Well, we got some questions answered this week, am I right? And as we’re discovering, as a question gets answered, at least one more pops up. We start in 1983 this time. The year “Crack” cocaine was developed in the Bahamas and “Just Say No” became a bumper sticker. We also learned that “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” You know who wasn’t having fun? A young Moira, making the bed in the master bedroom in the house in 1983. The man of the house (who really does kind of look like Van Johnson!) watches her from the doorway. He’s holding a drink and is apparently already drunk. You notice here that Moira is wearing the conservative maid’s outfit Vivien sees, but Ben does not. Drunk hubby immediately starts hitting on Moira and we learn they’ve had a tryst in the past, which she calls a huge mistake.
Well, huge might be an overstatement. *snort*
She pleads for her job. He offers her a Camaro, saying he got a new shipment in yesterday. Then he attacks. Now, if he just would have said a Renault Alliance…A pretty ugly rape scene ensues and as we hear Moira crying, we see a woman walking down the hallway, holding a gun. She enters the bedroom and shoots the mirror. Hey, it is our buddy Constance! Let me stop here and just say they did a fantastic job showing her about thirty years younger. Even the details of her hands and neck look great. So we can assume (as someone pointed out in comments), they are making her look older in the present time to pull off this scene. Well done. Constance looks right at Moira and shoots her in the head, right through the now milky eye. Camaro hubby freaks and says this didn’t mean anything. Constance says she’s loved him since she was sixteen. Then POW! He broke her heart for the last time.
The real tragedy? Those awesome sheets.
Not a huge shocker that is the history between Constance and Moira. I mean we could kind of see that coming, right? Constance sits on the bed next to dead rapist husband having a minor panic attack and she weeps and weeps. The scene flows seamlessly into the present with Vivien and Ben having a huge argument in the same room. She accuses him of lying and I assumed he fessed up about Boston, but it turns out they are having an argument over money. She yells at him about not trusting him and he reveals that their financial guy screwed up their investments, so they now have money problems. Gee. Everything has been going so well for them too.
Well, Viv, the bright side is you’re having a really good hair day…so there’s that.
She wants to get a job and Ben tells her that is not an option. She doesn’t need that added stress. Ben finally relents and says they can get a studio apartment. She doesn’t really believe that will alleviate any of their problems. He argues he has to keep the house because his office is here. His patients see him here. The few that he has. Oh and here comes the shrink again! He tells her she’s having post traumatic stress due to the home invasion and she should really talk to someone about it. That goes over as well as you would expect it to with Vivien. She tells him she has an appointment with a realtor the next day to talk about what inexpensive improvements they can make (like with the backyard—spoiler alert!!) and that is that.
Backyard, huh? I’ll have a stellar idea for that in about 39 minutes.
Ben decides to go with Vivien’s plan and she tells him, “Don’t lie to me again. If you lie to me again, we’re through.” And…Opening credits. We join Vivien having tea with the same politically incorrect realtor from the pilot. The woman is saying how horrified she is for the Harmons regarding the home invasion. And she understands why Vivien would feel anxious. Well, goofball realty lady, Vivien is not anxious, she is downright angry. She mistakes Vivien’s anger at the tragedy, when really the frustration is aimed at her. As she goes on about how close she was to the previous owners, she was just so dismayed finding out what perverts they really were. She was getting ready to share a lovely tale about a fire poker when sadly, Vivien interrupts her. Vivien tells Marcy (finally a name for realty lady!) the house has to go back on the market. And she doesn’t want to lose a dime in the process. Marcy chuckles this all off with “economy, housing market” stuff, but there is more. Vivien doesn’t believe everything was properly disclosed about the history of the house.
That fire poker story? Shockingly does not equate to curb appeal.
Vivien tells her she owes them. By law, Marcy should have revealed any material facts that would have influenced them to buy/not buy the house. Marcy holds her own and says the law is actually disclosure of facts from the past three years, which she did. The homosexual, rubber suit-wearing, Bloody Mary drinking, fire poker…ahem…couple involved in the murder suicide. Marcy gets all up in Viv’s face about how no one is looking out for her! No one is buying her cooking classes! She lives in a van down by the river and yadda, yadda, yadda…Vivien was not so moved by this plea. She tells Marcy she was her last choice for a realtor as nobody else will come near the property. Marcy will sell this house no matter what or else she will get sued for gross criminal negligence. And that is that. Vivien hilariously tells Marcy, “See, someone is looking out for you.” HAHA.
