Tag Archives: constance

thoughts on american horror story: afterbirth

After Birth, I decided to avoid any AHS-based discussions so that I could enter Afterbirth completely theory-less. However, I was expecting a murder/suicide starring Ben and Constance, and considering the show’s affinity for all things gross and disturbing, I also prepared myself for some literal afterbirth. Well, I got part of that right.

I didn’t see last night’s season finale as “game-changing”. Instead, the whole episode felt like closure. In a morose way, the Harmon’s got a “happily ever after” and we won’t have to spend the next few months wondering what happens to them. All things considered, game-ender would be a more appropriate description. The perfect way to close out one horror story and make room for a bigger and better one next season.

  • I don’t know, maybe it’s haunted or something.” Although Ben casually wondered why the house was so cheap, his gut instinct was that buying the house in L.A. would be the perfect fix for their dysfunctional family, while Vivien’s gut was telling her to grab Violet and head down to Florida. Watching the flashbacks to how horrible everything turned out for the family over the last few months, and knowing it was almost avoided, was like a cruel joke.
  • Moira and Vivien become best friends (literally) forever. Vivien figured out her new reality pretty quickly, but is still lurking around Ben. Moira wants her to let go of Ben and tells her to consider “the end game” (potential clue for next season??). The ladies have similar, good-natured personalities, so it’s not surprising that they continued to click post-mortem.
  • Ben planned to commit suicide. His wife, daughter and the twin that was his all died, so he organized everything and headed to his former office to shoot his brains out. Vivien stopped him and he made peace with his family. All signs pointed to Ben leaving, but there were at least 40 minutes left in the episode so I figured the house would keep him there somehow. I didn’t expect what came next…
  • Hayden (and two of the home invaders from Home Invasion) killed Ben. The scene played out fast and the end result was Ben hanging from the chandelier. Did Hayden have a reason for staging a faux-suicide instead of just murdering Ben outright?
  • Marcy adopts Halley and sells the house again. Stacy (Lisa Vidal, The Event), Miguel (Anthony Ruivivar, Third Watch) and Gabe Ramos (Brennan Majia, iCarly) move in. Stacy and Miguel have happily married kitchen sex, while Constance and Ben watch. Violet flirts(?) with Gabe, while Tate watches. This could have been another happy family in a horror-filled home.
  • No one knows Violet is dead. Outside of Constance, who else would benefit from this? Another potential clue for next season??
  • Constance and Ben pull a Beetlejuice. Watching Stacy fight off Ben in the Rubber Man suit and Miguel initially see old Moira signified that this family was a lot stronger than the Harmons. The icing on the insane cake that sent them running into the night, with Patience and Prudence’s ‘Tonight You Belong to Me’ as the soundtrack? Vivien ripping Ben open, followed by Ben shooting her square in the forehead. Bye-bye Ramos family.

  • Tate fears he’ll never be forgiven. He was willing to kill Gabe for Violet, which was twistedly romantic. He finally admits to every horrible thing he’s done the past few years, as if that will offer him solace. Unfortunately, his story ends (at least for this season) with two things he wants far, far out of his reach: Violet and forgiveness.
  • Vivien gets at least one of her twins. Nora and Moira were the only two that knew the baby survived for a moment before dying. Vivien took over the motherly duties and made Moira the godmother. Complete with a Christmas celebration, this was such a cozy ending.
  • “You’ll come to understand Violet, that the word ancient will lose all its meaning when your entire existence is one long today.
  • Don’t tell mom, the babysitter’s dead. Three years later, we find Constance raising Michael as her son. She notes that he is a remarkable boy that needs a mommy who was “forged in the fires of adversity.” She comes home to find that her golden boy, giggling as the babysitter he killed laid bleeding at his feet. Tate was nurtured into a monster, but it seems his son was just born one.

Of course Constance is the lone survivor from this horror story. I don’t see where else the show can go with the Harmon family, but I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of them.

Update: Looks like we’ll be starting (relatively) fresh for the second season. Check out ‘Next Season of American Horror Story Will Be in a Whole New Haunted House‘.

