Monday, October 24, 2011

American Horror Story, Season One, Episode Two: Home Invasion

Once again, this episode begins with a flashback. The year is 1968, and a few young girls are getting ready to go out.  A young girl named Maria is asked if she would like to go and see The Doors, but she turns down the opportunity in order to study for a test.  A young nurse walks in and tells the group to leave Maria alone, and then sneers that she hopes they get the clap. This comment is met with, "Right, I guess you lessies don't have to worry about that."  I wonder if it is going to be a tradition to start each episode with a touch of homophobia?  I suppose not having any gay characters thus far, this is their version of GLBT inclusion.   After they leave, a young man knocks on the door asking for help because he is hurt.  Maria lets him in and after treating him and discovering no wound, he knocks her unconscious and chases after the nurse.  When Maria awakens, the man tells her to strip and put on a nurses uniform.  He then hog ties her on the couch and then stabs her in the back.

In the present day, Ben is once again counseling Tate. In the middle of the session his phone goes off, and Ben excuses himself to turn his phone off.  This week, Tate wants to talk about fucking Violet and this does not agree with Ben at all.  When Tate tells him that Violet is a virgin, and virgins get wet so easily, Ben tries to redirect the conversation by asking if Tate turns to these thoughts to get rid of the stress.  When Tate tells Ben that Violet told him about the affair with the girl in Boston, and that she was not much older then Violet -- Ben ends the session. As Tate walks out, Ben's phone rings again. He answers threatening to change his phone number, but the voice answers back, "I'm pregnant".

Violet and Leah sit by an abandoned pool, and Leah tells Violet that she cannot sleep.  Leah believes that she was attacked by something that wasn't human, but Violet tries to assure her that Tate was wearing a mask.  Leah is wearing big dark glasses and a huge floppy hat to cover her new grey hair. Leah believes that the grey hair is her body's response to being terrified.  What I don't get, is why these two are suddenly buddy buddy. It makes as much sense as their earlier animosity.  Whoever is responsible for writing this section of the story is dropping the ball big time. 
That night, Tate stands at the foot of Violet's bed watching her sleep.  I wonder if he was taking tips from Twilight's Edward?  Yeah, I couldn't help it sorry. The house alarm goes off, and Ben hops out of bed to see what the issue is.  When he gets downstairs, the front door is wide open. When Ben goes to the basement,  he finds Adelaide playing with a ball, but what he does not realize is that she is playing with some entity that he cannot see.  He quickly escorts Adelaide to the door, and goes upstairs to tell Vivien that it was only Addy -- and that they need to call someone in to check all of the windows and the doors, because "if that little freak can get in, anyone can."  Vivien tells him that he should not call her that, which was a bit of a relief but honestly, I am starting to believe that where addy is concerned, we are going to see nothing but disableism.

Ben then asks Vivien if she is okay, because he notices that she is shaking him. Vivien tells him that she has not been sick with this pregnancy, and that when she was pregnant with Violet, that she was sick for two months straight.  Vivien tells Ben that she is worried that something is wrong with the baby, but Ben tells her that this baby is why they moved there, and that the baby is their salvation.

The next day, Ben is in a session with a young woman named Bianca, who complains of having a dream where her body is sliced in half by an elevator. (This involves some truly gruesome imagery.) Ben tries to counsel her, but she asks him if it is "weird living in a murder house?".  Ben then asks if she was aware of this when she came to see him, and she tells him that he is on the "murder house tour" Ben tries to bring the conversation back to the counseling session. At the end of the series, Ben calls Tate's mother to say that Tate has cross the line with his daughter, and that he wants to recommend a new psychiatrist. Ben says he understands Mrs. Langdon's concern, but he is just not comfortable continuing treatment in his home. Okay, does this mean that Tate is not a ghost after all?

In the next scene, Adelaide is looking through a fashion magazine and she asks Constance, who is baking, why she does not look like the other girls.  Constance replies, "Cause you don't; it's just the way you were born. Accept it, you were born with other gifts."  Constance asks Adelaide to hand her the ipecac syrup from the cupboard.  Ipecac is used to treat an overdose because it induces vomiting. Constance puts a healthy dose into what she is making.  Constance then encourages Adelaide to spit in the mixing bowl.

Ben is out for a jog, but when he runs through a tunnel he stops to cry.  Larry Harvey comes out of the shadows saying, "people will say we're in love." When Ben asks him what he wants, Larry tells him about a desire he has to act, and that he wanted to pursue it before, but was worried about what it would do to his family.  When Larry asks Ben what is wrong with him, Ben answers nothing. Larry tells him that the house is tearing him apart. Ben tells Larry that Hayden, the woman that he cheated with is insisting that he go and see her. Larry tells Ben that he is trying very hard not to judge him.  Ben is shocked and points out that Larry murdered his entire family but Ben responds, "yes, but I was never unfaithful."  Larry tells Ben that he is going to have to do the honorable thing to save his family, he is going to have to lie. This by far was the best scene this episode. How can anyone not love Denis O'Hare?  The description that I wrote, most certainly does not give it justice.

