HERE”S THE OVERVIEW/SYNOPSIS FOR AHS WEEK 3
Before I get to the meat and taters of this post, I want to announce that it’ll be filled with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the second episode of American Horror Story and you have a date with your Tivo to do so, don’t read any further.
And let us begin.
What a difference a week makes! I wanted this series to get better and I think it’s safe to say that tonight, it did. For starters, the flashback sequences of this show are terrific. Tonight’s version was downright scary. Was it just me or did anyone get a Richard Speck/Chicago nurse murder vibe? Even a little Hitchockian maybe? In his TV series, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”, there was an episode in which a crazed nurse serial killer is on the loose, stalking several nurses caring for a dying man in his old, dark, scary Victorian mansion. And during a thunderstorm, no less. It’s one the best, certainly the scariest offering of the entire TV series. If you haven’t seen it, please do so. You’ll see a few similarities. It’s called, “An Unlocked Window”.
In the flashback, it’s 1968. The date pops up and the screen and The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius” is playing. As best we can tell, the house at that time was serving as a dormitory for nursing students. The scene opens with several students heading out the door to attend a Doors concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Gladys, a chubby frumpy woman in her white uniform and Maria who’s studying, stay behind. The TV is on and “Laugh In” is entertaining Gladys. There’s a knock on the door. Maria opens it and sees a suspicious looking stranger standing there. He says he has a head injury and needs help. His name is Franklin and he hates nurses because years ago, one poisoned him with mercury from a broken thermometer. He knocks out Maria, then marches Gladys upstairs where he drowns her the bathtub. He goes back downstairs where Maria has regained consciousness. He makes her take off her clothes and put on a white nurses uniform, then hogties her on the couch. As Maria lies there praying, Franklin repeatedly stabs her in the back.
Disturbing as all get out and even scarier than any ghost story, because tragically, things like that actually happen.
Back to Hell House in the present. We’re in Constance’s kitchen, where she and Addy are making cupcakes. . She asks Addy to hand her a bottle of ipecac. Apparently, that Connie’s secret ingredient. Addy obliges, then starts thumbing through a fashion magazine. She asks her mom why doesn’t she look like other girls. Constance quickly responded: “Because that’s the way you were born, but you were born with… other gifts.” Addy’s asks, “Like what?” Well, Constance answers her question, but it’s so wrong, but so ridiculously funny at the same time. She says, “Jesus Christ on a stick, I don’t know! Finger painting!”.
Then she ordered the girl to spit into her cupcake batter. Destined to become a classic.
Constance then takes the cupcakes next door and tells Viv that she made them for Violet. Then she looks at Viv and says she can tell “by the smell” that Viv is pregnant. Pheromones, apparently. Viv confirms the guess, then admits she has a few concerns about her pregnancy. That’s when Constance tells her that she knows her womb is cursed because Addy isn’t an only child. Connie had four kids, three of them born with Down Syndrome and one perfect child, a son who as she says, ”left her by some other means”.
We learn that Ben is out of town….called to Boston because Hayden, the woman he had the affair with, is pregnant. She wants to abort the baby, and wanted Ben be with her for the procedure. It’s late at night, Viv and Violet are alone, watching TV. There’s a knock on the door. Viv goes to the door and through the peephole, sees a young woman standing there…claiming to be hurt and asks to come inside. Viv is suspicious and refuses to let them in, but they get in any way. ”They” happen to be a trio of lunatics who are trying to recreate some of LA’s most sensational murders. Franklin’s bloody anti-nurse statement was one of them. They’re intent on drowning Violet in the tub upstairs and tying up Vivian, who’s be playing the role of Maria in the recreation. Tate appears out of nowhere, as usual and somehow tells Violet to lure the intruders down to the basement. She does by telling them that the original bathtub in which Gladys was drowned, was moved to the basement after remodeling.
Smart cookie. She gets the would be killer in the basement, where Tate is waiting for her and yes, she gets killed. . Her cohort comes downstairs looking for her. He dies, too. And then we see a wet Gladys and a bloody Maria standing there and in an affective, albeit macabre touch, Maria’s uniform has full of holes made when Franklin stabbed her.