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thoughts on american horror story: rubber man

Rubber Man was either spectacularly done or a night of lazy plot devices designed to explain away a few key mysteries, which means this episode was either awful or amazing. I’m going to go with amazing. Not only was there a brief literary review (see Moira), but also we learned the identity and motive of the rubber man. Poor Harmon family.

  • Ghost rules don’t apply. A lot of viewers speculate about whether or not Larry is alive. This speculation is based on ‘ghost rules’ (i.e., he shouldn’t be able to leave the house if he’s a ghost or he killed Hayden which he couldn’t do if he was a ghost). Last night we learned ghosts could have sex with humans (Tate/Vivien and it seems Tate/Violet as well). Normal ghost rules don’t apply here and AHS ghost rules aren’t clearly defined enough to use them.
  • [SPOILER ALERT] Tate is the rubber man. I speculated that Tate was the impregnator and it turns out that blind shot in the dark was accurate. Tate was dead at the time of conception…so those twins are definitely not human. Tate did it for Nora, which makes his deceit almost altruistic. They’re really doing a good job of playing the monster/angel sides of that kid’s personality.
  • Poor Chad. It wasn’t enough that he saw the nasty sextuals between JungleJim4311 and Hardlovejunky656 or that he purchased an outfit designed to ‘dehumanize’ and make him a ‘sex toy’, something he clearly wasn’t comfortable with, but it turns out he was losing Patrick AND the house.
  • “Every relationship is a power play, with or without the props.

  • Hayden is a fast learner. Somehow she figured out in weeks, what Nora hasn’t realized in decades. They are dead and can’t leave the house. She realized that the house gives them power, which they can use to be visible or invisible. She also found the time to keep up a rousing sex (after) life with Constance’s former amor.
  • Violet hasn’t been to school in two weeks. Vivien is emotional absent and Ben is just…absent. They aren’t doing a great job with this whole parenting thing, maybe Nora and Hayden should take over the motherly duties.
  • Moira offers up a mini-lecture on feminism. Feminist critique of The Yellow Wallpaper, hysteria is derived from the Greek work for uterus and men, especially Ben, suck.
  • Poor Vivien. Hayden has dedicated a day to screwing with her, Violet decided that Tate’s love > mommy’s sanity and she’s convinced Ben is orchestrating the whole thing. No one can blame her for going women, interrupted.
  • “Maybe he laughed and you bit the man’s head off.Haha. I see what you did there.
  • Ben deserved to be shot. Subsequently, Vivien deserved to go to the loony bin. I don’t blame her for going crazy, but she didn’t even open her eyes when she pulled the trigger! That could have been Violet!

So what comes after the big rubber man reveal? The Pope, of course.

 

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american horror story recapping: halloween

How fitting that one of the scariest shows on TV would have a two-part Halloween special. Last week’s episode would have worked great all on its own, but knowing that there’s a potential pay-off for all those loose ends being tied up in Halloween (Part Two) makes all the little tricks and treats that much sweeter. If you didn’t already know American Horror Story has been renewed for a second season so maybe this will be a new Halloween tradition.

Before we jump into last night’s episode, here are a few stray observations from Halloween (Part One):

  • The time-jump was much shorter this time, showing us the house in 2010. Chad (Zachary Quinto, Heroes + Star Trek) and Patrick seem to be yet another couple that has had their love sucked right out of them by the house. What does this house do to love?!
  • Addie and Constance hinted at a history of “competing” for lovers, but is that relevant to their overall story or just a throwaway fact about the dynamics of their relationship?
  • Why in the hell would they emphasize Halloween to try and sell a house that’s already unmarketable because people worry it’s haunted?
  • Is Tate the father of Vivien’s “baby”? The same “baby” that made the nurse faint and may not even be a real baby.
  • Ben is incredibly emotional. We don’t know a lot about his emotional history, so I can’t tell if this is a byproduct of the house or if he’s genuinely a sensy (short for sensitive guy).
  • I’m convinced Tate lives somewhere in the house, but why are Constance, Addie, Moira and Larry stuck in this world, yet not completely stuck in the house that they’re so clearly tethered to? I’m sure that’s a season long question, but still!
  • No wonder Violet is so dismissive of her parents; they didn’t even taken a second to bring her with them to the hospital. Proper parenting rules on this show must dictate that you leave your daughter alone in the house that she was recently attacked in.

