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American Horror Story Watch: Episode 8 - Rubber Man

Late in “Rubber Man,” Vivien is in her bedroom at night, terrified of an unknown and unseen threat. Hearing a noise, she looks to the windows, seeing the shadows behind the shades. She then turns on the light and walks over. These few seconds are not particularly important, but they showcase the stupidity level these characters often reach. If she’s looking outside while it’s dark, it also needs to be dark inside. Otherwise she’ll probably just see her reflection, totally vulnerable to whatever may be out there. In an episode peppered with exciting and zany incongruities, this moment is a sure sign American Horror Story will never be perfect television. Yes, I like pointing out the obvious. Without further ado…

Tate is officially Rubber Suit Man. Déjà vu, anyone? He donned the suit back in “Halloween: Part 1” to scare Violet, and I briefly theorized that it was him all along. As well as a million other people, I’m sure. So it’s a disappointing reveal, but an interesting confirmation. To re-evaluate things, Tate is the sperm donor for Vivien’s two quasi-babies, as well as Chad and Patrick’s murderer. Following the scene from “Halloween: Part 2,” he makes Chad shoot himself in the chest as he’s lain near Patrick’s corpse in the basement, creating the illusion of a murder-suicide. (Not the most effective way to commit suicide.) How did Patrick die? Well, let’s just say Rubber Suit Tate got violently creative with a horse whip; the kind of creative that leaves assholes bloody. Did viewers truly need that “down the back of the pants” camera shot? I say nay, but it’s a trade-off for not having to see a penis bitten off last week.

Rubber Suit Origin: Chad nervously buys it from a fetish shop after reading libidinous IM conversations Patrick had with “JungleJim4322” on an S&M website. Patrick thinks the suit is ludicrous, and he “prefers leather, not latex”. They fight over this, as well as Chad’s constant attention to The House, which the bank will probably take, as bills are piling up. “No wonder I don’t want to stick my dick in you anymore,” says Patrick, because everyone knows wanting to stick a dick in anything is a sign of a truly healthy relationship. This scene makes their earlier appearances all the more relevant, and makes me pity Chad for having to spend a piece of his eternity with Patrick’s sorry (and bloody) ass.

It’s time for Nick’s Search for Truth. Has Tate killed others in The House since he died? If so or if not, are his motives solely malevolent, or something else? Are we still to believe he doesn’t know he’s a ghost? Is he ridiculously forgetful, like Nora? Is Nora so aloof due to her head wound? Tate and Nora have had contact for a while, apparently, so are they linked in another way? He agrees to get her a baby just before shafting Vivien, so is the baby his motive? Surely he could have impregnated another female House resident before now. Maybe he has, and that story is yet to be told. Do other characters know about Tate and Vivien? Is it The House’s influence, or does Constance’s lineage have anything to do with the twins being demonic? Who’s her mom? Who’s her daddy? He rich? Is he rich like me? Oops. Enough questions.

Hayden’s crazy ass returns in a dastardly vengeful state, dead set on getting through Ben and Vivien’s thick, oblivious skulls that ghosts exist, doing so mostly by invisibly flinging items across different rooms. When all else fails, back to ghost basics, I guess. She wants Nora’s partnership in a 50/50 split for Vivien’s twins, since her child went unborn and Nora’s went to pieces. The bitch even hits on Tate, misquoting poets and failing to butter him up for sex and violence.

Similarly, but for different reasons, Moira informs Vivien, who breezily explains away her poltergeist as medicinal side effects, that The House is possessed by many evil spirits. She says this after calling men sex-obsessed dogs who coined “hysteria” for women’s emotional menstru-actions, all while presumably burning a stack of bras in her mind. Her reference to the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” objectifies her beliefs and vaguely mirrors Vivien’s descent into madness, but works against her ghost talk, seeing as the central story character was probably insane, and not haunted.

In any case, Vivien is suddenly, finally convinced. Cementing this belief are two “Home Invasion” ghouls hiding out in her backseat as she and Violet try to leave the house. I guess calling a cab from the corner would have been too expensive. Tate advises Violet to keep her ghostly experiences under wraps. What Violet does tattle about to Ben is that time when Violet ate a RAW BRAIN. This disgusting factoid, with Violet’s denial of ghost in the car, gives Ben the impenetrable defense that Vivien is crazy, especially when he sees her holding the rubber mask he swore he’d thrown out months before. More fuel on that fire? During Vivien’s opening paragraph terror, Ben walks into the bedroom without notice, and Vivien does what any panicked person would do. She takes the gun she stole from her realtor and she shoots him. She didn’t empty ten clips into his face as I’d wished for my last birthday, but she shot him!

Biggest disappointment of Wednesday, November 23, 2011: Back from commercial, Ben is standing up while an EMT dresses the non-fatal bullet wound.

Security guard Luke sees cops and an ambulance outside The House and stops in to hang all of Ben’s dirty laundry out to dry for the officers, calling him a trespasser. Meanwhile, since shooting your asshole husband takes a load off, Vivien is sleeping peacefully until Hayden and Rubber Suit Tate stop by to fuck with her head again. Ben pulls her back to reality, but she’s unable to talk about anything but Hayden and Rubber Suit Tate, which is horse-puckey to everyone listening. She is quickly taken away to a hospital for mental evaluations, but not by men with butterfly nets, surprisingly. She finally gets to leave The House, at least.

After all that, we barely know anything more than we knew last week. As much as this show is always a series of moments and happenings cobbled together, it’s especially true tonight. We should have crested the hill of questions by now. I want answers, dammit. And if these answers happen to make sense, then apparently I had it on the wrong channel.

From the Basement

Rubber Suit Tate walks right by Ben in his fugue state without being noticed. We’ve seen that ghosts can appear without people seeing them, but what about hearing them? Particularly the latex thighs rubbing against one another. I’m assuming that most of this show’s budget goes into removing that sound in post-production.

Possibilities for Tate’s past murder costumes: Full suit of armor. Batman. The Christmas tree from that one school play he was in. Wonder Woman. Kurt Cobain’s sweater. Hockey mask. Groucho Marx. Karl Marx. William Shatner mask painted white. A CCR cassette tape. Another rubber suit.

How does anyone’s sales pitch start with a stainless steel “ball stretcher?”

What is with all the damned balls rolling everywhere? The Shining, sure. But whose are they? They showed up around Hayden more often than not, so who’s playing with Violet?

It was positively surreal to watch Hayden have sex with Constance’s husband before stabbing him repeatedly, only to have him hungrily go off to the kitchen. Somebody justify this scene’s existence.

How can such an unforgiving thing as a rubber suit possibly fit three men of differing sizes?

"I wasn't shooting you. I was shooting the rapist in the rubber suit." Bartlett’s, get ready for a new entry.

A friend and I were discussing Violet tonight. Is she maybe dead? She hasn’t left The House since her pill popping incident, to my knowledge. She hasn’t been to school in weeks. She doesn’t even go with Vivien to the hospital; she just stays behind letting Tate comfort her. Are these red herrings? Do these writers even know what that is?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.