This episode certainly lived up to its “contains sexual situations” warning.
With Vivien Harmon hospitalized for seeing things, the ghostly women of Murder House throw themselves at Ben, who responds to their advances with uncharacteristic moral fiber.
The latest addition to Harmon’s Harem is the ghost of Elizabeth Short (Mena Suvari), the victim in Hollywood’s infamous Black Dahlia murder case. In a flashback to 1947, she arrives at Murder House to have some work done by the then-current resident, Dr. David Curran, DDS. One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, Charles Montgomery is getting his mad science on with her corpse.
(Popular crime buffs — Curran certainly seems like a possible stand-in for Dahlia suspect Walter Bayley.)
While Ben is able to resist the charms of Hayden, Young Moira, Elizabeth and even Young Moira and Elizabeth at the same time, he’s motivated by feeling holier-than-though after finding out that one of Vivien’s twins is from a different father.
In other news, Hayden killed Travis and the twin that Tate fathered is apparently destined to be the antichrist.
Jen is in her room and will be sitting this one out, but I’ve asked Moira to make her a sandwich. But please add your thoughts to the comments below.
On to the questions.
1. Despite her eagerness to adopt and claims to having a way with children, do you have your doubts about Constance’s parenting abilities?
Paul: Well, seeing her slap Tate around certainly was alarming. Also, her main objection seems to be that Ben won’t be able to treat Tate anymore? To what end? That he’ll straighten up and get into a good school? It’s interesting to contrast Vivien and Constance, given Constance’s visit to Viv at the hospital. Vivien is actually not delusional, while Constance increasingly seems insane.
2. What do you make of Billie’s story about the ghost baby?
Paul: It’s not exactly unexpected, given what we’ve seen and heard about the baby. And I get that they’re trying to follow through on the homage to “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Omen.” But I’m not sure that I like the show heading into this bigger end-of-the-world territory, rather than concentrating on the destruction of this one particular family.
More “American Horror Story”:
3. Is smoking while waiting around Ben’s go-to intimidation move?
Paul: We’ve seen him try it on Larry and now on Luke, with limited results. Perhaps he should spin around in the chair while stroking a cat?
I was pleasantly surprised that Luke shut down Ben so quickly, rather than going the cliche route of Luke ending up with a shovel to the back of the head.
Also, I can’t tell if they’re using the trope of having Ben smoke knowingly or sincerely.
4. Why hasn’t Ben thrown out the gimp mask already, for cryin’ out loud!?
Paul: As always, the answer is that Ben is an idiot. Or he’s possessed, or one of the ghosts keeps bringing it back. But I’m going with my initial answer.
That Tate was able to get it out of the garbage raises a question — how do the boundaries of the house actually work? If the owners’ of Murder House bought Constance’s house, tore it down and annexed the yard, could the ghosts go there too? Is there an L.A. zoning variance for this kind of thing?
5. What do you make of Ben finally seeing Old Moira?
Paul: That he passed Moira’s test of his growth or maturity or steadfastness or whatever. I don’t think there’s any subtext there, just text.
I wasn’t even upset that he didn’t ask her any follow up questions, because his surprise left her enough time to leave. Now, if he doesn’t ask for some clarification the next time he sees either of her, that will be disappointing.
6. Seriously, how many rooms does the Murder House have? Where is Hayden’s room?
Paul: We need the guys who do blueprints of fictional homes to get on this. The house makes no sense, especially from a noise and traffic flow point of view. Does the house grow a new room for every victim? Couldn’t the Harmons raise money buy selling some of their excess furniture?
There’s also something slightly off about Hayden’s behavior, at least in comparison to the other insane ghosts in the house. I think it’s more a narrative problem than anything else, which is to say that she’s nuts, she loves causing trouble and there’s no getting rid of her. And I get that as a metaphor for being haunted by the people we hurt in life, that they never go away, yadda yadda yadda.
But in real life, there are restraining orders and locks that actually work and people move on with their lives. Here I feel like they’ve written themselves into a corner where they’re going to have to give a reason every episode why Hayden isn’t around and trying to win back Ben and hurt Vivien. Does that make sense?
7. Is there such a thing as a Room of Tears at the Vatican?
Paul: Yes, but the rumors around it are of a significantly different nature.
8. How excited are you by the promos for “Justified”?
Paul: Highly. I miss Boyd and Waylon shootin’ stuff.