My hat’s off to Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. They managed to answer one of the biggest questions of the show in the first five minutes this week, and yet still leave us mystified by the end of the hour. I truly have no idea how in the world they’re maintaining the frenetic story pace of American Horror Story right now, but dear good Lord are they ever.
This week opens up six months ago on the day the Harmons moved into the house. Marcy watches the movers apprehensively from the front yard, while Ghost Nora wanders through the house complaining about all the new things coming in. She criticizes the fabrics, the colors, and everything that’s so far happened to the house. She asks an offscreen companion what’s going on, and he wonders what he can do to comfort her. Nora says she just wants her baby.
Someone then goes outside and grabs the rubber man suit that Ben threw out. He slips it on and heads upstairs to knock Vivien up. I’ve got the weird feeling that suit didn’t get cleaned from the trash bin. In which case, this is the first instance I’ll get grossed out a little by this episode. The rubber man … ahem … finishes his business with Vivien and passes a shirtless Ben on the stairs. We see shell-shocked Ben and Vivien say “I love you” to each other and then flip to the bathroom where the rubber man is looking at himself in the mirror.
The rubber man pulls off the mask … and it’s Tate! Ewwww. I’ve a sneaky suspicion Violet’s not going to be happy with her ghostly Romeo if and when she finds out he schtupped her mom six months ago. Compliments to Murphy and Falchuk for twisting all the characters up like this, but I feel like having Tate in the rubber suit weakens his impact a little bit. It might have been more interesting to have Constance’s dead husband be the rubber man, but I’m sure I’ll see the logic in this choice later.
The credits roll, and we come back to Vivien telling Marcy and Moira that she met Nora Montgomery. Marcy calls her crazy while also relating a story about her pregnant cousin Helen who thought the dolls in the nursery were dancing to an African voodoo beat. Oh Marcy how I love your hateful, hateful ways. Moira naturally believes Vivien, telling her that we all have doppelgangers out there in the world. Not that Moira the Elder would know about having a double or anything from personal experience.
Marcy meanwhile brushes everything off. She leaves to find Mr. Eskandarian so they can move the sale of the house along, and tells Moira to make Vivien a cup of tea. Snicker. Poor Marcy’s going to be disappointed to find out the Armenian buyer bit the proverbial dust. Moira reveals she believes in ghosts, which is probably a good thing considering she is one, and Vivien ends up musing that maybe she’s going crazy.
Flashback to last year when Chad’s having lunch with a female friend. He reveals that Patrick’s been having online dalliances with some S&M freak. They talk about butt plugs, torture, and all sorts of naughty naughty things. Chad’s lady friend suggests that he “gear up” to try and get his man back. This leads to a visit to an S&M shop, where Chad picks up a latex body suit. So that’s where the Rubber Man suit came from!
He heads back home and, wearing the suit, surprises Patrick while the erstwhile man is clipping his toenails on top of the coffee table. All right maybe I’ve got a third eww moment for this episode. Why do people think this is an OK thing to do? Anyway, upon seeing Chad in the suit Patrick asks if he decided to go as a sausage for Halloween this year. Wow that was cold, Patrick. Way to not be supportive or anything, but he tells Chad that “depressing sex is even more depressing when you try so hard.”
Ouch that’s kind of a mega burn for poor Chad, who really is trying to be sexier for his man. Got to give the guy praise for at least attempting something. Chad confronts lover-boy about his indiscretions, and Patrick reveals he hates how Chad is obsessed with decorating the house. Like the Harmons in one year’s time, Chad and Patrick have sunk all their money into Murder House. Once it’s sold, Chad won’t have anything to hold over Patrick’s head and they can finally call it quits. One more parting shot from Patrick in that he declares he prefers leather and not latex. Chad breaks down sobbing, and then we cut to Nora sobbing her eyes out in the same spot.
Hayden shows up and tells her to knock it the hell off because all the crying is driving her crazy. Apparently Mrs. Montgomery doesn’t believe she’s dead, even after Hayden shows her the exit wound in her own head from the bullet she ate back in the 1920s. Moira tells off Hayden for upsetting the madam, but Hayden knocks over a glass in response and bitchily tells Moira “Guess you’ll have to clean that up, huh?”
Nora again asks where her baby is. Hayden says she lost her baby too; that it’s buried out back with the rest of her. There’s a power in the house they can use, including making themselves visible or invisible at will. The house also makes Hayden act out, and we see her making out with Constance’s dead husband before she kills him with an ice pick. A bit later, he perks back up and heads to the kitchen. Everyone in the house has some issues they have to work through, but because nothing sticks here they can’t do it.
Hayden then tells Nora that it’s unfair Vivien gets to have two babies while the two of them can’t have any. So she comes up with a plan to have both of Vivien’s unborn children taken away from her — drive Mrs. Harmon crazy!
Cut to Vivien looking at herself in a bathroom mirror and declaring that she’s just tired. Something moves out in the hallway, and Vivien steps out of the bathroom to look. “Violet?” No one’s there, but Beau’s red ball rolls out of the darkness and hits her in the foot. Vivien turns on the lights, “Hello?” she calls, but no one answers. In the instant she picks up the ball, the lights snap out and things fall over. We can see and hear Hayden laughing like a madwoman, but Vivien is oblivious to it. She barricades herself in the bathroom, and then sees the rubber man mask sitting on the side of the sink. Cue the nervous breakdown!