And now on to ‘Halloween (Part Two)’:

“I painted it black, I know how much you don’t like normal things.”

Larry has finally shed the nice guy act and we pick up where we left off last week, with him insistently banging on the door. Violet is obviously shaken, even without seeing the figure behind her and the hand that reaches out from under her bed. Tate summons her to the basement and gives her a black rose to begin their evening together. Ben and Vivien come home to find Violet gone, all the while still in full fight mode. If Ben wasn’t close enough to the edge, Hayden comes to the door. I’m not sure why this doesn’t freak Ben out more since he saw her being buried, but I’ve given up on these people using their best deductive reasoning skills.

I won’t be the victim of your extortion!

Ben (finally) snaps and beats the crap out of Larry, who continues to taunt him even with a bloodied and battered face. Larry begs Ben to kills him and lets him know that Hayden (along with all of the other dead) has nothing to lose. At this point I was wondering if Larry was speaking for the dead or if he was part of that group. While all of this is happening, the security patrol officer (Morris Chestnut) that originally helped installed the security system came to the house because the alarm was going off. I always assumed they send the cops, but maybe this a hands-on security company.

Nice costumes. Who are you, the dead Breakfast Club?

In the throes of their hardcore make out session, Tate is the one to abruptly stop, which makes Violet immediately question his sexuality. Of course he couldn’t have just been being a gentleman since Violet is a virgin, he has to be homosexual for not wanting to make love to her on the beach. But actually, it’s neither of those things. Tate tells her the meds that he’s on make him…less than ready. He tells Violet about his disdain for high school and as he’s doing an angst-riddled monologue, the couple is joined by a group of dead (or undead teenagers). They seem to know Tate and mention the house, his mommy and the fact that he’s been hiding for years. They taunt him, but never actually touch him like they so obviously want to.

I’m not protecting her, I’m protecting you!

Hayden calls Vivien and repeatedly tells her to ask Ben about Boston. When Vivien sees the message on the fogged mirror (such a wonderful horror movie cliché), she tells Ben that Hayden is in the house. He tells her they can’t call the police because it will draw unwanted attention to the murder house (oh, now that’s a concern). Ben travels down to the basement to look for Hayden (again with the basement!) and while she rots right in front of him, he’s clocked over the head with Larry’s handy shovel. Perhaps Vivien can’t hear any of this because Chad is destroying all of the Halloween decorations in front of the house.

I love what you’ve done with the kitchen.

Poor preggo Vivien can’t go back to her relaxing bathtub because it’s occupied by Hayden, who pulls a move straight out of the stalker handbook and seemingly kills the puppy we all forgot about. At some point, Tate and Violet came back to the house and made it up to her room without crossing paths with any of the other people that were there. Not sure how they pulled that off, but as the two are arguing about whether or not Tate knows the Breakfast Club, they come to the house. Violet runs outside and threatens the group. They realize she doesn’t know about Tate, but still call her disturbed. Violet learns that they’re from Westfield High, which means nothing to her, but everything to viewers who saw this foreshadowed in the first episode. Tate’s visions about coming to school and killing everyone weren’t dreams…they were memories.

Back at the psycho love triangle, Hayden and Vivien are finally face-to-face, with both women realizing Ben hasn’t been upfront with either of them. Nora rescues Ben from the basement, but only so he can save the baby. Hayden continues to rant about wanting to matter (at least she’s consistent) and Ben admits that he’s cheated more than once. Oh Ben.

She wanted to be a pretty girl.”

Finally Addie’s death is addressed. Constance talks about the feelings of immortality when a child dies before their parent as we watch her put makeup on her daughter for one last time (I wasn’t the only one that was waiting for Addie’s eyes to pop open, right?). We learn that Tate is Constance’s son, but she tells Violet not to let him know his sister died. This is just one of a few puzzling things about this reveal, the other being why Ben never mentioned this before…assuming he knew.

Tate makes it back to the beach, chased by the group. They demand that he acknowledges what he’s done, but Tate genuinely seems to not know or remember. The cheerleader mentions that she would have been 34, so we can assume this happened at least 16 years ago. The group leaves with the sun and so ends Halloween night.

