American Horror Story Recap: How Deep Is Your Swimming Pool?

American Horror Story

Open House
Season 1 Episode 7

American Horror Story

Open House
Season 1 Episode 7
Photo: FX

1994 was apparently a big year for murder in the American Horror Story universe. Most of us remember it as the year that Taco Bell cruelly discontinued “Extreme Nachos” and that the Eagles got back together, which I guess is enough to push anybody over the edge.

This episode’s cold-murder-open is set in the same fateful year that Tate decided to dress up like Anthony Bourdain and massacre a bunch of teenager archetypes. In this flashback, Jessica Lange is back in her reverse aging makeup, which apparently is really doing it for … an as-of-yet unburned Larry!

They apparently had “a thing,” which she’s trying to leverage to get him to murder someone. Obviously. Constance is worried that someone is going to take her son away for neglect and tells Larry to do what’s he’s gotta do. Larry goes up to the attic of murder house to play with her secret son Beau, a friendly mutant who sort of looks like Mask aggressively ate a grape jelly sandwich. Wait, did I say “play with”? I meant “kill with a pillow.” Aaaaand titles!

Back in the present, Viv and Ben are visiting the world’s most chipper OB-GYN. “Every pregnant woman worries they’ve got a little devil in them!” she jokes. Ha-ha, okay, Patch Addams! Have fun learning to eat with hooks after you try to put your hand in there. Turns out, Viv is having twins! Yes! Great! More work for the Sprouse twins, I hope.

Back at murder HQ, Realtor Marcy is giving her typically sensitive tour of the house to potential buyer Mr. Eskandarian. “Everything was meticulously restored by the previous homos, I mean homeowners,” Marcy actually says. Later, she remarks totally apropos of nothing, “Queer eye.” My goodness, writer-of-this-episode Brad Falchuk! I mean, I know: I also made the mistake of giving the HRC my phone number when I donated $15, but this is not the way to get them to quit calling during dinner.

Despite looking like a gay Bronson Pinchot character himself, Mr. Eskandarian is way heterosexual for Moira, who appears young and hot to him. Moira can tell right away that he’s just the guy to disinter her dead body and immediately starts making sexy double entendres about swimming pools. Her: “How deep would you make it?” Him: “Very deep.” I wish this weird metaphor would have gone on for longer! “Mmmm. Would you fill it with … chemicals?” “Until it was pH balanced, baby, ungh.”

Eskandarian asks Marcy what’s wrong with the place. You half expect her to go, “Well, it might not be gaudy enough for an Armenian,” but goofy Viv goes and tells him about the murders. He doesn’t seem put off, though, and juuuust misses the the next looky-lou. It’s Larry, just as burnt as we remember him and here to eat all of the Harmons’ snacks. “This crudite is making my mouth dry,” he complains. “I’m going to have a little glass of Chardonnay.” CHAD??? IS THAT YOU????

At this point, Marcy very sensibly pulls out a gun. What a good way to sell the house, Marce! Way better than the old “baking banana bread” trick. Although, I guess Chekhov never said anything about the banana bread popping up in act three. She gets in a great racist non sequitur before re-holstering and giving him the grand tour of the pansies, I mean screamers, I mean queens, I mean black people, I mean house.

When Viv finally gets the place to herself, she uses the opportunity to light some candles and masturbate to a Nina Simone song. Well, thanks a lot, American Horror Story! Now men know this is something that we all do. She’s mentally Rolodexing through the spank bank, like you do (hi, Morris Chestnut!), but the gimp ghost keeps popping in and wrecking her fantasizing. Isn’t that the worst, ladies???

Side note here: This is the only time we see Morris Chestnut in this episode. I would love to see the call sheet for this. “Morris, we need you on set for approximately three thrusts and a little light hand sucking. Enjoy the residuals!”

Meanwhile, Violet is cutting herself when Tate pops up. To get her to see how gross she’s being, he, uh, licks her blood. She promises him she’ll quit cutting herself, which, PHEW, thank you, conscientious dead boyfriend. I will watch a thousand gooey attic mutants take a thousand final mouth breaths, but show people cutting themselves and I’m simultaneously horrified and compelled to volunteer with a youth group.

Then Tate asks her if she believes in ghosts, which is just like the time in Can’t Hardly Wait when Seth Green asked his girlfriend if she believed in tiny redheaded people. Violet’s like, Uhhh let’s change the subject. Vy is suddenly starting to realize that if she moves, she will lose her ghost boyfriend/logical excuse for pretending like Clinton is president, and goes about trying to convince her divorcing parents to stay in the house by impishly hinting at suicide. At last, a compelling reason for the Harmons to stay! Good job, Falchuk. Go ahead and drop the mike.

