American Horror Story – “Murder House”Posted: October 20, 2011
We got lots of juicy gossip in this episode. I actually think it’s pretty smart to pace these “big reveal” episodes with more self-contained episodes like last week’s Home Invasion. It keeps things from getting repetitive but also satisfies the audience’s need for answers.
So, it appears Constance was the lady of the murder house at one point and killed her unfaithful husband as he attempted to rape maid Moira. Did she also kill Moira? She clearly shot her through the eye, but what has prompted her to continue aging, at least in the eyes of Vivien?
I think it’s really going to be important to pay attention to how the characters interact with one another and with the outside world. Think Sixth Sense. Who is acknowledged by the outside world, and in what form? We know that the police officer who visited Ben saw young Moira, so is it like she said, that men and women see her as they want to see her? If so, what else that is witnessed in the house is dependent on one’s gender, history, experience, etc.?
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I did find it interesting that the origin of the “murder” part of the “murder house” is in abortion… it explains the photos of children and the clear link the show is pushing between pregnancy, childhood and terror, but it seems a little overtly moralistic for Ryan Murphy.
As usual, this episode had several stop-and-think lines of dialogue, either because they contained potential foreshadowing or because they had several layers of meaning. For example, when the ob/gyn says that “death, divorce and movie” are the three most stressful events a person can experience, and poor Vivien is potentially facing all three. Then there’s the fabulous Jessica Lange with her line: “With soil this toxic, the best you can do is just to cover it up…” a sentiment that can be applied to the physical house and land, to his marriage’s rocky past, to the house’s mysterious history and of course, to the toxic people surrounding the house. Last line I found particularly poignant was the exchange between Ben and burned dude after the latter kills the former’s mistress with a few solid shovel whacks.
Ben: “You’re a murderer!”
Burned dude: “But you’re not, and now all your problems are solved.”
Speaking of solving problems, I was impressed (to a limit) with the relatively believable way the writers dealt with the dilemma of Vivien wanting to GTFO of that house. Given the current economic climate, it was pretty clever of them to make that the reason they’ll be sticking around the murder house for the time being. Less convincing: bratty teenage daughter’s threat to run away if they move. I didn’t buy that, and I also hate bratty teenagers in general, but especially for being bratty just for the sake of the story.
Okay, wrapping up – it appears Moira was buried in the backyard and misses her mother and now can’t leave the house? Did I get all of that right? I’m not sure how all of that information is going to play out, but I wanted to get it down now because I’m sure it will become relevant at some point along the way.
I’m fighting the temptation to keep comparing this show to Lost because it integrates supernatural and scientific/pragmatic/realistic elements into the same world, so that you’re never sure if the answer to the next mystery is going to be metaphysical or whatever the opposite of metaphysical is. For example, when Ben blacked out after his session with Tara’s mom from True Blood, I thought he might’ve actually killed her, or imagined her altogether or been possessed. But it turns out, he was just drugged by Moira with a drug that was detected by the ob/gyn, and his recorder was just swiped by his suicidal patient.
Solid episode – we got some good movement on the plot and some great insight into the history of the house. I’m still really liking American Horror Story, and part of that can be attributed to Connie Britton’s really amazing performance; it makes me want to watch Friday Night Lights. What do you think? Are you digging it (pun most definitely intended) so far?