I’d say things are really ramping up with all of our friends, both dead and alive, at the Murder House. I enjoy this show for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is the creators don’t feel it necessary to push each character in our face every single week, even if it is for just a few minutes. Last week, it was heavy on Hayden and Moira and this week we saw neither one. I’m okay with that because we get to focus deeper on this week’s main players, who are Constance, Larry, Ben, Tate and most importantly, Violet. Before we move on to this week’s episode, a big thank you to everyone for reading and commenting. And for those of you who figured out this week’s “big reveal” weeks and weeks ago…
Well done!! Well done!!
We start with a flashback to 1994 and hey! Addy’s there! Constance is carrying a big ol’ ham just covered in pineapple and cherries to the dinner table with Tate, Addy and a non-scarred Larry. What a lovely family! Constance asks who wants to say grace and Tate, with barely concealed rage says, “Oh Mother, may I do it?” She foolishly agrees and Larry calls him “son”. His version of saying grace is a little different than what we’re all used to, even if we’re not religious. His is basically (and I’m paraphrasing): “Dear God, thanks for the salty pig meat and the rest of the crap and the charade of a new family.” He goes on to say his own father ran away when he was six and had he known better, he would have joined him. Well even in this house, six is a little young to be fooling around with Moira and then getting shot. Constance has enough of this and slaps his arm. He continues calling Larry an asshole and claiming Constance is just with him to get back into the house. He concludes this by looking at Larry and saying that Constance doesn’t really love him. Addy pipes in hilariously with “Amen”. Larry still tries to talk to Tate, referencing all of the changes he’s had to go through. Moving back into the house after the…you know…little fire that made Larry’s marriage disappear faster than a Vegas courthouse, taking his children away too. Tate interrupts him and says, “They burned themselves alive because you were cheating on them with Constance”. Larry takes this all in stride and says passion drove his wife to do it and some day, Tate will understand what people will do for love. Then he changes the subject, saying he has tickets to see Brigadoon. He will be debuting in the chorus.
He should have gone for the lead in Phantom of the Opera
As Addy gets excited about going to the show, Tate’s shortened fuse finally ignites and he yells, “No!”. He screams at Addy to knock it off because she’s smart and she knows Larry killed their brother Beau. Constance jumps in and says Beau died a natural death. If diving face first into a pillow until you can’t breathe then…well, yes. Constance gets in his face for real when she tells Tate, he was the luckiest of all his siblings and yet he fails to use any of his naturally given gifts. A crying Tate tells Constance no matter what she wants, he will never be her perfect son.
The next morning Tate is in his room doing coke. He’s gathering up his arsenal of guns. Was 1994 that liberal on gun sales or perhaps these belonged to his Dad? So, this must be the day of the infamous high school shooting and subsequently his death. But first, he’s going to stop by Larry’s office. No one seems to notice the teen-ager carrying the big gas can to ol’ Larry’s office, who oddly thinks nothing of Tate’s visit. And then…poof. Tate sets Larry on fire. Retribution on what he believe he did to his own family, no matter how indirectly.
“Tate! Want to maybe throw a ball sometime?”
After the opening credits we see Vivien sitting forlornly in her psychiatric ward room when there is a knock on the door and Ben enters. He asks how she is doing and she at him sadly, as if to say, “How do you think I’m doing??” He tells her he owes her a huge apology. She has no interest in his apologies and wants him to leave. She has had a lot of time to think about things, since the satellite service stinks there and she thinks he is the crazy one. He stops her and says he knows now she was telling the truth. He believes she was raped. Vivien wants to know what changed his mind, because it certainly wasn’t anything she tried to tell him. He pulls a chair out and sits down. He tells her the doctors don’t think she is strong enough to hear what he has to tell her, but he really wants to tell her the truth. (“For once!”, I shouted). She is giving birth to twins from two different doctors. She looks at him, almost uncertainly.
You know…two buns…two different bakeries?
She looks distraught (naturally). Ben continues, telling her at first he thought it was Luke, but now he knows he was wrong. And he is so sorry for all of this. He now wants to know everything she can remember about her attacker. Other than the rubber suit. That part was covered pretty thoroughly when she was in her drug/Hayden-enhanced freak out mode. Does Vivien remember her attacker’s height, voice, um…size? (Okay, I added that part). Vivien interrupts, “He didn’t speak, Ben.” All she has been thinking about is how did he get into their house and where was Ben at the time and where did he get that rubber suit and why did she smell cooking fingers at the time? Ben tells her they can figure out all of the answers together, when she gets out in a day or two. He can’t get her out of there faster because of that whole “shot her husband in the leg” thing but he is working on it. Hey….how fast does Ben heal anyway? He’s not even limping! He tells her he’ll get her home soon. Vivien tells him, “Not that house.” Word, Viv.
