American Horror Story: Forever Young and Temporarily Insane

It's as though American Horror Story is slowly becoming an actual show! After last week's episode introduced the concept of "story," this week the writers pushed the envelope a bit further by having the story "make sense." Mostly! Wednesday's episode, entitled "Murder House," was another strong entry in what is slowly proving to be a mythology with legs to sustain itself. While not as frightening as the first two installments, this episode served up even more impossibly crazy backstory and started putting into place several obstacles that should keep the Harmon family in this awful home for at least a little while longer.

We began with a shocking and slightly hilarious flashback apparently ghost-written by Tennessee Williams and featuring special effects provided by Industrial Light & Magic? (Jessica Lange's CGI face!!) Anyway, at least one of our suspicions was verified: Constance and her family used to live in the Murder House! And we we finally got to see the circumstances of Moira's murder: Back in 1983 Constance's husband was a hard-drinking louse of a guy who got sort of rapey with the younger version of Moira. That is, until Constance walked in and shot them both to death! This explained Moira's present-day "ghost eye": that was where the bullet entered her skull. Not going to lie, the timeline was kind of confusing. So Constance and her family lived in the house in 1983? But what about in 1978 when the twin boys got killed and Adelaide was playing in the front yard of the seemingly condemned building? Ah, nevermind, forget I asked.

Then we flashed forward to present day where Vivien was yelling at Ben about betrayal and it was like, Whoops! She found out about his mistress visit! But it turned out he'd merely lied about their empty bank account instead. Wow, Ben's even more awful than we thought! It was also super charming when, during the course of this conversation, he implied that Vivien was crazy for wanting to move out of the house where she was almost murdered during a home invasion. Ben was truly the worst, and that was BEFORE he fell asleep during a session with Tara's mom from True Blood and woke up in the yard with blood on his hands and Moira wouldn't tell him whether he'd murdered someone or not. (Oh, Moira.) But still, Ben's got a skull full of bad news.

In what would become a recurring theme of the episode, everybody was threatening everybody! Vivien threatened to sue the realtor, Violet threatened to run away from home, Vivien threatened to divorce Ben, Moira threatened to sue for wrongful termination, Ben's ex-mistress threatened to rat him out to Vivien... This was just a house full of jerks, basically. Luckily the Burned-face man needed $1,000 for new headshots (don't ask) and voluntarily murdered Ben's pregnant girlfriend with a shovel. Ben seemed kinda bummed at first, but seeing as he'd already dug a grave for her I don't think it was fair of him to be too mad at Burned-face.

For no real reason Violet decided she wanted to stay in the house and threatened to run away from home if Vivien tried to move everyone into an apartment. Clearly the Being-The-Worst gene is a dominant one, because Violet's taking after her father in that department. But it turned out Vivien may HAVE to stay in the house anyway, as when she finally ventured outside she began bleeding in the crotch area and feared she'd miscarried. Her consulting physician banned her from moving, citing the dangerous stress levels, but you and I know that the house has some kind of nurturing effect on Vivien's health. That house wants a baby and it wants one NOW.

After a brief chat with police detectives, it was discovered that Ben HADN'T murdered Tara's mom; she'd merely slit her wrists and run out the door, which is a thing that often happens after someone's first psychiatrist visit. You've done it, I've done it. It happens. To his credit, Ben seemed relieved that he wasn't a murderer, but this fugue-state problem persisted, leading us to wonder whether he'd start sleep murderin' someday. It seems likely! We also learned that Ben is incredible at building gazebos, which he did over the grave of his ex-girlfriend. (Her body had been laid beside the bones of Moira, which she observed from the window while sobbing.) So you know what that means: Bury bones in the yard, stay haunted by that ghost. Which is too bad because that girlfriend was turbo annoying. Oh well, see you soon, lady!

Oh and it wasn't super important to the plot but so much screentime was devoted to it, it'll probably mean something later: We met the house's original owners! They were 1920s society folks, one a haughty, scheming wife and the other, a mad scientist who sewed together animals and performed the occasional abortion for spare change (a real hard-working, Horatio Alger type, basically). Anyway, that was a weird scene, but then later on in present day the same wife CAME to Vivien's door and TOURED the house like she was going to buy it. For the record she did NOT like the modern kitchen and especially not the microwave. That is just a ghost's prerogative though. Either way, Vivien failed to notice that the back of the lady's skull was missing. She also didn't notice later that night when the ghost lady was chilling on the bed while they slept. Who would?

