American Horror Story – Neighbors From Hell
By: Kelly Kearney
“American Horror Story” has always been a rollercoaster ride of twists and unexpected turns that often leaves fans dizzy and wanting more. When it was announced that Ryan Murphy planned on tackling the 2016 election, I assumed the horror would come from the results and how it affected the country. This week it took a hard-right turn away from the election drama and lead viewers on a direct path towards fear cults, serial killers and microwavable pets. The subtlety of Neighbors From Hell was like a sledgehammer to the face in that it beats us over the head with the obvious question: Is this what gaslighting looks like?
Don’t Bury Me, I’m not Dead!
The episode begins with Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) and his recently cured patient Rosie (Laura Allen). Rosie has been battling her fear of being buried alive and is ecstatic her work with Dr. Vincent seems to be paying off. Along with her husband Mark (Ron Melendez), Rosie explains how she’s overcome her fears and how she owes it all to Dr. Vincent the phobia specialist. After their session the couple heads home to celebrate, but as Rosie is gathering the wine and glasses she hears Mark in distress. Following what sounds like a scuffle with a possible intruder, Rosie is horrified when she sees two red lined caskets propped up in their dining room and a gang of evil clowns shoving Mark into one. Being that this is her biggest fear, Rosie starts screaming in panic as the clowns bolt her in the casket adjacent to Mark’s. As the terrified woman unleashes a blood curdling scream, the camera pans up to a familiar bloody smiley face on the wall.
Cut to a frightened and terrorized Ally (Sarah Paulson) who mistakenly shot her employee Pedro on her back porch. Accidental shooting or not, Ally assumes she’ll be arrested for killing the man, but Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) doesn’t seem too worried about it. He tells her she was defending herself from a suspected killer and no charges will be filed. Ally is relieved she won’t be going to jail, but still can’t make sense of the clown intruders that set off this horrible chain of events. Not only was there no evidence of clowns, but Ozzy (Cooper Dodson) witnessed the shooting and his mothers hope he can find a way to live with what he saw. The question remains, can Ally?
Needing a dose of normalcy in their lives, the two women head to the Butchery on Main only to find the local media and a crowd of protesters blocking the restaurant’s entrance. It seems the media has dubbed Ally the new George Zimmerman and with the rising racial tensions spurred on by Kai’s viral video, the protesters assume the recent shooting is racially motivated. Ally went from an open minded liberal to a racist, gun toting, pariah overnight. Seeing as the restaurant is their livelihood, Ivy (Alison Pill) offers to take care of business while Ally goes home to calm down. Unfortunately, Ally can’t avoid the crowds of angry people and she is in a verge of a complete melt down. Throughout the hysteria, Kai (Evan Peters) approaches her car and tells Ally she did an admirable thing by protecting her family. He goes on to promise he’ll handle the angry mob if she promises to live her truth. This interaction between Kai and Ally is a far cry from his latte throwing, threat hurling tirades from the earlier two episodes, which makes you wonder what role Ally plays is in his plan?
Shady Neighbors are for the birds
At home, Ally tries to pull herself together when the Wilton’s, donning sombreros and lobbing insults, start banging on the front door. The couple happily jumped on the town’s anti-Ally bandwagon, calling her a racist and asking her to check her white privilege. They even say they don’t want her kind living in their neighborhood, but when Ally reminds them that her family lived there first Meadow (Leslie Grossman) responds with, “Tell that to the Native Americans!” For Ally, who views herself as an open minded progressive, she is stunned by the accusation that she racially profiled Pedro to his death. The Wiltons leave and Ally turns on the news where local reporter Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) is live on the scene of another murder. She recounts the deaths of Rosie and Mark and begs the question, are these bloody smiley symbols the work of a serial killer? Ally doesn’t get a chance to ponder the “what if’s” when she hears a large truck outside the house and notices it spraying some green mist across their lawn. Already freaked out, she goes into conspiracy theory mode and it doesn’t help that Ivy learned their local government didn’t order any spray trucks.