Ben is in the kitchen, sniffing the coffee pot, when Moira comes in and says the coffee is fresh. She leans over to hand him a coffee cup, all seductive and stuff. He pours a cup and ignores her obvious advances.
Constance is in the house! No, really. She’s going through a box of silverware when (old) Moira knocks on the door, startling Constance. Moira says she knocked this time so she wouldn’t give Constance a heart attack, but Lord knows, she wishes she were dead. Reaffirming the theory that Constance is alive and well. Physically well, that is. She’s at least a few tacos short of a combo plate, that is for sure. Constance doesn’t break stride over Moira’s comment and asks her to polish the knife she’s about to steal.
I need to be able to see a perfect mirror of my psychopathic abusive image in this knife!
Moira takes the knife and starts polishing. Constance tells Moira she’s adding pieces to her collection until she has a full set. Then she’ll make money off them on Ebay and Moira will be accused of theft. Constance says that after all, Moira is a thief. Especially of weak husbands. Moira breaks down and screams, “I don’t want to be here anymore!” Ah…so something is forcing her to stay there. She cries that she is frightened and she misses her mother. Constance comes back with, “Do you think I want to stay in this world of death and rot..?” Sigh. So many questions…Constance tells Moira to “Move on, Missy.” Moira cries, “I can’t. I want to, but I can’t.”
I have no pension…my 401k sucks… Oh and there’s that whole “I’m probably a ghostly entity” thing…
Constance says every time her hearts breaks just a sliver for Moira, she remembers that Moira created this mess for herself. And when Constance sees Moira’s ghostly eye, she remembers she was and continues to be one hell of a shot. Moira tells her she needs to pay for what she’s done. Constance replies, “Oh, I do. Every goddamn day.“ What a kick butt scene this was. Those two women, dead and/or alive are most certainly tied together because of the past and for the unwanted foreseeable future.
We now see Ben with a new patient. As Ben sets out his tape recorder, a middle aged woman who speaks in a monotone is talking about how her husband is divorcing her, after twenty-three years of marriage. And why? Because she is boring as hell. She’s so sad, talking about how she learned about his sports teams and tried to make conversation with him, so he wouldn’t find her boring. Ben is starting to fade out and I immediately thought, “Drugged!”. I mean, no real therapist is really going to zone out on a patient. Especially when he only has one or two, right? She drones on and on with her memorized list of sports teams and how she can still name all the states and their capitols. Ben is fading fast during this conversation.
Shrimp stew. Shrimp sausage. Shrimp Gumbo. Shrimp and Chicken. Shrimp Salad. Shrimp Sandwiches.
Suddenly Ben is in his backyard and his hands are covered in blood, standing on what is obviously an old grave in his backyard. Hey, Marcy—this wasn’t in the brochure either!
Oh, man…I’m never going to get tomatoes to grow here.
He washes his hands on the hose and comes in the house to see Moira cleaning up blood in the foyer. With her butt way in the air, all sexual like. He asks her what she saw. She says “Nothing. I’m very discreet.” As he wanders in his office, she tells him not to worry, she cleaned that room first. She wanted to get it ready for his next victim…um, patient. So they want us to believe Ben killed boring lady patient. Ben freaks out because he can’t find his tape recorder while Moira keeps making advances. It is almost like she reversed the roles and she’s the aggressive rapist type. Ben slaps her hand away, turns around and grabs her shoulders. Just then Vivien walks in and sees her husband roughly handling “old” Moira.
This is nothing. You should see how he manhandles Ernie, the elderly gardener.
So now Ben has to explain why he was being rough with Moira and the whole scene is rather hilarious. He’s explaining how Moira is constantly coming on to him. The look on Vivien’s face during this whole conversation.
The face of the woman who strikes fear in the hearts of every wife.
Ben even goes off on Moira’s little maid outfit. Moira calmly explains to Vivien she understands how men are. They have the need to objectify women, but women are different. They can see inside to the soul of a person. With that train of thought, wouldn’t Constance see Moira as the young woman who apparently stole her husband? Ben continues his tirade, accusing Moira of entrapping employers but Moira defends herself by saying she knows what’s going on with the couple and the stress they are under right now. She is perfectly willing to stay working for them. Vivien starts to tell Moira maybe it would be better if she…and then Moira just loses it. You can’t throw her out like garbage! She deserves respect! And then the threat–if Ben lays another hand on her or tries to fire her without just cause, she will press charges. She then calms down and says she’s changed all the bedding and the towels and she’ll be taking a longer lunch, as she is quite shaken. Young Moira winks coyly at Ben and leaves the room. Ben is still furious and Vivien shuts his whiny butt up by saying his indiscretion in Boston has made him paranoid and he needs to get his act together and of course, get out of this house.
