American Horror Story

Season 1 Episode 3

Murder House

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Oct 19, 2011 on FX

Episode Recap

In 1983, young Moira is making up the bed at the house when the husband, Hugo, comes in. He's drinking heavily and starts to molest Moira. She refuses, insisting that she needs the job and it was only one time before. He refuses to take no for an answer, throws her on the bed, and starts to rape her. His wife Constance comes in and shoots over his head, and Hugo hastily backs away. Constance then shoots Moira in the right eye, killing her, and says that she's loved him since she was 16. Hugo insists that it didn't mean anything, but Constance shoots him dead. She then sits on the bed next to him, takes off her earrings, and starts sobbing.

Now, Vivien complains to Ben that their investor has screwed up their savings. He claims that he's protected her by keeping it a secret, but that they can't move until they sell the house. Ben suggests that they can get a studio apartment for her, but he needs the house for his work. When he points out that Vivien is suffering from PTSD, she tells him not to try and make her feel crazy. She says that she'll meet with the realtor and see what inexpensive improvements they can make to sell the house without a loss, and warns Ben that if he lies to her again, they're through.

Marcy comes over and tries to claim that she followed proper procedure, but Vivien tells her that no one else will try and sell the house. She tells Marcy to do whatever she has to sell the house or she'll sue her for negligence, and Marcy quickly caves.

In the kitchen, young Moira brings Ben coffee. Meanwhile, Constance breaks into the Harmon house to steal silver, and Moira confronts her. Moira wishes that Constance would die, but Constance tells Moira to polish the silver she plans to steal. When Moira complains, Constance reminds her that she's a thief and stole her husband. Moira says that she doesn't want to be there anymore, and Constance tells her to move on if she can. The housekeeper admits that she can't, and Constance points out that Moira made the mess for herself and has no sympathy for her. When Moira says that Constance needs to pay for what she's done, Constance says that she does so every day.

Ben meets with a patient, Sally Freeman, who is going through a divorce and will be signing the papers in a week. As Ben tapes their conversation, she wonders if she'll be able to love again, and explains that her husband wants a divorce because she's boring. Sally drones on about all of the sport teams that she memorized. Ben dozes off and finds himself standing outside the house, his hands covered in blood. He washes them off and goes inside to find young Moira cleaning the floor. She explains that she's cleaning up his mess and Ben asks what she has seen. Young Moira says that she didn't see anything and she's very discrete, and that the room is next for his next victim. Ben goes into his office and discovers that his tape recorder is gone. As young Moira flirts with him, he finally grabs her and says that he's done with her game. Vivien comes in and is surprised to see him holding Moira.

In the kitchen, Ben claims that Moira has been flirting with him constantly. Vivien has no idea what he's talking about, and Moira notes that her romance days are long past her. Moira notes that she is aware of all that the stress that they're under and offers to forget the entire thing. When Vivien suggests that she leaves, Moira snaps at her and says that she won't let them toss her out again. She says that if Ben lays a hand on her or sexually harasses her, she'll press charges. Moira walks away, and Ben insists that she's lying. Vivien tells him that she figures his indiscretion in Boston has made him paranoid and guilty, and tells her husband to get it together so they can get out of the house without a lawsuit.

Later, Vivien is working in the garden when the Eternal Darkness Tour pulls up and the guide, Stan, talks about the Murder House. Meanwhile, Violet is out back of the house smoking when Ben comes up. He says that he's not there to bust her and offers to find her someone if she wants to talk. Once Ben leaves, Tate emerges from hiding and says that Violet is lucky to have Ben as a husband and lights her cigarette.

Ben goes back into the house and finds young Moira waiting for him. He demands to know where his missing tape recorder is but she invites him to search her for it. As Ben turns to go, Moira says that his next patient is in his office. Ben has no idea what she's talking about and goes into his office to find Hayden waiting for him. She assures him that she made sure that Vivien left and points out that he left without telling her. Hayden then tells Ben that she didn't have an abortion and she plans to move to Los Angeles and have Ben support her. He insists that he doesn't have the money and Hayden screams at him, saying she matters.

The doorbell rings and Ben goes to answer it. A Detective Jack Colquitt is there to talk to Ben. Hayden tells Ben to meet her at a bar the next day. As she leaves, Colquitt says that he's with Missing Persons and that Sally Freeman has disappeared after her appointment with Ben the previous day.

Sal Mineo inadvertently approaches a man in an alleyway, thinking he's gay. Offended, the man stabs Sal.

Vivien goes on the tour and sees the site of the Sal Mineo murder. Stan concludes the tour by showing his group the famous Murder House. Build by Dr. Charles Montgomery in 1922, his business fell on hard times and he took drugs and start dissecting pigs and babies.

