American Horror Story: Episode 10 Synopsis & Review

In tonight’s oh so educational  flashback:  

1994

Constance and her ill-gotten progeny plus Larry, The Burned Guy (before he became Scarface) are all seated at the dinner table in Murder House.   Constance approaches the table carrying  a tasty mound of  baked porcine on a platter, decorated in delightful Polynesian fashion with pineapple rings and cherries.   Tate is there…so is Addie.   The family clasps hands and Tate offers the unholiest of prayers which while hilarious, is also revealing.    In this prayer, we  learn that Constance and Larry are together, but I don’t think joined via wedlock.   There is animus between  the two men (at least, those who are still alive)  in Constance’s life.   Tate hates Larry because he’s having sex with his mother AND Tate hates Larry for killing his brother Beauregard…the other House Gimp that was kept in the attic.

Constance says no, Beau died of natural causes;  in his slumber, of natural causes due to a known respiratory ailment.

Yes, I’d say being suffocated with a pillow in one’s sleep is a respiratory ailment of sorts.  

Tate accuses Larry of killing his own family…burning them alive in that very house.  Larry tells him that wasn’t the case.  Passion drove his wife to kill herself and his two daughters.   Love forces us all to make certain sacrifices he tells Tate and anyone listening as he passes a bowl of mashed Yukons around the table.   Some day he says, Tate will understand this.  

Constance reminds Tate that of all her genetically flawed offspring, he’s perfect.  He’s got so many gifts.   Use them, she stresses in between puffs on her Pall Mall menthol.     He reminds her that despite what she thinks, he’s not perfect and never will be. 

It’s the next day.   Tate is still unhappy and goes to great lengths to prove  to Mother that he’s not perfect.   The fact that he’s stuck in the clutches of all that vile,  teenage angst helps fuel his psychopathy.    So, we see him in his room.    He snorts up four fat rails of blow; dresses in more black, arms himself to the hilt and runs over to Larry’s office.  He’s carrying a gas can.    He approaches Larry sitting at his desk–he’s an accountant we assume,  his digits fly over the buttons of his calculator,  the pride of the Texas Instruments pantheon of machinery circa 1994.  Tate douses Larry with gasoline, then without saying a word, flicks a lit match in his direction.  Larry goes up like a bad Aggie bonfire.  

Ah okay, so THAT’S how good ol’ Larry became Burned Guy.  

Then Tate calmly walks out of the office, headed over to the high school in order to act out his best Dylan Klebold/Eric Harris impersonation.   As we learned a few episodes ago, he’ll die up in his room later that same day, the victim of  suicide by SWAT team.

PRESENT DAY

Murder House has a blow fly problem.  Eighty-eight years worth of rotting, putrid corpses hidden in the basement and elsewhere tend to create these kinds of issues, though why blow flies can smell a corpse and members of the Family Harmon and their occasional guests can’t,which latelyhas been a steady stream of  detectives and security guards, beats the hell out of me!!!!

Violet hasn’t been to school in forever.  A truant officer comes to the house to find out why.   But we know why.   We figured it out some time ago.   She can’t go to school.  She can’t go hang out at the mall.    She can’t take the car and head over to El Segundo to score a bag of weed.  She can’t go anywhere.   She’s dead; died in that pill overdose in the bathtub with Tate holding her.  It was  just as many of us thought.     Violet runs out of the house and makes it down the sidewalk one time….just one time.  She runs up to closed gates (whether they’re real or metaphoric doesn’t matter at this point) and she can’t open them.   She instead bangs on them and screams at a couple walking their dog across the street.   The couple hears nothing, but Fido gets an earful.   He responds with a bark.  

Then, thanks to an interesting piece of  editing, she’s back in the house.    She runs out of the same exit that only becomes an instantaneous re-entry point.   Other times she runs out of the front door, only to autmatically re-enter through the kitchen.   All very strange, but solid in its conveyance of what we’ve all thought…that once dead, you ain’t never leaving that house no way, no how.   Though I guess in the wacky world of AHS, if you land a gig as one of the ghosts, you only appear when the writers  include you in a scene.  Otherwise, I guess you they just hang around in the ether until the director gives you your  cue. 

Still, it must be frustrating to be dead and not know it and stuck in that house.   

Mouth full o'blow flies

Tate shows Vi her own body in the attic and with this revelation,  she  learns of her fate AND we learn the source of the Blow Fly problem.  

