This week opens with a gorgeous glazed ham served at a family dinner in 1994 attended by Tate, Addy, Constance and Larry. But since it’s this family, we know this idyllic scene is sure to be messed over. Tate asks to say grace, and Constance obliges. He uses the mouthpiece to slam Constance and Larry in the same breath. Larry tries to smooth things over, playing the good father, but Tate bites back like a rabid animal. Addy meanwhile seems to buy into Larry’s act, although it’s clear Tate doesn’t based on the sheer litany of things he throws at the future Mister Crispy. Including accusations that Larry killed Beauregard. Smart boy, that Tate. Constance at last shouts at Tate that he was gifted with so many things, and Tate proclaims he will never be her perfect son.
Upstairs now, we hear an alarm go off. Tate shakes himself awake, does a few lines of cocaine, and then packs up his guns for the school shooting. Then he’s suddenly in an office, walking toward where Larry pounds away on an adding machine. Larry sees him and asks why he’s not in school. Tate replies that he’s going there right after. He then pours gasoline all over Larry and lights him on fire. So that’s how he became Mister Crispy! Tate walks away, all bad-ass, while Larry flails in the background.
Back in the present day, Ben visits Vivien in the hospital, and tells her that he believes she was raped. At last! Then Ben reveals that the twins have different fathers; Vivien predictably freaks out and starts sobbing. Ben decides he’s going to help Vivien figure out who the Rubber Man is once Vivien comes home. Mind you, she in no way wants to go back to that house. And who can blame her really?
Constance meanwhile is visited by the police who want her to identify Travis’s body from the grisly photographs. He’s now known as “the Boy Dahlia,” which is fitting based on last week’s episode. A shaken Constance insists everybody loved Travis and no one would want to harm him.
A truant officer shows up at Murder House, and though he’s distracted by flies on a bowl of fruit, he informs Ben that Violet has missed 16 days in a row. Any more days missed and they’ll end up in juvenile court. Ben then goes upstairs to have a heart-to-heart with his estranged daughter. They have a rather touching father-daughter chat, which allows a little window into the fact that Ben really does try to be a good father. A good husband, not so much, but it’s important that he be a good father to Violet. She at first sobs that she doesn’t want to go to school, that everyone’s terrible there, but finally relents under Ben’s concerned-parent onslaught. She has to go to school, he tells her, even if it’s a different one. Later, Violet starts heading off to school, but Tate stops her and convinces her to stay home one more day. This is kind of weird, given that Tate never did anything like this before. Hmm ….
Constance shows up at Larry’s house, ostensibly seeking comfort because of Travis’s death and she decides to lean on Larry for some odd reason. Or not! She pulls a knife on him and starts in on the accusations that Larry killed Travis. She presses the blade to his throat, and Larry stammers that he didn’t kill Travis. He must’ve pissed off someone in the house … he just doesn’t know which one; he suggests that it might be Tate though. Constance leaves, planning to go to Travis’s ghost in the house, but Larry throws out the corker of “going to see your dead boy?” Constance fires back: “Even dead, even a boy, he’s twice the man you are.” And then she twists the verbal knife deeper by saying that she never loved Larry, she merely endured him for the sake of her family.
The detectives are at Constance’s door again, and the knife suddenly falls from Constance’s purse. This then makes them bring her in for questioning in regards to Travis’s brutal murder from last week. The detectives run through the deaths that happened around Constance, and we get to see how her husband Hugo was disposed of. Apparently she turned him into dog chow and had their animals in the basement devour him. Shudder inducing. Turns out the cops want to pin the Boy Dahlia murder on Constance, and right as they get into some hardcore questioning a lawyer shows up to represent Constance in the case. He’s the one who tells her that they’re not looking for the truth so much as they’re looking for a scapegoat.
While that’s going on, Ben hires an exterminator to crawl into the walls and see what’s causing the blowflies; this guy claims to be the best in the business for the money. In order to get an estimate, the exterminator goes into the crawlspace. He sees what’s causing the flies and scrambles backward, terrified. Tate then confronts him, calling the exterminator a murderer who has to pay for the innocent lives he stole. Wait, when did Tate become an animal activist? I’m so confused! Tate then jams the exterminator’s own bug poison down his throat. Looks like Murder House got a new tenant.