Mr. Eskandarian comes back for more sexy pool talk with Moira. “I’ve always heard that Persians have big thick cocks, something a girl can gnaw on,” she purrs. Persian? Gnaw??? Man, if blow jobs were houses, Moira would be Marcy.

Cut to: FRANCES CONROY DABBING HER MOUTH. Oh my GOD. Ugh, this is just awful! Like, Internet video of Angela Lansbury putting lotion on her legs awful! Like, Frances Conroy blowing a swarthy young man awful! NO. NOPE. More teen cutting I guess, please!

On his way out, Eskandarian tells Ben about his plans to raze the place. Of course, this means he has to go see Larry for a little gazebo chat. Turns out, Larry never killed his family, which is nice. We also learn that he is still kind of a jerk and drinks Nescafe. Decaf drinkers, right? Who gets them? Not me!

Anyhow, Larry wants the house so badddddd! Why, you ask? Flashback to: Larry breaking the news to his wife, Lorraine, that he’s leaving her for Constance. He tells her to take the kids, pack up, and move “to Ohio.” NOT OHIO! Turns out, Lorraine would literally rather be ON FIRE.

So, Larry wants to be back at the house so Constance will take him back? Sorry, dude … Constance has a type and it’s young and beefy and unburnt. Ben for some reason has grown a pair. He tells Larry to stay away from his house, grunts, “Game over,” and puts a cigarette out on Larry’s carpet. Well, look who’s the Don Draper of minor property damage all of the sudden!

Meanwhile, Marcy and Viv are on the murder tour, where Joe from Ellen again tells the story about Dr. Charles and Nora Montgomery, the basement abortionists. In flashback, we learn that kooky Dr. Charles reanimated their slain baby, Thaddeus, out of old hookers and pig parts, prompting Nora to promptly murder suicide all three of them. For the record, Matt Ross and Lily Rabe: Great job, awesome flashback.

Constance and Larry meet in the basement of murder house, where she makes fun of his grody Big League Chew face. He warns her about the Armenian’s sinister Armenian plans to raze the place, which gets her attention.

Back home, Violet is exploring the attic, you know, for fun. Man, I love Violet, but I can’t even go down the basement after I watch Aliens because there’s probably an alien down there, and I don’t even have a ghost boyfriend! STOP POKING AROUND!  Clearly, she runs into both Langdon boys. Tate and Beau apparently are cool, because he’s like, “Stop scaring her!” and Beau’s like “Rarrrrf, sorry.” Tate explains that the house is full of dead people whom Violet can now see, and that they go away if you ask them to. Huh? Wait, really? Well, that was unusually forthcoming of you, American Horror Story. Then, because it’s been six minutes since we made fun of gay mincing, she and Tate find a back issue of Honcho and he does a funny lisp. Ho ho ho. They also find a box of Montgomery family photos and the Montgomery family gun. One of the Murdered Nurses shows up and Vy gets to try out her neat new “go away!” trick.

Constance goes to see Eskandarian to do her one-woman Los Angeles Conservancy routine and ask him to spare Murder House. He says — READY!? — “There are three reasons I deal with women: sex, money, and making me sandwiches.” I KNOW! She tells him that someday, somebody’s going to build on top of him, too. What kind of small, octagonal structure, I wonder!?

Ben, AMA therapist of the century, uses a session with Tate to ask him to spill about Violet. Constance, an equally great parent, swings by to say hi to her ghost sons, who are sulky and grunty respectively.

On the way out, Constance swings by to dash the Moiras’ hope of a swimming pool. Finding out a guy is not building you a swimming pool after you’ve already blown him: always devastating. Of course, this means a trip to the basement for Eskandarian, where Moira BITES HIS WANG OFF (can’t say she didn’t warn you/us, oh God) and Larry puts a bag over his head. Constance reminds him to finish the murdering off site, because she doesn’t want an Armenian haunting the house. I bet Moira is understandably relieved. From what I can tell, all of my bad hookups were murdered where I like to have brunch.

When we leave Murder House, Viv and Vy are having a nice mother-daughter chat about boys. Violet, apparently not a big Van Halen fan, wants to know how you know when it’s love. “You’ll do anything for the other person,” says Viv, not at all portending something grisly. Vy shows Viv one of the attic photos, and she recognizes Nora Montgomery as the woman who dropped by only to rudely criticize her microwave and dissolve.

So now TWO of the Harmons know ghosts are real. What does this mean for next week, I wonder?! Will Viv and Violet bond over the fact that they’ve both made out with dead guys? Will Marcy come back because she forgot to say something awful about Asians or veterans? Does the “go away!” trick work on basement aliens? I don’t know about you guys, but I love this show as though it were the deformed attic monster I asked my disfigured boyfriend to lust-murder. Let’s all tune in next week.

American Horror Story Recap: How Deep Is Your Swimming Pool?