Viv breaks free and she and Violet run out of the house screaming for someone to call the police. As for the other would be killer? She goes into the kitchen; eats one of the tainted cupcakes and gets violently ill. Tate grabs an axe and gives her one prime Lizzie Borden whack in the stomach. She stumbles down the hall, leaving blood and hurl everywhere. She makes a corner and we don’t see her again. Suffice it say she dies, too.
As the Franklin murder recreation is happening next door, Constance is in her bedroom seducing a poor man’s Ashton Kutcher in her bedroom. Addy, who sneaked into the Harmon’s house once again, witnessed the attack on Viv and Violent, bangs on her mother’s bedroom door trying to tell her what was going on. This interrupts the seduction and infuriates Constance who ignores her daughter’s pleas for help. She grabs Addy by the arm and leads her down the hall to what she calls the Bad Girl’s Closet. She’s instructed as the door slammed shut, to look at herself which would be easy to do, since the entire thing is lined with mirrors. Addy takes a gander at her reflection and starts screaming. It’s like she has to be reminded of the body she occupies. Constance goes back to her bedroom where she hears screaming, looks out the window and sees a frightened Viv and Vi running down the street. She doesn’t call the police.
The next thing we see is Moira, Tate and Constance down in the basement surveying the bodies and where in the hell did Moira come from. Some housekeeper. Where was she during all this mayhem? Tate says something like, “No, if you want me to keep seeing Ben as my therapist” or something to that effect. Okay, that was relevent. Then, Constance asked if the murders were Tate’s handiwork to which Moira replied, “No it was the others.”
Obviously, Maria and Gladys had a hand in the murders, but was Chucky Demon Seed in on it? Gimp ghost? The red-headed twins???? That dead possum is probably still pissed, too.
And speaking of “the others”, as they stood there, I felt like it was a contemporary scene straight out of the Nicole Kidman ghost flick of the same name. In that movie, Nicole and her light-sensitive children move into an old British manor house with a creepy staff. Nicole thinks the house haunted, but as it turns out, she, her kids and the staff are dead.
The staff, like Constance, Moira and Tate in the scene above, always appear in a threesome. They’re the ghosts that are actually haunting the house. The ghosts Kidman’s character thinks are haunting the house, are actually living people who now call the house home. You know, it’s that parallel world premise.
Ben isn’t in as many scenes this week. The night before he leaves for Boston, Addy sneaks back into the house, tripping the security system. The alarm awakens the sleeping family and Ben grabs a baseball bat (guess the twins left one lying around from last week) he goes to investigate. Viv grabs her cell phone to report a burglary…the front door was wide open. Ben goes down to the basement where he finds the perpetrator–a giggling Addy. The next morning at breakfast, Ben calls Addy a “freak” and Vivien tells him not to call her that, which was odd because Vivien grabbed Addy’s face and scolded her about sneaking into the house in the pilot episode. This infuriated Constance (and made this viewer wonder if the ipecac cupcakes made for Violet were nothing but a big get even) and not only that, one of the red-headed twins from last week called Addy a freak after she warned them not to go in the house and look what happened to them–crazy Chucky Demon Seed with the razor teeth turned them into life-sized Pez dispensers.
By the second episode, it becomes clear that a lot of people have died in this house. Violent deaths. There’s something important in the fact that so many people seem to meet their end through throat slittage. I mean think about it–the red-headed twins died like that in last week’s opening flashback. And if you remember, that’s also how the possum bought it. Remember the one they found in a growing pool of blood before they starting bashing things with a baseball bat??? And remember the mean girl from school who Tate and Violet wanted to scare? Well, the Chucky/carnival sideshow freak reject that killed the twins, made an appearance down in the basement with her. It cut her face, maybe, as it was trying to slit her throat….with its teeth!!!! And tonight, the chick would be murderer and the guy she was with, were also killed via slit throats.
Cell phones also played a major role tonight. In the beginning, Ben’s annoying cell phone goes off throughout his session with Bianca, one of the women who would come back later as part of the threesome who tries to kill his wife and daughter. What’s interesting about that is that she tells Ben of a recurring dream about being cut in half. Thanks “foreshadowing”. She’s the one Tate axes in the gut. Her body is found six blocks from the Harmon’s house ( ala The Black Dahlia, says investigators. Remember, she was part of the trio who recreated famous LA murders, of which the severed torso of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was one of the most brutal in the city’s history) Then, as the trio try to get inside the house, Viv shouted to Violet to stay in her room and use her cell phone to call 911. After the perps got inside the house, one of them asks if all the cell phones had been gathered up. When in Boston, Ben’s other Baby Mama has a hissy fit when she keeps hearing his cell phone go off . At the abortion clinic when the girlfriend goes in for the procedure, he looks down at his phone and realizes he’s missed 13 calls from home. Lots and lots o’phones.