Also in tonight’s episode, Constance is grilled by two detectives, one played by Charles S. Dutton (the poor man’s Forest Whitaker), for the murder of Travis, Constance’s young lover who Hayden killed for grins last week.   If you remember, his body was found severed and lying in two pieces in a vacant lot adjacent to a basketball court in Compton.  Just like the Black Dahlia’s body, minus the proximity to athletic equipment.     The cops realize there’ a lot of death in Constance’s life.    I love her feigned innocence as she extols her righteous indignation in her best Southern Belle/femme fatale/Blanche DuBois that she is innocent.   Then the cops rehash  all the dead people in her life.  From her sons, Beau and Tate; her daughter, Addie.  They also mention the missing people–her maid Moira and husband Hugo, who until tonight, I never knew had a name.    The cops suspect Moira and Hugo are dead.  She tells them nope ,they’re alive and well and  just living together in sin in some tawdry  pied à terre somewhere in South America.  Even Tate thought this and mentioned  during the Ham fest dinner that he was just six when his father went away.

Oh, but we know what really happened to Tate’s papa.  Constance shot him in her bedroom.  Shot Moira too and in the eye, no less.    Milk Eye Moira was fighting off Hugo’s drunken advances as she was trying to make the bed. Constance shot them both in a jealous rage.    Previous episodes told us where Constance buried her body.  It’s underneath the gazebo in the backyard, but what happened to Hugo?   Constance refused to bury them together.   In a flashback, we learn that she let her dogs handle that problem for her.    Hugo became Alpo.   

At least, that’s what the flashback implied with all those  shots of meat grinders and hungry dogs gathered around meat laden bowls.    It either that or another shot of that crazy ass Dr. Montgomery’s basement lab.    Interesting too because when the cops grill her about her ex-husband, she replies,”Once I discovered that he had cheated, Hugo meant no more to me than dog shit.”     Which technically means (providing, of course that we’re correct in  that the dogs ate a ground up philandering husband)  countless bits of canine rectally processed Hugo are all over the neighborhood, fertilizing the grass. That’s just a post mortem Hugo doing his ‘doodie’.

Constance is then released by the cops and she goes straight to Larry to confront him about Trravis’ murder.  She thinks he killed Travis because of jealousy.   Larry tells her that Travis  probably pissed off one of the ever-growing number of spooks haunting murder house.     Constance likes the fact that he died in the House;  that means she’ll see him again.

Earlier, Larry has a conversation with Travis in the basement of the House.   Travis, still the  press hungry actor, even in death, wants clippings regarding his murder.  He then sits down to play with two children that we learn are Larry’s crispy critters.   He smiles when he sees his two little girls…even as terribly burned as he is…his wife also materializes.   All of them are terribly scarred.   The trio died in a suicide/murder when Larry and  his famiy lived in the house and he was abotu to leave them for a life with Constance.    He asks why he’s only seeing her now…after all these years.   She tells him because now, he’s almost ready.   

But for what? 

Interesting.

Larry goes to the cops and takes the fall for Constance.  He tells them he killed Travis;.  The cops believe him.  He had the murder weapon;  he was able to reveal facts that only the killer would know.   The next thing we see is Larry in an orange prison jumpsuit (and with that face of his, he looks like a Dali painting of a melting traffic cone) .  He’s requested to see Constance.   They sit at the glass partition and speak via phone…which Constance finds germ riddled and disgusting.  He tells her he confessed to pay for past sins and can face his fate as long as he knows she loves him.   He places his hand on the glass.   Constance’s hand meets his on the other side…but only for a second.  She then retrieves it; hangs up the phone and with a look of abject disgust, walks away, her expression doing all the talking.

Episode 10 ends with a dejected Larry, his hand still pressed against the glass.

Okay, kids so what did we learn tonight?  

Well,  it was reinforced that Constance is a cruel, stark raving bitch.  No, let’s call her a monster and she also created one in Tate.  He’s only likeable…dare I say soft, when he’s around Violet.   But mother monster begat sonny monster.  His AHS rap sheets now reads like a scroll:   attempted murder (Larry), multiple murder (the gay couple, his classmates, the home invaders).  He’s a rapist.   Coke head.   Could he be the devil incarnate?  Maybe, if you believe if he raped Vivian and fathered one her incubating twins –the one that craves brains and grows exponentially each day—which we’ve been lead to believe sure isn’t human.   

