter-productive. Now the cops will keep an even closer eye on the Freak Show.
A couple of new carnies turn up. Angela Bassett is spectacular as a triple-breasted hermaphrodite, while her strongman husband (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ) has history with the bearded lady and her son, flipper-boy. The Strongman gets hired to help run things, but Elsa’s ego takes a few blows as a result.
Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) also falls foul of the Strongman. It is hardly surprising - the boy is well-intentioned, but the strongman’s cynicism is more practical.
A pair of Grifters ( Emma Roberts and Denis O'Hare - The Pyramid ) discover how lucrative it is to sell body parts from medical oddities. The liver of a conjoined twin is worth five thousand dollars (in 1950s money)! They decide to join the Freakshow in Florida ...
The conjoined twins ( Sarah Paulson ) are getting ahead of themselves, so to speak. They want to perform on Halloween, so the regulars explain how to do so would summon the murderous ghost of Edward Mordrake.
The bearded lady ( Kathy Bates ) is given a year to live, if she stays off the booze. She decides to drink herself to death, but at least she gets some closure from her relationship with the Strongman (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ).
Edward Mordrake continues his interrogation of the Freakshow cast. Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) seems his most promising candidate, with her mutilated limbs and story of vice in the Weimar Republic and what followed after.
Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) gives the fortune-teller ( Emma Roberts ) a ride on his motorbike. But there is a curfew in place, and the killer clown is on the loose. Somehow all the plot threads begin to tie together ...
The killer clown may be out of the story for the moment, but there are plenty of other killers in town. His protégé, the pretty-boy townie, turns out to have a genetic disposition in that direction. His father, it turns out, used to abduct and murder drifters. That explains a lot. But Mama now has to explain to the maid’s daughter (Precious) why her mother cannot answer the phone.
The bearded lady takes the hermaphrodite to see the local doctor. He has good news - but this is not what the strongman (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ) will want to hear.
The grifters want to poison the freaks and preserve their bodies in formaldehyde.
The twins ( Sarah Paulson ) are living at the rich guy’s house. He has stopped killing people for this episode, so it is a good start. Back in the carnival, Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) practises her knife-throwing for her TV show. Her birthday is coming up, and everyone gets her a gift.
The English carnie gets a lot more screen time this episode. He is evidently just as much of a lothario as flipper-boy, since he is romancing both Elsa and the nurse from the first episode. The girl’s father (Lee Tergesen - Weird Science ) is less than happy at the idea.
The fortune-teller ( Emma Roberts ) is under pressure to deliver a dead carnie, or at least some bits of one. Will she do the smart thing and dig up the dead geek, or will she just murder the dwarf girl?
Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) persuades the twins ( Sarah Paulson ) to return to the carnival. He also realises that there is something to the second clown, who was never caught.
The Grifter (Denis O’Hare - The Pyramid ) finally has enough blackmail material to work on the Strongman (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ). The next step is to select a victim. Unfortunately, the Strongman picks the only woman who can actually fight back against him. The others decide that they no longer need the Strongman, and are prepared to kill him for being himself. Jimmy decides to take him out ... for a beer.
The nurse decides to run away from home and join the Carnival. Her father (Lee Tergesen - Weird Science ) decides to help her ... sort of
Since one of the carnies is now gone, the others form a search party and look for her. The bearded lady jumps to conclusions, and assumes Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) is responsible.
Precious turns up looking for her mother, the housemaid who worked for the creepy rich family. They claim she has only nipped out to get some groceries. She does not believe them, although she can hardly expect them to do their own shopping.
Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) and the grifter (Denis O’Hare - The Pyramid ) hunt down the twins ( Sarah Paulson ) and lure them back to camp. The promise is that the grifter’s doctor will be able to separate the twins, without killing either. Everyone involved seems to acknowledge the transparent lie, but play along with it.
Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) is distraught at the loss of his mother. He manages to alienate the fortune-teller ( Emma Roberts ) by cheating on her, and then turning up to the town ladies’ Tupperware party drunk. Unfortunately the local serial killer blames Jimmy for the twins leaving him.
The strongman (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ) has developed a conscience, and tries to kill himself.
Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) recounts her early days on the US Carnival circuit, and how she recruited Pepper the Pin-head as her first act on the Freakshow. Now Pepper needs a new home, so Elsa tries to find someone to look after her.