AND NOW, THIS WEEK'S WTF MOMENTS:

1. Young Jessica Lange!

2. Two-Headed Pig Bat

3. The Sal Mineo Murder Re-Enactment For Some Reason?

4. Tara's Mom

5. Violet's Hat

6. Ghost Lady's Bad Hair Day

All in all, this episode was equal parts crazy and coherent! As much as I'd be watching this thing either way, it IS sort of nice to think that the writers have intentions behind their on-camera brainstorming sessions. Sure, there may be sustainability issues over, say, seven seasons, but I have a feeling we're getting at least a really special first season here and I'm excited to see where things go.

QUESTIONS

... Where has the gimp ghost been?

... Why did Tate ignore Constance's wave?

... How embarrassed would you be if you could only learn more about your house by taking a Murder Tour? Just Bing it!

... Is Constance an eBay Power Seller? What's her feedback rating?

Comments (33)
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I reckon Tate is Constance's perfect son who then was killed whilst she lived in the house. She later sold the house (or possibly prisoned for murder?) but couldn't bring herself to move away completely due to the ghost of her perfect son still being there. Tate may even still be a little mad at her for killing his Dad and that's why he didn't wave at her?

Haven't seen ep 4 yet so don't know if anything's already been answered, although it seems very unlikely!!

Either way, loving the show.
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Obviously they bought the house and fixed it up after them scooby doo twin jerks were killed!
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I liked the series opener because I it gives me just enough suspense and horror while keeping me interested in the show. I've watched some shows that have me at the beginning but lose me throughout the show and I didn't get that feeling with "American Horror Story. I loved it but I know DIRECTV customers aren't happy they weren't able to watch it because of the FOX negotiation dispute. I know exactly how people feel because I was a DISH Network employee and customer last year when this happened and it wasn't pretty. Luckily, DISH Network fought for me as a customer and eventually signed a long term agreement with FOX so I won't have to worry about missing this show or any of my other FOX channels for years to come and I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for them.
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The gimp ghost is Constance's dead husband.
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Tate tate tate
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I very much agree with MollyHolzschl about the creative team behind this show. The house is absolutely wonderful. The 20's scenes are like living paintings. And all through the other ages and various degrees of abandonment, the details are amazing. The same goes for the costumes. The 80's scene got all its authenticity from that red Nancy Reagan-like dress. And look at Vivian and Moira's hair and the Burned Man's face : Beautiful. This level of creative excellence brings stability and kind of counter ballances all the other weirdness that is going on : a freshly murdered pregnant girl gets thrown in an already occupied grave, a double headed piglet with bat wings and Sal Mineo's death. Let's face it. This is not your everyday kind of television. But it works very well. A little theory of my own : Tate is the ghost of the original owners son. I think that before he himself died young, he fathered Constance, which links her to the house and her bad offspring is the result of her grand fathers experiments. The young man she was with, during the 'mirror prison' scene, who even looked like her, was her perfect son. What about that?
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I'm confused about the fact thet Constance and Adaleide were neighbors to the house in the flashback inte premiere, then they lived in the house and moved back out. I dunno, doesn't make any sense to me. And one more thing, if Moira was the young version when she died, why is there an old version of her as a ghost when she didn't even live to that age? No to mention that if she died in 1983 she wouldn't be that old now even if she was still alive. There's a lot of things this show needs to explain to me...
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Moira herself explained why she appeared older "Men see what they want to see, women however see into the soul of the person."
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The actress playing young Moira is 28. After 29 years, from 1983, she would be 57 years old, which is the age of actress Frances Conroy (old Moira), so it still makes sense.

As for Constance, yes the house was abandoned in 1978. Most likely they bought it, renovated it and moved in (murder house is always a good deal!). Moved out after killing her husband, Moira and Jebus knows who else :S
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Do you have trouble reading books as well, or is your lack of comprehension limited only to watching television?
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So that's why Jessica Lange looked especially hot (the CGI) -- I'm sure there's a purpose for the Sal Mineo flashback (patience, people) -- and whacking the babymama was too convenient. The unborn baby should come back and haunt Ben!
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The whole Moira transformation was actually explained by her in this episode. She said during the whole Ben/Vivien/Moria confrontation, that "Men see what they want to see, women however see into the soul of the person."

