Well, last week’s pilot for “American Horror Story” sure started out with a bang and a boatload of exposition. Episode two clears it all up for us. HA! Or not. But that’s okay, because I for one am in for the long haul. Enough messing around. Let’s get to it.
The following recap is intended for only (im)mature audiences. Readers indiscretions advised and frankly, encouraged.
This week, we open with another flashback. A 60’s Chrysler rolls down the street with a “Pat First Lady” bumper sticker, so we’re guessing late 60’s and Pat Nixon. Inside the house, three attractive young women are getting ready to go out and see The Doors in concert. We are in 1968. Maria is a young, studious girl who the other three (nameless) girls taunt into going out with them. Maria refuses, deciding to stay in and study for a test the following day. So, is this a sorority house? Are they near a college? An older woman (nurse) comes in the room and tells the girls to back off Maria. The nurse tells the one girl she hopes she gets the clap. Unnamed girl calls them both lesbians and they leave. Maria and the nurse hang out and there is a loud knock at the door. Thinking it is just the bully girls back for more teasing, Maria heads to the door.
If this is what the clap does to attractive young women, I want no part of it.
It is actually some guy with blood on his forehead looking for help. Because this age of Aquarius and not our current century, Maria invites him in to help patch up his wounded head. She’s putting medicine on his forward (why isn’t the nurse doing this???) and Maria is a little surprised she can’t find the source of the blood. They must both be nurses. The man grabs Maria’s necklace (a crucifix) and asks, “You think Jesus will save you?” Maria smiles and says, “I’m already saved. We all are”. And smiles over at nurse friend. Because there’s nothing weird about this guy at all, right?
Just then the guy grabs a heavy ceramic ashtray and bangs it into the side of Maria’s head. The nurse tries to run out of the room screaming and the assailant grabs her. He starts chanting “Fatty Patty, Fatty Patty” and then he closes the door leaving him alone with the still unconscious Maria. She wake up when water starts dripping on her head from the ceiling. As she sits up, the intruder is standing there holding a nurses outfit. He tells her to put it on. As she starts undressing to change, she pleads, “Please, I’m a virgin.” Crying, she puts on the uniform. Maria is now hog tied on the couch and the bad guy says, “I told you, Jesus can’t save you.” Maria starts praying, drawing the man’s attention. Something seems to change on his face and he starts to walk away. Maria waits a couple of beats and feels like he is leaving and then stabbity, stabbity multiple times and Maria is dead.
Pay attention kids. Being a virgin and studying hard will never work out for you. You’re welcome.
And with that cheerful opening, we are brought back to “Today”. And no, not Matt Lauer and Ann Curry. That would be truly horrifying. *Shiver*. Ben is in his home office, silently sitting with Tate. Ben’s cell phone vibrates, interrupting the silence and he apologizes and turns his phone off. Tate starts talking to Ben about how he thinks about sex with his daughter and starts to tell him exactly what he’d do to Violet. Ben is obviously uncomfortable with this but remains unbelievably calm and turns it back to therapy talk. Do these thoughts comfort you in times of stress? Tate answers that yes, he likes to jerk off to erase the images of blood and gore out of his head. He then tells Ben he bets Ben thinks about sex a lot and that Violet told him that Ben had an affair with a girl barely older than her. That’s enough for Ben and he ends the session. Tate leaves the room (unescorted again, mind you) and his phone rings again. Angrily, he grabs the phone and tells the caller not to call him, when the female voice interrupts him with, “I’m pregnant”.
And my day was going swimmingly what with the psychopath who jerks off about my daughter and that really good glazed doughnut I had earlier…
I am so confused on the time line with these pregnancies. Obviously, the girl on the phone was the affair, but how in the world did she just find out she was pregnant? They’ve already been in the house for at least a few weeks (from what Ben told Tate about his treatment) and the wife already knows she’s pregnant. When did he last sleep with this girl? When Vivien went out to load the trunk in Boston? I demand an explanation. I won’t get one, but it is fun to be demanding. Moving on, please…
After the opening credits, we join Violet and Mean Girl at a skate boarding rink. Mean Girl is talking about the attack in Violet’s basement. She is covered with a hat and sunglasses. And smoking a cigarette. HAHA. She tells Violet she can’t sleep or do anything and that she is terrified. What attacked her wasn’t human. Violet tries to say it was just Tate, but Mean Girl isn’t buying it. Violet asks her what she told her parents. She said she lied and said she was attacked by some troll, since she couldn’t tell her parents she went over there to score coke. Is that the only reason girls go to each others’ houses? Good to know. Violet asks how deep the cuts are to her face and they are deep. Violet asks about the girl’s hat and she says it is to hide her hair, which is turning white from fear. She asks Violet if she believes in the devil and when Violet says “No”, she says “I do. I’ve looked into his eyes”.
