American Horror Story Episode 1.5: Halloween Part Two

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(This program airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM on FX)

This was the conclusion of the Halloween two-parter ghostravaganza! I’m sorry this is a bit late, I have a mild cold MALARIBOLA FEVERCULOSIS and am being a giant baby about it enduring stoically. Also, I’ve taken a ton of Nyquil and Sudafed, which I think my body has metabolized into crystal meth, so I apologize in advance if this isn‘t very good (or if I steal your car and drive it through the front of a Wendy‘s). Fortunately, being on meth is probably the best way to fully enjoy this show!

Let us begin!

We start pretty much where we left off, with Larry pounding on the door while Violet called Ben and Ben gave her bad advice to cover his own ass. Violet backs away from the pounding door, nearly into the arms of the Rubber Man, but he disappears and Larry stops knocking/ringing the doorbell. Satisfied that all is quiet on the Western front, Violet goes up to her room to decompress. A scary female hand reaches out from beneath her bed, but Violet goes to the window before it can grab her.

Tate is throwing pebbles, and Violet suddenly remembers their Halloween date and goes down to meet him. He reassures her that it was probably just asshole kids, and gives her a rose that he painted black. She loves it, because she’s a disaffected 16-year-old.

We catch up with Ben and Vivien’s last scene from the previous episode, when they couldn’t find Violet and when Ben slammed a door in Hayden’s face. Violet calls Vivien from where she and Tate are on a lifeguard station at the beach, apologizing for not calling earlier and assuring Vivien that she’s happy and out with friends. Vivien tells her to be home in an hour. Tate is doing weird Titanic poses the whole time, and kiss-tackles her when she gets off the phone.

Ben grabs a knife out of the block in the kitchen. Vivien comes in and tells him where Violet is, and is like “What are you doing with that knife?” Ben pretends to be really angry about the pumpkins and not the pregnant girl he accessory-to-murdered and then hid with a gazebo, and says he’s going to teach those punk kids who smashed the pumpkins a lesson. Vivien says “So your plan is to kill them?” with way less sarcasm than the situation calls for.

Ben says he’ll go clean up the pumpkins instead. Vivien goes to take a bath, and tells him that they’ll discuss him moving out when she’s done. He decides to pretend his family is more important to him than himself and says he’s not giving up on them. Dude, they’re giving up on you. You can’t rage against this machine because it fucking despises you.

Credits. Ben goes outside to search for Hayden, grabbing a shovel along the way. Larry scootches up behind him with a friendly “I want my money” and receives a shovel to the face and a fairly brutal beatdown. Ben demands to know where Hayden is, and if she and Larry are working together. Larry seems surprised when Ben tells him about Hayden appearing, and you-really-don’t-get-it-do-yous him when he continues to be obtuse. Dude, seriously? Your pregnant East Coast mistress who you saw get murdered and a burny-face maniac working together in a convoluted plot to extort you is more likely than a ghost? Call me a romantic, but I’d rather believe in the restless spirits of the unquiet dead than figure two people need a thousand bucks that badly.

Ben resumes with the yelling and punching of Larry’s face. Larry ends up begging Ben to kill him, so he can come back and haunt Ben’s ass, but Ben just yells some more, throws a shovel, and skitters off into the night with a warning that he’ll kill Larry if he sees him again, he really will this time! Larry says “Promises, promises” to Ben’s retreating back. I love Denis O’Hare.

Doorbell rings. It’s Luke, the foxy security guy from the last episode! But it feels like he’s about an hour too late to have been of any use in the event of an actual emergency. It’s okay, because flirts with Vivien and she really, really needs a semi-competent hot dude in her life right now. She sends him on his way with a promise to send any asshole pumpkin-patch-destroying children in his direction.

Tinkly piano scare keys. Tate and Violet make out on the beach next to a campfire. She cups his junk, and everything gets awkward because he can’t get an erection. Violet is disappointed by his haunted dong. He promises that he’s not gay and he really does want to be with her, and says it must be the meds Ben prescribed because “They can do that, you know.” It’s okay, Violet, ghost penises are probably supremely unsatisfying. Plus, ectoplasm is a bitch and a half to get out of clothing.