Humiliated wife and dead young hot maid with a shot-out eye. The pure definition of girl power.
Vivien is outside cutting beautiful yellow roses when she hears a man’s voice over a microphone. The murder house (Harmon’s) is one of the stops on the tour. And not just any tour.
You’d think this would be at night. False advertising!
She stops her gardening and stares at the truck. We jump to Violet (hey, remember her??). She’s smoking a cigarette, hanging out in the backyard. (Side yard?). This house is on a lot of ground. Ben comes out and she quickly extinguishes her smoke. Ben tells her not to worry; he’s not going to bust her. When she asks why he’s not, he chalks it up to the trauma she and her Mom went through last week. She assures him she is fine and he offers to pay for her to see a therapist. She thanks him and it is a rare tender scene between the two of them. He walks away and Tate is now seen hanging out on the other side of the wall. Tate tells Violet she is very lucky to have a Dad like that.
My Dad got TWO young girls pregnant, so count your blessings.
Young Moira is pouring coffee in the kitchen when Ben storms in demanding she tell him where she put his tape recorder. Instead of “on the shelf”, she says it is down the front of her dress between her breasts. Well, that would certainly be the last place most people would look. He calls her sick and she stops the exchange by telling him she let in his next patient, who is waiting in his office. Confused, he goes into his office, saying things like, “I didn’t have anything scheduled…sputter…Hayden!…sputter.”
Yeah, we were pretty sure what happens in Boston doesn’t stay in Boston.
Ben is pissed she is in his house, but she assures him she’s not stupid and she knows that Vivien isn’t home. She was mad he didn’t stay for her while she was getting their little indiscretion surgically removed and he defends himself by saying he had to come home. His family had been attacked. Hayden is not all that sympathetic about all that and guess what? She decided against the abortion. Anyone shocked? She tells Ben he will be a part of their baby’s life. He is pissed and scared and insists he doesn’t have any money to support her and the baby. She wants to move out there but she bristles at all this money talk and says that she is not a whore. Then she flips out, screaming, “I MATTER!”. Ben is saved by the (door) bell and he leaves the room. He answers the door and there is a detective who needs to speak with him. Hayden leaves the house after Ben tells her he’ll meet her the following day at 3pm.
Ben leads the officer inside the house, mistakenly thinking he is there to discuss the house invasion. He is actually a detective from missing persons. He is there to question him regarding Sally Freeman, the patient from earlier who was so boring her husband was going to divorce her. Basically Ben is the last person to have seen her. Moira walks in and the most interesting part of this scene is that the detective sees young Moira, not old Moira. So, he’s either a horny little dirty bird like Ben or maybe all men see Moira in the young version. Ben can’t share anything from their session with the detective, but he assures him there was nothing extreme about the woman. The policeman tells Ben that everyone he’s talked to about the missing woman says she’s the most boring person they’ve ever met. Well, that’s not very nice.
Hey, Chuckles. We’re supposed to believe you’re a laugh riot?
Detective leaves his card, comments on the hotness of Moira and leaves. Ben looks concerned. Geez, Ben. It is not like you blacked out while the missing (boring, in case you forgot) woman was there for treatment and then woke up with blood all over your hands! That’s just crazy talk.
Now we’re in a dark alley, where a gay hate crime is going on and we’re back in time again. This has nothing to do with the house, though. The victim was openly gay Sal Mineo, an actor who starred with James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause” and it is a reenactment of his murder from 1976 we are watching. Why are we seeing this? Well, Vivien decided to take the Eternal Darkness tour and that alley is one of the stops. The tour concludes at her own house, which means their house is the scary highlight of the whole thing. Nice! Well…unless you have to you know…live there.
This is actually an ideal way to figure out our landscaping needs.
And we get a bunch of history on the Harmon/Murder house. Here goes: Built in 1922 by Dr. Charles Montgomery, the doctor to the stars for his wife, Nora, a socialite from Philadelphia. Dr. Montgomery became addicted to drugs and performed Frankenstein-type experiments in the basement. We flashback to wife, Nora, yelling downstairs to the basement for her husband to come to dinner.
No thanks, sweetie! I had pork roast for lunch
He is the one who started all of the creepy jar things we saw in the pilot and during the opening credits. Yeah, this is not going to go well. He breathes in more of his drugs and goes upstairs to eat with his wife and little baby boy, who is also sitting at the table.
What’s up with the huge roast beast? Are they feeding Hoo-Ville??