The final section is set eight years in the future. We discover clues to the eventual fate of at least two of the Freakshow’s inmates. The sequence involves characters from Season 2: The Asylum , implying all Seasons take place in the same world (but in different cities and time periods).
Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) is in hospital, after his deal with the Grifter (Denis O’Hare - The Pyramid ). His father (Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four ) plans to bust him out.
There is a new player in town - a salesman (Neil Patrick Harris - Starship Troopers ). He wants to join the show, doing his magic tricks and ventriloquism. The twins ( Sarah Paulson ) take a liking to him, which makes the local serial killer jealous. It also leads to an uncomfortable sex scene portrayed by a homosexual male and a lesbian.
However, NPH has a secret. His marriage (to a bisexual woman) did not end well, thanks to his ventriloquist’s dummy. In the tradition of Anthony Hopkins’ turn in Magic , the dummy exerts influence on the mind of its owner. And when we see her from NPH’s perspective, she is the Downs Syndrome girl from the previous season.
Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) holds a dinner to celebrate the freakshow being bought by NPH. She also has a special surprise for the grifter (Denis O’Hare - The Pyramid ). It is a showing of Todd Browning’s Freaks - and predictably, it becomes more of a re-enactment.
Elsa calls in an old friend of hers, the doctor who crafted her false legs. He can make replacement hands for Jimmy the flipper-boy (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ). The characters echo their roles in the previous season - the Doctor was the Axeman, and Jimmy was similarly dismembered.
The local rich psycho is still in town, and he tells the twins ( Sarah Paulson ) about NPH. They choose not to believe him, but allow the fortune-teller ( Emma Roberts ) to replace them in the sawing-a-woman-in-half act.
The serial killer is now the owner, and the headlining act. However, his lack of people skills makes him a poor manager. It will not end well. Everyone in the Freakshow is a mass-murderer by now, after all.
Elsa ( Jessica Lange ) goes to Hollywood, and pushes for success. However, her past will hunt her down. The Studio wants her to perform on a Halloween Special. Will Edward Mordrake claim her after all?
There is a hotel run by witches. It is full of carnival sideshow freaks, and visitors get killed by the ghosts. So far, this is just a mish-mash of previous Seasons of the show.
The boss-lady of the place, a role usually played by Jessica Lange is now filled by Lady Gaga ! In a scene eerily reminiscent of The Hunger she and her lover seduce and devour a pair of bisexuals. In a later scene, Bela Lugosi’s Dead is added to the show’s soundtrack. So it is not a complete rip-off, just an extended homage!
Police Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley - Hunger Games ) is obsessively hunting for a serial killer. Ironically the killer is obsessively stalking him too, and lures him to the hotel. The cop is separated from his wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) but they share custody of their daughter. They used to have a son, but he mysteriously disappeared at a carnival. And now, the detective has visions of the boy at the hotel ...
The lady realtor from Season One shows a new buyer around the property. Does she have a monopoly on all the haunted buildings in town? Or does she just get lumped with all the bad cases?
The hotel’s new owner holds a fashion show in the main hall. Naomi Campbell is a fashion journalist who attends. One of the male models is a coke fiend who acts in an aggressive and unpredictable manner. Lady Gaga is smitten with him, much to the chagrin of her ex-junkie lover.
Police Detective Wes Bentley ( Hunger Games ) and his pre-teen daughter attend the Fashion Show, but she sneaks off to go exploring with the new owner’s son. They discover the fate of her brother.
The boss-lady of the place, the Countess ( Lady Gaga ), has dumped her former lover and shacked up with the male model of the previous episode. Her previous lover goes back to his old junkie ways, looking to get high. He bumps into his predecessor - Ramona Royale ( Angela Bassett ), who has a revenge plan! Meanwhile, The Countess is looking to marry the hotel's new owner. He self-identifies as gay, but that will not stop her.
Police Detective Wes Bentley ( Hunger Games ) is still obsessively hunting for the serial killer. It turns out that the killer's modus operandi is biblical, which is a major clue. Meanwhile, the cop's wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) wants a divorce. The stress of being told that her missing son is a ghost in a creepy vampire hotel ...
