I Couldn’t ‘Drive’ Away From an Episode Faster: Episode 3 of ‘American Horror Stories’ Season 2

The third installment of “American Horror Stories” falls flat, with Bella Thorne’s presence being the only semi-redeemable aspect.

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Hulu

Promotional poster for “Drive,” which is now streaming on Hulu. (Photo courtesy of Hulu)

Blythe Bouza, Senior Staff Writer

“First 2 episodes were decent, now it’s back to being bad.”

“Bella was actually decent. The writing, not so much.”

“Good episode but nothing wow.”

These statements all come from one of the latest posts on American Horror Story’s Instagram; fans are clearly not happy about “Drive,” the latest episode of season 2 of “American Horror Stories” (AHS(S)).

I can’t say that I blame them.

After the release of two fairly strong episodes, “Drive” falls flat with its poor writing, predictable plot and questionable acting. 

The episode revolves around Marci (Bella Thorne), a snobby, party girl who wants to go clubbing every night of the week and find people to hook up with in the back of her Range Rover. While I’m not here to shame anyone’s lifestyle choices, Marci’s behavior isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do given that a mysterious figure is kidnapping young women from clubs. 

When driving home from the club (who drives to a club, first of all), Marci is followed home by a red Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep tails Marci’s car and frantically flashes its headlights. If this storyline sounds familiar to you, it’s based on an old urban legend occasionally known as “Killer in the Backseat.” Does this parallel mean that the Jeep was attempting to be helpful rather than malicious? Perhaps. That’s for viewers to figure out on their own. 

I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot details of this episode, because the twist, while fairly predictable once you begin watching, is possibly the only redeeming quality of “Drive.” The script is rather corny, with lines reading as cringey and ingenuine. Additionally, there is a ton of foreshadowing in the first scene where Marci talks to her friend Piper (Stevanna Jackson) at the club. I’m all for some clever foreshadowing, but the statements feel overly deliberate and out of place for the scene, holding the viewer’s hand far too much. There’s no room for any real scares or suspense. 

To make “Drive” eerier and more suspenseful, it would have been better if the plot had been split into two episodes. This tactic would not be unfamiliar territory for Murphy and Falchuk; the pair did so for season 1 of “American Horror Stories” with the first two episodes, “Rubber (Wo)man: Part One” and “Rubber (Wo)man: Part Two.” It allowed the creators to drag out the story and create more nuanced details and tension for the plot and its twists. “Drive” attempts to cram a ton of relatively surprising information into a mere 40-ish minutes, making me roll my eyes at the clichè script, half-baked ideas and incredibly lackluster ending. When my computer screen went black, I was incredibly surprised: I expected the episode to possibly have some sort of second part, but I was mistaken. 

Aside from Thorne’s performance as the classic Ryan Murphy “mean girl” (usually reserved for the likes of Emma Roberts), the rest of the acting is disappointing, only exacerbating the failures of the script. Marci’s relationship with Chaz (Anthony De La Torre) feels forced with ultimately no chemistry, and Paul’s (Nico Greetham) emotional tone seems to change every scene, as if he can’t even keep up with what the script demands of his character.

I was incredibly disconnected from “Drive” and even found myself with the strong urge to throw in the towel and scroll through TikTok during the episode. Thorne is the only aspect of the episode that made it mildly redeeming.  

I guess you can say that I recommend driving straight past this episode.