I had to get attacked, raped, thrown in a psychiatric hospital AND shoot you in the leg for us to get along? Hmmm…good to know. Good to know…
Constance answers her doorbell to two police officers. Hey, it is Charles S. Dutton! He’s been in a ton of stuff. Constance invites them in and they start showing her pictures of Travis’ dead and posed body. Crying, Constance confirms that is her Travis and asks where they found him. Detective Dutton tells her they found him in a park in South Central. Constance: “The colored section? What on earth would he be doing there?”
Did I take a wrong turn and drive into the 50′s??
Oh, Constance, never change your racist ways. The female detective, Not-Dutton, tells her they think Travis was killed elsewhere and dumped there. Suddenly Constance remembers hearing about a boy’s body cut into two and dumped. The media is calling him “Boy Dahlia”. Okay, seriously? The detectives ask Constance if Travis had any enemies or if there was anyone who would want to hurt him. Besides an oversexed murdered girl living next door, that is. Constance responds, “No. Everybody loved him.”
Over at the murder house, the doorbell rings. Ben is on the phone asking for DNA and fingerprint tests on the rubber mask. Gee, I didn’t realize citizens can just order their own tests from the police department. “Get Grissom back in the lab—pronto!”. As he is ordering everything he needs off the police menu, he walks to the door to answer it and swats a fly. There is a truant officer on his front porch and after Ben invites him in, the officer spots a bowl of fresh fruit just covered in flies. He tells Ben those are blow flies. And based on that, we can pretty much rule out a lot of fruit eating going on in the house. Yeck. Ben tells the officer he’ll call the exterminator and gets down to why he’s really there. He knows Violet has missed a few days of school…A few? The officer tells Ben Violet has missed 16 consecutive days. Ben seems very surprised by that. Now, keep in mind, he hasn’t really been living in the house until Vivien got taken away, right? So he may not have noticed Violet has been at home. We’ll get to that later. The officer tells Ben he’s tried to contact his wife to no avail.
Have you tried 1-800-LOONEY? Haha. Snort.
One more absence and Ben and Violet will be in juvenile court. Violet is up in her room being all emo and angsty or whatever teens are nowadays when Ben knocks on her door. She tells him she’s not feeling well, but he persists and she lets him in her room. She knows it is about school and tearfully tells him she doesn’t want to go back. Ben tells her she can go to a different school, but it doesn’t matter to her. They are all the same. He sincerely apologizes to her for putting her through everything over the past year. His affair, the move, the home invasion, the locking up of her Mom, the impending scurvy from lack of edible fresh fruit in the house…He tells her she is so smart and she can go anywhere she wants for college. They have a lovely little daughter/Dad scene and she promises to go to school the next day. Aww…
Larry is hanging out in his swinging bachelor pad when Constance knocks on his door. Excited, he invites her in the apartment. She is very sad and tells him she is sorry to intrude but she had nowhere else to go and nowhere else to turn. She attempts to tenderly touch the scarred side of his face, but disgust reigns and she removes her hand and shakes it off like it has mud on it. HAHA. She tells Larry Travis is dead. He’s been murdered. Larry tells her, rather unconvincingly, that the news is just awful. Constance continues, saying Travis was so young, so beautiful. And then she pounces! She has a knife at Larry’s throat, accusing him of killing Travis because he knew she desired Travis and she would never desire Larry. Larry denies it and Constance threatens to cut off his penis. What do the creators of this show have against penises? With that threat, he confesses he didn’t kill Travis but he did move the body. Larry tells her Travis must have pissed off somebody in the house, but he doesn’t know which one. For all he knows, he could have been killed by Tate who has a terrible temper.
You don’t say…
Constance suddenly stops and says, “Travis died in the house?” Yahoo! She can still tickle her fancy with her boy toy. She goes to leave and Larry tries to stop her telling her he is there and alive and still loves her. She pushes him off and he persists, saying he knows she loves him too. She tells him he is crazy and she never loved him. She only endured him for the sake of her family. And THAT worked out well. Larry taunts her: “So, you’re going back to your boy? Your dead boy?” Oh, Larry. Don’t taunt the Constance. Constance: “Even dead. Even a boy. He’s twice the man you are.”
If “Pitiful” had a poster, this would be its child.