The hotel's new owner wants to remodel the building's interior. However the ghost of the original builder, James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) is an HH Holmes type, a serial killer who built the place as his very own murder hotel. He certainly does not want his masterpiece to be disturbed, so he has his minions target people close to the new owner. Naomi Campbell is still the token Ethnic female - what are her survival chances?
The episode title could apply to several characters in this matriarchal show. The Countess is the show's uber-matriarch, but Kathy Bates is the mother of the junkie vamp ... and the cop's wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) is mother of the child vamp.
In Los Angeles it is Halloween, but in the Hotel Cortez it is Devil’s Night! The Detective (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ) is invited to a special party held by the Hotel’s founder, the cut-price HH Holmes clone James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ). The other attendees are some of the most famous serial killers in American history – Aileen Wournos, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy. A pretty predictable bunch, to be sure. The only obscure serial killer who even gets a mention is the 1920s child abduction case that the film Changeling was based on. The cop begins to suspect that something supernatural is happening at the hotel. However, his first assumption is that they just have really good Halloween costumes! On an aside note, how is this linked in to the mysterious serial killer who is currently leaving bodies across Los Angeles? Since it is unlikely to be a ghost or a vampire, there is one suspect that stands out ...
Speaking of the Undead, the cop’s wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) has found her son. His skin is ice-cold and as pale as death, and he has not aged a day since the last time she saw him three years ago. Naturally she takes him home with her and leaves him alone with her pet dog. How long will it take for her to realise he is a vamp?
The Detective (Wes Bentley – Underworld 3 ) reports the events of Devil’s Night party to his boss (T-Bag from Prison Break). Naturally his mental health is put into question. But at least he will have a lot more time to hang around the Hotel Cortez. Unbeknownst to him, his soon-to-be ex-wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) will be there too. The Countess ( Lady Gaga ) has hired her as Governess for the vampire children.
Iris the old maid ( Kathy Bates ) has been revived and is now the undercover operator of Ramona Royale ( Angela Bassett ). Nice to see that, three years running, such high-class talent is still on the show. It could be pointed out that women generally do not get cast in films if they are over 35 years of age, but US TV shows are usually aimed at a female audience so they have a higher proportion of older (than 35 years old) female cast members.
Iris and Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) finally get to talking. This gives us Taylor’s backstory – after all, this show is a collection of character studies rather than a single plot-intensive storyline.
We start with a flashback to 1926. The Countess ( Lady Gaga ) somehow got pregnant, so she visited the abortionist in the Murder House from Season One.
The cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ) discovers the coffins in the basement. He did not bother looking there when his daughter told him, but he follows his son (a mini vampire) down there. And his wife ( Chloe Sevigny ) is so keen to keep him out of the secret world she has discovered that she enlists the ghosts of the two Swedish blondes who now roam the halls.
Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) falls in love with the new boy-toy of the Countess. Ramona Royale ( Angela Bassett ) drops by while the Countess is away, and tries to take the next step in her revenge plan. It seems like the vamp’s list of enemies is ever-expanding.
We get a flashback to 1925. The Countess ( Lady Gaga ) was a movie extra in Hollywood. She got involved with Rudolph Valentino and his wife ( Alexandra Daddario ). Valentino had an encounter with FW Murnau , who had done too much research for Nosferatu in the Carpathians. Unfortunately the Countess also got involved with the Hotel owner James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ). The mystery of Valentino's disappearance was never solved ... until a construction crew started to renovate the third floor of the Hotel Cortez!
The cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ) gets himself signed into a mental asylum. He does not doubt his own mental faculties, although under the circumstances he has every reason to. No, instead he wants to illegally access a secret witness who is being held in the secure ward.
The cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ) finally discovers the truth about the serial killer he has been hunting. It explains why the Hotel owner James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) has taken such an interest in him, and why the Countess ( Lady Gaga ) chose his son above all others.
The previous episode centred around the cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ). This week he is nowhere to be seen. Instead, we focus on the Countess ( Lady Gaga ) and the current state of her loves and hates. It is like a soap opera filled with vampires, ghosts and serial killers.
The Countess is about to marry the Hotel's new owner so she can kill him and get the hotel back. She has murdered her most recent lover for cheating with Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ). The lover before that is now back in the Countess' bed, despite having made a secret alliance with his predecessor, Ramona Royale ( Angela Bassett ). And the Countess has also taken umbrage at her first husband, the Hotel's original owner James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ). He imprisoned her first lovers, Rudolph Valentino and his wife ( Alexandra Daddario ), in an impregnable vault. Of course, now they are back ...
