‘American Horror Stories’ Season 2 Premiere Gives an Origin Story to an Ignored ‘AHS: Coven’ Character

American Horror Story: Coven fans were treated to a special surprise at the end of the American Horror Stories Season 2 premiere. FX on Hulu’s episodic anthology spinoff of AHS tells a different horror tale every week, starting off with a twisted dollhouse story in season 2. While most of the “Dollhouse” characters are entirely new, fans eventually learn that one would later play a role in AHS: Coven. Here’s how AHS: Coven and American Horror Stories connect.

[Spoiler alert: The following story contains spoilers for American Horror Stories Season 2 Episode 1, “Dollhouse.”]

Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode, Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery, Jamie Brewer as Nan, Taissa Farmiga as Zoe Benson, Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie in American Horror Story: Coven, which receives a callback in American Horror Stories Season 2
Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode, Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery, Jamie Brewer as Nan, Taissa Farmiga as Zoe Benson, Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie in ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ | Michele K. Short/FX

‘American Horror Stories’ Season 2 premiere tells the story of a twisted dollhouse

“Dollhouse” stars Denis O’Hare as Spalding, a dollmaker who is obsessed with finding a new mother for his son, Otis (Houston Towe). Spalding killed his previous wife and Otis’ biological mother for cheating on him. He kidnaps several women to compete in a “pageant” that would result in one woman becoming Otis’ new mother. However, they must compete while wearing head-to-toe doll outfits and masks.

Spalding’s newest competitor, Coby (Kristine Froseth), has something unique about her: the power of psychokinesis. She uses her power to impress Otis and wins his trust. Spalding has one woman killed after each trial; it eventually comes down to Coby and two others. She and the other “dolls” hatch a plan to escape, but Coby refuses to leave without Otis.

Unfortunately, Spalding catches on to the plan and has Otis stun Coby when she tries to escape with him. Spalding has the other women killed and declares Coby the winner. He casts her body in a porcelain mold and forces her to serve as a wife and mother. However, the dollhouse receives some unexpected visitors: witches from Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. They come to recruit Coby, and she brings Otis along, leaving Spalding behind to burn in his dollhouse.

When Coby and Otis arrive at the academy, she tells him to go by a different name. He chooses Spalding. Before heading into the building, they meet a young Myrtle Snow (Ellie Grace Pomeroy), who promises to lead the coven one day.

Who is Spalding in ‘American Horror Story: Coven’?

American Horror Story Season 3, Coven, tells the story of a group of students at the witches’ academy. Myrtle Snow appears again as an adult, this time played by Frances Conroy. Denis O’Hare plays Spalding, a mute butler who allegedly came from a long line of servants at the school. However, as we know now, he actually came to the school with Coby. Spalding has an obsession with dolls in Coven, which makes sense because of his upbringing.

Spalding often cleans up murder messes at the academy. He cuts out his own tongue to prevent a truth spell that would force him to expose Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) for killing a fellow witch. The students at the academy sometimes make fun of Spalding, so he keeps to himself mostly. In his free time, he has tea parties with his dolls. He even keeps Madison Montgomery’s (Emma Roberts) corpse to use as a life-size doll.

The witches of the academy return in American Horror Story Season 8, Apocalypse, but Spalding is not seen or mentioned.

Many ‘AHS’ fans have loved the callback

Many American Horror Story fans took to Twitter to praise American Horror Stories for its Coven connection.

“I was really caught off guard with that twist in the end. I did not expect it to be Spalding’s backstory. And young Myrtle Snow in the end. It made me miss coven,” one fan wrote.

“AHS Coven the prequel? “#AHStories Loved the ending of Dollhouse with young Myrtle Snow making an appearance. Spalding’s origin story is wild … I would’ve left him with his dad though after that bs he pulled with the stun gun,” another person added.

This wasn’t the first time American Horror Stories tied into a previous American Horror Story season. Last year, Stories included a sequel to AHS Season 1, Murder House. However, those episodes received mixed reviews, as many fans felt tired of the Murder House storyline.

American Horror Stories Season 2 is now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes dropping every Thursday.

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