American Horror Story
This is the episode we’ve been waiting for, plotwise, when the Harmons initially deal with the fact that they are living with dead people and/or are full of demon seed. It’s a (very literal!) come-to-Jesus episode: a lot of satisfying moments and the usual gazebo-full of loose plot threads.
We open in flashback, to 1994, when high school girls apparently still dressed like “Gypsy”-era Stevie Nicks.
The Breakfast Club is assembled in the library, hiding from Tate, the dreamy Judd Nelson who arrives shortly to blow them to (tastefully off-camera) smithereens and to juuuuuust nick the librarian. What made him snap, we wonder? Did somebody make fun of his sweet Civil War reenactor coat?
At first I was a little unnerved by the fact that Tate, doing the Darryl Hannah whistle, was referencing a movie that wouldn’t hit theaters for another decade, until I Wikipedia’d it and found that it’s a Bernard Hermann theme song from Twisted Nerve, a 1968 British thriller about a teenage boy who murders people to be with the girl he’s infatuated with. Oh, you knew that? Congratulations, you are better than me, stop watching FX and go cure juvenile diabetes.
The SWAT team storms the murder house looking for Tate, who has obviously shot up the school. The Langdons used to live there, apparently, but more on that in a minute.
Aaaand, back to the future! I hope all of you guys clamoring for Violet to Google Tate already were mollified when she … Roundsearched him. Okay! I think you can say “Google” on TV, no? I mean, I immediately looked up Roundsearch to see if Ryan Murphy was trying to pull a “Telephone” video on us, but apparently it is Not a Thing. Moving on!
It’s always devastating when you Roundsearch.com a guy and find out that he has priors, but it’s an extra blow for Vy to find out her boyfriend is already dead. Constance, the Kimmie Gibbler of bathos, is already in the kitchen waiting to explain everything, with the help of Special Guest Star Sarah Paulson as Billie Dean Howard, a medium with an awesome name and beautiful hair. (Here is where I paused things because I immediately had to see whether she and Cherry Jones are still dating. They are not. Sad.)
Constance found Billie on CRAIGSLIST, which is funny, because I feel like this is a blown opportunity to plug Roundsearch again. (“I found her on Roundsearch. Roundsearch: Sarah Paulson will come to your house™.”) Best line of this episode so far: “I’ve just come from a meeting with Lifetime, they’re interested in making a pilot of me.” Sick basic cable burn, FX!
Billie tells Violet that seeing dead people is a gift, but … Can’t Viv and Ben also see Tate? And didn’t those murder enthusiasts he basement monstered? I guess being psychic is like being able to roll your tongue or enjoy cilantro. One that allows you to see a “bloody Mexican ghost” in your bathroom. Los Angeles! Apparently, everybody can see Tate because he is a special kind of ghost who doesn’t know he’s dead. Okay! Ten minutes into the episode and our disbelief is already suspended to Man on a Wire levels. Violet’s also dubious until Billie pulls the old “channeling your dead grandmother” trick.
Back at ghost HQ, Viv is dreaming about her scary baby. When she wakes up and realizes she isn’t yet hugely round with ghost child, she very logically calls in a false alarm to the security company to get Luke the Sensuous Rent-a-Cop to come over. Viv tells him her husband just moved out and P.S., do you like her sexy Grecian top? Pregnant ladies, work it when you’re not showing. Turns out Luke’s wife left him for another lady. YES! Now we’re in Nip/Tuck territory! AHS fans, we can only hope there are lesbian ghosts in our future. Bring on the lesbighosts!
When Ben shows up to use his home office, Viv lays down the law: Their marriage is over, they’re selling the house, and he’s only allowed to come over when he’s seeing one of his many phantom patients. Violet’s upstairs cutting herself, which is awful, but phew, downstairs Ben is meeting with his patient, MODERN FAMILY’S ERIC STONESTREET! Yes. This show is Great Guest-Starsville, Population: Everybody Awesome. New patient Derek has a phobia of urban legends (oh, boy) particularly one about “Piggyman.” Oh, Derek, you’ve come to the wrong home office.
Constance helpfully drops by with a platter of pig guts to help with Viv’s morning nausea. Oh, barf. Moira, frying up sweetbreads, takes the opportunity to give Vivien the “once a cheater, always a cheater” speech. Well, she(s) would know.
Patient Derek, attempting to summon a pig demon in the only house where there is coincidentally another, unrelated pig demon, summons one of the murdered nurses (that one’s free, aspiring punk bands). Ben wraps up a pretty disastrous exposure therapy experiment and heads over to the OB, where Viv getting an amniocentesis to check on the welfare of the baby.
Back at the abandoned swimming pool, Violet is kickin’ it with her coke-loving frenemy Leah, who is still rocking her Carmen Sandiego look after getting mauled by the pig ghost. Leah says some Jesus-y stuff about the book of revelation (a pregnant woman who angered the devil). Then, ever the bad influence, she palms poor Violet some pills. At the school library, Violet grills the librarian, who’s alive but paralyzed and cranky. She wants answers about Tate, but doesn’t seem to want to talk boys with her.
Back home, Constance has dropped off yet more raw pork for Viv. This time, it’s a huge bloody brain! Viv very logically digs in. Bleagh. Count us all sympathy morning sick. Who else is off pig products for awhile? This episode: brought to you by ancient rabbis.
After confronting a basement full of dead guest stars, Violet finds a mash note from her dead boyfriend upstairs and very understandably wigs out and swallows all of the pills that Leah gave her. Tate, of course, is right under the bed. Zombie Lloyd Dobler to the rescue! Weirdly, she’s not super happy about his undead stomach pumping.
Viv meets with the ultrasound tech in a church (smart move, ultrasound tech) to talk about her Rosemary’s baby. So, basically, the gimp ghost impregnated her with the devil, is what I think I’m getting from all this Bible talk. I don’t know, it’s been awhile since catechism.
In another session with Derek, Ben advises him to get over his fears so he can start meeting girls (Oh no! Poor Mitchell, right?). Naturally, he goes home to try the Bloody Mary thing and is coincidentally killed by robbers. OF COURSE!
Speaking of people killed off in an abrupt, plot-accelerating fashion, Constance is in the kitchen, asking Billie Dean (still not over that name) to summon Addy, who has successfully passed on. Not the case for Tate, who we see die in a hail of SWAT bullets. “Why’d you do it?” asks a cop, after shooting him full of holes. Classic LAPD!
Remember when you saw Down to You and you wished everybody in it was dead? Well, you sort of get your wish here. In the present, Tate drops in on Violet, who’s reading his favorite bird book. Oh, for the love of Jonathan Franzen. Tate still doesn’t get that he’s dead and wants to know why she’s being so frosty. He says he loves her, and I guess they’re back together? Ugh, these two! I guess that Violet also graduated from the school of Better a Dead Murderer than No Boyfriend. Here’s what I want to know: What’s going to happen when she inevitably gives him Elliott Smith’s seminal Either/Or and he doesn’t know any of the songs? Because the album was released in 1995? WHAT THEN, TEENS?
So, before next week’s episode, we have a lot of research to do. Is there really a part in revelation about the devil eating a newborn? Is raw pig pancreas actually good for nausea? Is the actor who plays the crabby librarian related to Dr. Charles? They look really similar! Off to Roundsearch it.