Friday, December 16, 2011

Review of American Horror Story Season One Episode 11: Birth

This episode opens with Tate as a little boy playing in the murder house.  He goes into the basement and is scared by a creature named Thadeus.  Tate is saved by Nora, who tells him that if Thadeus scares him again, he simply has to say no go away. Fast forward to present day, when Tate comes across Nora crying. He says to her, "life is too short for so much sorrow."  Tate tells her that he cannot give her Vivien's baby, because he is in love with Violet, but she says, "I can and I will. That baby is mine."

Vivien is being released from the hospital, and so Ben decides to drag Violet out of the house to pick her up.  He tells Violet that he does not trust her, and that he does not trust Tate. Gee she only missed 17 consecutive days of school bringing a truant officer to the door, but now he cares.  Violet tries to blow him off saying that she is not feeling well, but at this point, Ben is so frustrated, that he does not care.  He tells her that they are going to pick up her mother, and then go straight to the airport. Violet gives up and lies down in he back of the car so that Ben will not see her disappear. Just like all of the other ghosts, Violet cannot leave the house.

Back in her room Violet asks Tate what she is going to do. She is worried that if  her parents find out that she killed herself, that they "will go insane, literally insane this time." Violet worries that she will become like all of the other ghosts, "prisoners in a windowless world," but Tate comforts her saying that everything will be okay because they have each other.

In the nursery, Chad and Patrick are painting when Tate and Violet walk in.  Violet questions who asked them to decorate the nursery, and Chad responds, "Let me break it down for you sweetheart, this is our house and we're having twins."  He goes on to tell her that their surrogate is Vivien.  Tate the rapist and father now suddenly has concerns and steps up to add, "you pathetic homos couldn't steal the shit out of your own ass."  This must be some kind of record.  American Horror Story actually waited until eight minutes into an episode before throwing in some homophobia. Violet does not feel any fear because she knows that Ben and Vivien have plans to leave, but Chad tells her that as long as she is there, her parents aren't going anywhere.  In a shot at Tate, Chad goes on to ask, "were you a c section, is there an existing zipper we might use?"  Tate knows that this is directed at him and so he says, "watch it you damn queen."  Now that Chad and Patrick are dead however, they have no reason to fear Tate anymore. 

In desperation, Violet turns to Constance.  She asks Constance to get in touch with Billy Dean in the hope of getting rid of Chad and Patrick.  Constance decides that she can handle this by herself and so she marches upstairs to the nursery. Constance tells Chad that what he is trying to do is "unnatural."  She even goes as far as saying that, "man shall not lie with man. It is an abomination. Why can't you people content yourself with having pets? Why must you subject an innocent child to your perversions?"  What I loved about this scene, was Chad standing up for himself.  He first points out that studies have shown that children raised by same sex couples grow up just fine.  When Constance continues with her tirade asserting that she gave birth, and that this is something that Chad will never understand.  Chad makes a point of reminding her about the numbers of her dead offspring walking around in the house.  Just because a parent is straight, does not mean that they are a good parent.  It is then that  Constance slips, and tells Chad that he will not put his hands on her grandchild.  When Constance says that he is not fit to raise children, Chad responds that he has no plans to raise the kids, and that he intends to smother them when they reach the age of 1 or 1 1/2.

I love that scene primarily because it involved someone finally pointing out that homophobia is wrong and telling Constance off.  For far to long, Constance as a character has been allowed to say absolutely anything without any repercussions.  The viewing audience is to assume that Constance is simply vile; however, we all know that attitudes like hers exist in society, and are actively tolerated. Isms like homophobia should not be erased from our viewing, because it is part of society; however, unless they are actively called out as Chad did, they remain an acceptable thought process.  It only took American Horror Story eleven episodes to get a clue about this.

Back downstairs, Billy Dean, Violet and Constance are talking about getting rid of the ghosts, but Constance specifies and asks, "can you ferret out the fairies?"  Once again her homophobia is given a pass, and Billy Dean simply says that targeting a specific spirit is going to be harmful.  In a conversation that Constance cannot hear, Billy Dean tells Violet that she is so sorry and Violet begs her not to tell anyone that she is dead. Billy Dean says that the house is using those trapped between this world and the next as conduits, because it wants to break through. 

When Tate shows up saying that he wants to help, Billy Dean tells him that he has helped enough.  Violet asks what her rejection of Tate is all about, but Constance simply says that "when a medium confronts a strong spirit so directly, it is has a powerful effect that's all. It's nothing to concern yourself about."

At the hospital, Vivien asks where Violet has been?  The doctor enters the room and suggests that Vivien needs an immediate emergency c section.  Vivien says that she is going to take it easy when she travels, but Ben says he wants to hear it from the doctor.  It seems that one of the babies has been developing at a rapid rate, but the other child is getting weaker.  All the necessary nutrients are being devoured by the larger fetus.  The doctor leaves saying, "If I were you I would start checking to see if there were a medical doctor on the plane." I am sure you know that it's Satan's spawn that is causing the problem right.

Back at the house, Billy Dean tells Violet and Constance about an incident that happened in 1590 in North Carolina.  Apparently, the colony all died, and then they haunted the local Native American tribe, killing people at will.  The elder of the tribe cast a banishment curse, and then collected the talisments of all of the ghosts. He completed the curse that banished the ghosts forever by uttering the word carved on a post at the abandoned colony.  Constance turns to Violet and tells her she now knows what she has to do.

