TV Recap: 'American Horror Story' Episode 103 - 'Murder House'


American Horror Story Episode 103

"Murder House"

Written By: Jennifer Salt

Directed By: Bradley Buecker

Original Airdate: 19 October 2011

In This Episode...

Ben has a new patient named Sally, who is the most boring person on the planet. No, really. Her husband is divorcing her because she is so boring. She speaks in a monotone that actually seems to put Ben to sleep during their session. He wakes in the garden with blood on his hands and no memory of how he got there, what happened to his patient, or where his audio recorder went. Moira is cleaning up a puddle of blood (sexily, of course) and comes on to him. Ben loses his temper and fires her. Vivien walks in on the commotion and Moira demands respect and threatens to sue if she is fired.  

Another "patient" comes to see Ben, one who wasn't on the books: Hayden. She is hysterical after being abandoned at the abortion clinic, regardless of the circumstances. She did not go through with the abortion and has decided to move to Los Angeles and make Ben be a father to their baby. He promises to meet her tomorrow at a coffee shop and hurries her out of the house to speak to a detective, looking into the disappearance of Sally. Ben isn't a suspect, but the last person to see her alive. Interestingly enough, the detective sees young Moira, not old Moira. Sally is found a few days later, comatose after a suicide attempt. She took his voice recorder which offers an explanation for what happened. Sally had realized that Ben wasn't paying attention to her and grew agitated. "I'm in pain! What do I have to do to get your attention? Kill myself?" Ben snaps out of it when she grabs a letter opener and slits open both her wrists. Unethical? Yes. Illegal? Not really.

Moving out of the house is harder than Vivien imagined. The house is a tough sell because it is "the murder house;" no other realtor in the city will take the listing; the Harmons lost most of their savings in the market crash and can't afford to move until they can sell this house - even then, it is going to be tough. Violet doesn't want to move. She loves the house because it has soul and thinks that her parents avoid their problems rather than face them. She vows to run away if her parents make her move. 

While gardening, Vivien notices the Eternal Darkness bus tour outside her home. She signs up and learns more about the history of the house (see below). She begins bleeding and, fearing a miscarriage, jumps off the tour. At the doctor's office, the doc promises her that both she and the baby are fine, that this is just normal spotting. While there, Ben passes out. The doc runs some tests and when she calls later, the results are a bit odd: Ben's bloodwork reveals traces of an opiate that was banned in the 1930s for extreme memory loss in its users. Ben thinks Moira has been dosing his coffee. Hayden shows up, infuriated that Ben ditched her again. He promises to take her for a fancy meal and lets her kiss him. As they are leaving the house, Hayden is struck suddenly with a shovel. Larry wields the shovel and insists that the horrified Ben not call the cops. "She's dead, but you didn't kill her. You certainly had a reason to...." Larry buries the body in the garden for Ben - but he could really use a thousand bucks for "headshots." While digging, Larry discovers another corpse (presumably Moira). Ben decides to build a gazebo with a dense, concrete base over the makeshift grave. "Looks like you will be stuck here forever," Constance says to Moira.

Dig It or Bury It?

AHS is generally a jam-packed show. This episode was especially exhausting. It felt like non-stop hysteria. I think Hayden is the scariest part of this whole show. She's watch-your-rabbit crazy, and she's real (well, corporeal). 

I liked that we got a little more history about Moira and Constance, but I suspect that their history together runs deeper than just 1983. They feel like life-long adversaries that go through a frequent cycle of death and rebirth together. 

Full Disclosure

There is a lot of history here. The show opens in 1983. We see young Moira (pretty, but not a seductress) making a bed. The master of the house comes in, drunk, wanting to put the bed to use. Moira begs him not to - the one time before was a mistake. He throws her down and rapes her as she sobs. The wife comes in and shoots Moira through the right eye (her "ghost" eye), then shoots her husband in the chest. The wife is Constance.

While Vivien is on the haunted LA tour, we learn about the house's origins. It was built in 1922 by Dr. Charles Montgomery for his socialite wife, Nora, to lure her from the east coast. Charles is a drug addict and his practice goes down the toilet, so he turns instead to sewing up dead animals into Frankenstein monsters. Nora is bitter and angry that her husband cannot or will not provide her the life she was promised. In order to bring a little cash into the house, she brings in girls who are "in a bad way" for illegal abortions at $60 a pop. It is not clear if the doc was also killing the girls - the tour guide simply says that nearly two dozen girls came through that house, and that the "bloodbath" ended in 1926. In modern times, Nora visits the house as a perspective buyer. She loves the house, but Vivien is confused when she turns her back to retrieve some tea for the two of them, and when she returns, Nora has vanished. Nora's ghost has a giant, bloody wound in the back of her head.

Constance Harm

Well, she shot her husband and her husband's victim. That's pretty fucked up. She flat-out admits to Moira that she is stealing silverware from the Harmons with the intention of blaming Moira for the theft while profiting from the ill-gotten goods on Ebay.


Halloween comes to AHS next week with an attack by the rubber man on Violet, Vivien asking about Hayden, and details on what happened to the last owners of the house.