That night, Ben lies to Vivien and tells her that he has to go back to Boston to help a patient who attempted to commit suicide.  Vivien tells him that he is a good man. The next morning, Constance shows up with two chocolate cupcakes for Violet.  When Vivien reaches for them, Constance tells her that she wants to give the cupcakes directly to Violet and that her age she can't eat them because it would be like putting two sticks of butter directly on her ass.  Constance adds that she brought the muffins back as a "peace offering for Addy disturbing their slumber, and that she might have to start tying her up at night."  I don't understand how it is that Vivien doesn't even bat an eye at this.  Calling Adelaide a freak is a no no, but tying her up, which is clearly beyond abusive gets no response. When Vivien notices the candied violets on the cupcakes, Constance tells her that they are from a wonderful Mexican bakery. She offers Vivien the address, but then cautions her not to go after dark.  Once again, Vivien has no response to this.  Her silence reads to me as acceptance of Constance's behaviour. Including racism is one thing, but having no one say that it is unacceptable is problematic. 

Constance tells Vivian that she knows that she is pregnant, because she can smell the pheromones.  A worried Vivian asks what else she can sense about the baby.  Constance tells her that she actually has four children and that three of them have downs syndrome like Adelaide, and one boy was born okay, but turned out to have other issues.  Constance tells Vivian that her womb is cursed. Constance wipes away her tears and tells Vivian that her baby is fine. 

Ben walks in and asks Constance what they are going to do about Addy and then reaches for a cupcake.  Constance pulls it away from him and says, "not for you."  Moira enters the room and Constance tells her to put the cupcakes away until little Violet can have them.  Constance tells Moira not to forget the crumbs on the table, and then turns to the Harmons and says that she and Moira go way back. As Constance heads for the door she says, "I even employed her for a time. I hope her dusting has improved." Moira responds, "your sense of humour was and continues to be a delight." You could cut the tension in the house with a knife at that point.  Constance leaves saying, "is there anything more wonderful than a new child, or more heartbreaking than when that promise is ruined."

Moira takes Ben's things to the car, and Ben says to Vivien, "is everybody crazy?" Vivien smiles and Ben kisses her saying, "I wish you could come with me."  Uh huh I am sure that would just be great for their marriage.

Later that night, Vivien goes to Violet's room with cupcakes, to ask her if she wants to have a girls night because Ben is out of town.  Violet tells Vivien that she knows that she is pregnant and that she believes that she is only doing this to try and save her marriage. Violet tells her that she thinks she's weak and Vivien leaves the room. Violet opens her door and puts the cupcake outside on the floor. So much for girls night.  Violet is high on angst it seems.

In Boston, Ben's phone rings and he turns it off.  He is in Boston with the woman he had an affair with to spend the night with her before she has an abortion. He makes sure that she understands that he is going to spend the night on the couch.  When his phone goes off again, Hayden is upset and demands that he hand over the phone cryingm and Ben tells her no at firstm but finally puts his phone in her purse to calm her down. So much for being over sleeping with a married man.

Back at the house, Bianca shows up at the front door asking to be let in because she is hurt.  Vivian asks what happened and Bianca repeats that she has been hurt.  Even when Bianca screams that there is a man outside coming to get her, Vivian refuses to open the door and instead tells her that she will call the police.  Constance runs into the kitchen to find the phone and discovers that it isn't there, she calls for Violet and tells her to go into her room, lock the door and call 911. Bianca begins to ring the door bell insistently and Vivian tells her to stop it and that she has called 911. But what she does not know is that they are already in the house. Vivian backs up into a man wearing all Black and a mask.

Once she is tied up, Vivian learns that she is being held by a group that wants to  re-enacts the murder that we saw at the beginning of the episode.  How freaking macabre. When Violet comes downstairs, they trap her to and taunt them about who is going to be the first to die.  Violet escapes the room and runs into Tate, who tells her that she has to lure them down to the basement.  Okay, what the hell is up with Tate?  How is he connected to this house? Despite the fact that Ben called his mother, I refuse to believe that he is alive.  Once upstairs, one of the women eats the poisoned cupcake that Violet had left outside her door, rendering her violently ill.  Violet manages to convince the woman holding her that the tub where the murders occurred is downstairs in the basement. When they get down there, Tate is waiting and so Violet takes off running. In the end, all three who entered the house die by the ghosts that are haunting the house. 

At the abortion clinic, Ben thanks Hayden for being so mature about all of this.  Hayden is obviously sad that she has to end her pregnancy. When Hayden gets called in by the nurse, Ben checks is phone and realizes that he has missed a ton of phone calls. He gets up running.  Back in LA, he is questioned about his whereabouts and if he has any extra knowledge about Bianca.  The police tell them that they believe that the other intruders turned on Bianca when she got cold feet, and stabbed her in the stomach, nearly cutting her in two.  This is eerily like the nightmare she complained about to Ben in the fake therapy session.

What they don't know is that Moira, Constance and Tate, staged the scene.  They cleaned up the blood, and buried the bodies of the other two intruders. Tate tells Moira and Constance, that the "others did it." What the hell is the deal with the three of them?

Ben asks what Tate was doing there and Violet says she does not know, and thanks him for keeping him out of the whole thing.  Ben is clearly puzzled.  Ben tells Vivien that he is sorry that he wasn't there for them, and that he is home now.  Vivien tells him that he is not home, because they are going to sell the house.

Once again, I left out some of the gory details to avoid spoiling it for those who have not yet seen the episode.  I still like this show very much and I am absolutely intrigued by Moira, Constance and Tate.  There is most certainly a secret that we are not privy to yet.