Tate convinces her to stay and cuddle with him while he regales her with a monologue about his feelings and the ocean. He finishes it with “Kurt Cobain. Quentin Tarantino. Brando. De Niro. Pacino. All of ‘em, high-school dropouts.” Yeah, but also: dead, foot-fetishist and kind of an asshole, dead and kind of an asshole, Little Fockers, shadow of his former greatness. Take the good with the bad.

His sentiment is kind of lovely and poignant, particularly with the friendlier piano and the ocean sounds. Violet seems hypnotized.

A twig snaps and breaks the illusion. Five teenagers with various gross-looking wounds come down over one of the dunes and immediately start in on Tate, threatening to kill him and Violet. Tate seems confused, and Violet is combative, assuming they‘re executing a weird and pointless Halloween prank. Tate hustles the two of them out of there, and the teenagers watch them leave. The wound makeup is pretty heinous, in a good way.

Vivien prepares a bath, but her cell phone rings. It’s Hayden. Vivien keeps it together at first, trying to relate to Hayden by telling her about her own misspent youth chasing after a married guy. She tells Hayden that, for a married man to cheat, he’s missing something inside that has nothing to do with anybody else. Hayden tells Vivien that Ben said he’d found something inside Hayden that he didn’t in Vivien, and that “he said my face was soft like a baby, and between my thighs, I taste like raspberries and cream.” That sounds like a medical issue that should probably be checked out soonish.

Vivien snaps, and says that she wishes she’d ripped Hayden’s face off. Hayden tells her that it’s way too late for that, and to ask Ben about Boston, then she hangs up. Vivien throws the phone with a frustrated scream, rubbing her face. She turns the water off and stops getting undressed, turning when she senses something is amiss. She sees ASK HIM written on the glass.

She runs downstairs, telling Ben that Hayden is in the house. Ben tells her not to call the cops when she suggests it, that he can talk to Hayden. WORST HUMAN BEING. He comes up with the worst excuse–“Do you seriously want ten cop cars in front of the Murder House on Halloween night? You think that‘s going to help us sell this place?”–and Vivien goes along with it. At some point, you just have to assume that the house is influencing these people and forcing them to make awful, stupid decisions, because otherwise, it’s impossible to root for any of the people who are supposed to be our heroes.

Ben tells her to wait there, and grabs another knife out of the block in the kitchen. He goes into the basement and finds Hayden there, standing creepily in the shadows. Girl is looking rough, all grey-skinned and red around the facial orifices. We have about the same color scheme going on right now, honestly. She immediately gets on his jock, telling him to kiss her because she misses his mouth…and that she aches for him, that her “tongue is swollen and my lips are raw.” He pushes her back and she spits a couple of bloody teeth into her hand. “I’m rotting from the inside out,” she gasps. Looks like scurvy to me. I was hoping she was a zombie, but I guess she‘s not.

She doesn’t waste a lot of time being horrified at her body falling apart before calling Ben on that bullshit gazebo he built over her makeshift grave, and also calling him on treating her like he did/treating women like he does. Which: she’s crazy, obviously, and a horrible person, but she didn’t deserve what she got. Kate Mara is doing an excellent job, playing her as this repulsive but also really pitiful girl, obsessed with mattering to this person she’s obsessed with that couldn’t give a shit about her. It’s sad and frustrating because sometimes you know people like this. Hopefully none are zombie ghosts, but if they are…sweet.

Larry appears, only to knock Ben out with the shovel. Hayden stares daggers at him as he apologizes, saying she’ll deal with him later. Now, she has to “take care of Vivien.” Larry asks to come along, as he hasn’t burned shit down in a while.

Vivien runs outside to see Chad going buckwild on the remaining pumpkins and Halloween decorations. She asks what the hell he’s doing, and he accuses her of ruining his Halloween, and somehow being responsible for Pat cheating on him (“He’s probably on his fourth unprotected blowjob”). She calls him a psychopath and tells him to leave. Even with that approach, she’s still a better therapist than Ben is.

