I would like to officially go on the record saying that, in my opinion, American Horror Story is one of the greatest shows currently on television. I have nothing but love for Ryan Murphy and the many terrifying universes his devious little mind has created. However, that doesn't mean the show isn't without its flaws. We saw the flaws come out last year in Coven, when practically everyone who was killed got brought back to life at one point or another. Resurrection became every character's get-out-of-hell-free card, making death scenes feel practically irrelevant. And now I fear this season is falling into a similar pattern. AHS: Freak Show 's dream sequences (or are they premonitions?) are becoming a hindrance to the show. It's a trick that Murphy has played on us at least three times now, and quite frankly I'm sick of it.
It all started when Stanley envisioned seeing Paul the Illustrated Seal dead and on display at the American Morbidity Museum (though we didn't know it was just a fantasy vision at the time). It was a shock to the system and left many fans confused as to how this could've happened. For a moment I was even worried I had somehow missed an episode. But then Maggie snapped Stanley (and us) back into the reality with an unsettling taste in our mouths. Was this a fantasy or could it have been a flashforward of what's to come? But before we really had time to process any of it, this happened:
Another fake-out in the same exact episode? Really, Murphy? Was it that necessary? Because from where I was sitting, these little daydreams kind of killed (pun intended) the suspense in a major way. I mean, if any of these scenarios had actually happened it would've come as a huge shock to the audience — something AHS usually prides itself on. But by making it all an illusion, you risk us becoming immune to the big reveals. It's like the boy who cried wolf, and one of these days, Murphy, we might not come running.
Now don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't enjoy the possibility that these characters were actually dead. In fact, Ma Petite's fantasy death was not only the most convincing apparition, but by far the most difficult to watch play out.
But these scenes serve no real purpose whatsoever. Why fill these precious minutes with scenes that didn't even really occur when you could actually be advancing the plot in new and exciting ways? I'm sorry, but I just don't see the point.
But let's just say for a second that these, in fact, aren't dream sequences after all, but rather flashforward moments from the future. Is that really any better? If anything it would serve as a huge spoiler for how things will end. And that's no fun for anyone. I don't want to already know that Paul and Bette and Ma Petite will definitely meet an untimely demise. AHS is at its best when it shocks its viewers in a very surprising (but very, very real) way. I just hope we can get back to that concept before I stop feeling invested.
So enough with the fantasies, Murphy. Or I'll be forced to sick Kathy Bates on you, Misery-style.