TV Club: Flickers of tenderness lift up AHS: Roanoke’s torture

Early in tonight’s episode, Shelby tries to lead Dominic to safety through the tunnels under the house. But before long, the two former lovers retreat to the bathroom where they holed up in “Chapter 7.” Laughing hysterically, Shelby says, “We’re back where we started.” After two remarkably clear episodes packed with power, the show is right back where it started, too. “Chapter 8” (credited to AHS script coordinator/staff writer Todd Kubrak) has little to say, and it says that little in the grisliest way it can.

(Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lily Rabe) (Screenshot: FX)

Last week, I called the scenes of the Polks delighting in torture “the kind of exhausting, pointless grotesquerie that typifies AHS at its worst.” This week, those scenes make up the bulk of the episode. It’s not enough that they strap Lee into a chair and cut her up a piece at a …

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