And he told me in no uncertain terms that Magenta was a perfect color to go with my eyes, bandage and white hair.
It is now night at the house. Everyone is sleeping peacefully, dreaming of affairs, rubber men and psychopath boyfriends when we see Tate in Violet’s room standing over her bed watching her. Just then the security system alarm starts blaring and Ben leaps out of bed. Sadly, he has on his pants. He disarms the alarm, but the front door is ajar. No, it is a door. No, it is a jar! Ha, that joke never gets old. Vivien comes down the steps with a baseball bat. She hands the bat to Ben and she goes upstairs to call the police. The basement door opens and Ben heads downstairs. He can hear laughing and comes across Addy who is giggling and playing with a ball, rolling it into a closet or other room. Ben tells her to go home and he leads her out. Ben leaves the basement but we get to see the ball roll back to where Addy had been sitting. So, she was playing with someone down there. Or someTHING…muwhahahaha.
Not since clown dolls has there been a scarier toy.
Ben goes back upstairs and Vivien tells him the police are on their way. He tells her it was only Addy, so forget it. Ben calls Addy a freak and Vivien flips out. “You shouldn’t call her that!”. He realizes there is something else bothering her and she tells him she’s worried about the pregnancy. She tells him when she was pregnant with Violet, she was sick for two months. Since then, she’s been sick for about 16 years (Rimshot!)..But she hasn’t felt sick at all and she’s worried about the baby. Maybe rubber embryo don’t cause the same effects as human ones do. I don’t know. I’m not a baby expert. Rubber yes, babies no. Think of all the bouncing baby boy jokes we can make! He tries to “shrink” her, talking about the anxiety of being pregnant after such a horrible miscarriage, but she shuts him down. No one likes to be shrinked, Ben! Or shanked, but that’s a whole different story. He tells her this baby is their salvation. Perfect! Nighty-night.
We now see Ben with a different patient. I mean, just seeing Tate’s not going to pay all the bills. So we meet this young woman who is telling Ben about her recurring nightmare. She gets trapped in an elevator and when is finally able to pry open the doors, the elevator starts moving again, essentially cutting her in half, kind of like in “Final Destination 2”. She tells Ben, “Chopped in Half”. She says that this absolutely terrifies her and if a guy goes to touch her on the stomach, she gets all squirrely. Then she says, “Is it weird living in a murder house?” Ben: Ah…what? You mean the crime that took place here? She says, “You’re on the murder house tour”. She wants to talk more about the murder, but he shuts her down.
Congratulations. You might be the first young woman Ben actually shuts down.
They get back to the therapy and then we see Ben on the phone in the kitchen. That is one seriously awesome kitchen, by the way. He’s talking to Mrs. Langdon, who is Tate’s mom (or is she???) He is telling her he can no longer treat Tate anymore because Tate crossed a line when it comes to his daughter. The girl (Bianca) creepily wanders in and WTH?? Does he just let everyone meander around his house? I hope he doesn’t have real silverware. She is acting all suspicious and stuff and he leads her out of the house. He gets back with Tate’s Mom and finishes the conversation.
Holy crap, we’re in Constance and Addy’s house! So, the theory that they are ghosts who don’ t have their own dwelling just went right out the window. Constance’s decorations are right out of the 50′s, including the old yellow mixing bowl and the highball glass next to it. She is baking something and swaying along to music coming out of an extremely old radio. Addy is at the table, flipping through a magazine and asks her Mom why she doesn’t look like the girls in the ads. Constance tells her she has other gifts and just when you think Constance grew a heart, she offers finger painting as an example. She asks her to get the ipecac syrup out of the cabinet. Addy asks if that makes the cupcakes taste better and Constance says no. It causes vomiting and sometimes internal bleeding. Then she asks Addy to spit in it.
