INT. WAITING ROOM - FX OFFICES
RYAN MURPHY, 46, sits on a couch in front of a secretary, filing her nails. He has a massive hangover. A bored but SEXY SECRETARY motions him into the offices of an FX EXEC, forties, wearing Wall Street suspenders and an AMERICAN FLAG TIE
FX EXEC: Well, Ryan, we’re so glad to have you here. All of us at News Corp. are obviously huge, huge fans.
RYAN: Thank you.
FX EXEC: Glenn Beck can’t sleep without watching of Eat Pray Love. Well … that and huffing ether while masturbating into a leather glove.
RYAN: (Supressing a hangover DRY HEAVE.) That’s great.
FX EXEC: So I hear you and Brad have a show to pitch.
RYAN: (Sweating. He has nothing.) I do … it’s called …
FX EXEC: Yes?
Ryan panics. He’s just pulled an all-nighter for Glee out on script. He’s been up until 4 a.m. drinking curaçao through a bendy straw — what he and Brad like to call “Emmy Juice.” He hasn’t thought of a single show to pitch today. What to do???
RYAN It’s called …
He looks at the executive’s AMERICAN FLAG TIE. He looks at a FRAMED PHOTO on his desk, where a child — ostensibly the executive’s son — is being hoisted on a chair in a traditional Bar Mitzvah dance. Outside the window, a STORE is visible. He licks his dry lips with a parched cerulean tongue.
RYAN (cont’d): America …Horah … Store.
FX EXEC: Sorry? Did you say … American Horror Story?
RYAN: (Dialing J.J. Abrams.) It worked!
SORRY. Sorry, every one! Just daydreaming! I get that when you’ve been super successful you don’t have to plan and pitch a new television show with the thoroughness of say, a young woman with a killer idea about a girl who writes recaps for a living. But did NO ONE make plans to write this series beyond, “It’s a haunted house. Sometimes there are butts.” ???
Don’t get me wrong. I love and am attached to this show, but I cannot be lured into another program that hinges on an “intriguing universe of hints and clues” only to find out that the people behind it are flying by the seats of their pants.
Remember when you found out there was no Santa and then you were immediately like, “Well, maybe there’s no God, either! Maybe morality is a construct and I should just murder a strange Algerian”? In this case, Lost is Santa. It has ruined my faith in mystery shows. I’m sorry! I know.
Look, it’s an interesting conceit to have the newlydeads figure out the house’s quirks at the same time as the audience, but I need some reassurance at this point. I need to know that somewhere there’s some kind of benevolent, Newtonian creator who has a plan for the series and not another showrunner who just lies to Entertainment Weekly for six seasons about having an “endgame” that doesn’t exist.
Okay. I’m sorry. I just really needed to get that off my chest.
This episode opens in Old Hollywood — 1947, to be exact — and walking up to Murder House is … Mena Suvari! So we’ve already got a good guest star, but who should answer her knocking but … Joshua Malina! Oh, cool. I love him, too. It’s West American Horror Pie!
Turns out, Mena IS the Black Dahlia and she’s here to have a cavity filled (there’s a metaphor for you, Moira!) by Joshua Malina, DDS.
Fact-check time: I’ve been on the Black Dahlia murder bus tour (I’m that guy!) and Elizabeth Short DID have cavities she couldn’t afford to fill (ugh, sorry for typing that). So, hey, way to do your research, AHS. Pat yourself on the back. But we know how this flashback ends: with Beth Short, chopped in half, ditched in a yard, doomed to precipitate that movie where Hillary Swank talks like Thurston Howell. And, titles.
Back in the present, Violet is nowhere to be seen and stays that way all episode long. We’re told she’s sequestered in her room and not eating, fueling many of your suspicions that she’s not 100 percent alive.
With Viv in the psych ward, Moira is acting extra skanky, and because Ben has all the combined willpower of the Cocoa Puffs bird and Nancy Spungen, he’s visibly sweating from the effort not to mount her. “I think you must have pretty low self-esteem,” he says. Ha, ‘cause that stops dudes like you.
Over at Constance’s, she and Travis (who knew John Corbett’s character from Northern Exposure died in Murder House?) are arguing about his contributions to the household. Travis goes off to walk a dachshund that I forgot existed, and gets cat-called by Hayden from the porch next door.
Travis (of course) comes inside to have shirt-on sex with her (disbelief UNSUSPENDED, Kate Mara). Turns out Hayden was only using poor Trav to see if she could still bang the living. Huh. Why didn’t she just ask Tate? Seems a lot easier than suffering through sex with one of those “necklace” guys.
Then Hayden’s sister (whose name I nevvvvver quite catch — Marlin? Marmurr? Mayden?) shows up at Murder House with a missing persons cop, looking for her disappeared sibling. Hooray! Hooray for sense and reason, right?
WRONGGGG! Hayden chooses this moment to apparate. Mfrrmrrrrr and Ben are both noticeably shaken, because they didn’t get the capital-E Exposition we did in the last episode.
So we know that ghosts can be visible or invisible at will, but we still don’t know where the invisible Talbott’s is. You know, the one where Hayden buys all of her neutral layering pieces. When they leave, Hayden tells Ben that she’s no longer crazy and that she’s had an abortion, which he swallows easily and believably as you might, say, bloody raw brain from your crazy neighbor.
