American Horror Stories – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Rubber (Wo)man: Part Two

Episode 2 of American Horror Stories begins with a big revelation. Anyone who dies in the house stays in the house. Scarlett is cozying up to her resident ghostly girlfriend Ruby too, encouraged to kill herself. That way they can be together forever. For now, Scarlett decides to stay alive.

We’re some time in the future this episode, as detectives show up at Scarlett’s house. Their cellphone ping shows that the four missing girls were at the house and since then, they’ve heard nothing. Troy and Michael sense that this narrative is going sour and decide not to talk until a lawyer is present. Make a note guys, this is the last time we hear from the police through the entire episode.

The therapist continues to keep up appearances too, as we soon learn that at least two months have passed. Scarlett doesn’t care that she murdered four people and decides to stick around in the house. She’s reveling in the pain and horror that’s been afflicted in this house and is starting to embrace it.

Michael and Troy are running out of money, and a contractor by the name of Adam only drives a deeper wedge between them. Troy and Adam end up hooking up too, before eventually figuring out what Scarlett has hidden in her room. The dead bodies of the girls are stood behind the brickwork, but Adam suddenly turns and kills a fellow contractor right in front of them.

A man wearing the gimp suit then stabs Adam at the front door (they say it’s a male but we never find out his identity so it’s safe to assume it’s Scarlett again.) The ghosts of those killed inside the house continue to haunt Michael and Troy, with Ruby eventually killing them both. Scarlett isn’t bothered when she finds out, showing little remorse that her parents have just died.

Given it’s Halloween, she heads out with her ghostly girlfriend Ruby for a night on the town. Shanti shows up and questions Scarlett about her lack of replies. She hasn’t bothered to return any of her messages. Shanti calls her out for being a psychopath, explaining how Scarlett doesn’t show any remorse or emotion. In fact, no one does.

Throughout this whole ordeal there hasn’t been a single character remorseful, depressed, angry or shocked about being killed and away from their loved ones.

Back home, Scarlett makes her decision and apologizes for killing the four girls in cold blood. They forgive her, while she breaks up with Ruby and also says goodbye to her parents as well. She eventually packs up her things and leaves the house.

On the way out the door, Scarlett turns and says to Ruby “You’re the only person in this house whose suffering brings me no pleasure.” We’ll cycle back to this little tidbit in a minute.

We then skip forward 10 months later. The haunted murder house is all good with everyone playing happy families. Scarlett meanwhile, heads off to kill Tony Peterson. He just so happens to be the man who abused Ruby while she was alive. Ruby wants pictures too, happy that Scarlett is going to kill again.

The Episode Review

This story went from mediocre to absolutely terrible in a little over 50 minutes. While the first part had an okay premise and some shaky foundations, the second part crashes straight through the floor and impales itself onto a spike of hilarity.

The moral compass in this story is absolutely skewed and there’s no characterization or depth for anyone involved.

The first part introduced the two Dads as loving individuals looking out for their psychopath daughters. In total, Scarlett has killed at least five people and out of all those killed she shows no remorse., In fact, her final retort confirms she only has feelings for Ruby. And this is the protagonist we’re supposed to be rooting for?

Her statement at the end about not caring about her parents being killed and showing no remorse for the four girls mackles her very difficult to empathize with. It also doesn’t help hat none of the deceased show any sort of emotion to their predicament. This is especially true at the carnival, while the girls choose to try and exact revenge rather than going home to see their families to say goodbye. It’s completely out of character and it paints everyone as a one-dimensional cardboard cutout.

We learn here that two months have passed between episodes and in that time the police haven’t been able to gain any clues about the girls’ whereabouts. They just suddenly disappear after the first 10 minutes and never show back up again. What about the contractors? Wouldn’t the police figure out that this “murder house” is the missing link and head in to investigate? Given the end scene with all these ghosts living happily together, it seems they haven’t.

At the end of the day it’s lazy storytelling and the lack of characterization only feeds into this too. The entire two-part episode swings wildly between stupid and outright ludicrous, eventually ending with a story that’s devoid of emotion, logic, likable characters and a compelling story. It’s a shame because the first part had a bit of potential but this follow-up throws all of that away for a morally skewed story.

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Feel free to check our full season review of American Horror Stories here!


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