Once again, the show opens with a flashback, though this time even earlier to 1968. And it was so unexpected. I wouldn’t mind if this was a series staple, showcasing some history behind the house before jumping back into the modern day setting involving the Harmon family. This pre-credits sequence involved a quintet of nursing co-eds (3 slutty ones off to see The Doors play and 2 ‘virginal’ ones who stay behind to do school work). The two who remain behind are killed by demented cultists in a very effective home invasion scene. There were some nice 60s touches like Laugh-In playing on tv, though went a bit overboard using the Psycho score. Why use that when your show’s own opening theme is already awesomely unsettling?
What was surprising to see was Violet bonding with her tormentor Leah (Shelby Young) that got her comeuppance at the end of the first episode. Leah reveals that due to the trauma she suffered her hair is starting to gray, a la Nancy in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Ben, still trying to be a pro, engages in yet another abysmal session with Tate, who talks nonstop about wanting to rail his daughter before Ben finally kicks him out. Ben also received a call from his former mistress, Hayden (Nip/Tuck alum Kate Mara) who reveals that she’s pregnant and wants him there for the abortion. This is just an excuse to get Ben out of the house and to Boston where she’s waiting. And with Ben gone, it’s just Vivian and Violet alone in the house when three strangers come knocking, re-enacting the 1968 murders, Manson-style. One thing that was strange was how calm and cool these two ladies managed to be, maybe the DVD they were going to watch was a repeat viewing of was Panic Room?
Anyway, bad stuff ensues, and Tate shows up inside the house already, urging Violet to lead the captors to the basement for some supernatural justice. This episode was much stronger in tying some of the characters together and overall presentation up over last week, and left me wanting to know more about Larry the burn victim’s connection and what is up with Constance’s cruelty and flings with A&F models? Anyway, despite its heavily stylized presentation, “Home Invasion” moved at an oddly brisk pace, and crackled with a Shining-esque intensity (even an axe murder!). I like the format of showing all the awful things that happened in the house before the Harmons ever made an offer on the home. Only two episodes in and already way better than the premiere: AHS could still go either way for me.
Final Grade: B
TRR TV Revue by Jacob Aquino