TV: American Horror Story 1.3

Three scary TV shows are premiering this month: Bedlam (Saturdays on BBC America starting 10/1), American Horror Story (Wednesdays on FX starting 10/5) and season two of The Walking Dead (Sundays on AMC starting 10/16). Every week I’ll post recaps shortly after each new episode airs. They’ll be a little different than my movie posts. I’m assuming anyone who’s reading the recap has already seen the episode or isn’t planning to watch. That is to say, *SPOILERS AHEAD.*

This week’s opening murder takes place in 1983, when the house was occupied by a drunken Camaro salesman. He aggressively pursues Hot Moira, who uncharacteristically spurns his advances. He won’t take no for an answer. Just as his attempted rape gets going, in busts a young Connie carrying a revolver. Her first shot goes through poor Moira’s eye, killing her and explaining why old, ghosty Moira rocks that spooky glass one. Connie tells her husband he’s broken her heart for the last time and empties the gun into his faithless chest. This makes her sad.

When we get back to the now, Viv is confronting Ben about hiding something from her. No, not that something. In addition to all the other horrible shit he kept from her, he also failed to mention their investments have tanked. They can’t afford to buy a new house until they sell their current home, nor can they afford to unload this creepy ass place at a loss. Viv is not pleased. She talks to their realtor, who confirms the market is so bad they can’t expect to sell the house without taking a hit. Viv threatens to sue (this episode’s answer to all plot-diverting suggestions), which gets the realtor feeling more optimistic about the market right quick.

And the award for frumpiest maid goes to...

Meanwhile Connie is in the next room stealing Viv’s silverware. Old Moira interrupts her thievery but Connie is unabashed. She calmly tells Moira she intends to collect enough to sell as a set on eBay, a crime for which Moira will be blamed. She caps it off by ordering Moira to polish the butter knife she’s about to take, which is dirty “because you’re a shitty maid.” Here we get solid evidence that Connie has some measure of control over Moira. Though Moira hates her and whines about wanting to leave (and missing her mother), she’s unable to disobey Connie’s commands. Connie herself expresses a desire to leave “this world of death and rot” but it doesn’t seem like Connie is subject to the same sort of restraints as Moira. In fact, I’m pretty sure Connie’s still alive but that’s probably debatable. In any case, Connie is really mean.

And the award for least frumpy...

Ben meets with this week’s one-off patient, a dull, emotionless woman on the verge of a divorce. She literally bores him out of the room and he wakes up in the back yard, unsure of how he got there or where the blood on his hands came from. He returns to find Sexy Moira wagging her tail at him as she scours a big bloodstain from the floor. When she attempts to seduce him he angrily rebuffs her and actually manages to scream “You’re fired!” before Viv arrives to overrule him. Moira – now appearing to us as the crusty, older version – flips out and threatens to press charges if they attempt to fire her again. She is a very litigious ghost. “Men see what they want to see,” she says. “Women see into the soul of a person.” This presumably explains why she appears differently to men and women, but not why her age or physical description will never come up in conversation. Because that Tyler Durden shit only works if everyone plays along.

Just getting all the touristy stuff out of the way.

While gardening, Viv notices a hearse loaded with tourists outside her house, which the tour director creatively dubs “The Murder House”. Just as an aside, if your house is the main attraction of a macabre tourist industry, you will not have trouble finding a buyer in a place like L.A. It’s not the best environment to raise kids, sure, but you can’t tell me Penn Jillette or Rob Zombie or somebody wouldn’t buy that house in a heartbeat. The realtor just needs to target a different demographic.

Viv investigates the house’s history by jumping aboard one of the tours rather than, you know, looking it up on the internet. Makes sense. Ric Burns did all the research for his New York documentaries from the roof a double-decker bus. Seeing as money is a problem and Viv has enough time to take celebrity ghost tours, maybe her lazy ass needs to get a J-O-B.

Is that the King of Zamunda?

Viv learns that her house was indeed built in the 1920s by a surgeon who then fell on hard times, got into drugs, played Frankenstein in the basement, and started a backdoor abortion clinic to make ends meet. Typical. The tour guide is just about to reveal the gruesome finale of that horrific tale when Viv starts spotting heavily and has to run into her house, where the bleeding miraculously stops. One: that’s what you get for wearing white pants while pregnant. Two: let’s not forget the internet is still just a mouse click away. If Viv was curious enough to pay for the tour I’m thinking she might hit up a quick Google search after she gets back from the doctor’s office. Or she could just forget about ever finding out the most crucial part of the story. Either way.

