American Horror Story is renowned for its anthology format, a style that allows the show to change its storyline and setting with each new season. The beauty of this style is that the show remains fresh yet the viewers get the opportunity to see the brilliant cast take on completely different roles each year. And while we still don't know the story of American Horror Story Season 6, there's little doubt it will be another wild departure from the norm.
Get ready for AHS Season 6 with the promo compilation below:
But despite the anthology format, there are some huge connections between each season, meaning they aren't as segregated as we once thought. So, to gear up for the Season 6 premiere, we're taking a look back at all of the connections made so far, what they could mean for the future of the show and if we will see more connections made in Season 6.
Murder House Is Linked To Coven and Hotel
The first season of American Horror Story — later subtitled Murder House — established the show's horror style with its unique setting. Those who died on the grounds of the titular house became ghosts that were unable to leave the premises for all eternity. But even more interesting was the fact that the ghosts were indistinguishable from the living, and could interact with humans as if they were alive themselves. After the season finale, it seemed like the ghostly formula would be a one-off for AHS, but it returned in American Horror Story: Hotel — the show's fifth season. Those who died in the Hotel Cortez remained attached to the building for all of eternity, immediately connecting Murder House to Hotel.
The similarities between Hotel and Murder House extend beyond a similar premise, with several characters seen during the first season reappearing in the fifth. Real estate agent Marcy, who sold the haunted house to the Harmon Family in Murder House, returned to sell the Hotel Cortez to buyer Will Drake. Marcy would meet her maker and as a result her spirit was trapped in the Hotel. Furthermore, actress Sarah Paulson returned as her Murder House character, medium Bille Dean Howard. Howard popped up during the final episode of Hotel and was terrorized by the paranormal residents of the Cortez.
Hotel even brought back actress Gabourey Sidibe to play Queenie, a witch who first appeared during American Horror Story: Coven. She was a fan favorite character during Season 3, and Queenie's appearance in Hotel directly referenced her exploits during Coven, with guests of the Cortez recognizing her from news reports. Since the existence of witches was revealed to the world at the end of Coven, this means that the Hotel took place in the same world. Her presence links Coven to Hotel, and as a result links Coven to Murder House.
Fans have also suggested that Coven character Madison Montgomery was related to Murder House character Nora Montgomery due to their shared last name. We only saw Nora in some brief flashbacks, meaning we could see their relationship explored in the future.
But that's not all. The final connection came during a flashback in Hotel when The Countess, played by Lady Gaga, visited the Murder House in the early 1920s, looking for help from the crazed Dr. Montgomery — a mainstay during the flashback sequences in the Murder House.
Asylum Is Tied To Freak Show
Hotel introduced the most connections to previous seasons we've seen, but those kinds of ties were teased a bit earlier. The first time a connection was made between seasons was when Pepper — a character featured in Season 2, American Horror Story: Asylum — became a recurring character in Season 4, American Horror Story: Freak Show. Asylum is set primarily in 1964, 12 years before the events of Freak Show, and Freak Show showed viewers what happened to Pepper before she arrived at the Briarcliff Mental Institution seen in Asylum.
Near the end of Season 4, freak show owner Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) left Pepper with her biological sister. After Elsa departed, the sister sent Pepper to Briarcliff where she was then put under the care of Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe). No explanation was given as to why Sister Jude — Jessica Lange's character from Asylum and the head of Briarcliff — was not seen here, though it's believed she hadn't arrived at Briarcliff in the '50s.
Aslylum's Dr. Arthur Arden provided another connection between the two seasons. It was revealed that Arden was in fact a deranged Nazi scientist named Hans Gruber responsible for conducting experiments on the patients at Briarcliff. And in Freak Show, Elsa Mars revealed that she lost her legs when she was forced to participate in a snuff film produced by none other than Gruber.
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Building Two Shared Universes
With the connections established, it's clear that the minds behind AHS have built two distinct shared universes. The world of Freak Show and Asylum deals with psychological horror and more realistic scares, seen through the psychoses of Briarcliff's inmates and the physical abnormalities of the freak show, while Murder House, Coven and Hotel use supernatural horror as their basis. Currently, there are no signs that they will crossover, and that might be a good thing considering how different they are.
It's also worth noting that the use of recurring actors has yet to impact the shared universes. Performers like Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson and more have played different characters across AHS seasons, but any physical similarities between characters have gone unnoticed. Clearly the creators are more concerned with story than looks, which is a good thing considering how complex the world has become.
Could Season 6 Tie Everything Together?
The mystery behind Season 6's theme has driven much of the buzz for the show's return, and while it's entirely possible that we could see the birth of a wholly original world it wouldn't be a shock to see familiar settings and scenarios return. In fact, one of the show's teasers strongly suggests everything could come together.
The Season 6 teaser above features plenty of figures from the show's past interacting with each other, and while it could simply be artistic marketing it could also have a hidden meaning. The mystery behind Season 6 could involve bringing all the past seasons together, and the promo might be a clever nod towards that plotline.
We also know that actors including Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson and Lady Gaga are all set to return for the new season. It's possible that they could return as past characters, and their interactions could open the doors for a massive AHS shared universe.
There isn't much time before the theme of Season 6 is revealed to the world and I couldn't be more excited for it. However, as the mystery unravels it's important to remember that Season 6 is still part of American Horror Story's massive universe and until those worlds collide, the biggest mystery has yet to be revealed.
American Horror Story Season 6 premieres on FX on September 14. How could Season 6 of American Horror Story tie everything together? Tell me in the comments section below.