We see Violet getting ready for school, as promised, but when she goes downstairs Tate grabs her from behind and tells her to listen to him and don’t be mad. He loves her and wants her to stay home one more day. What’s one more day anyway? Violet resists, saying she gave Ben her word. Tate kisses her and that is enough for her.
Constance comes home to find Det. Dutton and Not-Dutton at her door. They want to ask her some more questions but she tries to brush them off. Not-Dutton tells her they spoke to the Korean man at the corner store and he remembers Travis and all the fights Travis and Constance had. I can only quote this verbatim: “Those Koreans. So suspicious since Hiroshima.” HAHAHA. As she’s fumbling in her purse for her house keys, oops: she drops the big knife she held at Larry’s throat. Dutton tells her that is a concealed weapon and why in the world would she be carrying that? Maybe she had a reason to visit the “colored” section of town? They decide to take her with them to the precinct to ask those additional questions.
Ben has the exterminator at the house and the guy is telling Ben the problem with all these old houses are the crawl spaces. Wow, if that were Ben’s only issue in this house, this would be a half hour sitcom. “Fifteen’s Company” or “Really Full House” or “How I Impregnated Your Mother” or “Modern Dead Family”. Okay, I’ll stop. One more: “Everybody Loves/Hates Tate”. The exterminator guy tells Ben he’ll have to follow the flies to find the source and that means he’ll have to go into the crawlspace. Once he finds out what is causing the infestation, he can give Ben an estimate. Ben, thrilled at spending even more money on a house he can’t afford, agrees to let the guy check it out.
We’re running a sale on human corpses found in a crawl space. Did you see our coupon in the Sunday paper?
Sorry—that was a spoiler. But no one really thought there was a dead possum in there though, right?? Let’s get back to Constance. She’s playing “Law and Order: Colored Section” with Dutton and Not-Dutton. And because it is Constance, she is not playing nicely. She is accusing them of harassing the one person who has nothing to do with Travis’ murder and she is also singularly devastated by it. They’re also interrupting her grieving period of both Travis and of course, Addy. Well….now that you’re mentioning “grief”, Constance sure has been surrounded by it. Dutton thinks it is very interesting a lot of people around Constance have died. He brings up her dead son, Beau. She tells him he was a mere boy, taken too soon due to his poor health. Not-Dutton pipes up with the comment there were a lot of complaints from the neighbors about Beau (as we see chains moving and Beau screaming) and although Constance said he was full of life, he is dead. Due to “natural” causes.
You can almost see her fingers do air quotes.
Dutton then brings up Tate who was a mass murderer. Constance now starts to lose it and tells them she does NOT have to sit here and listen to this. She tells them she has grieved enough for two lifetimes and most people would be positively broken by the death of their children. But not her. Dutton changes the subject, agreeing to stop talking about the dead. Hey, let’s talk about missing people.
Hmmm…maybe we should go back to the dead.
Hugo (Constance’s husband) and Moira disappeared in 1983. Constance tells them Hugo was unfaithful and picks up the file with Moira’s photo on it and says she has no idea what he saw in her. It is interesting to point out here the picture of Moira is completely different than what she looked like at the time of her death. Conservatively dressed and with very little make-up. Huh. Constance continues saying she heard rumors of their love nest somewhere in Brazil…and as she’s talking we see the flashback of their murder again and then previously unseen footage of Constance finishing up a grave. Present time Constance: “I’m not one to stand in the way of true love.” And then fully back in the present, she asks them, “What do the whereabouts of two adulterers have to do with the murder of my Travis?” Sutton tells her that back in 1983, the police captain was very close to charging her with murder and now that he himself has gone over the file…and flashback again to Constance dragging Hugo on the ground saying she REFUSES to bury him in the same grave with his lover. Dutton is telling her that they will reopen the case. All they need to do is find the bodies. The flashback continues with Constance dragging Hugo down the basement steps to a chorus of barking dogs. Real dogs or ghost dogs?? HAHA. It’d be great if pets could come back in this show too. Present day Constance is telling Dutton the police never found what they were looking for because there was nothing to find. Flashback Constance (who must body build in between muffin baking and spouting racist comments), is still dragging Hugo and spies a random meat grinder in the basement. Um, okay. She ground Hugo’s body up and fed it to the dogs. Forget the police, Constance. PETA will pulverize you if this comes out. Present day Constance: “Once she found out he cheated, Hugo meant no more to her than dog shit.” HAHA.
You may want to skip that little anecdote from your Match.com profile.