He threatens her, chasing her back into the house and knocking more stuff over when she gets inside. Vivien goes back to the bathroom, calling for Ben. The bathroom door is locked from the inside, and we see it’s because Hayden has commandeered the bath and turned the water into gravy (do you get it? It’s like the same color and consistency of gravy and she came out of a grave and yeah I’m going to go full Situation on a wall until I forget I just typed that). Vivien realizes something is wrong, and hits the panic button Luke gave her. We can probably expect him to actually show up by halfway through the next episode.

Vivien hears crackling, and goes into another bathroom to find two towels on fire. The evildoing team of Hayden and Larry is seriously unimpressive. “Let’s get back at them by making the bathtub dirty and lighting two towels on fire!” That’s some Ben-league shit.

Violet asks Tate to explain what happened at the beach. He’s evasive, saying that they’re just “High school assholes” and “Popular kids who get off on being mean. I thought you understood that.” Violet sees that the teenagers have followed them back to the house, and grabs a pair of scissors before going down to meet them.

Vivien’s phone rings from the floor; she picks it up and asks where Hayden is. Hayden apologizes for the gross bathtub ring. We hear her say “Come here, girl.” and Vivien says she’d be happy to, if she knew where Hayden was. Hayden tells Vivien she wasn’t talking to her, and that she loves what Vivien did with the kitchen.

Vivien runs downstairs with a golf club, and sees the dog dish upturned and kibble all over the floor. My dad’s dog has the same bowl! Vivien then hears the microwave going. Uh oh. My friends and I immediately began expressing our disgust and hatred because you can murder all the innocent people you want, but this is America: do not kill the fucking dog. They are really pushing the Fatal Attraction angle with Hayden.

There is a gory explosion in the microwave. Vivien screams.

The busted-up teenagers all convene on the front walkway. Violet goes out to meet them, and they immediately get all creepy and hostile on her. It becomes clear that their gross makeup is not makeup at all, but actual wounds. They circle her like sharks, trying to intimidate her, but instead of coming out and saying “Yeah, he school-shot us all,” they refer to it abstractly. But it’s pretty clear that Tate’s murder fantasies from the first episode weren’t fantasies at all.

Tate comes out, yelling at the teenagers to leave her alone. They advance on him, but he bolts, making them follow him as he runs. Violet calls the police. Her call is interrupted by Constance, who drags her off to her house while claiming that Adelaide is dead because of Violet.

The dog is alive! Or is a ghost. Vivien is glad for just a moment before Hayden shows up, wearing one of her dresses and looking just marginally more lively after her bath. Hayden presses the Boston issue while Vivien presses the get-the-fuck-up-out-my-house issue, and both of them lose their composure when they each realize the other is pregnant. Hayden breaks a picture frame, picking up a shard of glass and telling Vivien that Ben wanted her to get an abortion. Vivien is horrified at everything about the situation, but especially the crazy girl who is ignoring her bleeding hand.

Larry splashes gasoline all over the living room. Chad saunters in, asking what Larry thinks he’s doing. Larry backs away, looking frightened as Chad smiles.

Ben wakes up, hogtied. Nora admonishes him for giving up so easily (um, he got hit in the head with a shovel. I mean, I brook no guff when it comes to Ben Harmon, but he’s got a reason to be a failure this time) and unties him, whispering for him to “Save the baby.”

Hayden yells at Vivien, telling her that she doesn’t know Ben as well as she needs to. She also decides, more calmly, that she needs to cut the baby out of Vivien to make things better. Ben appears, and Hayden makes Vivien ask what happened in Boston. Ben spills that he went there for Hayden. We find out that Ben is somehow an even shittier person than before, when Vivien says “She needed you because she was pregnant, Ben? But that’s not true, is it, because you hadn’t seen her in over a year, isn’t that right?” Of course it’s true. Ben will always find new directions in which to disappoint everyone.

Hayden drops the glass shard just as Luke walks in, gun drawn and correctly guessing that the crazy bloody girl is the intruder. Everyone stares at each other for an awkwardly long time.

Constance gets Violet a drink and tells her what happened to Adelaide, interspersed with a scene of her putting makeup on Adelaide’s body in the morgue. It’s really sad, particularly Constance’s shaking hands and the narration: ”They say when a parent dies, a child feels his own mortality. But when a child dies, it’s immortality that a parent loses.” My mom is dead, and I’ve got to say–from what I felt and observed in my grandmother, this is one of those tritely poetic lines that is actually true.

