American Horror Story

Season 1 Episode 10

Smoldering Children

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Dec 07, 2011 on FX

Episode Recap

In 1994, Constance, Adelaide, and Tate sit down with Larry for a family dinner at the Murder House. Their new father is glad to have Tate say grace. However, Tate says that he would have been better off going with his birth father, and that Constance is only doing Larry so she can get back into the house. Larry talks about the tragedy that took his wife and daughters, but Tate reminds him that they burned themselves alive after Lorraine learned that her husband was cheating on her with Constance. Tate's new father insists that no one was to blame and that he has tickets for the community theater the coming Saturday, and he'll be debuting in the chorus. When Addie says that she likes the theater, Tate angrily tells her to stop it and that they all know that Larry killed their brother Beau. Constance insists that Beau died of natural causes and is in a better place. However, Tate says that Beau only suffered because of Constance. She asks why Tate can't use the gifts he was given, but Tate tells her that he'll never be her perfect son.

Sometime later, Tate uses cocaine and then loads up the two shotguns that he owns. Before going to the school, he takes a can of gasoline to the office where Larry works. Tate walks up to Larry, pours the gasoline on him, and sets him on fire with a match. As Larry screams in agony, Tate walks away.

Ben goes to the psychiatric hospital to see Vivien. He finally tells her that he believes her claim that she was raped and apologizes for doubting her. Vivien wonders why he finally believes her, and Ben tells her that he's learned that the twins have different fathers. He asks her about the rapist but there's nothing she can tell her husband. Ben promises that they'll find answers together and once he works out the legal situation after she shot him, she can come home. However, Vivien refuses to go back to the house.

Constance answers her door and is greeted by Detectives Granger and Barrios. They show her photos of Travis and have her confirm who he is. The detectives inform her that they found him in what Constance considers the "colored" section and figure that he was dumped there after he was killed elsewhere. Constance realizes that Travis, the "Boy Dahlia," was killed the same way that the Black Dahlia was. When the detectives ask if Travis had any enemies, Constance insists that everyone loved Travis.

As Ben calls a lab to have the rubber mask tested for DNA, truant officer Peter McCormick arrives. Ben lets him in and McCormick notices that he has blowflies. When Ben returns, McCormick explains that Violet has missed 16 days at school and they've been unable to contact Vivien.

Violet is in her room when Ben asks to talk to her. She claims that she doesn't feel well but he insists. Violet figures that he wants to be a good father and lecture her about school, but Ben apologizes and admits that she's had a rough year. He figures she can do anything she wants and asks what's going on, and Violet insists that she can't go back and that any other school would be the same. When Ben warns her that they'll end up in juvenile court if she doesn't go to school, Violet agrees.

Constance comes to see Larry at his apartment. He invites her in and she explains that she's been through recent tragedy and needed some human contact. Constance informs Larry that Travis is dead and he offers his condolences. However, when he tries to kiss Constance, she shoves him back and says that she knew Larry killed Travis, and that Larry was jealous because she loved Travis and could never love Larry. Larry explains that he only moved the body, and that Travis pissed off someone in the house. When Constance realizes that Travis died in the house, she starts to go to him but Larry insists that he loves her and believes that she still loves him. Constance tells him that she only endured him for the sake of her family, and insists that Travis is twice the man that Larry ever was.

Violet dresses for school and goes downstairs. Tate grabs her and asks her to stay with him for the day. Violet refuses, insisting that she promised her father, but Tate says that one day won't make a difference and kisses her.

As Constance returns home, the detectives return and say that they talked to the local grocery store owner and he knew that Constance and Travis fought. As Constance takes her keys out of her purse, she drops her knife and the detectives, suspecting her, tell her to come down to the precinct with them.

Ben calls in an exterminator, Phil, who warns that there are vermin in the crawl spaces. Phil says that he has an opening and warns that he can't give an estimate until he goes into the crawlspace. However, he assures Ben that he's the best exterminator in the business.

At the station, Constance insists that the detectives are interrupting her grieving. Granger points out that lots of people have died near her, including Beau who died of "natural causes." They also point out that Tate was a mass murderer, and Constance insists that she has grieved enough for two lifetimes. Granger then focusses on the missing and asks what happened to her husband Hugo and her maid Moira, who disappeared in 1983. Constance suggests that they ran off to Brazil and had no interest in standing in the way of true love. Granger explains that in 1983, the DA was ready to file murder charges against Constance. However, they never found the bodies... unaware that Constance ground Hugo up and fed him to her dogs.

A public defender, Harry Goodman, comes in and tells Constance not to say anything until he can consult with her. She insists that she has nothing to hide but Harry orders the detectives out. He warns Constance that the Boy Dahlia case will be sensational and the police are moving fast. They will pin it on someone, and Harry figures they'll pin it on Constance.

