Okay, okay -- so "American Horror Story" obviously has standalone seasons, so you can pick up on "Freak Show" from episode one without really missing anything. However, creator Ryan Murphy's recent reveal that each season was in some way connected has every "AHS" fan's head spinning, so we at MTV News have been going back in time to see which episodes really mattered.
From the outings that featured recurring characters (like Naomi Grossman's Pepper) to the episodes that exemplified the overall tone of the show, here are the ones you need to watch -- and they're all available on Netflix -- if you're considering becoming an "AHS" fan.
It's so hard to remember the days when we didn't know that "AHS" was going to be an anthology, but back when "Pilot" aired in 2011, it was all about the Harmon family and their Murder House. The pilot wasn't the show's best episode -- nor was it the worst -- but it did introduce audiences to how over-the-top and stylistic the show could be. It also featured a "Rosemary's Baby"-esque scene with a man in a rubber gimp suit raping Connie Britton, so.
This is the episode that provided the backstories to all of the ghosts in the Murder House -- including the Montgomery family, who Vulture pointed out might actually be related to "Coven" character Madison Montgomery.
Even though "AHS" had already depicted a school shooting, a rape, and multiple murders, "Smoldering Children" was when we knew that they were really willing to go there. A main character was killed off in a way that still gives me chills, and this death was our first indicator that the "Murder House" story might end after episode 12.
If "Smoldering Children" taught us how brutal "AHS" can be, "Birth" -- which was still extremely brutal -- gave us our fist glimpse at its surprisingly touching, sentimental side. The episode was also directed by "AHS" fan-fave Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who ups the dream-like horror stakes each time he takes the helm.
"Welcome to Briarcliff"
"Welcome to Briarcliff" was our first peek at the world of "Asylum," and with aliens, ex-Nazis, nuns, a serial killer, and Adam Levine's bloody stump arm, it quickly became clear that season two had really upped the ante. Also, if you're a fan of the "every season is connected" thing, this was our introduction to current "Freak Show" character Pepper.
"I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)"
"Anne Frank (Part 2)" -- another Gomez-Rejon episode -- is by far my favorite episode of the entire series. It featured Sarah Paulson's thrilling escape from the Briarcliff, a somehow emotionally resonant Anne Frank-impersonator plot that was steeped in tragic misogyny, and the most absurdly hilarious scene in the show's history. And that's saying a lot.
The presence of Frances Conroy's Angel of Death made this a fascinating episode, as many of the series' sad, broken characters were faced with an easy way out of the lives they'd been leading. Also, it heavily featured Sister Mary Eunice's (Lily Rabe) demonic possession, and Mary Eunice is another character who will be appearing in "Freak Show."
"The Name Game"
See the above GIF. The deliriously enjoyable dance number with Jessica Lange, Paulson, and Evan Peters -- the show's recurring trio of stars -- remains an "AHS" highlight for the ages.
Overall, "Asylum" was the season that really showed viewers that "AHS" was aiming to be something more than a campy gore-fest. Not everything that it tried fully worked, but the breathtaking end to Lana Winters' story and the aliens-juxtaposed-with-Catholicism plot made it clear that this was always going to be a show to remember.
... and then came "Coven." Series 3 of "AHS" isn't yet available to stream on Netflix, but it surely will be, soon. Personally, it's the only season of the show I would recommend fully skipping.