‘American Horror Story’ 1.02 Recap: “Do You Believe in the Devil?”

I’m almost nervous to proclaim ‘American Horror Story’ my favorite new show of the season. I fear that it’s doomed to sputter out eventually. The question is how soon that will happen. But the pilot episode was sooooo good, and honestly, the second episode is right up there with it.

From what I can tell so far, it looks like each episode of the show will follow the main storyline with our characters in the here and now, while also flashing back to a horrible event that happened to previous occupants in the past. ‘Home Invasion’ starts in 1968, when a pair of college girls living in the house were attacked and murdered by a serial killer.

In the present day, Ben (Dylan McDermott) sees a new patient named Bianca who seems strangely fixated by the “murder house.” Later, Ben gets a call from the student he had an affair with (Kate Mara), who tells him that she’s pregnant and needs him to come back to Boston to help her through the abortion. Ben makes up an excuse about a former patient being suicidal so that he can fly out, thus leaving wife Vivien (Connie Britton) and daughter Violet alone in the house.

Late at night, Bianca and two friends turn up at the house and force their way in. They’re psychotically obsessed with serial killers, and plan to recreate the 1968 murder. Bianca was really casing the joint when she saw Ben for therapy. As the title would suggest, the episode turns into a home invasion thriller along the lines of ‘Funny Games’ or ‘The Strangers‘. Vivien and Violet do their best to outwit their captors. Somehow, Ben’s patient Tate also shows up inside the house, and tells Violet to lure the attackers to the basement. He slaughters two of them, and leaves Bianca limping away from the house with an axe wound to the stomach.

In an interesting revelation, we learn that Tate, neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange) and housekeeper Moira (Frances Conroy) are all working together. While they clean up the two bodies in the basement, we find out that they have important plans that require Ben to continue treating Tate.

Bianca is eventually found dead. Police assume that she got cold feet, so her friends killed her and ran off. When Ben returns home, Vivien announces that she’s selling the house, which seems like an entirely sensible thing to do.

Much like the pilot, ‘Home Invasion’ is another incredibly creepy and suspenseful and really weird episode. This show is just a lot of fun. However, I’m left wondering again how long the series can sustain its concept. I mean, it’s only the second episode, and already Vivien wants to get the hell out of there. How many more bad events like this one can the characters take before either moving away or dying in the house?


  1. Tim

    I enjoyed the second episode, although not as much as the first. The first episode hooked me with its creepiness and sexiness, although maybe not in that order. What can I say? Connie Britton is a total MILF. I found the second episode less sexy and more … “by the book,” for lack of a better term.

    I was also thrown off by an early scene in the episode. The scene I’m referring to is the one in which Violet counsels her rival — the one whom she tried to have killed in the previous episode. Wouldn’t this tormented kid want nothing to do with Violet after the attack? A small point, but it kind of irked me.

    I’ll keep watching. It’s my favorite new show of the season. Gotta love cable…

    • Josh Zyber

      I’m sure that everyone in town knows the rumors about the house being haunted. It appears that the girl believes she was attacked by a real demon and doesn’t blame Violet. They’ve bonded over sharing the haunting experience, even though Violet still believes it was a hoax by Tate.

      Yeah, I can see why the girl ought to be mad at Violet, but I assume that we’re just missing some conversations between them that happened in the meantime, where Violet apologized and tried to explain what happened.

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