Decoding The 'AHS' Season Three Clues


Season two of American Horror Story came to a close last night, and now that we know how things ended for Sister Jude, Lana Winters, Kit Walker and the rest of Briarcliff's brethren, it's time to begin thinking about what season three of Ryan Murphy's amorphous anthology will look like.

Much as he did with season one, Murphy scattered clues about his season three plans throughout the final few American Horror Story: Asylum episodes, but said that this year, "it's a different kind of clue," meaning it wouldn't be as overt as Psychic Billie Dean Howard's long soliloquy about paramagnetic grip (how evil can be absorbed by an environment, ie: an Asylum).

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So ETonline scoured the final few episodes for clues, and have come up with some pretty good theories. Although, if I'm being honest, one stands heads and shoulders above the other.

The first possibility revolves around Hollywood and the lengths people go to in the quest for fame. Not only were there countless pop culture references littered throughout Asylum, but at a recent Q&A, while talking about Lana's arc in the season finale, Murphy said, "I also like that meditation on fame, which was somewhat loosely modeled on all that Capote In Cold Blood stuff, which I am obsessed with. I thought [that corruption of fame] was really interesting."

This theory could be supported by the fact Ryan Murphy also said Jessica Lange's season three character would "have the best designer gowns, ever. She's going to play a really glamour cat. " Potential Title: American Bandstand Horror Story. Although, some could argue the last string of Asylum episodes perfectly handled this topic, it would no doubt be exciting to see Murphy return to his Nip/Tuck stomping grounds.

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The second possibility focuses on the world of politics, and the dirty dealings its players engage in. While that might not instantly bring "horror" to the front of your mind, think about the terrifying world brought to life in Richard Condon's 1959 novel, The Manchurian Candidate and the delicious role Angela Lansbury dug her talons into with 1962's cinematic adaptation. Potential title: American Horror Story: Capital Gains.

While politics were lightly touched on in regards to Monsignor Timothy Howard (played by Joseph Fiennes), many are looking to a passing reference in the season finale to Norma, the play Lana's partner Marion performed at The MET, name-checked by April Mayfield during Lana's Kennedy Center interview.

Henrik Ibsen's play is a politically-charged take on Vincenzo Bellini's operaNorma, which deals with Druid priests and priestesses, unrequited love, infanticide and betrayal. The world of politics would not only allow Murphy to set the action in various cities and times, which he's already confirmed for season three, but would also open the door for the Romeo & Juliet-like relationship he plans to deliver next season.

But, if I were a betting man, I'd expect season three to focus on witches, pagans and the practice of magic.

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In terms of clues, both I Put A Spell On You and Love Potion #9 played on the Briarcliff jukebox, while many have mentioned that Dr. Arden's suicide by immolation could be a reference to witches being burned at the stake in order to purify their souls. But it's another "sole" that perhaps yields the biggest clue.

In The Name Game, Jude's marvelous musical hallucination sees all the patients participating in her performance, and while no one but Jude changes clothes, Lana's shoes go from asylum-issued flats to fancy "ruby" heels [video embedded below for good measure ... and pure fun]. Could Murphy have been signifying a sartorial similarity between Lana and Dorthy of Oz, who faced down The Wicked Witch of The West?

Perhaps more tellingly, during that aforementioned Q&A, Murphy said season three is "really about female power," "is more historical in nature" and that their big bad (ie: The Rubber Man, Bloody Face) is a woman this year. Potential title: American Horror Story: Salem. Or, given that season two took place in Massachusetts, American Horror Story: Voodoo, as New Orleans would offer up as much black magic, but far fewer New England accents.

While all of that is me speculating (for all I know, season three could take place aboard a space station in the year 3045), there are a few things we know for sure.

Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are all confirmed to be returning, some familiar faces from season one (including Taissa Farmiga) will be back. Everyone will, once again, tackle a role that's 180 degrees away from what they just played. Season three will be lighter in tone; Murphy says he and Lange missed the humor of season one and AHS might be welcoming their biggest star to-date for season three.

We've all written or read countless stories about actors approaching Murphy for roles on Glee, and at that Q&A, I asked if he's noticed a shift in which show people ask to be on now that American Horror Story has become so popular. He said, "I think that people are drawn to, in the zeitgeist, what is hot. Horror Story has had that great ride this year, but also, I've never had people with multiple Oscars call and ask to do arcs. That's a new thing."

So, perhaps Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster or Denzel Washtington will be checking in to American Horror Story next season!