(Tonight’s episode of American Horror Story is brought to you by American History, which admits to “totally throwing in the towel” on “that whole Black Dahlia dealie.”)
Heteropaternal superfecundation is the rarity of having twins with differing fathers. Harmonpaternal supernaturalfecundation is the ultra-rarity of twins where one father is a prissy adulterous head-shrinker and the other is a mass murdering rubber-wearing teenage ghost. No need to check your medical journals. It’s in there.
“Spooky Little Girl” is what people will refer to when they ask, “Where were you when you found out ghost sperm can be potent, and in fact, exists in the first place?” My questions of Constance’s involvement in Vivien’s rape were answered by her surprised reaction and subsequent slap-fest with Tate that leaves him crying like someone who didn’t die before “emo” went mainstream. Ben’s reaction is equally emotional (as Dylan McDermott can understand emotional), using words to inflict pain. He calls Vivien, restrained after attacking a hospital orderly, a stranger to him, saying he won’t use his psychiatrist-ness to get her released. She’s still screaming, instead of calmly rationalizing, about being raped by a Rubber Suit Man, so Ben’s clout would only go so far. When Vivien is rational, it’s with Constance, who butters her up with motivational single-mother camaraderie. (I’m surprised “Lean on Me” wasn’t in the background.) Constance is obviously already hatching a baby-snatching plan.
It won’t be with her young actor lover Travis, though. Constance’s drunken mental abuse lands him in the conniving arms of Hayden next door, where casual sex eases his aggressions. She slept with him to see if she could do it with a guy who is still alive, which rang nary a single necrophiliac alarm bell for Travis. Mindful of his infidelity, Constance proposes to him and talks about raising a child, causing a spat where she calls him a loser, which sends Travis right back to Hayden. This time, during his post-coital reversion to loving Constance, Hayden stabs him to death and has Burn Victim Larry dispose of the body. Constance once again loses a lover to another woman.
It is the way Travis’ body is disposed of (cut in half and dumped in public) that is peculiar. Flashback to 1947, where Dr. Curran DDS (Joshua Malina) is using The House as his dentist office/rape station. Guest star Mena Suvari, the most awful looking brunette in recent memory, plays a young actress in-the-making who hears of Curran’s “generosity” for financially troubled women. His pro bono work is strictly pro boner, and he doesn’t notice until he’s finished his lovemaking that he’s given Suvari a murderous amount of anesthesia. The Frankensteinian Dr. Montgomery appears, offering a viable solution to Curran’s problem: namely, cutting her in half, giving her a Chelsea grin, and dumping her in public. She was wearing a flower. That’s right, a Dahlia.
Sure, I chuckled. I groaned. Both are signs of a successfully campy homage, and had it been left at that, all would be well. Alas, she soon identifies herself as Elizabeth Short, thus removing the “homage” tag, and proving Josh Hartnett was looking for the wrong guy. I was able to ignore Sal Mineo’s murder inexplicably showing up in an earlier episode, but this is a tad much. Short serves as more temptation for Ben to resist, but any female could have done this, and her specific presence offers nothing to the plot. (Though I was amused by her relief at discovering her murder made her famous.) As is, she’s just another blasted ghost inside the heavily-populated House, and no one will explain to me what the fuck she was doing for the past sixty years before popping out to seek psychiatry. To get back to this, why was Travis’ corpse dumped similarly to Short’s? Is the fact that they were both potential actors important? Actually, so long as they leave all of this alone, I’m happy not knowing. Moving on.
The Missing Persons detective and Hayden’s sister show up to question Ben about Hayden, which allows the briefest amount of tension before Hayden plainly walks in and diffuses all accusations. In the ensuing argument, she tells Ben she had the abortion, and Ben’s eyes momentarily twinkle. We flash back prior to their affair, where he complains about his marriage and she confesses her attraction to him. Back in the present, he rejects her once more after a short kiss, and she gets her revenge by telling him she saw Security Guard Luke leaving the house one day when Ben wasn’t there.
Because Ben can’t just pick up a phone, he sets off the security alarm and dramatically smokes a cigarette waiting for Luke to walk into the House without knocking or yelling out first. Luke denies claims of being one twin’s father, as he’s sterile, all without punching Ben repeatedly in the face. Ben considers all this, holding the Rubber Mask thoughtfully until Moira advances on him once more. This time, his refusal is apparently more realistic and meaningful, because now Moira can reveal her true self to Ben. And when this incredibly sexy woman turns wrinkled and haggard before his very eyes, Ben does not suffer a mental breakdown, nor does he run from The House screaming until his vocal cords rip. Because, ladies and gentlemen, Ben is a figment of his own imagination. Or his naivety is God-like. And speaking of the Big Guy…
The Last Scene Dum, dum, dum(b).
Billie Jean, Psychic Queen, answers the age-old question “Can spirits get humans pregnant?” in a most extravagant way. When a Pope is picked at the Vatican, he goes into the Room of Tears and is given a key to the Pope Box, which holds the Ultimate Secret to the end of the world. A small slip of paper reveals the precise nature of the Anti-Christ as being a spirit-human baby, a perversion of the Immaculate Conception.
The credits then started over my howling laughter, so I may have missed it if Billie Jean screamed, “SYKE!” in Constance’s face at the very end. The lavish Pope moments looked like cut scenes from a video game adaptation of a Dan Brown novel, but I’m certainly intrigued by how far into religion this thing will go. As soon as such sacred Christian artifacts like the Ultimate Secret are introduced, the sky isn’t even the limit anymore. Why even keep the Pope Box locked? Just lock the Room of Tears, duh.
Nothing world-shattering about this episode, but it kept things aloft to introduce just the right about of batshittery that may spark up the insanity that has somehow become complacent over the weeks, brain eating aside. Bring on the Ryan Murphy Rapture!
From the Basement
They can’t possibly present us with the “good baby/evil baby” scenario, can they? Ben is hardly representative of anything positive. His fatherly history includes Violet, not appearing in this episode, who is a self-mutilator romantically involved with the spirit of her future half-brother’s father. Though his faults are countless, at least Tate is capable of love, and not just lust, whereas Ben is essentially sentient male genitalia with a diploma on the wall.
“I want you to fill it,” would have been a good “That’s what she said,” joke, except she actually said it, and she meant it in a sexual way.
I hope Constance’s art goes on sale on some website, in a weird tie-in. It’s good stuff, especially for a raging drunk.
Admittedly, if the weird stranger girl I just had sex with moments after meeting her had told me it was okay to finish off my orgasm inside her, I’d probably ignore something as insignificant as necrophilia, too.
Is it just me, or was Dylan McDermott’s air guitar riffing his most realistic acting in the series?
Can Constance not find a man who wants to have sex with women his age? Despite her thoughts on Travis and Addie, why does she immediately think he’s having sex with Violet, and not any other adult female in the neighborhood?
“Tell me you did not crawl on top of that man’s wife!” She is just full of odd views on sex.
When Hayden talked about a “friend” who could take care of their problem, was it necessary to show Burn Victim Larry creepily hanging out around a corner?
Forever pushing stereotypes, we now bear witness to the old myth that all black basketball players can say when finding two halves of a corpse is “Holy shit,” twice each.