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American Horror Stories - Ba'al - Review

13 Aug 2021

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Five episodes into the American Horror Story spinoff and American Horror Stories delivers its best episode yet. And I know I said that last week, but if the shoe fits… Plot twists, genuine scares, and gore make up for the stale premiere episodes. 

In “Ba’al,” we have Billie Lourd (Booksmart) as Liv Whitley, a woman who thought she was infertile, who ends up having a child is much more than she asked for, and Ronen Rubenstein (911: Lone Star) as Matt Webb, Liv’s actor husband who starts accepting more demanding gigs the more difficult life with a child gets. 

Ali Adler did not come to play when she wrote this episode, and that’s obvious with the way Matt and his friends are tortured. There’s an added layer though, an extra step of understanding the story with the specific decision to cast Billie Lourd and Ronen Rubenstein in their respective roles. They were perfect for the characters, in their worst moments and in their best. 

The chemistry the two had with each other was a make-or-break part of this episode, if it wasn’t believable the twist would be spotted from miles away, but they both fell into the roles they were given easily and successfully. 

Lourd and Rubenstein aren’t ones to be typecasted, and this episode flips their typical stereotypes on their heads. Whereas you’d normally see them playing uncaring, sometimes over-the-top characters, here, Rubenstein is playing the hurtful lover, with his eventual crass actions, while Lourd is an heiress, but one who is struggling to be heard above all of her money. 

The story goes like this: Liv can’t have kids, Liv receives totem from Bernadette (Virginia Gardner - Runaways), nosy receptionist, Liv gives birth to baby wanted by a demon known as Ba’al. At least that’s what she thinks. 

Matt, meanwhile, is off on night shoots and doesn’t hear the voices she’s hearing, he doesn’t see the things she’s seeing. And when she has what she thinks is proof through the video baby monitor (!) he still doesn’t believe they’re hearing the same thing. 

Matt is the doting husband, trying to make sure she’s okay, ensuring that they’ll do whatever they need to for however long they need to to get a baby, and it’s sweet without being smothering. Even when he doesn’t believe her, he introduces her to a psychologist who a friend of his knew and went to after she gave birth. You’re rooting for both Liv and Matt the entire time — until you’re not. 

It’s genuinely shocking when it’s revealed that Matt and his friends are behind the entire thing. From the voices on the baby monitor to the figure posing as the devil, all of it was Matt trying to get out of his marriage with all of the money his wife has still intact. 

However, we get another shock when Ba’al is in fact real, Liv summoned him, and they team up to take down Matt and his friends. And take them down they do. Organs are ripped out, necks are snapped, and it all takes place in a scene less than five minutes long. 

It’s a very fun end to an episode that started off a little rough, even a little slow, but once it got where it was trying to go, it was absolutely fantastic.

What did you think of the episode? Do you like the gore American Horror Stories has been delivering? What was your favorite part of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!