Diving into a ‘Lake’ of Chaos: Episode 8 of ‘American Horror Stories’ Season 2

The final (and possibly weakest) episode of season 2 of “American Horror Stories” tells a disorganized tale of death and the consequences of familial legacy.



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

Blythe Bouza, Senior Staff Writer

What are Youtuber Oliva Rouyre and Cher from Clueless here?

Is this a game of siblings or dating?

These are questions that I asked myself during the first five minutes of the “American Horror Stories” season finale, “Lake.”

“Lake” follows a family as they grieve the death of their son, Jake (Bobby Hogan), who died from drowning in Lake Prescott. Each member of the family grieves differently: sister Finn (Olivia Rouyre) enters a deep depression and has to be hospitalized, father Jeffrey (Teddy Sears) buries himself in his work and mother Erin (Alicia Silverstone) simply refuses to give up searching for her son’s body in the lake itself. 

While the premise of the episode feels promising, every scene of “Lake” brought new questions and distractions that detracted from the story itself. It didn’t help that I watched this final episode with friends who are extremely vocal about their opinions of plot and character. They wouldn’t shut up about how they thought it was stupid that the dead brother “owned brown crocs.” I digress.

The first annoying feature of the episode was how long Finn, Erin and even Jake could hold their breaths underwater. They were at least 10-12 feet below water, yet they’d swim around for five minutes or more before coming back up for air. I really couldn’t get behind that. This situation detracted from the believability of the episode.

Another annoying thing about “Lake” was that it fell back on the typical trope that tends to arise once a child dies in a family: X. Erin and Jeffrey’s marital problems come to light, and of course Erin reminisces on how things used to be between her and her husband. I know that Alicia Silverstone hasn’t done a lot of acting projects in a while, but she was still particularly unconvincing in her character. Someone in our viewing audience even said, “I do not believe these two are in love.”

Perhaps Manny Coto’s writing for her character wasn’t doing her any favors, but everything she said felt forced and ingenuine. In terms of the writing as a whole, my friend was able to predict word for word what Silverstone’s character was about to say with about a 75% success rate.

“Lake” also continues to feed into what tends to be the greatest weakness of  “American Horror Stories”: slow plots with a suddenly rushed climax as a result of a one-episode time restraint. A large chunk of the episode was just Olivia Rouyre and Alicia Silverstone swimming underwater or Silverstone seeing random ghouls in her various forms of water supply. It felt incredibly stagnant, which led me to forget what the conflict of the episode was even supposed to be. Finally, the big plot twist was unpredictable but happened extremely fast and within the last ten minutes. It barely gave viewers enough time to process the severity of the situation and what was happening on screen. As with other AHS episodes, the plot went from 0 to 100 with no warning.

Were there other episodes this season that were holistically worse? Yes–but “Lake” felt thoroughly discombobulated and unorganized. leading me to be detached from the plot and the characters with no desire to buy into what was going on.