All this fun nostalgia gets interrupted by some lawyer named Harry who bursts into the room and advises, “No more talking.” He has been assigned to the case. Constance protests she had nothing to do with Travis’ death and she has nothing to hide. Lawyer Harry stops her with, “Please Ms. Langdon” and excuses the detectives from the room. After the police leave, he introduces himself to her as Harry Goodman. He then asks her what questions the police were asking. She tells him just about her past and nothing really about Travis. Harry tells her “Boy Dahlia” (they’re really sticking with that name, huh?) is a sensational case. The police are going to move fast on this one and Constance is happy. She wants Travis’ killer found. He tells her the police wants to pin it on someone and right now, that person is her.
Our version of Harry’s Law
The exterminator is getting to work at the Harmons’. He crawls down through the crawlspace all decked out in protective clothing and carrying a flashlight, making silly jokes out loud but once he gets to a certain spot in the (bigger-than-my entire-house) crawlspace, he stops. And starts freaking out, yelling “Oh my God, Oh my God.” Suddenly Tate is all over him with a flashlight, calling the exterminator a murder and that the needs to stay and repent. Um…murdering bugs? And then kills the guy by putting his exterminator pump down his throat. So, will that guy always be in the house? Bug problem should probably be cleaned up then. For eternity.
Ben is on the phone with a boarding school, talking about financial aid for high academic achievers. Ben suddenly sees Tate’s reflection in one of the pictures on his desk and he freaks, then looks around the now empty room. Ben continues his conversation, saying Violet has a very bright future and their only real concern right now is the kid she’s been hanging around lately. They just aren’t cut from the same cloth. I’m pretty sure the admissions clerk at this school really wants to hear all this, right?
And then I told myself, if I feel good in women’s clothes, then who am I really hurting?
Violet is in the attic playing chess, when Tate shows up. Violet asks where he’s been. Tate is obviously upset and when Violet asks him what is wrong, he responds, “He wants to separate us.” He tells her about the boarding school. She gets upset and reasons if he could send his own wife away, she would be next. Tate comforts her and says he won’t let him send her away. And…he’s back in the rubber suit. That suit was by far the best buy Chad ever made when you consider price per wear. So Tate is now going after Ben…
Larry is in the basement…hey, he’s not a ghost! How does he just walk in to the house?? Anyway, he is removing loose bricks and retrieving the knife that killed Travis and Travis’ bloody clothing, when Travis walks up behind him and asks him what he’s doing with his stuff. Larry tells him he has to move it. It is evidence and you can’t just let it lie around. Travis asks Larry if he’s made the news. Larry says he’s been all over the news. Travis asks about Constance. Larry said she hasn’t been in the news. Travis meant how is Constance doing with the news of his death. Larry tells him she’s been taking it pretty hard. Travis wants to know why she hasn’t been over there to see him and Larry tells her it is too soon. We hear a little girl’s voice calling out for Travis and Larry reacts to seeing Margaret and Angela, Larry’s charred little girls sitting there playing tea party. Travis says he found them hiding down there. He interrupts Larry’s shock to ask if he can bring him some news clippings on his murder for his scrapbook. A distracted Larry says, “Yeah…yeah.” Travis goes to play with the girls and Larry slowly walks closer to see them. Suddenly, his dead wife Lorraine standing there, smiling at the view of the girls playing with Travis.
What did she set herself on fire with, a bedazzler? She’s very shiny.
She and the girls are in their burnt up form, so what IS the story with how some of the dead appear with their wounds and some do not?? Larry asks the very question I’ve been wondering which is why can he see her (and the girls) now, after all this time? She tells him he is ready now. He is on the cusp. Larry apologizes for well…everything. She tells him to prove it. He assumes she means Constance needs to pay for what she’s done to their family and he’ll make sure that happens. Lorraine counters with Constance didn’t do anything to our family. He’s the one who needs atonement.
For all the Dylan McDermott fans
Ben’s taking a shower and when he gets out of the shower and wipes down the fogged up mirror, Tate appears right behind him in the rubber suit. Tate tries to hold a cloth over Ben’s mouth (presumably with chloroform) but Ben is a fighter. They fight back and forth around the bathroom with Ben screaming, “Show your face!” and “Who are you?”. They fight some more and it seems like Ben is getting the upper hand, bashing Tate in his head (does that physically hurt him?) and yelling, “You raped my wife!”. He’s yanking at the rubber hood but then Tate starts winning the fight. The whole time, Ben’s towel around his waist ins intact. A sad miracle. Like the opposite of a Christmas miracle. As Tate finally gets the drug-soaked cloth over Ben’s face, the hood slips off and Ben sees that it is Tate. He weakly screams out, “Violet.” And then goes unconscious, right after Tate tells him the only reason he is not killing her is because of her.