Phil dons his suit and gear and goes into the crawlspace. As the bugs swarm around him, Phil sees something and screams in horror. Tate crawls toward him and says that he has to stay and repent for all the innocent lives he's stolen. He then grabs Phil's pesticide sprayer and rams it into his face.

Ben is calling about private schooling for Violet when he catches a glimpse of Tate in a photo frame. When he turns around, there's no sign of Tate.

Violet is playing chess in the attic when Tate comes up and warns her that Ben plans to send her away. She says that it makes sense because Ben sent Vivien away, and Tate says that he won't let Ben send her away.

Later, Tate dons the rubber suit.

Larry goes to the basement of the house and removes Travis' clothing from behind the wall where he hid it. When Travis appears, Larry explains that he's disposing of evidence. Travis wonders if he's made the news and Larry assures him that he's been on every channel. Larry then explains that Constance took his death hard, and that Constance hasn't come over because it's too soon. Larry's girls, Margaret and Angela, call to Travis to come over and play. Larry sees them and realizes who they are despite their burn scars, while Travis asks him to bring some news clippings so he can start a scrapbook.

As Travis goes to the girls, Larry looks at them and smiles. His wife Lorraine appears behind him and admits that Travis is good with the children, and that they've all been lonely. Larry wonders why he can see her now and Lorraine tells him that he's ready now and on the cusp. He apologizes for everything and Lorraine tells him to prove it. Larry insists that he'll make sure that Constance rots in prison for what she did to their family. However, Lorraine reminds him that he's the one who broke his vows.

Ben is taking a shower when Tate attacks him. They struggle and Ben throws him back, demanding that he show his face. Tate renews his attack but Ben grabs a lamp, beats him to the floor, and tries to rip his mask off. However, Tate finally subdues him and drugs him unconscious with chloroform. Before he passes out, Ben pulls off the mask and realizes that it's Tate. He screams for Violet and then collapses, and Tate tells him that after Ben takes his nap, it'll be over.

Harry comes to see Constance and brings her a latte. She realizes that something is wrong and Harry says that the police want them at the station as soon as possible. Constance insists that they can't pin the murder on her, but Harry warns that something new has come up and she'll be charged.

Tate goes up to the attic and tells Violet that he just scared Ben into giving them an hour alone. He explains that he has a way for her to stay at the house forever, and offers her a few sleeping pills. Violet realizes that he wants her to kill herself, and he says that he has more pills that he took from Ben's samples. When she hesitates, Tate screams at her that they're running out of options. Violet admits that it's the only way they can be together, and asks if they can do it in the bathtub. Tate agrees and she goes to run the water, but screams for Ben. When she gets no answer, she runs outside to the gate and yells for help. A passing dog barks at her, but the people walking it don't notice her. Violet runs out the gate...

... and finds herself in the kitchen. Tate tells her to calm down, but Violet runs back out the front door only to find herself in the house again. No matter how she leaves, she always finds herself in the house. When Violet finds Tate and says that she doesn't want to die, Tate tells her that it's too late.

Tate tells Violet that he has to show her something and then she can go where she wants. She takes his hand and Tate leads her down to the basement and into the crawlspace. He has Violet close her eyes and then leads her forward, telling her that everything will be okay. Finally they come to Violet's corpse, swarming with flies. She remembers dying in the bathtub after taking pills, and Tate explains that he tried to save her. Violet admits that she barely feels anything and Tate explains he tried to get her to kill herself again so she wouldn't be so sad.

Harry and Constance arrive at the station and Granger says that they have the murder weapon. Constance insists that she had nothing to do with Travis' death, but they take her into a room. In the interrogation room, Larry is confessing to the murder to Barrios. Granger explains that Larry has known information that they didn't release, and they want Constance there to help explain Larry's motives. Constance says that she has no idea why he did what he did, but figures that he's confessing to pacify his guilty conscience.

Back in her room, Violet realizes that Tate has been protecting her since she died. He admits that he kept her death a secret, and Violet still doesn't remember dying. Tate claims that he doesn't remember dying either, and Violet asks what happens now. He tells her that it'll be like it has always be, the two of them together for always. Tate deals out cards and Violet picks them up and starts playing.

Larry asks Constance to come see him in jail. When she does, he explains that he wanted to take the image of her into his captivity. Constance says that it will be the last time he sees him, and Larry explains that they're sending him to a penitentiary in Illinois to serve his time. Constance isn't interested in hearing why Larry confessed, and warns him that he's a fool if he thought she needed protecting. Larry explains that he needs to pay for his crimes, all of them, and he doesn't mind dying in prison... if she'll tell him that she loves him. Constance puts her hand up to his briefly and then pulls it away, hangs up the phone, and leaves without a word.