Isn’t it interesting that his wife and children appeared to him bearing the physical evidence of how they died:  scarred due to massive burns.  They died in a fire which his wife set after being rejected by Larry who admitted he was in love with Constance and wanted a divorce so he could be with his lover.   Whenever the nurse ghosts make an appearance (they were killed in that 1968  Richard Speck/Chicago nurse reenactment murder) one appears wet (she was drowned) and the other with bloody stab wounds on her chest and back.   All the other ghosts we see as they looked in life; before they died.   Travis appears whole;  completely in tact.  Violet looks relatively healthy for an Albino; Tate appears  sans bullet wounds.   Hayden looks a little scruffy, but I never see any shovel shaped indention in her head.  

I think the fact that Larry saw his wife and children in the ghostly form reflective of the way they died means some kind of redemption…which is probably why he took the fall for Constance.  He’s now in prison for murder.    But I think he feels he should be there for cheating on his wife and her death as well as the death of  his two daughters.   Granted he didn’t lite the match that started the deadly fire that killed all three, but his philandering actions made her crazy.  

Still, why would such an integral character be written off so early?    He’ll be back…somehow/someway.    Additionally, can’t wait to see how Viv and Ben will take the news that their daughter is dead and a ghost to boot.    Next week’s episode is called “Birth”.  Then the 90 minute season finale is the following Wednesday.  Maybe Viv will die in chidlbirth.  A doctor in the preview for episode 11 indicates that one of the twins is growing faster and is now the size fo a first grader.  And maybe when Ben realizes he lost Viv and Violet, too, maybe he’ll kill himself.   I doubt if any of those scenarios would happen, but if they did, they’d allow a new family to move in for Season 2.  New people, characters….plotlines

Ghosts.

I just have a feeling someone is leaving.   Because some how, redemption will soon play a role in all this AHS nonsense. It might play a role in liberation. Ironically, prison might afford Larry with that. He’ll be free of Constance; free of the House. What his wife said to him in the basement was significant. He could see he because he was ‘almost ready’.

Again we ask, ready for what????? To evolve? To pay his pennance for since committed and when paid in full or at least making earnest payments, one can be freed from the House and its clutches??   

Also, Tate had the most ridiculously senseless fight with Ben.  Tate donned the black Latex onesy and tried to knock him out with Chloroform.   Ben fought back, demanding to know who the “son of a bitch” rapist is under that shiny black mask.   They fight some,  allowing the stunt doubles to earn their SAG salaries for that week.  Then after a couple of hitch kicks to each others’ crotches,  Tate wins and just before Ben  goes out like a light, the mask comes off.  

But Ben’s towel doesn’t….

Dammit.

Ben sees that at least in this scenario, Tate is Rubber Man. 

 And why did Tate feel the need to go through the motions of committing suicide with Violet??    What was the point of making her understand that she died?   He introduced her to her corpse anyway.  She handled that revelation with tears and wailing in a scene so badly acted it would have made Stanislavski wretch.     Also, I cannot shake the feeling that Tate isn’t the only one in the house who dons the black Latex onesy. Someone else has worn it, too. Who and for what reason OTHER than to commit murder and mayhem remains to be seen. Does the shiny black oneness represent evil? Is that like some ghostly alter ego? This Latex suit  thing is very symbolic of something, OTHER than sating someone’s kinky psycho/sexual proclivities.  

And a few other things: Ben goes to the hospital to tell Viv that the twins have two fathers. She’s upset, but Ben tells her he finally believes that she was raped and by some strange kinkster in Latex, just as Viv had described. I think that was a rather wasted scene and one that should have been omitted from tonight’s episode, but I guess it was necessary to choreograph the fight scene.

But why?   

And I’ll tell you something else—that damn house better give up some secrets about its powers and soon, too. Okay, I GET that if you die on the property, it has some kind of ability to hold your soul hostage and turn you into a ghost and keep you within its evil confines until something happens, but whatis it that has to happens?? What must occur for these Murder House bound spirits to move9r thirhas to happen? If redemption frees the living, what is that’ll free the ghosts?? I don’t know and I wanna know…badly. It’s the House’s turn for a major co-starring role and I hope it spills its guts. I hope it vomits up explanations.