Betty’s lesser known sister: Constance “Off Her Rocker” Crocker.
Next scene shows Ben running. Hey, Ben, let’s shrink you: why are you always running? Hm? HMMMM? Oh, physical fitness. Got it. He is having flashbacks to his affair and that nasty little part where his wife found out and put a blade to his arm. He stops in a tunnel to cry. And guess who’s there? Our favorite,terminal brain cancer-inflicted, family murdering, burned over 60% of his body character! No, not that one. Larry Harvey. Ben asks him what he wants. Larry asks what is chasing him. And don’t use that physical fitness excuse again. It is the house, right? Ben tells him no, he’s wrong. It is not about the house, it is about him. What he did. He decides to tell Larry everything. He cheated on his wife and the girl he slept with (Hayden) is insisting he please come to Boston for the spring time..or to be with her for an abortion. Larry hilariously tells Ben he’s not trying to judge him.
Judge me?? You murdered your entire family
Yes. But I was never unfaithful.
You cheated them out of life!
This whole scene is running simultaneously with shots of Ben sitting in his bedroom, with Vivien in the bathroom getting ready for bed. Larry is telling Ben (on the street) that in order to save his family, he’s going to have to lie. We cut to Ben doing just that to Vivien so he can go to Boston, lying about a former patient needing him. And Vivien buys it. Even calling him a “good man”. Ouch.
And now for what I thought was by far the best scene this week. Vivien is in the kitchen pouring herself some coffee, when Constance once again lets herself in the door. She has brought two gorgeous looking cupcakes. “Avon calling”, she says. So very 50′s/60′s. Vivien tells her that it is not a good time. Is there ever really a good time for Constance? Constance just wants to give her the cupcakes as a peace offering for Addy waking them up the other night. Vivien gives in a little when Constance says she might have to start strapping her in again at night. Vivien thanks her for the cupcakes, saying she’s not really much of a cupcake girl herself and Constance just bursts out laughing. She says, “They’re not for you! At your age, you might as well just crazy glue a stick of butter to your ass.” HAHAHA. She tells Vivien they are for Violet and then Vivien notices the little candied violets on top of the cupcakes. Constance tells her she gets them at a wonderful Mexican market, but she shouldn’t be there after sundown. Right about now, I’m thinking anywhere outside that house after sundown sounds pretty darned good. The tone completely changes when Vivien goes to reach for the plate. Suddenly, Constance says, “You’re with child.” I can’t tell if the look on her face is a warning or what. Vivien’s fairly shocked Constance knew she was pregnant. “Pheromones.” Constance changes the subject and asks if Violet is there. She wants to give them to her personally. Violet’s not home. Vivien’s loneliness becomes apparent when she asks Constance if she smells anything else about her baby. Her concern is so great about this unborn child and no one will really talk to her, she decides Constance is going to be her confidant??
Christ on a cracker, indeed.
Vivien goes to take a cupcake and Constance reminds her they are for Violet. Vivien insists they can split one of them. Constance looks perturbed. Vivien asks her if she had known about Addy before she was born, would she have done anything different? Constance replies she did think about it before and after she was born. “Leaving that little bug eye out in the cold”. Like they do in China. OMG. But she says a mother never turns her back on her child. She says she had four children. Her womb is cursed. Three of them suffered physically and the other one? Although he was fine on the outside, she lost him to “other” things. Hmmm…I wonder if that son shows up or has he already? She wipes tears away and ends the conversation, reassuring Vivien that her baby is fine. Ben enters the room to announce he is leaving. He reaches for a cupcake and Constance pulls it away. It is not for him! Why does she want to poison Violet, exactly?? Moira comes in and Constance immediately starts ordering her around. Constance says that she and Moira go way back and she once actually employed her. She hopes her dusting has improved. Moira responds dryly, “Your sense of humor was and continues to be a delight.” Constance exits with the mixed message of hope and doom for the unborn child. Moira leaves and Ben poses the question to Vivien: “Is everybody crazy?” Well, yes Ben. Yes, they are.
I wish you could come with me to the abortion of my unborn child with the woman I had sex with in our bedroom. Oh well, I’ll bring you a snow globe.
