Friday, December 9, 2011

American Horror Story, Season One, Episode Ten: Smoldering Children

And it’s time for another American Horror Story, fasten your seatbelts, adjust your safety screens and let the failing begin.

So we have a lovely flashback of Constance, Larry, Adelaide and Tate playing happy families – needless to say the dysfunction levels are reaching the ceiling. We also see a greater influence of Constance’s disgust for her disabled children – and how it put the pressure on Tate to be the perfect one. While a dinner with these guests is bound to be less than fun, it’s interesting to see at least Tate cared for and valued his siblings – angered by Bo’s murder and considering Adelaide to be a smart girl. I think just in case we started to see Tate as a nice person (ha!) we move on to drugs, guns and pouring petrol on Larry to have his own personal bonfire. Not a nice boy. I always assumed that Larry’s scars were from when his family were burned.

And on to Ben and Vivian where Ben apologises to Vivian for assuming she cheated rather than being raped. Vivian kicks him repeatedly in the yin-yangs (wait, that’s my wishful thinking). Ben also tells her about having different fathers for her twins. Ben insists that together they will find the answers and have Vivian home in a day or two. Vivian throws rocks at his head at the very suggestion of them together (damn, that’s my wishful thinking again. Alas, not the case).

And back to present day Constance who is shown pictures of Travis’ dead body to identify. While she’s grieving and saddened, she still manages to squeeze out some racism. Keeping it classy Constance.

See, it’s stuff like this that bothers me so much about American Horror Story. It’s not that there are rampaging isms in every episode that are migraine quality, it’s not even that they’re all unchallenged, normalised and presented as acceptable (though both are certainly the case) it’s that they’re so grossly grossly unnecessary. What story, character, theme or plot has been advanced by these constant throwaway lines of prejudice?

And Ben gets a visit from the truant officer, Violet has missed a vast amount of school. Oh and there are blowflies in the house, yes let’s have some ominous connections. Ben confronts her – my gods, she actually exists! I thought everyone had forgotten her. I certainly thought Ben had. Ben finally acknowledges that, zomg, life hasn’t all that easy and sunny for Violet – about damn time. It’d probably feel better if Ben wasn’t clearly doing it for the sake of pushing her to go to school rather than actual concern. I can’t stand him, a Walker should eat him. Wait, that’s Shane on the Walking dead. A ghost should eat him. He goes on to look for a school for Violet – a boarding school.

Constance shows up at Larry’s, dialling the self-pity to the max (astonishingly it’s hard to be sympathetic to her). She’s clearly disgusted by Larry and his scars (yes she’s a classy woman) and clearly thinks Larry killed Travis – forcing Larry to admit moving the body and that Travis died in the house. Y’know it’s going to be standing room only in the house now.

Constance is taken to the police station for questioning after they see her carrying a great big knife in her bag (that she used to threaten Lawrence) and we have quite an amusing recitation of the many many many deaths around Constance. Many many. Wow, many. Though you have to admire her body disposal methods.

And Tate kills the exterminator who's arrived to kill the blowflies. Why? Well I think he’s aiming to beat his mother’s kill count. Then goes to tell Violet that Ben wants to ship her to boardingschool – nice of Ben to discuss it with her first. Classy Ben.

Dead!Travis is loving the fame of being dead and playing tea parties with Larry’s dead children – and Larry gets to see his dead wife. He apologises and says he’ll make Constance pay (remember, Larry’s wife killed herself and her children because Larry was cheating on her with Constance). Sounds more like he wants to get at Constance because she said she didn’t love him. In a surprisingly good moment where I had to check to see if I was watching the same show – his wife says no, it wasn’t Constance who broke vows and cheated on her.

Tate in rubber attacks Ben in the world’s toughest towel (hmmm at last some redeemable features), we have a long brawl in which the towel has clearly been attached with superglue. Tate cholorform’s Ben to give them time to sell his suicide pact plan to Violet. I loved how Violet presented this image of a romantic bathtub to die in and then ran “help he’s trying to kill me!” She’s not daft, that girl
She runs – outside where people cannot see her, out the gate to come in… the kitchen. Every time she runs out the front door she comes in the back door. She can’t leave the house. Why? Well the body in the crawlspace attracting the blowflies? Is her’s. She’s already dead and the ghosts cannot leave the Murder House. Tate didn’t succeed in saving her from her suicide attempt, she died and her ghost has been walking around. Tate thinks he and Violet can play eternal ghost couple, Violet has reservations (reservations about the multiple murdering rapist? Surely not!)

At the police station, Larry has confessed to the murder of Travis, getting Constance off the hook though he’s motivated more by his dead wife’s words than protecting Constance. He looks to Constance for some last comfort before going to prison – silly silly man.