Bewildered by ‘Bloody Mary’: Episode 5 of ‘American Horror Stories’ Season 2

“American Horror Stories” produces its strongest episode yet, paying satisfying homage to a classic childhood ghost “game.”



Promotional poster for “Bloody Mary” depicting a figure looking at a mirror. (Photo courtesy of Hulu)

Blythe Bouza, Senior Staff Writer

I vividly remember the first time I heard of Bloody Mary. 

I was at the beach with my friend who had just come back from summer camp and was eager to tell me about all of their stories, the most notable being Bloody Mary. We ran to the bathroom, hesitant yet excited to test the truths of the fable. In the end, we behaved the way any seven-year-old would; however, we didn’t chant “Bloody Mary” a third time, so we’ll never know the validity of the myth.

That’s not the case for the characters in the “American Horror Stories” episode, “Bloody Mary.”

While most of the “American Horror Stories” episodes this season have been mediocre at best, episode five pleasantly surprised me. It had a concrete and secure plot, had decent writing and acting and wasn’t overly predictable. For the first time this season, the episode felt properly paced, yet still oozed with suspense. 

“Bloody Mary” follows a group of four friends; sisters Elise (Raven Scott) and Bianca (Quvenzhane Wallis), and girls Maggie (Kyla-Drew) and Lena (Kyanna Simone) as they each navigate their lives after making deals with Bloody Mary (Dominique Jackson) herself. 

How far would you go to attain what you truly want? 

This “American Horror Stories” episode centers around this question, as the group of girls are asked to do things that range the gamut from leaking a friend’s nudes to paralyzing a teammate. The group of four live in constant fear as Bloody Mary haunts them in every reflective surface, threatening to gouge out their eyes if the tasks are not complete. 

The clear objective that we as viewers receive early on allows the show to not beat around the bush with expositional filler. There is exposition, yes, but all of it is essential to the story and it swiftly but clearly goes along. Many of the other episodes in the season have failed to follow this formula – they spruce the story up with all of this avoidable exposition and then dump a ton of action in the last 15 minutes, making the episode feel unrealistic and unsatisfying. 

Another reason the plot is enhanced is due to the depth of the main character, Bianca. Bianca dreams of attending Yale and escaping her neglectful mother, and we see her passion and vigor as she looks for a way to attain these goals without following the instructions of Bloody Mary. Bianca doesn’t necessarily contain the depths of TV characters from longer series, but compared to other “American Horror Stories” characters, she has clearer and more relatable goals, making us want to root for her in the end. 

Speaking of “the end,” the final twist at the conclusion of this episode was surprisingly a real twist for once. The other “American Horror Stories” episodes have been incredibly predictable in this regard, making the last scene of “Bloody Mary” refreshing and strengthening the episode as a whole. 

Compared to some of its predecessors this season, “Bloody Mary” is not one to miss. Just don’t try it at home.