THEN! The Black Suvaria shows up to have an unscheduled session with Ben, who’s unfazed by her anachronistic outfit. (And why not? She looks kind of like one of the Suicide Girls. Maybe the labia piercings are just underneath the wool separates?) When he asks how she plans to pay for treatment, she starts acting all slinky. God, the women in Murder House! Every day is like the night before Valentine’s Day in one of those chocolate martini bars.
They’re interrupted by Viv’s OB, who tells him that the twins have two daddies. American Horror MAURY! So I guess Tate is only ONE of the fathers, which I think Ben would have figured out anyway when one of the babies was born with tiny carpenter jeans.
Constance comes by to accuse Violet of sleeping with Travis. Old, pro-sisterhood Moira tells her that Violet’s in love with Tate, who, uh, incidentally, impregnated Vivian. Constance pretty much has the same reaction we all did. She goes straight down the basement to beat him senseless.
But meanwhile — LESBIANS! Upstairs, Moira and Beth are making out on the couch. Ben is understandably conflicted because on the one hand it’s soooooort of a mini–Six Feet Under reunion, and on the other… Whaaaaat? I don’t care what Ben thinks! These are the Lesbighosts I asked for! It’s almost as if Ryan Murphy is reading my letters. Of course, the whole incident is just two girls making out try to trick Ben into buying them drinks — I mean sleeping with their undead bodies. But why? You’ll see!
Back in the dentistry flashback, we get some serious playing-against-type when my poor beloved Josh Malina rapes his unconscious patient Beth to death. WHOOPS! Oh, boy, is James Ellroy going to get drunk and throw things at his TV tonight. But when the dentist goes into the basement of Murder House to dispose of the Black Dahlia, he finds Dr. Charles, of Pig Baby fame. Dr. Charles helpfully offers to chop her into pieces for easy dumping. Ohhhhh boy. Historical speculative fiction arc complete.
Back in the present, Ben is finally visiting his wife. First off: damned if this mental hospital doesn’t look like the Standard: Detroit. Second: Ben is apparently pissed that Viv had an affair? Which he has no evidence of? And he’s had like 30? Poor Viv is so drugged up that she can’t respond to his accusations. Aw, poor Viv.
Ben heads back home to tell Hayden that he doesn’t love her, which, I don’t know, maybe make a girl cry on the day she hasn’t obviously put multiple hours into the perfect smokey eye? Hayden decides to make up a story about how Vivian is sleeping with Luke the Sexy Rent-a-Cop, which, okay, plausible, given the fact that people NEVER have those two-daddies-twins unless one is black, because how else are they going to get on 60 Minutes.
Then over at Constance’s, OH DEAR, she asks Travis to marry her. I guess she’s planning to raise Viv’s baby as theirs? I don’t know, it’s Chinatown, Tate.
Travis runs off to have sex with Hayden, who for some reason don’t, uh, quite “get there.” “Would you mind finishing yourself?” Travis the Gentleman asks, just before telling her he’s probably going to marry Constance. Hey, nice knowing you, Trav-dawg.
Hayden stabs him to death, like you do, so I guess now Travis is stuck in Murder House, too, which means Michael Graziadei’s agent is sending him an Edible Arrangement as we speak. I think HR departments could learn a thing or two about the way Beth, Hayden, Dr. Charles, Larry, and, uh, Travis, band together to dispose of the body. Team building exercise!
Elsewhere, Constance goes to visit Viv in the lockup. Connie Britton looks SO PRETTY, even as a makeup-less mental patient. She confesses to Constance that she was raped by the Rubber Man, while Ben, at home, trips the alarm to get Luke to respond. Uh, is this like the world’s only one-man home security company? What if somebody else has an emergency? I don’t understand!
No matter! Ben is ready to have a sexy confrontation. “Where’d you meet her? At WHOLE FOODS?” he demands. Well, fair enough. That’s where most of us go when we’re ovulating. But the sad news is that Luke can’t have children, so ghost baby No. 2 isn’t his. When he leaves, Ben finally, finally exercises some logic and asks Moira if it’s possible that Viv was actually raped like she claims, because he loves and trusts her. And WHOA! Young Moira turns into Old Moira before his eyes. “Congratulations, Dr. Harmon,” she says. “You’re finally beginning to see things as they are.” Level one complete, I guess!
Next door, Constance is grilling Billie Dean the Medium (yes!) about what happens when ghosts make babies with humans. Billie Dean says something about the Pope’s Box, a Catholic relic that portends the secret to the end of the world. Turns out, the Pope’s Box foretells of a child born of a human and a spirit, a “perversion of the Immaculate Conception,” who will usher in the end of times. Oh! Okay. And here we all thought it would be the Scarface remake. Good to know.
So. Big questions this week, and big answers. Notably: Uh … Where is Vy? School? The skate park? Super-long … nap? And more important: How many ghosts are in this damn house?
I guess what we’re inching toward is that Murder House is situated at the mouth of hell, which makes sense, what with all the people. Because right now, it seems a lot like the horrible Brooklyn railroad apartment we all had right out of college, where there were no doors and you had to walk through the bedrooms past twelve dazed roommates just to get to the scary bathtub, and there was always some ghost-rapist sleeping on the couch. Although, I guess Murder House is comparatively clean.
Hopefully next week we’ll get some more “answers” and our Harmon women back. Till then I’ll be here, burning all of my painstakingly wrought spec scripts.