Constance calls Adelaide her “beautiful, beautiful baby” and gently kisses the body.

Back in the kitchen, Violet offers her sympathies, which Constance uses to lay a small guilt trip. “I suppose you did encourage her, but you were just being kind, weren’t you? It was me who sent her out into the world. And the world did what it does.” She gives Violet a cigarette on the condition that Violet not tell her mother. She tells Violet that “My little monster was more like me than any of my other children.” Violet’s like, whoa, wait, other children? And BOOM: Tate is Constance’s son. Violet is shocked, but Constance is adamant that she not tell Tate about Adelaide’s death, because he doesn’t “react well.” He’s “a sensitive boy, with the soul of a poet, but none of the grit or steel that acts as a bulwark against these horrors.” I thought she said “these whores” and laughed myself into a coughing fit, because it sounds like such a Constance thing to say.

Constance tells Violet that Tate likes her because of her strength, and shows Violet a picture of Tate, smiling, with his arm around Adelaide. It’s a modern picture, which makes this next scene bizarre.

The teenagers finally catch up to Tate on the beach. The goth girl (Alessandra Torresani from Caprica) asks Tate if he believes in God, then tells him that he asked her that before shooting her, just like that Columbine rumor. The Twisted Nerve theme plays over the teenagers’ accusations as they get more violent and frantic. Finally, the cheerleader tells Tate that she just wants him to admit it, and that she should be 34 years old. Which means Tate should be around that age, which makes no sense if he’s a ghost or alive. AAAAHHH.

Tate honestly seems to not know what they’re talking about, apologizing for not knowing who they are. The teenagers walk away, comforting each other. That was really sad, too.

Morning. All our ghost pals head back to the house. WHERE DO THEY LIVE THOUGH? Moira and Chad talk, Chad offering condolences for Moira’s mother. Pat appears with a halfhearted apology. Chad says that he feels like he’s trapped in the house, in an adulterous relationship, for an eternity, and Moira says he is.

Luke asks Hayden why she attacked Vivien as he drives her to the police station. He tells her that pretending to nuke the dog was plain evil (it would have been worse if she had nuked it, dude), and asks her what it was. She says it was a tomato. I couldn’t find any good tomato explosion comparison videos on youtube, and was going to make my own and upload it for you before I realized that was just the meth talking, and my roommate probably wouldn’t be too happy with a tomato blowing up in the microwave. Have this hypnotic video of microwaved Peeps instead.

Luke says that Hayden is going to jail when she asks what’s going to happen to her. He’s driving a car that says HEIRLOOM SECURITY (this show loves its letter Hs) and pulls into the station parking lot, but by the time he goes to the passenger’s side to let her out, she’s disappeared.

Ben packs his shit in silence for two minutes, staring at Vivien before he walks out the door. FUCKING FINALLY. But how long do you think this’ll last?

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  • Geeka

    Lol’d at the “microwaved Peeps” and haven’t even wathed the video. I’m starting to get confused at all the ghosts when I read.

    Thanks for the recap!

    • Sam H

      I think I’m going to draw a map for this week’s episode, because I’m finding myself stumbling over ghost names, too.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Geeka

        Just got around to watching. Wow!! Twisted nerve is just so wonderful and appropriate to me (one of my faves since Kill Bill). And the cheerleader is the girl from awkward. I love awkward. It’s another gulity pleasure. I am just so over the moon for this show. Can’t wait for tonight’s episode.

  • Catherine

    Hi there. I am a little under the weather this morning/afternoon too, so I may have more observations tomorrow, but I had the same reaction to the dog in the microwave thing. NFW. Whew. Any adult, fine, but not the dog.

    I loved Larry when he sees Hayden, all whoah, I want to apologize…I don’t get Ben even after she says, “no headstone?” stuff to Ben, he still thinks she’s alive (he didn’t witness the burial after all, we went inside to scrub off the DNA). I matter is her mantra.