Violet then goes on to enlist Tate's aid to get something personal from Patrick and Chad.  Tate says that he does not trust Billy Dean, and that it all sounds like bullshit to him, but Violet says that they have to trust her, and that Billy Dean knows what she is doing.

Tate walks into the nursery and asks Patrick, "How does this work? Will the kid call you both daddy, or is one of you the mom?" When Patrick stands up, Tate claims that he is just kidding. Tate suggests that they are all going to be there for a long time, and that they should all find a way to live together.  He then goes on to say, "just because we are dead, doesn't mean we don't have wants, desires.  Marriage is hard, especially to that guy. It must suck to have to wait till Halloween every year to get a little strange". Patrick then head butts Tate and starts beating him saying, "I can't kill you, but I can make you suffer. The best part is that you will heal up, and I can hurt you again. It's not supposed to be like this. I'm not supposed to be here.  I fell in love. I was going to get out, and then you killed me, and now I'm stuck here with him."  When Patrick looks up, Chad is standing in the doorway. Even though it was violent, Tate deserved everything he got when Patrick beat him.  This is one of the few incidents on American Horror Story, where the violence was not directed at a historically marginalized group.  When Patrick leaves to chase Chad, we see Tate smiling, because during the altercation, he managed to slip Patrick's ring off of his finger.

In the driveway, Vivien and Ben sit in the car. Vivien tells Ben that she will not go in the house, and so Ben goes in alone to get Violet.  Shortly after Ben gets out Vivien starts to cry out in pain. 

In the house, Violet tells Tate that she has Chad's watch.  Ben bangs on the door to let Violet know that they are ready to leave, and Violet tells him to go far away and not bring Vivien in the house. Ben grabs Violet by the face, and asks her what kind of drugs she is taking.  Finally she tells him, "I'm dead don't you get it? If you die in the house, you don't get to leave."

Outside, Vivien is clearly in labour, and Constance drags her into the house.  Vivien's water breaks just as she gets inside the house.  Ben picks up the phone, and tries to call an ambulance, but the phone is dead.  When he looks outside, the twins that died in the house in the very first episode are trashing his car.  Ben sort of fades out, and when he goes back into the room, Charles Montgommery is acting as Vivien's OBGYN.  Constance slaps Ben across the face and tells him that this house is trying to help and that she is no position to refuse.

During the birth of the first child, Ben and Vivien both flash back to the birth of Violet.  The first baby, the one that Ben fathered is still born.  Charles hands the baby off to Nora, who smiles, happy to have her baby at last.

In the basement, Violet throws Chad's watch into the furnace.  She then screams the word that Billy Dean told her to, Chad pretends that he is being hurt.  Chad tells her that people make up spells and chants in order to feel like they are in control.  He then breaks up pieces of the crib, and tells her that her mother's babies are safe from them, and that he is doomed to spend eternity with a man who does not love him.  Chad tells Violet that it could be worse, because though Tate does love her, he's a monster.  Violet tells him that Tate has changed and Chad replies, "when did he change? When he murdered me? When he murdered my boyfriend? Or did he change when he raped your mother?"  Violet tells him that it's a lie, but Chad says that she is about to find out.

Downstairs, Vivien is having problems giving birth to the second child.  She screams saying, "this baby is tearing me apart."  It quickly becomes apparent that Vivien is in a lot of trouble.  Dr. Montgomery seems to be unable to stop the bleeding. 

Upstairs, Constance cleans the baby as Moira looks on and cries.  Moira says, "he is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen".  Hayden shows up in the door ways and says, "hey bitches, you get all of that slime off my baby yet?"

Downstairs, Vivien is going into shock.  Violet tells her that she is sorry that she didn't see her in the hospital.  Ben tells her to concentrate, and that they can be happy, but Violet tells Vivien that if she is in pain that she should let go.  Ben keeps begging Vivien to stay with him, but Violet again intercedes and says, "come to this side.  Let go you can be with me". Vivien dies and all of the ghosts disappear, leaving Ben alone downstairs. Well, so much for this being an episode in which marginalized people fight back and escape death. 

Tate is asleep on Violet's bed, and she announces that her mother is dead.  Tate says that he is sorry, but Violet starts backing away from him.  Violet asks Tate why he started seeing Ben, and then says that Tate knew he was dead.  Violet tells him that he murdered people, and that she knows that he killed the kids that came to them on Halloween.  Violet then goes on to ask why he killed Chad and Patrick, and why he raped Vivien.  She says, "I used to think that you were like me, attracted to the darkness, but Tate you are the darkness".  Violet goes on to tell him that she loves him, but that she cannot forgive him, and that he murdered Vivien.  Violet says that she won't be with him, that she cannot be with her, and that he needs to go away. 

Violet starts to whimper, and Vivien shows up to hold her. She says, "that was very brave. I'm very proud of you."  Really?  How is it that Vivien is not the least bit upset that Violet sold her down the river for a man she knew was a serial killer?  I know that Violet is her child, but her response is ridiculous. I think Violet's response falls under the category of too little too late.

I have to say that this episode was not nearly as failtastic as I am used to when it comes to American Horror Story. What were your thoughts?