Then Tate’s standing in the same room a year ago. He puts on the Rubber Man suit and goes downstairs to kill Chad by breaking his neck over the bobbing for apples station. Patrick comes in wearing his cowboy outfit, and he attacks Rubber Man Tate for offing his lover. Tate however manages to beat the ever-loving crap out of Patrick by throwing him onto the table, into the mantle, and bashing his head against the table a few times. He then grabs a firepoker and beats Patrick bloody with it before yanking his pants down, and we thankfully fade to black. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “stick up your butt” huh? Yeah, I went there.
Tate throws Patrick’s body down the basement stairs, and Nora shows up to declare this is wrong. Tate tells her Chad and Patrick were talking about not having a baby, so he got rid of them. Now maybe a new family will come into the house and have a baby. Nora loves this plan, because she really just wants her baby back.
Ben finds Violet in the darkness of the basement rolling Beau’s red ball like she wants to play with whatever’s down there. Creepy in the extreme, methinks. Ben tells his daughter they need to talk, and after he confronts her about not being in school for two weeks she reveals that Vivien’s been eating brains and going batsh*t bonkers. She then proceeds to blame her father for her mom’s insanity, and says that he’s so horribly pathetic she’s surprised he hasn’t tried to sleep with her yet. Umm … OK? As if the show wasn’t creepy enough.
Moira meanwhile pours some calming tea for Vivien, who claims her nausea medication is making her see things. Yeah sure Viv. It’s not like you live in a haunted house or anything. No it’s definitely your nausea meds. Moira comforts her madam, saying that men have been driving women crazy for centuries so they can have their fun. She even brings up the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” about a doctor who locks his wife away to “cure” her but she ends up going bonkers. Moira tells Vivien she needs to leave the house, so Vivien wakes Violet up and tells her they’re heading to Aunt Jo’s.
The ladies head out to the car, and while Tate glares from the front porch you almost believe the Harmon women are going to make a break for it… except, then those two dead home invaders from episode 2 show up in the car with them. Vivien and Violet race back into the house to get away, thus ending their escape attempt before it even began. And Hayden’s standing in the shadows smiling wickedly.
Ben confronts Vivien for trying to split, and she says the people who tried to kill her were 6 inches from her face. Naturally Ben doesn’t believe her, saying that they’re going to get to the bottom of this brain-eating business once and for all. Vivien is convinced that Ben’s colluding with Hayden to get her out of the house so they can have it all to themselves. She then confronts him with the rubber man mask, but he says he threw that out months ago. Ruh-roh!
Upstairs, Violet’s having what appears to be a post-sex moment with Tate. He warns her not to tell her parents that she saw the ghosts of the home invaders. As a result, when she goes downstairs and Ben asks her about the ghosts, she says she didn’t see anything. Vivien is stunned by this betrayal, and seems convinced she really is going nutso. Ben declares he’s staying in his office tonight, and when Vivien says she doesn’t need protecting he snaps back that he isn’t protecting her.
In the basement, Hayden tells Tate to do something ominous. He claims he knows what needs to be done, he merely has to prepare himself. She tries to come onto him, but he shoots her down. Hey now, Hayden … don’t you go sleeping with Violet’s Romeo.
Later, Vivien invites Marcy over. Ostensibly it’s to discuss the sale of the house and that Vivien and Violet are leaving, but really what Vivien wants is the Realtor’s gun. Hmm … I wonder what crazy Vivien is going to do with this one?
Vivien heads to bed, clearly tempting the house to do something. The Rubber Man obliges and attacks the pregnant Mrs. Harmon. She slaps the security remote, grabs the gun and fires when someone enters the room. Oh crap it’s really Ben!
Downstairs Ben, some EMTs and cops, and Luke the Security Guard are all there. The EMTs tell Ben he should go to a hospital, but he says it went clean through so he’s fine. He tries to shoo them out, but Luke sticks up for Vivien and tells them Ben doesn’t even live there any more. Everyone decides to check on Vivien, who’s having a drug-addled nightmare where Hayden screams at her and reveals that she wants the babies growing inside Vivien. Hayden reveals the father of Vivien’s babies to be the Rubber Man, who knocks the pregnant Mrs. Harmon to the floor and tries to rape her.
Then the image settles and it’s Ben on top of her trying to wake her up. Vivien comes to and looks around asking if they saw him and generally acting all crazy like. Luke then starts to believe Ben that Vivien really is a danger, and Violet comes in to say they’re ready for her. Vivien gets carted out and off to the loony bin, but hey at least she’s out of the house. Violet has a moment of guilt, but Ben assures her she did the right thing by telling the truth. Umm, yeah … the truth. Oops.
Ben leaves with the crowd of emergency personnel, and we’re left looking at Violet and Tate standing alone together in the hallway. Huh … I’m starting to wonder now if Violet’s dead herself. Entirely possible with this show.
But anyway, we head back to the basement of last year. Chad unexpectedly comes to in the basement, and reaches for Patrick’s dead body. Tate starts to choke him, but Moira talks him out of it. Instead he sticks a gun in Chad’s mouth and pulls the trigger. As they’re walking away from the corpses, Tate says it’s kind of romantic to have them die like this. Now they’ll be together forever.