And lastly, there’s simply not enough of the Infantata. We need more of him/it.   You know, the Hume Cronyn lookin’ Chucky Demon Seed Basement Dwelling Baby Monster (aka Thaddeus Montgomery).  He better find his way into more scenes and soon, too because I have a feeling that piece milled piece of work is actually still at least partially alive (courtesy of his doctor daddy’s handiwork and the House’s strange power) and based on the wrinkles, the gray hair and all, I’d say he’s old as the hills right now. Let me put it this way, he and Betty White could date and no one would think anything of it. In fact, TMZ and E!  would LOVE that fossilized pairing!!!

Lastly,  I think I’m beginning to see a pattern emerge here;  at least I think I am.   Redemption plays a role with the ghosts and their human counterparts,  implying I think, that true redemption (in which there’s liberation) must be earned and then fully realized and ultimately, understood. 

I think the writers are trying to say that we’re all haunted.  Some by ghosts; others by hardships.    And still others from physical maladies.  There are those who have to bear the scars caused by someone elses anger,  lunacy, neglect or treachery.   Larry’s daughters were burned to death by a crazed, vindictive mother who was jealous of her husband’s adulterous affair.   Larry bears the scars of Tate’s anger and psychopathic rage.  So do the dead classmates that we met in the Halloween episode.   They were Tate’s victims in the school shooting.  

But other than Moira the older’s milk eye,  that doesn’t explain her Younger  vs.  Older  versions or the reason why she appears as such, depending on who you are.   Mayne that’s her burden to bear.  Well, that of course and the fact that she’s dead.  

Oh hell, I’ve been up for 22 hours and I’m tired.   Never watch AHS when you’re  this exhausted.  I think I hallucinated a scene in which Tate killed a very chubby exterminator (for no good reason OTHER than the fact that he might discover yet another body and for killing so many of God’s creatures, great and small and by the way, who would have thought Tate was a card carrying  member of PETA’s insect division or at the very least, a fan of the musical stylings of Gnat King Cole) in a crawl space by giving him a hefty dose of his own Malethion or whatever the hell those  Bug Guys have in those tanks with the hose and nozzle attached. 

And in my hallucination , Tate wasn’t wearing the black latex suit.  He was able to kill without it and if that was an actual scene, we now have to contend with this extraneous ghost character from time to time.  I’d love to think that his role of “exterminator’ is somehow symbolically relevant, but the actor who portrayed him isn’t well-known enough for a major role on the show, much less an infrequently recurring one.

BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT:  

Constance and Larry are in his apartment having a conversation about the reasons why Travis’ severe3d torso was found across town.   She accuses Larry of jealousy and that he has every reason to be jealous.   She tells him that even though Travis might be dead  and virtually a boy, he’s still twice the man Larry is.

 To which Larry replies, “Well, he is NOW!!!”

8 comments

  1. I liked it when they were at dinner and Tate finished saying grace and Addie smiled and said Amen! Ha! I wish she was still around.

  2. Another thing I was really wondering about is, how Violet will show her parents she’s dead. If she will show them the body and will they let the school know before they have to go to court? And what will Violet do when she finds out Tate raped her mother and her half brother is her boyfriend’s child, hmmmm..

  3. Laurie-after the last couple of episodes I wonder , what is the significance of Constance telling Violet (when she was alive) NOT to tell Tate Addie is dead. I wonder if Tate had a twin.(don’t think Addie but Beau?)
    Is there anything up with that fireplace?
    Do we think that Constance had been raped by a ghost in the house?(but never carried the baby to term?)
    Love your updates!

  4. I read that burned guy isn’t coming back, and that we’ll see a lot of the infantata next week. Also, the producer says that the birth of the baby(ies) isn’t going to be what we expect, whatever that means…..

  5. Larry isn’t coming back because he will be back on True Blood again this season. As for Constance telling Violet, I really am not sure if Constance knows anything about Tate. He loathes her. They haven’t really said exactly why, but I’m sure it’s a big one. I don’t think she would have been raped by the house either, since the only one impregnating people is her son. Hugo disappeared when Tate was 6. He didn’t die until 10 yrs later. I know that the house either loves you or hates you. So there has to be a reason she kept coming out with these children. Tate was obviously loved by the house to do its bidding, but there is nothing that says he was born or conceived there. Were the other children born there? The house wants the twins born there and now it has them exactly where it wants the family. Stuck there. Almost makes me wonder if the house will take the their twin too, like it did to Violet.

  6. It’s interesting that you touched on the idea of killing off the entire family. I read an article in which the creators of this show said their initial idea was to introduce a new family each season. I have to admit I love this cast and I would hate to see them go, but I guess they could come back as ghosts!

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