American Horror Story Episode 102
Written By: Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Original Airdate: 12 October 2011
In This Episode...
Ben's trollop from Boston, Hayden, calls him with a very important message: she's pregnant. Rather than tell Vivien (who is convinced there is something wrong with her own fetus) the truth, he tells her one of his former patients tried to kill himself and the family has requested his help in the matter. Instead, he is going to be with Hayden through the abortion. Hayden is young, flighty, and slightly unhinged. Ben makes the terrible decision to stay with her ("on the couch") and promises not to answer any phone calls. The next day, when he does turn on his phone, he finds that he has 13 missed calls...
While Ben is away, Violet and Vivien run into some... problems. Two girls and a guy break into the house. The ringleader is a girl who visited Ben for therapy - turns out she was casing the joint, and had seen their house on a "murder" tour. These murder junkies are there to reenact a famous murder that took place in the house almost 50 years ago. The crazies have planned the murders down to the tiniest detail, but there were two things they didn't count on: the Harmon girls would fight back, and Tate, in all his creepiness, would appear to save the day. He hacks up one of the intruders with an axe in the hallway. When Tate lures the other two into the basement, Vivien and Violet race for help. In the basement, confronted by the ghosts of the victims of the murder they were trying to create, the other two end up dead. Moira, Constance, and Tate end up gathered around the three bodies. Tate swears he didn't kill them; the house did. The trio set to work cleaning up - this is not the first time Moira and Constance have had this chore.
Ben arrives home, apologetic and sitting with his girls while they give their statement to the police. The intruders's bodies were not in the house, but the axed-girl did make it out of the house and a few blocks away before dropping dead, nearly cut in half. Apparently this bloody trio had detailed plans for at least a half-dozen other murder recreations. Violent is mad that her dad wasn't there to protect them, but she has a new-found respect for her mom. Vivien is distant to Ben, but she is sure of one thing: she wants to move, and she wants to move now.
Dig It or Bury It?
The pacing issues I saw in episode one resolved themselves in this episode. It was fast-paced, but with the characters and situation already established, the episode was allowed to take place in the span of a few days instead of untold months. Plus, the pacing was a huge asset considering the subject matter.
Regardless of any supernatural aspects, the "home invasion" portion of this episode was especially intense. Three complete psychopaths who want to recreate a decades-old murder, going so far as to purchase the actual murder weapon at auction, break into the house and terrorize the women for hours. Come on, isn't that every girl's nightmare? What fascinated me was that the three psychopaths were total tweaked-out wasteoids, yet they were able to pull together a meticulous crime. I guess that since they followed the original crime to the murder, it didn't take a lot of thought.
1968. Five girls live in the house. Three of them go out to see The Doors concert. Maria, the virginal Catholic remains home with Gladys, the frumpy, overweight nurse. A man comes to the door, saying he is injured and needs help. Trusting Maria lets him in, and the nightmare begins. He forces her to dress in a nurse's uniform, hogties her, and stabs her repeatedly in the back. This is the crime that the intruders are recreating. It isn't until they set up their modern day reenactment that we find out Gladys was drowned in the bathtub.
What is interesting is that, in this case, the horror convention of the "good girl" being spared is completely inverted. The religious girl who stays home is killed, while the three girls who go out to a rock concert completely avoid the danger.
Constance is just full of weird tonight. Addy helps her make ipecac-laced cupcakes, which Constance delivers to the Harmon house, adamant that they only be eaten by Violet (it ends up that the only one who eats the tainted cupcake is one of the intruders). While delivering the cupcakes, Constance can "smell" the pregnancy on Vivien. Addy isn't Constance's only child. She had two others with various physical maladies, and one who was the "picture of perfection" but whom she lost to "other things."
Addy wandered in to the Harmon house during the invasion, but left unseen. When she tries to tell her mom what she saw, Constance is locked in her room with a young, buff rent boy (who I have decided is either her "perfect" child, or a surrogate for him - either way, it's a creepy incestuous thing). Constance is not pleased by the interruption and locks Addy in the "bad girl room" - a small closet decked out with dozens of mirrors. Addy is forced to confront her own image so she can see what a "freak" she is.
The Psycho shower scene music plays as Maria is stabbed.
Constance and Moira are at odds again as Constance steals more from the Harmons. Hayden shows up in Los Angeles, determined to tell Vivien what has been happening. Vivien, meanwhile, is distracted by her desperate need to move out of that house.