Monday, 2 February 2015

American Horror Story: How All Seasons Are Actually Linked

by Hope Hopkinson

For those who aren't familiar, American Horror Story is a hit US anthology show produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, which employs each of its seasons as a self-contained miniseries that follows a disparate set of characters and settings with a unique storyline, only the cast remaining constant. 

Or, so we thought. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last Halloween, Ryan Murphy confirmed the ever-popular fan hypotheses that indeed, all seasons are linked. This, expectedly, brought around a tidal wave of theses as to just how this had been or would progress to be subliminally achieved, as both fans and respectable news outlets alike provoked many discussions on the topic.  

Season Four, 'Freak Show', which came to a dramatic close a fortnight ago, detailed the most prominently obvious link we have between seasons within the action itself, through the character of Pepper (Naomi Grossman.) The character, originally one belonging to Season Two ('Asylum') was introduced as one of the troupe in 'Fräulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities' in 'Freak Show', set a decade earlier than 'Asylum'. Pepper played little significance in 'Freak Show' until episode 10, one solely focused on the pinhead and how in just ten years she regressed from the stage in Florida to the constraints of the walls of Briarcliff Asylum. This brought light to Pepper's innocence of character and proved her not guilty of the crime she was admitted to the asylum for. As well as Pepper herself, this episode reprised Lily Rabe's portrayal of Sister Mary Eunice, a nun serving at the sanatorium in Season Two, bringing about supposedly the first of the juxtapositional and slightly surreal ideas to come, following Murphy's revelation.

Continuing with the 'Freak Show'-'Asylum' link, it is revealed to those with a keen ear that Dr Arthur Arden (James Cromwell), former Nazi war criminal and physician at Briarcliff Manor in Season Two, is indeed present in Season Four, shedding an even darker light upon his twisted past. In Episode 12 of Freak Show ('Show Stoppers'), Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), ringleader of the troupe, is seen to retell the gruesome story of how her legs were brutally sawn off in the act of a masochistic smut film, by a group of Nazi assailants. Elsa's estranged lover Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston) was shown to have hunted down these men, successfully at that, until he met with their leader, namely Dr Hans Gruper, who tortured him relentlessly. Sound familiar? Suspicions correct, as Dr Hans Gruper was revealed to be an alias of Dr Arden's in Season Two. To further the already proven theory, Arden was seen to carry out a similar act of gory leg amputation in Season Two, to Briarcliff patient Shelley (Chloë Sevigny). 

Although nothing else as such has been confirmed in the way of linking the seasons, there are multiple fan theories that we can assume owe nothing to coincidence and can thus be expectant of further development. Popular amongst the online following, there is simply the surname 'Montgomery' to ponder. Season One ('Murder House') featured 'Doctor to the Stars' Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross) and socialite wife Nora (Lily Rabe), original proprietors of the infamous murder house itself, their tragic story and even more tragic demise shown through flashbacks from the modern setting of the season. Interestingly, Season Three ('Coven') introduced Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), emotionally volatile and out-of-control Hollywood starlet, as a student witch of Miss Robichaux's Academy. Now of course, the surname isn't of rarity and certainly could be mere coincidence; however, knowing Murphy and Falchuk's previous plot twists, it isn't total unreasonable to suspect a link of sorts. 

There are many more links and crosses suspected between seasons, some within reason and others a little too far outside the bounds of imaginable reality. But, with a show like American Horror Story, who really knows? I, for one, am avidly anticipating the fifth instalment of the show and the links that potentially will come with it, but, for now, all we can do is theorise and hope for a resolution to all of the queries raised. 

If you have been interested by any of the theories upon the connections I have proposed, below are links to some thought-provoking articles that may expand your interest on similar theories.


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