Episode two ends with Ben running out of the clinic and hightailing back to LA. The last scene includes Ben and Viv talking to detectives. They leave and he makes it clear that he’s feels bad about not being home and Violet jumps his case for not being there. She rubs his face in it further by even calling her mother courageous while implying with tone and facial expression that Daddy Ben was not. Then, an exhausted Viv tells Ben she wants to sell the house and move, which will never happen because for one thing, the house is as much a character as Ben or Constance and to sell the house would in effect, force the end of the show and there are at least seven good episodes still in the can which have yet to be broadcast.
Okay, I’ll go out on a limb here: what if that angry Chucky doll demon seed thing who killed the twins in the opening flashback last week, is one of Constance’s tainted groin fruit, who because of deformities, both mental and physical, hides in the deep dark recesses of the basement in the house where they were born, maybe???
Huh? Huh???? Anyone????
Maybe that’s why Addy keeps sneaking into the house. She has a thing for that basement. Maybe she keeps going there to commune or whatever, with her brothers and sisters.
And furthermore, I was convinced after the first 30 seconds of Tate’s first session with Ben last week that he wasn’t human. I mean, he keeps appearing in the house inexplicably as often as Addy does. So, one has to wonder if Tate keeps sneaking into Casa Harmon or ….if the Harmons moved into his house. Know what I’m saying? Regardless of who and what Tate is…and isn’t….I’m definitely starting to like his character which I think will only evolve and become even more unhitched and unfiltered.
So, what’s really happening here? The body count increases and so do the questions. Why the heavy emphasis on the infidelity? What’s with all the pregnancies, past and present? Who in the HELL is in that damn latex gimp suit??? Is the person…or ghost….inside it, the father of Viv’s baby? And what exactly is Constance’s relationship with Moira who as we learned last week, she’s already killed once before? Who and what is Constance exactly? A ghost? A witch? Vampire? The ring leader of a zany band of miscreants and murderous genetic anomalies? What is her relationship with Tate? How and why is he always in the house and what’s his fixation with Violet? Why does she need Tate to keep seeing Ben as a patient??? And what if he’s actually Addy, but whenever Violet sees her, she actually sees Tate’s face and body, the same way her dad sees the young, hot seductive maid when he looks at Moira? That would explain why Tate is always in the house–like Addy–and like Michael Jackson and Janet, you never saw them in the same room at the same time. Maybe Tate shape-shifts.
Then again, maybe he’s the one perfect son Constance’s spoke of. And one more thing I forgot to mention last week, that’s been bugging me. After Tate’s first session with Ben, he meets Violet.. She’s a cutter, remember? And he walks in on her slicing up her arm with a razor blade and tells her that she’s doing it wrong if she’s actually trying to kill herself. Later, the two kids are in her room and they’re comparing self-inflicted scars, then Tate gets up and very casually writes the word, “TAINT” on the wall.
Hhhhh’mmmmm, what fresh hell is this?????
As I see it, it could be one of two things: 1) it could reference a trace of bad or undesirable quality or substance like Tate is one tainted cat……OR…..2) it could be that part of our nether region that falls between two very important orifices. Maybe it’s a reference to Tate’s very different reality; he taint dead and he taint alive, neither. I know….that’s a reach.
Well, there you go; this is your review of week #2. Sorry AHS fans, this second offering has left me with more questions than answers. Now, I might be trying to read more into every scene, but there seems to be so much significance in the smallest details If done right, psychological horror and the rather F’d up flow chart it follows can be great fun and unlike Sophomore biology, I do enjoy dissecting this particular Technicolor critter very much. That said, episode two was MUCH better than the first. It restored my hope in this show’s entertainment viability and will keep me coming back for episode three and subsequent episodes, providing enough viewers tune in to feed the Nielsen ratings beast.
I welcome your response. Let me know what you think about my points and fill me in on what you think. Agree…disagree…did I miss something relevant? Please leave a comment.
Until next Wednesday night, GIMP ON!!!!!