Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Think I Love You, American Horror Story

Oh little popettes, how I've failed you.  I have not been writing about the most fun, intense and thought provoking hour of television for these past few months.  Maybe it's because The Angst Report does a pretty awesome job of providing the blogosphere with the cheese.  Maybe its because I thought I'd lose my love for the show if I over thought it.  Maybe I was still waiting for the Ryan Murphy other shoe to drop. But I just can't not talk about it anymore.  American Horror Story, it's really official now.  I'm totally your bitch.

Before I proceed I should warn you that this post involves crazy spoilers and gruesome pictures.  So if you want to watch the show, seriously...CLICK AWAY NOW.  And if you're one of those people who is ultra sensitive/gets scared easy/is eating a sandwich, you may want to leave this page as well.  I can't be responsible for you losing your drive to watch, your will to live or you lunch.  Capishe?  Good.

Last night's episode, "Smoldering Children" was probably my favorite in the series thus far.  It accomplished a rare feat and had me enjoying every single scene AND every single character.  Even Ben.  Yeah, hell just got a little colder.  I was worried when AHS started that it would be a ghost procedural, where we would see a patient of Ben's battling with both their inner and outer daemons each week.  I'm thrilled that the show has taken a completely different direction and focused on our core cast, letting us get to know them, learn about their history and question their motives.  This episode filled in a lot of gaps for us and showed that the writers have had a plan all along.

Before I get to the big reveal of the episode, let's talk about Larry.  To be honest, I've never really quite taken to his character.  He's pathetic personified and was introduced to us as an opportunistic, blackmailing murderer of a twerp.  I didn't even feel all that much for him when we found out that his wife set both herself and their daughters on fire, mainly because HE didn't seem to be all that remorseful.  But this episode gave us some much needed info and ultimately some closure on The Burning Man.  For starters, we finally learned what the hell happened to him.  In 1994, after his wife killed herself and the kids, former resident and current lover Constance moved herself and her two remaining kids in with Larry.  Tate was none to pleased with the development and decided to exact revenge as any disgruntled teen showing up at Larry's office and setting him on fire.

Yeah.  That had to hurt. 

Flash forward to present day and Larry is still mooning over Constance.  After the death of her boy toy Travis, she shows up at Larry's place claiming to want some "human interaction".  Jessica Lange is just so damn good and the way she said that line let you know that she barely considered Larry human.  What's fascinating about this is how strong her love for Beau, who looked more like a monster than Larry, was.  What makes Larry almost sub-human isn't his looks, but his shell of a squirmy existence.  He's the mold on rock bottom.  Still he doesn't take a hint about Constance's true feelings for him, although he gets a bit of a clue when she threatens to turn him into the Burned Dahlia

Later Larry visits the house and sees his dead wife and children for the first time. (And Travis!  I love DeadTravis!)  He promises her that he'll exact revenge on Constance for their deaths, but crispy fried wife points out that it was Larry who reneged on his vows and that it was he who is to blame for their death.  After 17 years of stupidity, Larry finally starts to get it.  When your wife kills your entire family because you were shtupping the lady next door, you may have had something to do with it.

Larry arcs (yay!!!) and decides that it is time to make amends for his wrongdoings.  He confesses to killing Travis, thereby freeing Constance from blame, and is arrested.  While Larry didn't directly do the deed himself, I'm cool with him taking the blame since he did kill the person who killed Travis.  It's like he sired him.  But you know, the ghost version of that.  Larry seems at peace with his decision, only wanting one more thing before he is shipped off to prison-a confession of Constance's love.  But she's all like "Ew Dude. I wouldn't touch you even if there was a wall of glass between us"  Which there is.  And she doesn't.

I should be a little worried for Larry in prison, but this is probably as close to a happy ending as he can get.  He can't chase Constance around anymore, can't blackmail new home owners, can't kill any more mistresses.  He truly will have to heal and maybe even grow a backbone.  So long Larry.  It sucked to be you, but hopefully now it will suck a little less.

If we didn't get enough juice out of the Larry storyline, holy smokes did we ever with the Violet revelations.  After weeks of playing hooky with Tate in the Murder House, Ben decides that the time has come to be an actual parent and looks into schooling options for her.  When Tate overhears this, he tells Violet that Ben wants to send her away and she gets all mopey emo teenager on us.  Tate however, takes action.  First he subdues Ben (but not before he rips off the ruberman mask!) and then he tries to get Violet to take pills with him, claiming they can die and be together forever.  Violet finally freaks out and tries to flee from the house.  She makes it all the way to the gate...before finding herself right back in the kitchen.  That's right folks.  Violet's dead.  Like, this dead:

Tate takes her to her body and explains that when she tried to kill herself a few weeks back, she actually succeeded.  He tried to revive her and what we saw, her vomiting up the pills, was only the tiny glimmer of hope before she bit the big one.  I have to admit, even though I was pretty certain that Violet was dead for weeks now, I was still moved by this whole thing and found it really well done.  Even though we know that the ghosts are trapped in the house, Violet is the first one we have tried to see leave.  Watching her attempt and fail to leave the confines of the abode was heartbreaking as was watching her see her own dead body for the first time.  For me, the suspicions of the twist didn't ruin it, which is kind of rare in this brand of theory-TV.  I loved it.

And Tate.  Oh Tate.  He's starting to make a lot more sense to us now.  His super screwed up childhood and pressure to be the one perfect child lead to a drug habit (coke and crystal meth) and violent streak.  Violet is the first thing he has ever really cared about and for that reason, he pretended to not know he was dead to keep her from freaking the fuck out. Or as he put it, "Hi, I'm Tate.  I'm Dead.  Wanna hook up?...I don't think so".  If we left the show right now, I would be satisfied that we understand where Tate's head was at when he did every single thing that he has done.  This being AHS, however, I am still hoping for a little bit more.  I've believed that the house/the Infantata had a hold on Tate for a while now, and I guess I'm just not totally ready to abandon that theory.  Also, I still want to know how he got the scars on his face between torching Larry and shooting up the school.  Plus there still has to be more to his relationship with Constance.  And who is his final sibling?!  Okay, so I wouldn't be totally satisfied if the show ended right now.  But luckily we have two more episodes of goodness to go.

This episode really brought it.  The directing, especially in Violet's attempted escape scene, was golden.  I also thought that the writing was a really wonderful blend of scary, funny and heartbreaking and the acting was spot on.  Jessica Lange and Evan Peters were their usual brand of fantastic but I must say that I was surprised by Farmigna, who normally doesn't do much for me, really selling Violet's confusion and revelation.  This is why I watch TV.  I want to see complex characters in difficult situations. This episode brought it.  I can't wait to see what the final episodes will bring.  I'm starting to suspect that we really will leave this house at season's end, but I'm hoping we won't.  This is too much fun of a ride, and I don't want to get off.


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