So where does all of this leave us?

We finally see most of the ghosts (??) together: Denis, Moira, Chad, Patrick, Nora and the nurses all enter the house as the sun comes up. We assume that’s where Hayden went when she disappears from the cop security car. We still don’t know why all of them are tied to the house, but at least we know a little bit more about what happens to people that die there.

Right now we know the most about Tate and Constance, and I find both of their stories interesting. I’m still a little unsettled by how slow the pacing is for this show, but given next week’s promo, I think we’re finally going to see what all of this means.

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american horror story recapping: murder house

The House: 1983

“I’ve loved you since I was 16.”

 Young Moira is doing her usual maid duties when the man of the house propositions her. Although their conversation makes it clear they’ve been intimate before, Young Moira has no interest in a repeat performance. The husband isn’t familiar with ‘no means no’ and during the struggle, neither party hears that the wife is slowly approaching…clutching a gun. The wife enters the room and we see that it’s a young Constance (compliments of Benjamin Button CGI). She shoots Moira in the eye and then kills her husband. But somehow Moira survived…

The House: Now

“Don’t make me feel like I’m crazy.”

In one of the show’s more seamless transitions we’re ‘back’ in the same room, except Ben and Vivien are having the argument. Although it initially sounds like they’re arguing about the Hayden situation, we learn that he’s been hiding another lie: they’re relatively broke. Vivien tells Ben that if she finds out he’s lied about anything else, they’re done. Oh Vivien, you have no idea!

She’s not anxious; she’s angry and ready to get the hell out of that house. A quick call to the realtor reveals what we all knew…the house isn’t exactly a hot commodity in the housing market. After a few threatening words exchanged between Vivien and the realtor, as well as a shot at Obama, it’s agreed that they’ll try to sell the house. Very, very unlikely.

Elsewhere in the house, Moira catches Constance stealing the silver. The venom between the two makes a little more sense now that we know Moira had an affair with Constance’s husband, perhaps the only man she ever really loved. Just when one part of their dynamic is explained, we’re left to figure out why neither can move on and how they became stuck.

“I just get the stains, do you want to make a new one?”

Ben has a new patient, Sally Freeman (Adina Porter aka Tara’s mom on TrueBlood). Her husband is ending their 23-year marriage because she’s boring. Knowing football is a great way to make your man happy, but not so much when you’re only able to blandly recite team names. During their conversation Ben blacks out and wakes up in his yard, with blood on his hands.

Young Moira is cleaning up the bloody mess and does her usual flirting with Ben, except things get a little more physical than flirty and Vivien catches them. FINALLY Ben tells Vivien that Moria has been coming on to him. During Moira’s outburst she notes that Ben (and men in general) see her as they want to see her, while women see who she is inside. The conversation ends with Vivien telling Ben he’s paranoid, crazy and guilty, all of which are caused by his indiscretion with Hayden.

“And the next stop on our tour of departed souls…murder house.”

Violet seems apathetic to last week’s home invasion when Ben interrupts her smoke break. Once he leaves, we see that Tate was also there and judging from his appreciation for how good a dad Ben is, it seems his father wasn’t as caring. Of course with Tate you spend more time reading what he doesn’t say than the few things he does.

Hayden pops up and lets Ben know that she didn’t have the abortion and that she matters, as well as demanding he meet her at 3. Ben shoos her out of the house and we can practically hear his heart pounding with anxiety. He gets more on his plate when a detective comes to the house and tells Ben that Sally is missing. Interestingly enough, the detective seems more concerned with looking at Young Moira than finding ol’ boring Sally.

“You were cruising me, I thought you were fair game.”

Vivien decides to take the LA murder tour and in addition to the arbitrary (???) murder of a seemingly gay actor, she learns more about the history of the home. In 1922, Charles and Nora Montgomery were a “happy” married couple.

Charles was a surgeon who developed a Frankenstein complex and drug addiction. During his downward spiral the bill collectors hovered around their home and his not-at-all supportive wife has Charles do surgeries/abortions for money. Very shifty and although their reign lasted about four years, their story did not have a happy ending.

