“Necro” is a rather perverse love story, in a way, but it builds to a bonkers, morbid conclusion.
This recap of American Horror Stories season 2, episode 7, “Necro”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Virtually all episodes of American Horror Stories — and indeed American Horror Story — have dealt with death in some way, but “Necro” deals with it professionally. Its protagonist, Sam, works in a funeral home, making the deceased presentable in the open caskets for their loved ones. She believes her work is important; that she, for a brief moment, allows the family of those who have passed to see them one last time. And she believes the dead are fascinating, whether it’s fleeing gases moaning through the vocal cords, or posthumous boners jutting up from beneath the sheet. We know so little that there’s always more to learn.
American Horror Stories season 2, episode 7 recap
But Sam likes the dead more than her boyfriend, Jesse. She also likes the new grave digger, Charlie, more than she likes Jesse, which is presumably why he flashes into her mind when they’re having sex. Charlie is similarly obsessed with death, and the two bond by sharing facts about how various cultures deal with the passing of their loved ones. Charlie’s whole family was killed by a drunk driver. Sam’s mother, we learn, was murdered in Machiasport, Maine, in 1998, leaving her blood and some sugary cereal spilled all over the floor.
The cereal thing highlights just how little Sam and Jesse have a connection. When she rushes home from work for what she believes is dinner with his parents, he has instead arranged a surprise proposal with the cereal laid out on the floor, spelling a message. Since Sam always keeps a box around he thought it was her favorite. He didn’t realize it was a memento of her mother’s brutal murder.
The next day, Sam finds Charlie on her mortuary slab, dead of an apparent overdose. She gets upset, having seemingly lost the only man who understood her, and in her grief, she pays off that throwaway line about boners after death by straddling the dude and riding him. She’s interrupted by a bit of unexpected noise and movement, and when she returns, Charlie is gone.
When Sam discovers Charlie alive, he claims it was just a prank. He has a friend who’s good with prosthetics, explaining the autopsy scars, and you can find a pill for anything, explaining his lack of breathing. Sam is mortified, at least in part because her apparently necrophilia has been exposed, and Charlie isn’t shy about pointing out that she seemed rather keen on the fact he was “dead”.
A couple of months later, Sam has quit her job at the funeral home and is instead working as a makeup artist. She’s engaged to Jesse and is pretending to be someone she obviously isn’t, in the hopes that her encounter with Charlie won’t catch up to her. But it does — and on her wedding day, no less. A specially curated romantic video package suddenly cuts to Sam riding Charlie in the funeral home. Charlie, who is there, thinks he’s doing Sam a favor, freeing her from this facsimile of a life. But it doesn’t work out that way. Sam is left alone, jobless, a registered sex offender, and a social pariah.
When she goes to take revenge on Charlie, he reveals his motive — in pretending to be a corpse he wanted to give her a freeing taste of death, something to jolt her into consciousness, which is what he experienced in the aftermath of his family’s death. He obviously let it go too far. But he still thinks he was in the right since he knows Sam has a very specific connection to death stemming back to the loss of her mother, who was dead for three days before anyone found her body. Sam brushed her hair and fed her cereal and drank her dead mother’s milk. That was the last time she felt truly safe.
At the end of “Necro”, Sam debates killing herself for a moment, but Charlie convinces her that they can be happy together. And she agrees. So she shoots him in the belly and tumbles into a grave with him, and they both have sex as they’re buried alive.
Blimey, that was weird, wasn’t it?