Charles is working in his basement lab when his wife Nora calls him upstairs. She complains about having to have moved from Philadelphia and how they have only two servants. Charles continues drinking and Nora tells him that he's a waste. He insists that they'll write articles about him one day and throws a glass against the wall. They're one child starts crying and Nora summons the maid, Daphne, to take the baby upstairs. Once Daphne takes the baby away, Nora says that the bill collectors keep coming around and that she's arranged for a girl to come for an abortion. She warns that he'd better not mess things up by being drunk.

The next day, would-be actress Dorothy Hudson arrives for the abortion and Nora takes her to the basement. She assures her that no one will ever know and demands payment upfront. Once she has the money, Nora gives Dorothy a sedative and guides her to the basement, and then turns her over to her husband.

Stan finishes, explaining that the couple finale had enough in 1926. Vivien realizes that she's bleeding from the groin and runs into her house.

Ben and Vivien meet with her obstetrician, Dr. Hall, who assures her that everything is fine and it's just minor spotting. She advises them not to move while pregnant due to the stress that it can cause, warning that it could lead to a spontaneous abortion. Ben starts to feel weak and collapses, and then insists that he's fine. Hall orders an EKG and a blood panel to make sure he's okay.

As Constance walks by the Harmon house, she sees Tate in an upstairs window. She waves to him but he just stares for a second and then moves back. Marcy, who is putting a sign up, sees Constance and the ex-actress wishes her luck selling the house.

Larry catches up to Ben as he jogs and asks him to help run his lines. He knows about what happened in Boston and asks for $1,000 for actor's head shots. Ben tells him to stay away and goes. Back at his office, Ben searches for his missing tape recorder without success. He passes out and wakes up in the yard, next to a shovel. Constance is there and says that he's suffering from stress. Ben starts digging and Constance warns that the former owners sprayed pesticide and the land is toxic. She glances up and sees Moira watching them from an upstairs window.

Vivien is going through the newspaper looking for an apartment when the doorbell rings. A young Nora Montgomery is outside and says that she's there to look for the house. Vivien finally agrees to let her in, and Nora admires the house. She seems strangely familiar with it, noting the color of the stained glass matches her eyes. Vivien shows her around and takes her to the kitchen, but Nora insists that it's not right and doesn't recognize the modern fixtures. As Vivien makes some tea, Nora asks Vivien if she has children. When Vivien says that she's pregnant, Nora says that she had a child once. As she talks, Nora is careful to keep the gaping hole in the back of her head away from Vivien. When Vivien turns to get the tea, Nora vanishes.

Colquitt comes to see Ben as he is digging in the backyard. He explains that they found Sally in a hotel, and she was taken to the hospital after a failed suicide attempt. The tape recorder was on her, and it reveals that Sally cut herself with a letter opener to get Ben's attention as he dozed off. Ben points out that the tape proves he didn't do anything, and Colquitt notes that all he did was be an asshole.

A landlord shows Vivien and Violet an apartment. Once they're alone, Violet complains that they've moved all the way across country just to move into a cheap apartment, and neither of her parents can deal with anything. When Vivien points out that they had a traumatic experience in the house, Violet says that she's proud to stay in a house where she saw her mother kickass. Vivien says that it's best for everyone, and Violet says that if Vivien moves out then she'll run away and make sure that her parents can't find her.

Dr. Hall calls to tell Ben that his EKG was fine. However, she notes that they found traces of laudanum in his system, a surgical opiate dating back to 1934. The doorbell rings and Ben walks past young Moira, saying that he knows she drugged his coffee. She dares him to prove it. Hayden is at the door, angry that Ben forgot their appointment. She walks through the house, yelling for Vivien, and Ben tries to calm her down. Hayden insists that they have to tell Vivien together that Ben has new obligations, and suggests that they go out to dinner.

As they leave, Larry hits her with a shovel, knocking her out. Ben tackles him but Larry points out that Ben hasn't killed anyone yet. They confirm that Hayden is dead and Larry tells Ben that now all of his problems are solved. When Ben goes to call the police, Larry warns that it won't go well since Hayden was carrying Ben's baby. He tells Ben that he'll take care of the body. He finds the hole that Ben was digging earlier and says that it's a good start, and asks for $1,000 again. Ben goes inside and throws up in the kitchen sink, while Larry finishes digging the hole. At the bottom he finds a skeleton dressed in a maid's uniform. Moira watches from the window, crying, as Larry tosses Hayden in the hole and buries her with Moira's skeleton. Constance comes up to Moira and tells her that now she's buried there forever.

Ben builds a gazebo on top of the spot where Hayden and Moira are buried, and Vivien brings him a glass of iced tea. Together they admire his work.

That night, Vivien is sleeping in bed. Nora sits on the bed and reaches out to her but then withdraws.