    OK – so Tate – I have some theories. I think he was first f’d up by his mom who….wait for it….is a “cocksucker, no really – my dad left because she was sucking off the guy next door.” I think that Constance lived next door (hence young Addie staring at the abandoned house at the time of the twin Gingers) and her lover moved in next door. When she found out she wasn’t the only one he’s sleeping with, kills him and Moira. I know she says I have loved you since I was 16, but maybe they already knew each other or she meant since she first saw a movie with Van Johnson. Perhaps I am stretching this. Perhaps we will find out next week, but I think that is one of the things that led to Tate’s self destruction.

    I think Tate killed those kids in the school, and due to the skull make up the kids didn’t recognize him (that’s why one of the ghosts says something about how they figured out it was him and they want him to admit it – just admit it.) I think he went home (or to the house next door where all the bad stuff happened) and killed himself (or, if the preview is a hint, died via suicide by cop). I think he thinks it was a dream because his “sensitive poet” brain can’t handle the truth that sensitivity is really hair trigger thin skinned rage.

    Am I too out there on a limb with that theory? It made sense until I wrote it.

    Viv and Security guy will definitely get it on….but will the rubber man get jealous? Dun dun dun!

    Violet wasn’t adequately upset by Addie’s death. I know she’s too cool, but dang. She annoyed me with her sucks for you attitude. Did you notice that, or do I lack the patience for the teenage angst? However, she was smart not to drink the tea. With Addie gone, she will be Connie’s link to Tate I think.

    Jessica Lange is soooo getting an Emmy. I thought the morgue scene was so touching. That also makes me think that Addie is not coming back, but then who were the hands reaching out from under the bed?

    Larry and the gas can running into Chad was kind of random and never followed up. Did he give him another beat down? Did Moira clean it up with white vinegar?

    By the way, when the ghosts were returning (still no Dr. M), Chad’s doom was also that he was stuck here trying to make the house perfect and never being satisfied (Gala apples, no Gala)

    Please pardon any typos or incoherence. I can’t wait for next week!

    • Sam H

      I hope you’re feeling better!

      I have decided that Ben is literally the stupidest character ever on t.v.

      That sounds like as good a theory as any! I usually don’t believe anything that Tate says, but that “cocksucker” comment could have been a rare moment of honesty.

      Ah, I never see the previews because I watch the show on demand (I think not being able to form opinions about the next episode in the interim helps the mystery along, because I never have any idea what’s going to happen). Tate’s pretty dissociative though, so his compartmentalizing would make sense.

      The answer is AWKWARD THREEWAY.

      I don’t know how much of that was Violet and how much of it was Taissa Farmiga. IDK, I thought she was sorry enough, but I do have a lot of patience for teenage weirdos. :D

      SHE’S SO GOOD! I hope Addie comes back, but you may be right. It would suck if Ryan Murphy wasted all that potential with both Constance and Addie’s character development.

      Moira totally cleaned it up with white vinegar, lols.

      I didn’t notice the lack of Dr. M! Holy crap! And yeah, I just paraphrased a little (I feel like he’d care less about the apples/house etc. if Pat were not such a dick).

      Yay, I’m so excited! You always bring such great commentary.

  • Catherine

    Thanks dude! Likewise!

  • StrtMyOrange

    How can Jessica Lange get more and more amazing with each episode??!! I didn’t think it was possible but she does and she made me cry like a baby with that morgue scene. She is brilliant.

    • Sam H

      That morgue scene was so amazing! I hope she’s recognized for her work here.

  • Catherine

    OK so my theory was wrong on Constance and Tate and the house. They did used to live at Murder House.

    Noticed while re-viewing this episode last night prior to the new one that when the DBC show up, the jock says, “Good job Tate, you finally came out of hiding. We’ve been waiting for years to for you to show your face, but you like Mommy’s little safe house, don’t you.” So Constance and the house are protecting him? That was the first time he left the house since the murders?

    • Sam H

      The whole ghost mythology of the show as it pertains to Tate really confuses me, and I don’t know if it’s just iffy writing or me legitimately missing something. How would he not realize he’s a ghost if he’s been stuck in the house since 1994? How is he friends with the Infantata creature without realizing something weird is happening? I don’t get it. It doesn’t ruin my enjoyment or anything, but I do hope it gets explained.