American Horror Story

Season 1 Episode 2

Home Invasion

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Oct 12, 2011 on FX

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
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  • You Get The Shovel, I'll Get The Bleach


    For those of you who don't remember 1968, here's what happened: the moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligned with Mars; Richard Nixon, a republican from California, declared his presidential candidacy; Martin Luther King Jr. spent a day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and would die there; Andy Warhol is shot by a struggling actress/writer; and a green Shelby Cobra pulled up in front of a familiar Los Angeles house.

    And so begins AHS's second episode - Home Invasion. The house we know that had once been owned by a doctor to the stars now houses female students enrolled in nursing school. There's no little girl telling them "you're going to die in there," but the viewer can soon deduce it will be so. Two students pass up the chance to see The Doors in concert and stay home to study. One makes the mistake of opening the front door to a presumed-wounded stranger.

    "Franklin" proves himself to the two nurses his aversion for women in that particular career field and shows us the first detailed crime to take place in our current favorite house. Both women die in particularly gruesome fashions and the stranger disappears.

    In present day, we and the new owners of the house, the Harmons, are forced to again deal with the current invaders, Adelaide and Tate. Adelaide plays with the creature in the basement, while Tate eyes Violet as she slumbers. Both intruders appear tame on the surface, although exuding violent tendencies, yet to show any direct harm to the family itself.

    Then we see Constance, the neighbor for which we have a love/hate thing, cooking in her own kitchen while explaining to Addy why she doesn't look like the magazine models. "You were born with...other gifts." We, nor Addy, aren't told exactly with those gifts are, but Addy is allowed to add to the recipe for cupcakes for Violet - her own spit and Ipecac syrup.

    While trying to dissuade Vivian from eating a cupcake, Constance relates tales of being a mother, not only to Addy but to three other children - two of which had Down's syndrome as well, the other was "a model of physical perfection...lost to other things." This, including talk of her former screen-godlike husband, saddens Constance and we see the reason Jessica Lange was cast in that tortured, yet tormenting, role.

    Ben takes on a new patient: Bianca Forest, a struggling actress, who dreams of being cut in half trying escape a Carpenters song playing on a stalled elevator. Ben suggests the dream represents some inner, unresolved pain. "I just think I'm afraid of getting chopped in half."
    While on the phone with Tate's mother, trying to get out of that professional relationship, Bianca appears in the room with Ben. He thought she had left. She does leave, but after looking around the place.

    For the first part of the episode, Ben avoids his ringing cell phone. After telling the caller about their pre-arranged agreement to not speak anymore, we learn who Ben had the fling with a year ago. Enter Hayden, a needy clingy psych student. We also learn the reason for her clingy need - she's pregnant. (PAUSE: Hayden is pregnant with Ben's child, yet they have not had contact in over a year - or have they? He lied to his Vivien to return to Boston to support Hayden's decision to have an abortion. Has he lied over the past year to continue to see Hayden?)

    During his excursion, Vivian hears the doorbell in the middle of the night. She tells the dog to stay on the bed, which the ankle-biter doesn't seem affected by a late-night visitor. 40 years after the opening scene, another stranger needs help - with the same "injuries" as Franklin back then. Vivian appears smarter than the naive nurses of long ago and does not open the door for the wounded woman, yet offers to call 911 for her. It is then we see the outsider already has inside help. Two hooded invaders, one of which is Bianca, must have found Addy's way inside.

    The three intruders intend on recreating the murders we saw at show's opening, because "Franklin was the first. Before Manson. He changed the culture." Vivien and Violet were to be tressed up like nurses. What the intruders didn't count on was a) the house was intent on protecting its current inhabitants on this night, and b) the current inhabitants are stronger women than the 1968 nurses.

    Adelaide tries to save the family, by running to her mother, but Constance has plans to make "pillow talk" with her young new beau. She locks her daughter in a mirror-filled Bad Girl closet as punishment. "Look at yourself. Look at yourself hard."

    Meanwhile, next door, Tate appears unto Violet and tells her somehow to get the intruders down to basement. Tate makes Bianca realize her worst fears and embeds an axe into her midriff - twice. Violet persuades her attacker to go downstairs - the original drowning tub is down there. Vivian escapes the male attacker, who thinks she has entered the open basement door.