So, Ben is out of town and Violet’s hanging out in her room. Vivien wants to come in and talk and it does not go well. She brings her the cupcake and wants to do something with her, but Violet shuts her down. She tells her she knows about the pregnancy and she’s not happy about it. She doesn’t think her Mom and Dad should be together at all and she’s worried Vivien’s too old to have another child. She goes so far as to call Vivien weak. Vivien leaves and Violet puts the cupcake outside her door.
Perfectly normal decor for a teen-age girl’s bedroom. Okay writers, WE GET IT!
Vivien goes downstairs to call Ben. It is important to notice the phone sitting in the docking station in the kitchen at this time. Trust me. No answer on Ben’s phone since he’s hanging out with ex-lover, relaxing and having a glass of wine. Well, maybe not relaxing as they’re talking about the mistake they made and how she (Hayden) just wants him there until it is over. She tells him she is over him and she just needs his support. He tells her she’s handling this so maturely. Hayden tells him when it is over, she’ll go back to St. Vivien and she’ll go back to Personality Theory and Psychopathology. The doorbell rings and she yells, “Pizza!”. I only note this because I do it every time too even though I’m the one who ordered it. Like it is a big, greasy present being given to me for no apparent reason. Love it. When she walks to get the pizza, he checks his phone and she gets all upset. She sobs that she just wanted him to love her. Yeah, she’s so over him.
At the house, Vivien is hanging out watching TV when the doorbell rings. Sadly, she doesn’t shout “Pizza!”. We instantly spot a familiar scenario. There is a strange woman at the door with blood on her forehead who tells her she is hurt and there is a guy after her. Unlike the innocent 60′s, Vivien does not just invite the woman inside the house. She tells the girl she’ll call the police.
The visit from Constance really wasn’t so bad. You know, hindsight and stuff.
The woman starts banging on the door all “Vacancy” style and when she runs to get the phone, it is no longer there. Scary music plays as she goes back to the front door, peaks out and the woman is gone. She calls for Violet and tells her to get in her room, lock the door and call the police. As Violet is scouring her bag for the phone, a masked person enters her room. Vivien is downstairs holding a candlestick and yelling through the door that she is not letting in anyone. She looks out again and the girl now has a mask on and oh yeah, there’s another masked person behind her who grabs her. So Mom and daughter are tied up by three intruders, one guy and two girls, one of which is Bianca of the trapped-in-elevator-chopped-in-half fame. They are there to recreate the murder scene we saw in the beginning of the show. Not-Bianca unwraps the ceramic ashtray used in the original murders that she bought off ebay. Um, wouldn’t that be evidence or something? And what happened to the original murderer? (Franklin, I think?) Maybe he’s Constance’s son and he went bad. Whatever the story, that guy had a real issue with nurses.
Which may not be completed unwarranted.
Gladys was the name of the nurse in the beginning of the show and now we learn her fate. She was taken upstairs and drowned in the bathtub. And Maria–well we know what happened with her. So these three freaks are going to recreate that and they chose Violet to be the Gladys. Vivien says, almost way too calmly, they will not be part of their re-enactment. Violet hilariously headbutts not-Bianca and struggling ensues. Violet goes running through the kitchen and suddenly Tate is there and he grabs her and tells her she has to get them to the basement. Now when the killers catch up to Violet, Tate sort of magically disappears. Almost into the wall. Male killer is talking to Vivien about the artwork on the walls, which she is now trying to cover up. He is taunting her, saying no one will be coming to help her. Then we see Addy standing in the kitchen. Bad guy doesn’t see her. Vivien does her best to send the message to Addy to get help. The non-Bianca killer is upstairs with Violet under threat of knife and getting the bathtub ready. Bianca walks in and guess what she’s eating? Yep, the infamous cupcake. Seriously?
Bathtub killing? Cupcake? Well…it is Dunking Hines! (high fives all around)
Bianca starts to feel sick immediately but does report she removed all of the cellphones from the house. Violet bluffs the killer (who is not crapping herself from the poison cupcake) that the tub she is using is not the original one. So where is the original tub? The one used in the murder from 1968? Well, it is in the basement of course! In rural areas, it would be used for a Blessed Virgin Mary grotto, but this is the much hipper LA.