The Countess ( Lady Gaga ) has discovered there is a band of feral vampire children on the loose. She tells the responsible party, her nanny ( Chloe Sevigny ), who pulls in her soon-to-be ex-husband - the cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ). Can they sort things out, and rekindle their marriage?
Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) tries to rekindle her relationship with her son. They have not seen each other in thirty years. Will the boy recognise his father - and accept him?
The Countess wants Rudolph Valentino all to herself. First she will have to deal with his wife ( Alexandra Daddario ). However, her more recent creation wants to get back with her, and she has trained him to think the same way she does.
The Countess ( Lady Gaga ) is beset by enemies on all sides. Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) and Kathy Bates want revenge, so they unleash Ramona Royale ( Angela Bassett ). Even James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) wants her dead, albeit so that she can be his ghost-wife rather than his estranged vamp.
Precious from Season 3: Coven pays a visit to the hotel. She is practically unkillable - after all, she is a living voodoo doll. Also, if she goes missing the Coven will turn up looking for her. And since the hotel is a supernatural hotspot, she would come back as a ghost and tell her friends who killed her. Also, since several corpses were raised in that Season, the witches could resurrect her before seeking vengeance.
Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare – The Pyramid ) and Kathy Bates actually do a good job running the hotel. The ghosts are mostly happy, except for Sally ( Sarah Paulson ) who needs a special solution to her problems.
The hotel then has problems with another Sarah Paulson character - the psychic from Season 1: Haunted House . She does a series of documentaries about the place, eager to speak to the cop (Wes Bentley – Hunger Games ) so she can find out what happened to his wife ( Chloe Sevigny ). Instead, he invites her to the Devil's Night party so she can meet James March (Evan Peters - X-Men: Days of Future Past ) and his friends.
The ending is a perfect tie-up to the Season, and gives a wonderful send-off to one of the characters. Everyone's story arc is tied up nicely, as always with this show.
This Season's theme was a well-kept secret until the Season premiere was aired. Basically, this is the idea of the original Season but adapted for a Reality TV format. In other words, the creators have run out of ideas. How this will fit into the other shows is yet to be explained, but we should remember the mythical Croatoan curse from Season One: Murder House .
Shelby ( Lilly Rabe ) and her husband Matt narrate a true-life story. Actors portraying them - Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Junior ( Forever ) - buy a Cabin in the Woods but soon fall victim to creepy goings-on. Gooding assumes they are being harrassed by creepy local rednecks, so he invites his sister Lee ( Angela Bassett ), an ex-cop who was fired for abusing prescription painkillers.
Lee ( Angela Bassett ) gets her three days of custody of her pre-teen daughter. Of course, that means letting the child live in the haunted house for three days. Soon the child has an invisible friend who wears old-fashioned clothes. Will Lee, the down-to-earth ex-cop, come to terms with the fact that everyone else is seeing ghosts?
The little girl is missing, so the family call in the police. They scour the woods, and discover that the neighbouring farm (run by the inbred hillbillies, the Polk family), is site of some unpleasant goings-on.
A psychic named Cricket Marlowe arrives from New Orleans. He makes contact with the ghosts, who are led by The Butcher ( Kathy Bates ). We get a lot of exposition - it turns out she was the wife of the Governor of Roanoake. She was left in charge when her husband returned to England, but the peasants revolted and insisted on government by the consent of the governed. Even her weak-willed son Ambrose (Wes Bentley - Hunger Games ) is coerced into betraying her. Bad mistake!
The Butcher just wants her land to be free of interlopers - AKA the living. This sounds perfect, because nobody in their right mind would want to live in a murder house filled with centuries worth of murderous ghosts. This might be the quickest resolution to any Season of the show yet.
Professor Elias (Denis O’Hare - The Pyramid ) drops by to deliver some exposition. The ghosts can actually touch their victims for a period of six days in October. That is when all the murders occur ... and the first day of that period is today!