The next morning Ivy wakes to her wife standing in awe on their front lawn. At Ally’s feet are dozens of dead birds, almost like they fell from the sky. Was this bird massacring the result of that ominous green mist? Ally is now convinced more than ever that someone’s been targeting their family and, as if on cue, Winter (Billie Lourd) shows up to apologize for leaving during the black out. She makes up some excuse about panicking and possible terrorists, but Ally isn’t buying it and the tension between the three is thick. Ivy tries to reason with her wife and says the blackout wasn’t Winter’s fault and the nanny admits she thought the couple wanted to give her job to someone else. Like maybe the strange man she let in the house earlier? Man, what man? Ivy and Ally take off through the house and stumble upon a naked man in the living room ready for sex. Ivy demands to know what’s going on and they soon learn an ad was placed in their names – an ad searching for white only men to gratify a lesbian couple’s sexual needs. Confused and disgusted, Ivy loses it and chases the naked man from the house. Who put the sex ad out and why? Ally assumes it’s the same person or persons who’ve been targeting their family all along.
Sex ads, Pinky links and Fear cults! OH My!
No matter how many times Ally and Ivy remove the ad, it keeps popping back up more vulgar than the last. Ally is at her wit’s end and Dr. Vincent wonders if she wouldn’t be better off in an inpatient facility. Ally isn’t interested in beds with straps as she wants this terror to stop and thinks appealing to the local protesters is the only way to do it. She doesn’t even get a chance to speak to the angry mob when they block her car and scare her into silence. Like a blue haired Moses, Kai parts the sea of protesters sending them on their way and approaches Ally’s car saying, “I told you I would take care of you.”
Still reeling from their new-found infamy, Ally and Ivy come home to Ozzy and his new pet guinea pig, Mr. Guinea. It seems the Wiltons love Ozzy, it’s just his mother they can’t stand so they bought Mr. Guinea to cheer the boy up. The fact the Wilton’s never asked before giving Ozzy a pet just adds to the reasons why Ally doesn’t trust them. Not to mention, both Ozzy and Ally are allergic and can’t keep the adorable fur-potato anyway. Instantly, the boy gets upset when Ally tells him to give Mr. Guinea back and he lashes out by saying he wishes they could get rid of her! Angry, Ally calls the Wiltons as she is convinced they’re behind all the recent problems, but Harrison (Billy Eichner) denies it, refusing to take back the pet. The conversation abruptly ends when the green mist truck is heard outside. Pumped with fear and anger, Ally takes off after the truck and it almost runs her down, leaving her on the curb shaken and bleeding.
Across town, Kai’s added Meadow and Harrison to his fear cult. He’s linking pinkies to find out their biggest fears and for Meadow it’s all about her sexless marriage. As for Harrison, he can’t fathom forever with his straight BFF and admits he wishes Meadow would die.
If that’s not bad enough Ally, Ivy and Ozzy come home from a family dinner to find a bloody smiley face on their front door and Mr. Guinea cooked in their microwave! Horrified at the gruesome sight, Ally’s freaks and takes off outside. The crazed woman forces her way into the Wilton home and punches Harrison, accusing both Wiltons of targeting her family. The neighbors are shocked by the intrusion, but even more so about the bloody sign indicating Ally and Ivy have been targeted by the serial killer. Ally is over the top and threatens to kill the Wiltons if the couple doesn’t leave them alone. Ivy drags her wife outside before she can do more damage to their reputation and they see a bloody symbol drawn on the Wiltons house. They couple decides to keep this news to themselves when Ally hears the spray truck coming down the street again. Fueled by her rage, she demands to know who the suited man works for. When he ignores her, she pulls his mask off only to see another mask with the same bloody smile. Ally passes out in shock and when the police arrive they all but ignore her ranting about how all of this is linked.
Things get worse when Ozzy finds a video of Ally’s bathtub sexy times with Winter. Ivy sees it too and smacks Ally across the face for cheating and says she’s taking Ozzy and leaving. Ally tries begging her wife to stay, but they get interrupted by Harrison who’s screaming in his yard and covered in blood. The episode ends in a climatic flurry of crazy when Harrison starts pointing the finger at Ally. He tells the police he woke up to a bloody bed, a missing wife and Ally the trigger-happy lunatic threatened to kill them earlier that night. The bloody man loses it and tries rushing the police to get to Ally, but the cops tackle and cuff Harrison before he can reach her. During the commotion, nobody notices that Ozzy’s wandered off until his mothers find him in the Wilton’s house frozen in fear and staring at the blood soaked walls in the symbol of a smile.