Vivien begins bleeding after hearing the story, but her doctor assures her that “a little discharge is perfectly normal” and advises her not to move, since it will only cause additional stress. Ben is briefly haunted by his sexual demons and faints. Ben recovers and goes for his usual jog, which includes his usual harassment from Denis, who asks for a $1000 for headshots because he wants to act.

“Who you trying to protect doc?”

Ben, again, wakes up in his backyard, but this time he has a shovel. Constance warns him that the soil he’s digging is toxic and she suggests he just build over the whole thing.

Nora rings the doorbell and Vivien was understandably cautious from last week’s invasion but cares more about showing off the house to a potential buyer. Nora notes that she also had a child and we see a huge hole in the back of her head just before she vanishes.

The detective returns and tells Ben that they found Shelly. She was in the hospital after a suicide attempt, which was foreshadowed by the recorded conversation Ben tried to cover up. The detective tells Ben “it’s not a crime to be an asshole,” but Ben realizes he’s being drugged.

Hayden returns and similar to Vivien, she’s preggo and angry. After forcing a kiss that Ben ahs the decency not to enjoy, they head out the door to go someplace to discuss their situation. As they step out the door, Denis hits Hayden, killing her.

Hayden’s body is buried, right next to another body and the hole is sealed when Ben builds a gazebo. The way Moira and Constance react definitely means they know the owner of that body and probably means the body is Moira, who is now trapped forever.

The episode ends with Nora sitting in bed with Vivien and Ben…WTH.

So where does all of this leave us?

The episode basically confirms that Denis, Constance and Moira are connected. However, now that we know about Nora, a whole slew of questions are introduced. Is she also connected? Does this mean that anyone who dies in the house is tied there forever? Are these “people” related or just bonded by the house?

Hayden may be out of the picture physically, but why did Denis insist that it was better he was the one who killed her and not Ben? Would Violet really run away? And did Tate give her that idea or is she just being a rebellious teenager? Speaking of Tate, why was he at the window and why did he ignore Constance when she waved at him?

After this episode, I’m officially invested in American Horror Story. I like that we’re seeing more of the ‘story’ element, with less emphasis placed on the ‘horror’. This will probably all change with the first part of next week’s Halloween episode. At this point overall opinions on this show have been very mixed, I predict that this was the episode that either confirmed those that will keep tuning in and ending things for viewers that were on the fence.

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american horror story recapping: home invasion

The House: 1968

Aquarius plays in the background and we meet the ladies that inhabit the home. It’s not clear, but it seems that this is a nursing school dorm. Three ladies taunt their dorm mates about being lesbians and eventually leave so they can go to a Doors concert (seemingly irrelevant to the story). There’s a knock at the door and shortly after is when the two remaining girls probably wish they were more into Jim Morrison.

The man at the door, Franklin, has blood on his face and says he needs help. The ever-helpful nurses lets the stranger in and realize there’s no wound…and then they’re knocked out…and then things get a little freaky. We later learn that he drowned one of the girls in the upstairs bathtub. The other, a virgin, is told to strip and put on a nurse outfit. She prays after he bounds her by the feet and hands. Franklin rewards this by stabbing her repeatedly in the back. The scene ends…after sufficiently providing a little bondage and murder.

The House: Now

Tate is back and tells Ben all of the nasty thoughts he has about Violet. He’s very aggressive and mocks Ben about his affair. Unsettling for Ben, who also finds out that his mistress his preggo.

Violet is at the skate park with the Mean Girl #1…for reasons unknown. She tells her that in addition to that huge gash she was given last week, her hair is turning white and that she thinks she saw the devil in Violet’s basement.

Later at the house, Tate watches Violet sleep. The alarm goes off and Ben walks around the house, topless with a bat. He’s not sure what’s going on, but when the door to the basement creeps open he does what any smart homeowner does and goes right down to fight off whatever lurks down there. No worries…it’s just Adelaide…again. She’s playing a game, but when Ben kicks her out the game keeps going. Creepy.

Ben’s newest client, Bianca, tells him she dreams about getting sliced in half by an elevator door. She’s also little weird (a recurring theme for pretty much everyone!) and overly interested in the “murder house”. Ben assumes that she’s left when he calls Tate’s mom…she hasn’t. But the interesting part of that scene was Ben speaking to someone who either was or was pretending to be Tate’s mom.