Cricket was mysteriously absent while the Professor was around, but makes a reappearance to deliver his own exposition. The colony moved to the farmland when the Butcher ( Kathy Bates ) made an alliance with the witch of the woods ( Lady Gaga ), a pagan priestess who gave them good harvests in exchange for human sacrifices. . Unfortunately the butcher's weak-willed son Ambrose (Wes Bentley - Hunger Games ) decided the colony should return to England, land of episcopalianism.
Gaga's pagan goddess seems to be a fertility one, and the priestess is thus very sexually frustrated. Matt is the only heterosexual man around, which is the only explanation for her obsessing about him. It is one thing for her to want Cuba Gooding Jnr ( Chill Factor ), but he is only the reenactment actor portraying the Urkle-looking dude in the cutaway scenes.
The documentary has a dramatic reconstruction of the building of house, back in 1792. Edward Mott, the first owner, is played by Evan Peters ( X-Men: Days of Future Past ) who also played the creator of the haunted hotel in the previous Season. The actress who plays the historian is wooden and unconvincing, like the one in Stephen King's Rose Red .
With the reconstruction over, the show really begins to look good. A sleazy Producer and his sidekick ( Shannon Lucio ) plan a sequel to the Roanoake series. Instead of reconstructions they will have a reality TV setup, like Big Brother ... in the haunted house itself! The result is a Found Footage effort.
This episode was directed by Angela Bassett .
The actors and interviewees settle in on their first evening. Things are supposed to get spooky, and allow the show's atmosphere to develop naturally. However, things go bad from the very start. The most jarring thing is that everyone tries to film everything with their camera-phones, even when they should be running for their lives! This dedication to the Found Footage format is distracting and unconvincing.
Agnes ( Kathy Bates ) was banned from the production because of her mental breakdown. This was not a good idea on the Producer's part. He hoped she would have another breakdown and turn up to cause trouble. However, he never actually had a plan for what to do if and when this happened!
The problem with this episode is that it just seems uneven. Are the audience meant to be uncertain as to whether the ghosts are real? If so, this is spoiled by the fact the previous five Seasons all had real ghosts in them.
Shelby ( Lilly Rabe ) and Cuba Gooding Junior ( Chill Factor ) are trapped in the house. The three other women make a break for it. Unfortunately they forget about the evil redneck cannibals living next door. Worse, the cannibals have a Confederate flag on display so we should all associate everyone in Dixie-land with racism. Yes, things have changed a lot since the Dukes of Hazzard.
Lee ( ) gets chunks cut out of her leg. Typically for a TV show, when she makes her inevitable escape attempt she is not hindered by massive pain, blood loss or muscle damage!
The good thing about this episode is that the villains are played by complete unknowns. Yes, the original five episodes gave us the recognisable faces as the re-enactors. Now we have genuinely unsettling scenes that feature characters who do not ruin our suspension of disbelief. However, there is one main problem. The majority of the killings turn out to be by humans. However, the ghosts clearly appear on-screen in the found footage. This certainly seems to be a bit of a wasted opportunity. So much for suspense.
Taissa Farmiga and a couple of tweenage friends get lost in the woods. They have GoPro video cameras, with the intention of uploading their footage to a My Roanoake Nightmare website.
Two of the survivors have taken refuge back in the haunted house. Then they have another guest - one of the other actors from the show. He is ex-military, and offers to help them rescue their missing friend who was last seen trapped in the hill-billy camp next door.
Unfortunately the ghosts of the Roanoake colony are out in force. They demand a human sacrifice in order to appease their gods. Who will they get? And will the whole thing be captured on the found footage cameras?
The good news is, one of the cast members from Roanoake Season Two survived. The bad news is, she was put on trial for killing the racist hill-billies at the Polk farm. Yes, despite the whole thing being on video she still gets Zimmermanned!
Lana Winters ( Sarah Paulson ), last seen facing Bloody Face the serial killer in Season 2: Asylum , comes out of retirement to interview the survivor. This is the show's compulsory tie-in, although it seems the odd-numbered Seasons tie in with each other but they do not with the even-numbered Seasons, and vice versa.
Another TV crew go back to the haunted house during the blood moon. They want to get their OWN footage of murderous ghosts. How shocking that nobody seems to take the previous year's footage seriously! Presumably the police and Feds do not believe that anyone, even Agnes, was murdered by actual ghosts. And even the people who claim to believe in ghosts do not fear that the ghosts will murder them.