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American Horror Story Finale Recap: Merry Ghostmas

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Episode 12: Afterbirth (Airs December 21, 10:00 pm e/p). L-R: Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX.

Oh, hi, I didn't see you there. I've been too busy trying to come up with a new hobby to fill the gaping void that will be left until the next season of AHS. Quick: What's a hobby that's equal parts ridiculous and macabre? Running at a cemetery for clowns? Kitten fight club? The New Girl? I just want the picture of Dylan McDermott's cry-masturbating to stay as vivid as it was the first time I saw it. As Rosie O'Donnell said in Sleepless in Seattle, "Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories."

Okay. Deep breath. It's our (squeeze my hand if you need to) LAST FLASHBACK OF THE SEASON, and it's a mere nine months ago.

Ben and Viv are in their place in Boston, and he's trying to convince her to come to Los Angeles, where they'll make a fresh start. Viv, however, is determined to take Violet to her sister's, in Florida. Ben's like, "Ugh, Florida?" It's like, does she KNOW that people down there will just shoot a McDonald's employee for being out of McGriddles?

Ben shows her a picture of Murder House on his iPad (why haven't we seen this before? Is it product placement? Next season, will we find out that ghosts love Snapple?). Apparently Viv does not live in New York because she doesn't take off her clothes as soon as Ben is like, "wood burning fireplace." We're treated to 1.21 bajillion jiggawatts of a few flash-forwards with flashbacks (Ben's fedora! Baby Farms looking even baby-er! The dog! For the love of god, the dog!). Ben is reeeeeeallly trying to sell her on the place, and you know what? I think he missed his calling as a Realtor. I mean, duh, an obese cross-eyed tabby in a novelty mortarboard would make a better psychotherapist than Ben, but he really makes Murder House seem like Downton Abbey.

Cue future.

Constance is babysitting Viv's unbelievably cute "newborn" baby boy (because this is a TV newborn, I'm pretty sure it's Devon Sawa in a bald cap), and she's reluctant to send him home with Ben, who may be close to admitting that the bloodied dead people who are trying to steal his baby aren't just "old plumbing." For some reason, the camera is set to extra-smudgy Instagram photo throughout the majority of this episode.

When he gets back, Viv and Moira, new best pals, are having girl talk beneath the real star of the show, the pasta arm. Viv goes to hide from her husband but Moira reminds her that he can't see her unless she wants him to. You know, sort of like when you see your ex on the street and flatten yourself against a Quizno's window, but more effective. She's surprisingly appreciative of Ben's parenting skills in the afterlife, so being dead must completely skew your perspective. She's apparently made Violet also promise not to appear, because she doesn't want Ben to be tempted to stay in Murder House. Uh, again, does she know about the fireplace?

Ben, meanwhile, prepares to off himself, which I have to say is kind of a relief, as he's been aaaaaawfully chill for somebody who just lost two children and his wife and mistress to a hell portal. Vivian appears to him to tell him he has to raise the baby, who he doesn't think is his. When Violet appears we get some additional satisfaction when he apologizes for being such a bad dad that he didn't notice she was dead. She's like, "It's cool, brah." Viv and Ben make out in front of her and then they both disappear, just in time for the Strangers and Hayden to successfully stage his suicide. Ugh.

Next thing we know, Marcy is doing her usual flamenco all over the Fair Housing Act and showing the house and a couple of her favorite epithets to a new family, the Ramoses. Their son, Gabe, is a skateboarder who's all, "I don't believe in ghosts." Oh no! Get ready to nose grind directly into the next world, Gabe.

He pumps mongo right over some of of the Ginger Twins' marbles and wipes out hard on his bitchin hat. Skate or ... DIE?

Over at Constance's, Charles S. Dutton and pal are grilling Constance about the recent spate of tragedies. And by recent spate, obviously I mean everybody around her, dead, all the time, every day. The baby is missing, and the cops want to know where he went. Constance got the baby away from creepy Hayden by enlisting Travis to slash her throat (which apparently you can do to ghost bitches), and tells the police that Violet ran off with him.