Constance’s cupcakes

We watch Constance make cupcakes with two special ingredients: spit and vomit-inducing ipecac…yum! Proof that you have to be very, very careful about taking unopened baked goods from people you don’t know. This family continues to amaze me with their lack of basic intuition.

Before the cupcakes make it to their destination we return to Ben, who is literally running to try and escape his sexual demons. Aside from the fact that he’s an adulterer, I feel bad for the guy. Larry, who is not at all stealthy, warns him that the house will use his demons against him. Ben heeds this advice by adding more guilt and lying to his wife so he can go to Boston and console his former mistress.

Constance finally makes her delivery and we learn her intended victim is Violet. She smells Vivien’s pregnancy and they share a “moment” where Constance talks about her four children. She says they’re cursed and have abnormalities, except for one. She describes him as gorgeous, so I’m not convinced that Tate is her son. We also learn that Moira once worked for Constance.

Is everybody crazy?

Violet (I must note that it was brought to my attention that although she has all the angst of My So Called Life’s Angela, she looks just like her little sister) is in her room, listing to her moody music, probably reading a book about hating your parents. She calls her mother weak and refuses to eat the cupcake Constance brought over, an unintentionally smart choice.

Over in Boston, Ben is having a cozy evening with Hayden (Kate Mara, Nip/Tuck) who is having an abortion and swears she is over Ben, yet won’t let him speak with his wife. I am convinced that Ben lacks a backbone. Remember that whole “feeling sorry” thing I mentioned earlier? This is when it went away.

Franklin’s nurses revisited

The doorbells rings, and just like in 1968, there’s a stranger, Fiona (Azura Skye, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at the door with blood on their face demanding to come inside the house. Vivien is a little bit smarter than her daughter gives her credit for and doesn’t let Fiona inside. She instead offers to call for help…but her phone is missing and when she goes back to the front door…Fiona is gone.

When Vivien looks out the peephole again, we see a masked person outside and right behind her. At this point, I think back to the mystery man from last week’s episode. Except this is a different kind of horror story and instead of a haunted house, Vivien and Violet are being terrorized by Fiona, Bianca and some guy that are obsessed with famous L.A. murders.

They try to escape and fail, until Tate tells Violet to get them to the basement. I won’t penalize Violet for not questioning how/why Ben was in the house, but at some point I need her to realize there’s something off about that kid. Bianca shows why she wasn’t the brains of their operation and eats the cupcake that subsequently makes her sick and easier for Tate to pick off.

Dress-up time

Adelaide, who also found her way into the house, runs home to tell Constance what’s going on. Constance is entertaining some male model type (her son?!) and doesn’t realize what Adelaide is saying, so she locks her in a room full of mirror. A cruel punishment and we see that the cold woman has some resemblance of a heart as she cries a little about what she’s done.

The guy of the crazy trio gets so caught up in the details of reenacting the murder that he’s also easily offed and Vivien bashes his head in first chance that she gets. It seemed like she killed him, but they don’t mention that part.

Violet gets Fiona to the basement (why is everyone so willing to go to that basement!) where she finds Tate, as well as the dead nurses and with that the trio is ended before ever getting a chance to complete their reenactment.

Ben would have been there if he’d possessed enough backbone to not let Hayden take his phone. Instead Tate, Moira and Constance clean up the mess…not for the family of course, but to make sure whatever plan they have in progress isn’t derailed.

So where does all of this leave us?

This episode wasn’t as scattered as the premiere. I’m glad that Vivien wants to sell the house, because it shows that the family isn’t as dumb as they appear. However, they’re clearly not going anywhere, so it’s not entirely relevant to the overall story.

I like that we’re learning more about Constance’s background. We know that Tate, Moira and Constance are all connected, but no clue how and if Larry is also a part of things. We’re assuming Hayden went through with the abortion, but that’s never confirmed, so it could be something that comes back to haunt Ben.  

Overall, Home Invasion offered up more questions than answers, which is great for people (like me) that enjoy a good mind-tease with their horror. If you’re looking for a little insight into the episode, this interview with Ryan Murphy explains a lot enough.

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