So that is why the police investigator saw Moria as the younger version too.
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Seriously? This episode was terrible. I honestly thought it was all a dream of the father considering how poorly cut together and edited it was. The second ep seemed to be heading in the right directly but this one is worse than the first. So much failed potential.
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Horror homage? If you can call it that, shot in the eye like in Donnie Darko
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I love this show!!!
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1. Based on the preview we'll see gimp ghost next episode

2. No idea

3. I'd sue the realtor from not disclosing ALL deaths linked with that house

4. No clue
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The realtor clearly says by law that she only has to disclose deaths in the last 3 years.
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I didn't mind the absence of traditional "horror" in last night's episode. I was happy to see the show take a more psychological turn, though it should not be a permanent change. I also thought last night's was the best episode yet. The scene where the ghost lady toured the house had a really fantastic sense of menace, especially since the threat turned out to be entirely different from the one Vivien expected. I also loved it when the cop asked Ben how he gets anything done around Moira; it was a quick and deft way to let us know Ben is not the only one who sees her as she was. And Moira's face in the window as she watched Ben build the gazebo with Constance was heartbreaking.



Question: is Hayden going to come back as a ghost and haunt Ben now too? That whole sequence with Denis O'Hare at the end was amazing.
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Hmm haven't you actually been watching the other episodes? Violet has had that had since episode 1, and she loved the house since then as well, her not wanting to move out is not a new thing.



Really think this is one of the most awesome freshly thinking new shows, and I kinda feel these articles are ragging abit too much on it for no real reason, or at least not paying real attention to whats happened before :)
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Okay.... we've gone from horror to psychological/fantastic thriller or else. Seriously, where did the horror go ?

Anyway, at least we learned things about the house, its background and therefore getting more and more of the big picture. The story totally made sense for once. Just what the hell should we care about the Sal Mineo murder ?

I'm just stunned that Vivian did not scream during the Moira/Ben explanation : "Dude, she's 60 : why would she assault you ?" so that maybe they could begin to understand what was wrong with people around them.



Last thing : if one-arm shovel-digging was an Olympic sport, I'd give a gold medal to burnt-face man...
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Loved it when Burnt man said that she's still moving and hit her again!
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Oh, and I'm placing my bet that Tate is Constance's one perfect child whom she lost.
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nah, Tate is the original owner's baby
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I agree!
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A great write-up, thanks for this! Price really caught the tongue-in-cheek aspect of American Horror Story which I fear many are missing. It's pure camp and I'm loving every bizarre, creative minute of it.



The show is also rather beautiful. The house and its details, the period costumes and makeup, a sense that many scenes could be paintings - a lot of credit goes to the creative teams working on the show.
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I thought I was bad at missing things.



Violet wanted to stay in the house because she has a kindred spirit with the boy. I am beginning to believe he's a ghost too?



I believe Moira was drugging Ben in an attempt, somehow, to get him to dig up her grave so she could be free. Ben was not digging a hole for the mistress. It just so happened to be used when he failed to finish digging up Moira. It was Dennis O'Hare that somehow, with one good arm, finished digging the hole, discovered Moira's body, and cared less about doing anything about it and dumped the mistress in over her.



Do ghosts age? Is that why Moira appears old to the women? It's like she is a survivor of the gunshot to the eye. I am also not clear why Moira comes across as a young tramp when we discover Lange's husband was trying to rape her. Is that a curse she now has or is it to somehow get herself dug up? Maybe a man has to do so to free her?



I didn't see Lange as having CGI done to her face, but maybe I am not familiar enough with the technique. It simply could have been make-up and lighting to make her look a touch younger.



A way better episode this tie, but still, I don't know. There is a 2-part Halloween story coming up, so I'll see if I like it after that.
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I read an article where Ryan Murphy said they used CGI to make her look younger.
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I really enjoy this show. It might not have the strongest plot in the world, I mean let's face it, the plot does have as many holes in it as religious myths have. But I like the fact that it is different, quirky, has weird characters, and it's trying to bring us something new. I simply enjoy watching it for this crazy mixture of weirdness.
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American Horror Story is slowly becoming my favorite show on tv
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I LOVE this show more every week!

And it also seems like it WILL all make some kind of sense eventually! That makes me happy.



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i meant show not so,sorry...
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this is my first comment ever in tv.com but i couldn't resist,i laughed sooo hard i mean ..." Is Constance an eBay Power Seller? What's her feedback rating?" i loved it!!!oh btw i am not so sure aboout this so, i wil keep watching but really not sure how i feel about it,i guess i might like it?well anyway i just wanted to say that you're hilarious : )
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I also couldn't help but giggle at the "You've done it, I've done it. It happens." part:)
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