    The house takes care of the intruders, via Addy's playmate downstairs. Constance appears alongside Tate and the maid, asking if the intruders' demise were his handiwork. He says no. Regardless, the three have a mess to clean up.

    The police have lost track of two intruders - one was found cut in half - but are confident in finding them. Vivian and Violet bond over all they've recently been through; Violet and her missing father, not so much. Vivian ends the episode with the threat of the family moving (again).

    Writing/Directing/Editing: 8 (timeframe of pregnancy, choppy editing). Acting: 8 (the invaders muffle some words). Music: 9 (the Psycho nod was awesome).

  • The character development is really moving ahead. And the obvious excitement from the actors is catchy. You can tell they are having a ball making this, and its wonderful to see. I have to say i am especially being drawn to Violet and her way of making a


    Violet and her making a home in the house and in the neighborhood. And i must say i find it very touching how tate is trying to relate to her. At once so clumsy, yet so intelligent. And that works. Because Violet is obviously way too smart for her age. But she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does. the eternal trauma of smart kids played out, and played out very well. Violet is smart and clumsy just like Tate. Obviouly possible mama Constance didn't like it, and decided to give Violet a laxative treat! LOL! How Romeo and Juiet! Except one of them is already maybe dead. Maybe not. Who the heck knows. But I watched the episode twice, and might watch it again.

  • Home Invasion


    Home Invasion was a superb episode of American Horror Story and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had a lot of great character and plot development. It was great how dark this episode was with plenty of crazy neighbor antics along with true slash and gash horror. There were some revelations that raised more questions in the end and I look forward to watching more episodes to find out what happens next!!!!!!!

  • All over the place, but still remarkably fun


    This episode toned down the supernatural insanity that made the pilot just as attention-grabbing as it was unbearable, but it's still clear that American Horror Story is focused on plaguing its central family with ludicrous levels of misery. It's something that too often affected Ryan Murphy's other series Nip/Tuck, which became over-reliant on terrible things happening to its core group of characters to keep things soapy and dramatic. But, if anything, the groundwork is being laid for a fascinating show mythology, and that ought to keep people tuned in for at least a couple more weeks.

    Something that resonated with me throughout Home Invasion was the idea of evil being drawn to the house. 1968 saw a horrific Manson-style murder spree occurring within the property, something so infamous that it spawned its own pack of cultists, who here seek to re-create the carnage with the Harmon family.

    With the knowledge of the '60s home invasion, are we so sure that Denis O'Hare's burn man was driven insane by the house? Or were his murderous instincts merely exacerbated by the place he called home? I have a theory that the house latches on to the characteristics of its inhabitants and maximizes them. As a result, we have a sexually-frustrated Ben fantasizing about the naughty housemaid and discovering a penchant for 'extreme' sex with leather and masks. Of course, I may be entirely wrong, but I think it's positive that the show is already forcing us to think things over and speculate.

    With such a big cast, stories are unfolding all over the place. Being a Ryan Murphy show, most of it is pretty scatter-shot and confused. Ben's subplot with his former lover only enhanced his skeeziness, since there's something clearly vulnerable about her. Just that squeal of "Pizza!" showcased how young and impressionable she seemed. He should have known better. Then again, he seems like a crummy therapist: "Have you ever suffered from sexual abuse?" Was that just bad writing, or is he supposed to be that unprofessional?

    The Constance subplot was more a random collection of unrelated 'moments' than anything actually revealing, but we did discover that Tate somehow knows both Constance and Moira and is integral to the house itself, and that Constance sometimes has a gentleman visitor who must be forty years younger than her. Get some, Connie! I also got major Rosemary's Baby vibes from Constance's homemade cooking, only it wasn't meant for pregnant Vivienne but instead Violet. Violet didn't eat it, but one of the home invaders did, who began throwing up and was later found cut in half somewhere. Were the slicing and the poisoning related? Or was her fate a result of her earlier nightmare?

    I feel like I'm asking a lot of questions, but I'm also assuming that that's the intention. Home Invasion, while still wall-to-wall nuttiness, at least felt a lot more calmer than the messy pilot. I'm already finding myself completely intrigued by several of the characters, and I don't see how anybody can be watching this and not want to find out what the hell is wrong with this damn house. B+


    Read more at Unwelcome Commentary.

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