It’s been a bit of a wait, but American Horror Stories season 2 has finally arrived. The first episode, Dollhouse, might not have stood up to the scrutiny of some fans, but at the same time, it does give the second season a creepy start since it follows the kind of path that many other installments of this show have. Dollhouse is a pretty ominous title for any horror-based show or movie since it gives the impression that people will be held against their will, used as toys, and otherwise trapped in a space they can’t escape. At least those are a few explanations of why something so innocent could be turned into something so scary. However, this episode doesn’t disappoint since it takes something that might have been considered relatively innocuous back in the day but has become something to dread in this day and age. One great thing about this show that can be noticed immediately is that it will use familiar faces, much as AHS has been doing since its beginning.
The themes in this episode are meant to clash with each other.
Being introduced to Coby initially as she’s seen putting on lipstick and seeking to look nice for an interview with the eccentric Mr. Van Wirt, a dollmaker whose company is well-known makes it apparent that Coby is seeking a job that is stereotypical but also sets up the tone for the tale. The rejection of Coby as a worker is a mild shock to those who haven’t watched AHS before. Still, it comes as little more than a regular note in the AHS legacy since introducing a character in this manner means that something else will open up eventually. And, of course, that happens without questions since Van Wirt clarifies that Coby qualifies for another job. Unfortunately for Coby, that means being knocked unconscious, abducted, and waking up in a location that is much worse than she could have imagined.
The ‘Dollhouse’ takes on a very literal meaning, which is to be expected.
From the appearance of the rooms to the creepy masks that each of the ‘dolls’ are forced to wear, as well as the costumes, this episode almost takes on a very 80s or 90s feel that is creepy but is also enticing since it’s what AHS has been known for since it started up. But the ‘dolls’ are being kept and trained and forced to compete with each other in such a brutal fashion (hey, etiquette can be brutal) is kind of interesting. As Mr. Van Wirt demands perfection, one can only imagine that each test was bound to get more complex as one has to think of how many fine points there are when it comes to placing settings and doing the laundry. Also, the idea that the dolls are there to serve as surrogate mothers for Van Wirt’s son is eye-opening since the tasks begin to make sense as he’s trying to find a woman who can take care of his kid and be a proper housewife.
The horror of the Dollhouse is that no one ever leaves.
Not only does Van Wirt have a thug to keep the women in place, but the fact is that no one has ever escaped. It would make someone think that there’s a reason. But as one would imagine, Coby and the last two remaining dolls attempt to escape, only to be reminded that Van Wirt has everything covered and doesn’t let anything escape his notice. Of course, the fact that Coby has a talent for moving objects without touching them appears to have Van Wirt a bit stumped. But when the episode is about to end, the final twist is revealed when three women come strolling into the Dollhouse, surprising Van Wirt by first immobilizing his bodyguard, then him, and taking Coby along with them as one of their own. If a person hadn’t guessed at this point, the reveal of the witches would have been a great surprise.
As a start to the season, this wasn’t too bad, but it does make some people roll their eyes.
It could be that Coven’s reach is becoming a bit too strong and that it’s being used to link too many stories, but many fans aren’t likely to think so. On the contrary, the Coven has been deemed one of the best themes in the past, as it connects to just about everything at one point or another. But it has to be said that the witches might need a bit more of a challenge, such as in Apocalypse, just to even things out after a while. But for now, Dollhouse is an exciting intro to the second season.
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