So, you’ve just been attacked by the man/boy who raped your wife, is seeing your daughter behind your back and is literally your only paying patient. Sweet dreams!
Harry the lawyer knocks on Constance’s door with a coffee and bad news. The police want her at the police station immediately. Constance resists, but Harry tells her something new must have come up and now he thinks she is going to be charged.
Tate goes back to the attic and Violet demands to know what he did to her Dad. He says he didn’t do anything; he just wants an hour or so alone with Violet. She asks what his plan is–to run away? He tells her, “Kind of.” He tells her he loves her. He wants her take a bunch of pills and then they can stay there together, forever. She asks, “You mean, to commit suicide?” She asks where he got the pills and when he says her Dad has a lot of samples, she freaks again about her Dad being hurt. He kind of overplays his hand here and starts yelling that they are running out of options. Violet seemingly agrees and they kiss. Since they don’t have enough pills, they have to use razor blades too. She uses this opportunity to suggest doing it in the bathtub. When she goes downstairs to run the tub, Tate hears her suddenly scream for help and that “he’s trying to kill her”.
I know it has been 17 years since English Lit, but I don’t remember Romeo and Juliet ending that way.
Tate goes running after Violet and as she’s trying to leave the house, she sees people on the street, but only the dog they are walking reacts to her screaming. Yep, we knew this was coming, didn’t we? Let’s push on and get to the obvious conclusion. Violet runs through the front and the back door time and time again, but cannot get out of the house. She’s freaking out asking Tate what is happening to her and what did he do to her? It is a heartbreaking scene, especially when she looks at Tate saying, “I don’t want to die.” And he tells her it is too late for that. Violet still doesn’t believe it, so Tate tells he has to show her something. Once she sees it, she’s free to go wherever she wants and he won’t try to stop her. Curious, huh? He tells her she has to trust him and then takes her to the basement. He takes her to the spot in the crawlspace and suddenly she says she feels weird, like she’s losing it. She follows him through the crawlspace and he takes her to the body. Naturally, it is her.
My choice was a heartbreaking picture of Violet crying or just plain gore. Immaturity wins again!
She starts crying and screaming and we get the flashback of when he tried to save her in the bathtub. She realizes now she DID die from taking all those pills. He tells her he tried to save her. They are both crying and she starts moaning. He tells her she died crying and he held her. She asks why she doesn’t feel anything? Tate didn’t want her to find out this way. His plan was that if she chose that path, with him, she wouldn’t be so sad. Sobbing, they hug. Although we kind of figured this was the outcome, I was really hoping Violet wasn’t dead. That scene was absolutely heartbreaking.
Down at the police station, Harry is telling Dutton they have no evidence to charge Constance. Dutton tells them they now have the murder weapon. Constance tells him it is not hers and they are not going to hold her responsible for a crime she did not commit. Then Dutton takes them into a room where they can see through the two way glass, where Larry is talking to Not-Dutton. Dutton tells Constance this man says he knows Constance. Constance asks, “What else did he say?” Dutton tells him Larry confessed to the whole thing and had the murder weapon. They want Constance’s help with Larry’s possible motive. Constance says she can’t really help him, but there must be only one reason for Larry to do such a thing: to pacify a guilty conscience.
Back in Violet’s room, she’s telling Tate this whole time she thought she was protecting Tate, but Tate was really protecting her. That is all he ever wanted to do. She asks why he kept it a secret. They seem pretty lighthearted. She tells him she still doesn’t remember dying and when she asks if he does, he says “No.” Also curious. She asks what happens now. He says it is going to be just like this. Together forever.
Constance goes to see Larry in the visiting room at the jail. She holds the visitor’s phone far away from her face, because that really would be about the grossest germ covered thing to stick next to your face. She asks what he wants. He just wants to see her. Constance says this will be the last time he sees her and he says he knows. They are sending him out of state–to Illinois. I want a Larry and Blagojevich spin-off! Does she wonder why he confessed to a crime he did not commit? She doesn’t care. He tells her he needed to pay for his crimes. He can take anything that comes his way as long as she tells he loves him. And because she is Constance—DENIED! She leaves him hanging…well, eventually.
And that is it for this week! Congrats again to all those who just knew Violet was really dead. As with every episode, some questions were answered and new ones were raised. Does Tate really have any powers? Why did he tell Violet she could make the decision to stay or leave and he would “let” her? Is Larry gone for good? Will the bug man be a new ghost? Will the NAACP finally kill Constance?
We’re getting close to the end…Once again, thanks for joining me!
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