Meanwhile, Ben calls a boarding school to see if they’ll take Violet. Tate’s reflection shows up in a photo and Ben looks around like WTF is going on. Tate reveals this to Violet up in the attic. Violet starts crying, saying that of course her dad would try sending her away. Tate declares he won’t allow Violet to leave, and then in the next scene he dons the rubber suit. Uh-oh … Ben’s in trouble now.
Larry’s down in the Murder House basement retrieving some of Travis’s stuff from the walls — evidence in the murder case. Ghost Travis shows up and frightens the bejeezus out of our favorite crispy gentleman, but it’s soon easily seen that the Boy Dahlia is simply being his normal goofy self. He asks Larry if he’s famous yet, and requests some newspaper clippings of his murder. Then we hear some little ghost girls calling for Travis to come play with them; the camera angle changes and we see Larry’s two daughters sitting at a table with a tea set. They’re still smoldering from the fire that killed them. Eww … I suppose that’s where the episode title comes from. As Larry looks on in obvious pain at the injuries visited on his daughters, his dead wife appears beside him. He asks her why he can see them now after all these years, and she tells him it’s because he’s “on the cusp.” Makes me wonder if this is like Ben’s journey to seeing things as they really are. Except for the obvious differences — Ben being a cheater and Larry suffering from unrequited love. Larry declares he’ll make Constance pay for what she did to their family, and this is when Lorraine (his dead wife) drops the bombshell — it’s Larry’s fault, not Constance’s.
Rubber Tate attacks Ben in the bathroom, and shockingly doesn’t do as good a job as he normally does. I mean — Tate’s the guy who easily killed two grown men (Chad and Pat), was able to overpower the exterminator, and also had the cajones to do more unspeakable things like rape Vivien. But still Ben’s able to hold his own despite them breaking all this furniture in the midst of their battle. Right before Ben gets hit with a dose of chloroform, he rips off the rubber mask and reveals Tate beneath. Ben blacks out, but thankfully Tate says he doesn’t plan to kill Dr. Harmon. Whew. Good thing the doc’s not going to become a permanent resident.
Back up in the attic, Tate tries to convince Violet to kill herself so they’ll be together forever. Remember, if she dies in the house then she can never leave. She seems to acquiesce to this plan, even going so far as to say she wants to do it in the bathtub so she can light candles and relax. Violet leaves the attic and bolts downstairs shouting for help. Tate gives chase, but Violet escapes him and rushes outside. She’s shouting and shouting, but the only one who can apparently hear her is a dog. Curiouser and curiouser. Then Violet hits the border of the property and WHAMO! She’s back inside the house. Another attempt to escape Murder House’s yard. Bam! Back in the house again. This happens a few times, until at last Violet sobs to Tate that she doesn’t want to die. “It’s too late for that,” he tells her. Oh my good gravy and mashed potatoes.
Violet asks what happened, and then we get led down into the crawlspace between the walls. Umm … yeah … guess what’s causing the blow flies to show up? Violet’s decaying, curled-up corpse stuffed into the wall. No wonder she’s missed school for 16 days! This has to be the most disgusting corpse I’ve seen on TV in awhile, but then again it’s FX so I shouldn’t be surprised. Turns out Tate wanted her to commit a second suicide so she wouldn’t have to see her own corpse. But a much calmer Violet seems to now accept that it’s her and Tate together forever in the house, even though her unease is rather apparent here.
Constance and her new attorney are summoned to the police station, where Larry’s in with the detectives. At first we think Larry’s selling Constance out, but what he’s really doing is confessing to Travis’s murder. The episode ends with Constance visiting Larry in jail and demanding to know why he confessed to something he didn’t do. Turns out Larry’s using the confession as penance. Whether it’s for Beau’s murder or causing the deaths of his family … it’s just penance. Larry tells Constance it will be easy to serve time if she says she loves him. But unfortunately she doesn’t, and no comfort will be forthcoming.
Next week, it’s a birth! And I’m terribly excited to see what happens when Vivien’s two-father twins get born.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘American Horror Story: ‘ recap.