Over in Ben’s sad little world: the jump-off returneth! Crazy Hayden, who he abandoned AT THE ABORTION CLINIC, has decided to keep the baby. She shows up to say she’s moving to L.A. and she expects Ben to support her. It was at this moment I realized Hayden was not long for this world.

I can act as crazy as I want and nothing bad will happen to me cuz I'm PREGNANT.

Ben can’t find his tape recorder and we get the impression after another blackout that he probably killed his patient and buried it with her in the backyard. He considers digging to find out but Connie suggests he build a nice gazebo there instead, which somehow derails his whole investigation. Ben is not much for focus. Moira looks on nervously, apparently unable to tell him that her own bones are down there, presumably buried by Connie all those years ago.

Viv finally gets someone who seems interested in the house, but it’s actually another ghost – this time the wife of the surgeon who built the place. She loves the restored original paneling and fixtures, but she’s not wild about the microwave and stainless steel appliances. This is insanity. Troubled spirit or not, nobody turns down a dishwasher if they have the option. I did enjoy this character’s appearance and your heart really goes out to her when she wistfully remembers, “I had a child once.” They showed the baby in a flashback and since it was a boy I’m gonna say it was Taint. Just before she vanishes, the camera shows us she has a huge, bloody hole in the back of her head. If only Vivian could figure out the damn computer, she’d probably know all about that.

Viv takes Violet to look at a shitty apartment but Vi promises to run away if they even think of moving out of the worst house in the universe. She actually makes a nice point about how the house isn’t a reminder of their victimization, but the scene of their righteous mother-daughter beat down. To that I say, hell yeah.

We find out Ben didn’t kill his patient, but he did sit there mute and unmoving while she cried out for help, finally slashing her own wrists to get his attention. And it wasn’t just Ben’s inherent dickishness to blame, because Hot Moira has been spiking his coffee with laudanum. You can never get good laudanum these days. It’s always cut with arsenic and sarsaparilla. He confronts her about it but she just says, “Prove it.”

When Hayden returns, justifiably pissed that Ben blew her off yet again, he leads her outside to talk. I’m thinking he’s planning to get rid of her but before that thought can fully form…WHAM! Shovel to the face! Burned Man is stronger than he looks. He hobbles over, looks down disappointedly and says, “See, yeah, she’s still moving,” before hitting her a few more times to finish the job. Ben, horrified, does precisely nothing until it’s over. Then he runs off for one of those fake movie barfs where an actor spits out two tablespoons of cottage cheese and food coloring. That is not what puke looks like. Go watch Super Troopers and get back when you locate a little dedication to your craft.

You got knocked the fuck out, maaaan!

The burned man says he killed Hayden so Ben wouldn’t have to, which seems right neighborly of him. How he knew that Hayden was planning to spill the beans to Viv, or why he cared, is a mystery. He buries her in the yard – somehow digging a six-foot-deep hole with only one functioning arm – and finishes by repeating his earlier request for money to have headshots taken. The acting thing is ludicrous but it makes me smile.

Ben follows Connie’s advice, building a gazebo over the burial site in record time. Connie and old Moira watch from the window. Connie grins before saying, “Now you’re stuck here forever.” So Connie just had to get someone to find her old bones in the yard to free her trapped soul, but in 30 years of trying she couldn’t pull it off? She deserves to be stuck there for eternity.

The final shot is Viv sleeping peacefully while the dead surgeon’s wife sits at the foot of her bed, reaching either with longing or malicious intent toward Viv’s tummy. Apparently even ghosts think it’s okay to rub pregnant ladies’ bellies without an invitation. It is not.

She looks so peaceful. Let's not wake her.

So from here on out, let’s keep in mind that Ben sat by and watched as his pregnant mistress was beaten to death in his backyard. He then allowed her to be buried there, and covered the site with a home improvement project. How anyone can maintain sanity after that is beyond me. If Ben doesn’t begin to seriously and rapidly unravel I’m calling bullshit.

The down housing market excuse is clearly shit, but Violet’s ultimatum is a much stronger reason to stay so I’ll give them a pass for now. The timeline is getting awfully muddy, since we know the fetus jars go back to the ‘20s but were still present in 1978. Are we saying no one removed them in the 50 years between, and that they weren’t destroyed by Burned Man’s arson? Even the sorority girls in the 60s didn’t get rid of them? I guess it’s possible someone collected new jars, or a ghost brought them up from storage, but I’m starting to lose interest. I could look at FX’s website for information, but I’ll probably just find a tourbus driver who can explain it instead.

2 Responses to “TV: American Horror Story 1.3”

  1. […] TV: American Horror Story 1.3 – Do not fuck with Connie. […]

  2. […] TV: American Horror Story 1.3 – Do not fuck with Connie. […]

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