Instead of starting season 2 off with multiple related episodes, American Horror Stories decided to switch it up this season. The episode featured the story of a dollhouse, while episode two was all about an Aura doorbell. But how does this compare to season one and its parent series, American Horror Story?

A human-turned-doll stands in a creepy manner while holding up a stitching needle. She is wearing a veil.
Image Source: FX/Hulu

Looking at Dollhouse on its own, there are several references and callbacks to American Horror Story, which is refreshing to see and fun for original fans. I always personally love when series make connections to past storylines and plots. In this case, without giving too much away, there is an origin story involved which makes for a fun realization when the dots connect. Dollhouse is about a doll maker, Mr. Van Wirt, who kidnaps women to put into his son’s dollhouse for him to play with. Personally, I found Dollhouse to be the better episode of the two and probably one of the best episodes of American Horror Stories as a whole. Denis O’hare also made his return to the AHS universe for this episode.

A woman stands with a ghost woman who is holding her baby. The woman is wearing a yellow shirt with a yellow cardigan. The ghost woman is wearing a gray cardigan, and the baby is wrapped in a striped blanket. They're standing in front of a staircase in a home.
Image Source: FX/Hulu

With Aura, the acting was incredible, and the storyline felt like it had amazing potential, but it honestly felt like it fell a bit short. This could be easily blamed on the fact that the show is an anthology series, so it was a bit rushed and didn’t answer all possible questions that it could have. However, all the actors did amazing work, especially Gabourey Sidibe and Max Greenfield, who were both returning to the AHS universe. Aura is a front door security camera, which honestly reminds me a lot of Ring doorbells and other things like that. People have been posting for years about their Ring doorbell picking up ghosts, so this was kind of like a play on that. It honestly reminded me of a watered-down version of a plot we would see on Black Mirror. A woman, Jaslyn, starts to see an old man outside the door through the camera’s monitor on her phone. However, nobody is actually out there. The couple then has to figure out what the man (and anyone else who visits after) wants.

All in all, season 2 is off to a promising start. While I found Dollhouse more enjoyable than Aura, I still liked both episodes. It’s hard to introduce characters, start a storyline and finish it all within a 40-minute episode, so the rushed feeling is just something that will probably happen with a few episodes. Nevertheless, I found myself having fun and actually wondering what would happen next, which didn’t happen as much last season. I’m excited to see how exactly the rest of the season will play out.