Search form

Scroll To Top

RECAP: American Horror Story

After the twins have been dispensed with, we meet Vivien in her East Coast home, where she hears a prowler. After calling the cops, she grabs a gleaming knife and heads upstairs to investigate, as any respectable horror movie heroine would do. Guess what? It's not a prowler, but husband Ben, self-soothing after the loss of their unborn baby with a 21-year-old pussy. Chasing after his devastated wife, Ben earns a slash on the arm from Viv. Worse is to come, buddy.

Bam! No sooner has Ben climaxed than he, Viv and their teenaged daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) have picked up and moved to California. Their marital problems must be weather-related. As they explore the 1920s Victorian, the realtor chirpily tells them that, in the interest of full disclosure, she has something to say about the previous owners, a gay couple. "Don't tell me they died in here," Viv jokes. Well, as a matter of fact, yes. Murder suicide. In the basement. Violet is sold immediately, and so is the house. Welcome home, Harmons!

As Viv peels wallpaper off some disturbing murals in the living room, that little girl from the first scene appears behind her, looking only slightly older. "You're gonna die in here," she says. Viv is nonplussed, but even more so when the girl's mother comes in, all Southern charm and Blanche DuBois dress. It's Jessica Lange! She's had some truly remarkable work done on her face, though her neck and arms look like the Cryptkeeper. But still! Good for her! Turns out, she's a starlet hasbeen who never was, who tells dog-owner Viv that although she prefers purebreds in the kennel she runs out of her home, she'll accept mongrels, too. There is no reaction shot from Viv's dog.

Violet isn't doing much better making friends at her new school. She's caught smoking on campus by a queen bee, who threatens to make Violet eat the cigarette butt. The whole scene is so intense and arbitrary and escalates in violence so quickly that it's unsettling--especially when it turns out the queen bee is a cokehead. But that comes later. In the basement.

Ben, a therapist working out of his new home, meets with troubled teen Tate, who recounts his recurring fantasy of walking the halls of school and killing the people he likes. Needless to say, when Tate and Violet bond over her cutting habit and his suicide attempts, Ben doesn't react well. In fact, he gets on the phone and tries to report his patient for a possible maybe-crime, potentially in the future. His call is interrupted by the new maid, who is played by Frances Conroy when Violet and Viv look at her and by the much younger (and sluttier) Alexandra Breckinridge when Ben sees her.

Earlier, Ben walked in on her masturbating, which prompted a bare-assed scene of McDermott jerking it in front of his window. Now, she wants him to do it again for her--until Violet spies Frances Conroy leering over her dad, and runs up the stairs in shock. And, yes, horror.That isn't the only scene we get of Ben bare-assed and hard-abbbed. He's developed a taste for sleepwalking and playing with matches, most of which happens when he is fully nude. And honestly, any time McDermott bares his bod in this series, always lovingly lit (god bless Ryan Murphy), it's pretty much an insta-boner for the audience. Ladies too, am I right?

As Ben and Viv struggle towards a rapprochement, while fending off the advances of that weird maid and their new neighbor's nosy ways--"Touch my daughter again and I'll break your arm," Lange snarls at Viv apropos of very little--Violet and Tate decide to scare that bitchy girl at school to teach her a lesson. Promising the girl some really great cocaine, Violet leads her into the basement, where she flicks off the lights and waits for Tate to terrify her. As it turns out, Violet ends up just as terrified, as something attacks the girl with a terrifying mouth full of pointy chiclet teeth. As the girl, bruised and bloodied, runs away, Violet tells the maybe-pyscho Tate, who acts as if nothing just happened, that she never wants to see him again.

During some later night, Viv is moisturizing her legs--she's a lady of a certain age, as every other character reminds her--when blue-eyed Ben appears in the full-body fetish costume she discovered hanging in their attic. "I can get kinky," she says with a smile, before climbing into bed. Except it's not her husband; Ben is staring at the stovetop gas range in pajama bottoms, oblivious, while another something bangs his wife. "I love you," he whispers when he finally gets into bed, still in a daze. "I love you, too," Viv whispers, facing away from him. And the look on Britton's face has more mystery and pain in it than anything else in the show.

A whole lot of other stuff happens in the final 10 minutes, from Ben meeting the stalker-y, badly burned former occupant of his house (Denis O'Hare), who set his family of three on fire because the voices told him to (and then smiles eerily as Ben runs away), to Maid Conroy discovering Jessica Lange pilfering Viv's jewelry. "Don't make me kill you again," Lange whispers as she walks past, diamonds in hand. And of course, in true horror movie fashion, Viv realizes she's pregnant. (See what I mean about time passing?) Will her baby be born in a rubber suit? Will this show be able to create more than a seasons' worth of stories out of a family who don't move out of an evil house?

Tune in next week, for possible answers--and, hopefully, more McDermott ass.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Mark Peikert