So, they have a really pleasant dinner where Nora tells him he is a disgrace and he shouldn’t even call himself a man. Can you please pass the gravy? She didn’t move to Los Angeles from Philadelphia for this nonsense. Salt, please. And this house and only two servants! More bread? He tells her he built this house just like she wanted it. Wow..are those sweet potatoes? And the bill collectors were here again. Boy, this wine really complements the fruit compote. You drink your talent away. Are these the new napkins you bought? And by the way: You’re going to start giving young girls illegal abortions in our basement.
Alrighty then, who’s ready for dessert?
So we see Nora letting in a scared, attractive young female and drugging her to help her relax for the procedure. She then hands the girl off to her husband, who takes her down to the basement. Back in present time, the tour guide is telling is truck o’gawkers an estimated two dozen girls used the services of Dr. Montgomery, thanks to his wife Nora. He starts to tell the group that the souls of the unborn babies must have weighed heavy on their minds because in 1926, their reign of terror reached a horrifying climax when…and the story stops there because Vivien sees she is bleeding.
Coincidence? I think not. Bummer about the white pants, too.
She naturally freaks out and goes running towards the house, with the tour guide yelling at her that she can’t go in there. She yells back, “This is my house!”. Now, if there are people willing to pay to ride in the back of a truck to scary locations, couldn’t the Harmons actually turn their house into a paying haunted house? They could stay somewhere else and let the house be their business. Just an idea. Probably a really bad one, but it is not like they’re having much luck with anything else to do with it. Right?
We now see Ben and Viv in the doctor’s office and the doctor is explaining that Vivien is fine and the baby is fine. The bleeding was not from a miscarriage and it stopped as soon as she went into the house. The doctor tells her the discharge was normal. The doctor asks if they’ve been worrying more than normal. Well, if a home invasion, pregnant girlfriend and living in a freaking MURDER HOUSE don’t count, then no, they’re completely relaxed. Vivien tells the doctor they are planning on putting the house on the market and the doctor strongly advises against it. Death, divorce and moving are the three biggest stress causers there are. Well, if you hang around long enough, you’ll probably see all three, Doc. While the doctor is talking, Ben starts flashing back to Hayden and boom! He faints right there. The doctor orders an EKG and some blood tests on him, just as a precaution. And a plot device, naturally.
The writers I’m going to order some tests
Marcy is hanging up the For Sale sign outside the Harmons when Constance comes strolling along, walking a couple of dogs. She stops and looks up at a window in the house where we see Tate (her son??). Okay, let’s discuss. We know Constance killed her husband back in 1983. Tate is seemingly trapped in the 80’s with his clothing and his Nirvana references. Did she also kill him? She waves and he moves away from the window. The realtor sees Constance do this (but not Tate) and clears her throat. Constance moves along after muttering, “Good luck selling this lemon” to Marcy.
Ben is out exercising (fast walking), not running. Our old buddy Larry Harvey catches up to him, thanking Ben for not running this time. He wants Ben to work with him on a scene Larry wants to audition. HA! Ben tells him to leave him alone. Larry says he wants $1000.00 from Ben to get some head shots taken for his acting career. Ben shouts at him to leave him alone. Larry asks Ben if that little problem from Boston is still bothering him. Larry is like Ben’s conscience or something. Or his dark passenger. He knows everything that is going on inside of Ben’s head. Ben yells at him again and Larry smirks that he understands.
But seriously, head shots: which is my good side?
Ben is back in his home office, tearing it apart looking for his tape recorder. He is looking under the couch and the couch cushions when…Blackout! He’s in his backyard again. Thankfully, not covered in blood like last time. Boy, between Vivien and Ben, this couple goes through a lot of soap/detergent. Constance appears in his backyard, indicates the shovel in his hand and tells him he’s not going to find gold out there. She asks him what he’s doing there. He says he has no idea; he keeps waking up there. She tells him it is stress. Constance not-so-cryptically points out that with soil this toxic, it is just easier to cover it all up. He might as well put a brick patio with a gazebo out there. Moira is watching this exchange from an upstairs window.
How in the world does she get all her cleaning and seducing finished in 8 hours?
Vivien is in the kitchen, going through the classifieds for available apartments when the doorbell rings. Hey, it is our buddy Nora from circa 1922-1926.
Say what you want about socialites. They age incredibly well.