Uh, real fast here: One time a raccoon died in my chimney and the whole house smelled like corpse for conservatively seven years. Does nobody smell a dead teenager? What kind of Yankee Candle are these Harmons using?

Meanwhile, Violet appears to Gabe, who doesn't have a Latino skateboarder Butthole Surfers-fan's chance in hell of getting out of here now. Watch out for chicks on the rebound and their insane dead boyfriends, Gabe. 

Down in the kitchen, Stacy and Miguel Ramos have succumbed to the spell of the pasta arm and are getting down in front of the Harmons, who are creepily watching them. Turns out the Ramoses are plotting to bring another baby into the house, which Viv and Ben very sensibly won't have. "You're going to need help," says Moira, stepping out of the shadows like an old salt in a bank heist film, giving me brief hope that it's her turn to don the gimp suit.

Tate appears to Gabe, who is so beyond nonchalant about having a bunch of strange moody teens in his bedroom that I'm getting a little concerned. Tate's bizarrely trying to make Gabe date his girlfriend, and we've all seen enough Matthew Perry films to know that that never goes well.

Meanwhile, his mom is getting the Rubber Man Experience while Miguel is being weirdly hypnotized, just like Ben was, by the gas stove. Beau pops out of the attic to say what's up, and it's all very Home Alone via Tod Browning.

It's the good ghosts trying to scare the Ramoses out versus the bad ghosts trying to murder them in. If Marcy were here she'd probably have a few good jokes about white flight that I'm not willing to make. Stacy and Miguel end up down in the basement with Viv and Ben. Viv gets off a good zinger when, as part of their Beetlejuician tableau, she disembowels Ben and he shoots her. Very graphically, I might add! They don't call it the FX channel for nothing. I feel like a lot of sheep had to die to make this finale.

While Viv and Ben high-five like community theater players backstage at Sweeney Todd, Violet and Tate have an awkward ex moment. Poor Gabe is like, "Uh, can I go now?" Gabe politely runs off so Tate can have a good ugly cry. With the Ramoses dispatched, the Harmons say what we're all thinking: Somebody else is just going to move in.

Later, while Ben is, uh, sweeping (aw, crap! There are chores in the afterlife?), Tate swings by and says — shit you not! — "I miss our talks." Ben replies that he's a bad therapist and a crappy person! BAR! BAR! BAR! BRRRRINGGGGGGG payoff! Tate apologizes for wrecking Ben's life and cries AGAIN and Ben slow-claps him. Oh, this is all so good! Tate admits to all the rape and murder and is like, "Can we please continue our sessions." Ben's like, Analyze this middle finger. Yay, way to grow a pair, Dr. H.

Viv's practicing her cello when she hears Nora in the basement with the ghost of Viv's stillborn baby, who apparently took one breath outside of the womb, and is thus condemned to be one day old in Murder House forever. Nora has realized she's not cut out for motherhood and lets Viv have the other twin. Chin up, Nora, you can now just be really obsessed with the microwave.

Viv makes Moira the baby's godmother and "The Little Drummer Boy" plays, and the Harmons decorate the house for Christmas. God bless us every whaaaaat? They're all happy and stuff while Tate and Hayden brood in the corner.

THREE YEARS LATER!!!!!!!!  (So, 2014! We've all survived the Mayan apocalypse! PHEW!) Constance looks fresh as ever at the salon, where she tells her visibly confused hairdresser about her toddler. She starts doing her Norma Desmond routine about how her destiny is to raise an Armageddon-hailing demon baby. Stylists have heard it all! But when Constance gets home, her poor babysitter has been murdered by Tate's monster baby.

Congratulations to you guys who called the fight between good and evil and the Harmons being dead and on and on. I can't wait until next season when we'll learn all about nature versus nurture and hopefully see what the heck has happened to Murder House in the intervening years. In the meantime, American Happy Holidays, and see you guys next season.

Photo: Prashant Gupta/FX