We get a lovely little shift to Constance’s bedroom where she is entertaining a very young, handsome man. My belief is he is a professional. He asks her if he could be a model. Or maybe he’s an actor and she has some sort of connections or something. What I don’t believe is that he is a figment of her imagination. But hey, what do I know? (don’t answer that, please). Addy knocks on the door to try and get help for Vivien and Violet, but Constance shoos her away, saying she is in the middle of a business meeting. This little exchange bears repeating. Addy: “There’s a bad man next door.” Constance: “I know. I don’t like him either but he owns the place and that’s that.” HAHA. Addy knocks again. This time Constance gets a lot more aggressive and for winner of absolutely most disturbing scene I’ve seen on television (and I watch a lot of it): Constance throws Addy in a closet that is filled with mirrors. It might not sound like a whole lot, but it was dreadful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and unbelievably cruel to hear Addy scream in terror at the sight of her own images. Holy and Crap.
Whoever thought we’d be nostalgic about wire hangers.
Back to where things are much cheerier! The cupcake is working wonderfully on Bianca and she vomits repeatedly and knows something is definitely not right. She tries to gather her cohorts and tell them she has to go to the hospital, but when she goes into the upstairs bathroom, she only sees a glimpse of Tate. Well, Bianca gets more than that from him as he puts an axe right through her stomach. Essentially, chopping her in half. I guess he was listening in on her session with Ben. Bianca tries to make it out of the house, smearing blood all over the walls. The apparently deaf male killer is downstairs trying to put a crucifix (like Maria had) around her neck and he can’t get it to work. Vivien offers to do it, so he cuts her hands free. She moves over to put the nurses uniform and with her back to him, she attacks him and eventually gets close enough to the original ceramic ashtray to bash his head in. The new smoking cessation campaign is really taking off!
Violet is leading the last standing killer down into the basement. The lights go off and we hear Tate’s voice. He is standing next to a bath tub and tells her he’s already filled it with water. Vivien is upstairs trying to find Violet. We get a glimpse of Gladys’ body in the tub next to Tate. But then Gladys sits up. Violet doesn’t see all this because she has run upstairs and now Mom and daughter are both hightailing it out of the house. Constance is finished with her boy toy and she hears them running and screaming for help down the street. Male killer is still alive and he makes his way to the basement. Where nothing good ever happens. There are creepy people moving behind him. He finds his dead friend (throat slit) and a couple of girls who have a little issue with him.
This will only hurt for a minute.
Let’s check in with Ben and Hayden! They are at the abortion clinic and Ben promises her he’ll be there waiting for her when the procedure is finished. But as soon as she goes in he checks his phone and sees all the missed calls, he leaves. I’m sure that won’t come back to…you know…haunt him or anything. I’m calling it right now—Hayden will not be leaving the picture anytime soon. And yes, that is from the previews from next week. What? I never said I was a psychic. Back in the basement, Tate, Constance and Moira all gather in front of the two dead killers. Constance asks Tate if this was his handiwork. He says, “No.” Moira says, “It was them.” Nodding to the two killers? The two dead girls? Who, Moira, who??? Then Tate says, “We have to get rid of the bodies if we want him to keep treating me.” I’ll get the shovel, you get bleach. If I had a nickel for every time I said that same thing…
Daytime. The police are talking to Ben and Vivien and Ben gets asked about where he was. He keeps his story of seeing a patient up in Boston and sort of freaks out thinking they’ll check out his story, but they were really referring to Bianca, who’s torn up body was discovered about six blocks from the house. They assume she tried to get out of the murder situation and her (now missing) partners killed her. They were a group of freaks who re-enacted famous murder scenes. Violet comes in and Ben asks her about Tate’s involvement with the escape. He kind of presses her on why he was in the house. Violet (honestly) doesn’t know, but pushes back that at least Tate was there. oooohhhh….Daddy issues zing! She leaves after telling her Mom she was brave (awww) and Ben tells Vivien he’s so sorry he wasn’t there for her, but he’s home now. “No, you’re not,” she says. “We’re selling the house.” Sweet! How are they going to be trapped there now? Mind games from Ben???
And there you have it. Sorry about the lengthy recap, but there seems to be a lot to cover and I’m sure there were many details (or clues) I omitted. The biggest issue I have is the continuing time line issue with the girlfriend/wife pregnancies, but other than that: a solid show.
Thanks for joining me!