Understandably, Vivien hesitates letting her in right away. It really only takes one home invasion for that to sink in thoroughly. But she finally gives in and Nora creepily identifies wood and chandeliers that are originals in the house. Well, we already know she was the one who meticulously picked them out. She hilariously hates the modern kitchen and is scared of the pasta arm and the microwave. They small talk a little. “Do you have children?“ Nora tells her she had a child once. As Vivien turns to prepare tea for both of them, we see a gaping hole in the back of Nora’s head. Not sure if it is a gunshot wound or not. When Vivien turns back around, Nora is gone. Poof. Vanished.
Her friends called her Head Wound Nora. Not pleasant at dinner parties, for sure.
The Missing Persons detective shows up at the house, while Ben is not suspiciously at all digging a big hole in his yard. The policeman has both good news and bad news for Ben. His missing patient was found alive, but after she was admitted in the hospital for a suicide attempt. And she had Ben’s tape recorder on her. The bad news–well, apparently she went crazy on Ben when she realized he wasn’t listening to her. She sliced up her arms in the middle of his office, which created all the blood from the earlier scene. Although Ben didn’t break any laws, the detective said, “Right. It’s not a crime to be an asshole.”
Because believe me if it were, you’d be sharing Cell Block H with most of my exes.
An apartment manager is showing Vivien and Violet an apartment for rent. Violet asks to be alone with her Mom and when they are, she lays into her. She doesn’t like the thought of moving. She wants to stay in the house because it has soul and she’s sick of her parents running away from their problems. Although Vivien believes the home invasion was a traumatic experience, Violet thinks of the experience as one they survived and they should embrace that instead. Vivien tells her it is the best for her unborn baby and Violet threatens to run away if they move. Will Violet be the factor in them staying at the house?
You say “Invasion”; I say “Evasion”.
Ben is on the phone with Viv’s doctor and she’s explaining to him that although the EKG came back well, there was evidence of drugs in his system. Laudanum, a form of opium was found in his blood. It used to be used as a sedative for surgery (basement abortions??), but the side effects of memory loss were so big, the drug was banned in 1934. The conversation is interrupted when the world’s most convenient doorbell rings. Ben interrupts the doctor and says he’ll have to call her back. He goes to the front door and sees Moira going up the steps. “I know you drugged my coffee!” he shouts at her. She responds, “Prove it.” HA! Hayden is at the door and she is absolutely pissed off he didn’t meet her like he was supposed to at 3pm. She starts shouting for Vivien. She’s clearly unhinged…hell, she probably was before the pregnancy thing and she wants to settle everything right there and then with both Ben and Vivien. Ben tries to calm her down. She agrees to go with him somewhere outside of the house to talk further. She smiles all creepily and kisses him on the lips, after saying, “I’m eating for two.” So what is she in the mood for? Well, if you said a shovel to the face, administered by two-face Larry, you’d be right! Yep, good ol’ Larry was waiting out in the backyard and slams a shovel into Hayden’s head. Since she was still moving, Larry hit her repeatedly. Ben freaks the hell out, but Larry tries to calm him down by telling him that so far, he (Ben) hasn’t killed anybody.
As Ben holds Hayden’s dead body, Larry asks, “What are you doing? Taking a DNA bath?” Ben starts yelling at Larry, “You’re a murderer! You’re a murderer!”. Larry: “Yeah, but you’re not.” And Larry reminds him that now all of Ben’s problems are solved.
The ultimate Mr. Fix It.
Ben still wants to call the police. Larry points out the obvious–pregnant mistress? Larry tells Ben to get cleaned up and he’ll take care of the body. He gets excited when he sees that there was a hole already started in the yard. Then he tells Ben he could really use that thousand bucks. Ben goes racing off into the house and Larry digs the grave. We see Ben vomit in the kitchen sink and as Larry digs the grave deeper, he finds the little hat/bonnet Nora’s baby was wearing at the dinner table back in the 20’s. So, is that why she came by the house? To visit her dead child who is buried in their yard??
Larry spies the baby’s body and removes his hat in what seems like respect as a crying Moira once again watches from the upstairs window. Larry dumps Hayden’s body over the baby’s. Flash forward and we now see Ben building a gazebo over the grave, while Constance and Moira watch from the window. Constance says, “Poor girl.” And then she tells Moira she is now stuck there forever. Whaaaaa? Why?
Vivien joins Ben at the now completed gazebo. The show ends as Nora hovers over a sleeping Vivien.
Boy, that is a packed hour of television, wouldn’t you say? Did anything get answered? Is Larry simply an extension of Ben? Why is Moira stuck there now? Why can’t she move on? Will Hayden start haunting the house? Is a gazebo really that easy to construct?
Thanks for joining me!