Monday, December 19, 2011

American Horror Story: Births, Deaths and Break-Ups.

Oh hey, remember last week when I said that I was going to talk about American Horror Story and then didn't because life got in the way?  Yeah, I was really bummed about that.  But better late than never, right?  Because A LOT happened in this week's episode, setting up what may be a super bad ass (or really terrible) finale.  Let's discuss, shall we?!

The Death:  Vivien Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil
Another Harmon bites the dust.  Poor Vivien, who always wanted to leave the house and was this close to escaping, got sucked back in to casa de crazy where she will seemingly remain forever.  And it didn't have to happen this way.  Viv could have gone straight from the loony bin to the airport and flown away from the murder house forever.  But for some reason, the Harmons felt like they just had to go back and retrieve their teenage daughter.  If only Violet had been up front and told her parents that she was dead, perhaps they could have been spared another loss. (Although super dad Ben simply assumed his kid was on drugs when she did eventually tell maybe not).

So of course, as it would happen at the Murder House, Viv goes into labor while waiting for Violet in the car and is forced to go back into the not-so-humble abode.  Lucky for her, the house has seen the deaths of quite a few medical professionals in its time.  Not so lucky for her...modern medicine isn't exactly their forte.  Also, they are all dead, which can't bring about the most calming of birthing experiences.

Also, her husband isn't all that present during the whole experience.  He's either remembering fonder moments, like Violet's birth (and how nice to see that there WERE good times for the pair) or is so freaked out that he's envisioning himself going all Cuckoo's Nest in the corner.  I'm really hoping that Ben's flashes of himself were only meant to signify how helpless the man feels during the birthing process (especially this one) and not a hint that Mr. Harmon is secretly in a room with padded walls imagining the whole thing.  Because I will throw something at my TV. (Well, my roommate's TV.  Some things just aren't worth it).

And so, after giving birth to the twins (more on that later), Vivien begins to bleed out and while her pansy of a husband tries to keep her in our realm, she's drawn the the voice of her dead daughter instead.  She's gone, the ghosts are gone, the babies are gone and Ben is left alone with a bunch of candles.  There was a lot of talk this episode about how lonely the house can get, and this scene made me realize that it's true.. ghosts aren't the most reliable source of company.  I almost felt sorry for Ben as he mourned the wife he scorned, and felt myself wondering if he would be the one to escape or will find his happy ending by joining them.

The Birth: Not Enough Babies To Go Around
Man, does everyone and their mother want these Harmon babies.  Constance wants Tate's, Nora and Hayden each want one, Chad and Patrick wand both and the Harmons themselves were pretty content with the idea of having their own kids.  It seems like the only person who wasn't clamoring to steal the little tykes was the baby daddy of the one with horns (While this is a joke, the lack of seeing the actual bundles of joy-who instead just looked like bundles of towels- makes me wonder what exactly it is that Vivien gave birth to). 

The fight for the twins began before Viv was even back in the house.  Chad and Patrick, determined to make their eternal relationship work by adopting and then smothering the tots (yeah, because that always works) decorated the nursery in preparation for their arrival.

Although it may have been the only paint colors that they had around, the fact that the cribs are an angelic splash of white and a underworld-ian shade of red is a nice reminder that one of these kids is probably the Anti-Christ.  The cribs themselves are most likely left over from when the Langdon children were young, as Constance fondly seems to recall something when she sees them for the first time.   The chance to finally get it right (How many chances do you get, Connie?) leads her to spar with Chad over who gets to take home the bundles of joy, where she reveals that one of the babies is in fact her grandchild.  He's intrigued by the soapy drama of "Norman Bates Junior" knocking up his girlfriend's mom, but insists that he wants both kids.  Quinto and Lange were killer in this scene, where both characters went for the jugular.  It was super fun to watch.

When the twins are finally born, neither the Harmons or Chad and Patrick even get to touch them.  The first, presumably Ben's (although can we really be sure?) is a stillborn (but once again, can we really be sure?) that Charles gave to Nora.  Given that she seems to forget children once they grow, perhaps what she has always needed was a dead baby to love forever.  The other child is taken by Constance, who adoringly looks after him with Moira, both pleased as punch over the new addition.  Mere seconds later, Hayden points out that she too will be clamoring for the kid and I also have a feeling that Ben wont be giving up without a fight as well.  The custody case of the Anti-Christ is just getting started.

The Break-Up: Go Away Tate
With all the baby-hoopla going on, Violet did what any good big sister would and spent her time trying to get rid of any ghosts who wanted to get their literal gold dead hands on her little brothers.  When psychic Billie Dean told her about the Roanoke's banishing their dead with a talisman and the uttering of "Croatoan", she set out on a mission to oust Chad and Patrick from the murder house.

While Violet was all for listening to Billie Dean's theories on exorcism, she was less apt to care about the woman's severe reaction to being in the same room as Tate.  Instead, Violet continued to ignore her boyfriend's evils and asked him to help her get the ring that Patrick wears so that they could get rid of him for good.  Like any good boyfriend, Tate obeys his girl by trying to seduce the dude upstairs who just can't get over the fact that Tate murdered and sodomized him (geeze, some people never forgive) and promptly beat the shit out of our favorite mass murderer.   

As Patrick let his aggression out on Tate, who seemed to find the whole experience more funny than frightening, he revealed that he was planning on leaving Chad before his life was taken from him and is now doomed to be stuck in the house with the man he wanted to escape forever.  Chad overhears and Patrick takes off after him, but not before the reveal that Tate has in fact snatched the ring off his aggressor's hand. 

Unfortunately for Violet, Billie Dean's theory was a crock and instead of getting rid of Chad and Patrick, she instead was gifted with the information that the boy who loves her is also the Rubber Man who raped her mother and fathered her new sibling.  After her mother's death, Violet returns to her bedroom to have the confrontation with Tate that we have all been waiting for.

She tells him that her mother is dead and makes him recall his own passing, questioning what it is that brought the police to shoot him up. He still claims not to know and she tells him about the school shootings, which he appears to still not understand.  She lists his other crimes and he realizes that the jig is up.  He IS the darkness, she points out and he rebuts by promising her that while that may have been true she is the light that has changed him.  Violet believes him, but points out that it doesn't matter...he is a criminal and criminals must pay for their crimes.  She screams at him to go away, which we all know he must do in the Murder House.  He cries.  She cries.  And then he is gone.  These two are so over.

Violet sobs for a while alone in her room as the camera pans around her...and then a hand comes on her shoulder and we realize that she is not alone at all.  Vivien is with her and she pulls her daughter into a comforting embrace, telling her what she did was very brave.  A tear-filled Violet apologizes for her mother losing her baby and Vivien looks into her daughter's eyes, that of her very first baby, and tells her that she didn't.

God, I loved this scene.  I loved the break up, I loved that we are still left with ambiguity about Tate (Does he really not remember the school shootings?  And what could that mean?), I loved that Violet was able to both love him and banish him and I loved that Vivien was there.  Connie Britton gives really good mom.  It was the perfect ending to a really strong episode.  The themes (loneliness, second chances) were incredibly present yet subtle, we got to see all of our favorite ghosties come out and play in a way that felt true to the world of the story and most importantly, we have a pretty strong set up for the finale.  I assume that between Ben and Constance, one will get away with the remaining baby and one will remain in the murder house forever.  But really, this is just one of dozens of possibilities of how this season will play out.  I'm thrilled about getting to see what happens but I'm also a little sad that the season will be over and crazy nervous that I might be let down.  There is a lot to do in this finale and I really hope it can all be done.  Fingers crossed kids.  I have a feeling its about to be a wild ride.

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