The season one finale of American Horror Story consists of some not-so big surprises, a bit of a hopeful note, and the answering of a number of questions. The major character death doesn’t really come as a surprise, but what happens afterward is definitely interesting.
We begin nine months ago, with Ben and Vivien in Boston discussing the move to Los Angeles. Vivien is ready to leave and stay with her sister in Florida, while Ben argues for staying together. Scenes of the rest of the season are intercut with Ben explaining to Vivien why the move is important. At the end of the sequence, we’re back in the present day with Ben searching through the house for the ghosts of Vivien and Violet.
After the opening credits, Ben goes over to Constance’s house to get the baby. However, Constance doesn’t want the baby in Murder House. She warns the good doctor that there are forces in the house which mean to do the baby harm, but Ben naturally doesn’t believe her. Then he discovers Constance is Tate’s mother, and demands to know where he is. Dr. Harmon is not happy with Tate or his mother right now, and he storms out with the baby in tow.
Meanwhile inside the house Moira asks Vivien how she’s holding up. Vivien then reveals the hardest thing is watching Ben. Once he walks in with the baby, Vivien has to restrain herself from becoming visible to help him. She’s made Violet promise the same, because if Ben sees either of them, Vivien reasons, he won’t want to leave the house. And he has to leave so he can raise the baby in safety.
Ben sets out a bunch of notes and keys, all explaining for his sister-in-law how to take care of the baby. In another room, he smokes a cigarette and sticks a gun in his mouth. It looks like he’s going to kill himself, until Vivien shows up and pulls the gun away. She says he has to be a father to their baby, but Ben says he’s not the kid’s dad. Vivien doesn’t care though. She forgives Ben, and tells him to leave the house and raise the kid.
When Ben asks about Violet, she finally makes herself known. The tearful conversation between the living dad and his dead wife and daughter is a nice emotional hit, and Vivien and Violet both forgive Ben his mistakes. Ben keeps on about him being a crappy dad, which Violet says isn’t true at all since she shut him out. Anyway, Ben’s convinced. He packs up and starts walking out … until Hayden shows up!
You didn’t think Ben was going to get away, did you? The two home invaders wrap a noose around Ben’s neck and tie it around the chandelier. Ben struggles while the baby screams and Hayden watches. However the home invaders are too strong, and they shove him over. Ben kicks and gags until finally he hangs still. “Now we have all the time in the world,” Hayden says with a wicked grin. Yeah saw this one coming a mile away.
Marcy shows the house to a new couple, the Ramoses, while carrying a dog in her hands. Basically it’s the same tour she gave the Harmons at the start of the series. Gabriel, their teenage son, shows up as well. Marcy explains about how the Harmons died, and reveals she adopted the Harmon dog. Mrs. Ramos, whose name is Stacy, wants to look at another house, but Gabriel says he doesn’t believe in ghosts. The best part? They can get the house for $200,000 less than what Marcy sold it for last time. Ain’t that awesome?
While the parents step into the kitchen, Gabriel starts skateboarding around. Until Troy and Brian throw firecrackers down and trip him up. Miguel, Mr. Ramos, comes in and tells Gabriel they bought the house. Well, it looks like Murder House got some new tenants! Looks like this is how they continue into next season, huh?
Meanwhile the cops are over at Constance’s house interviewing her. Turns out she discovered Ben hung from the second floor hallway. “You stupid son of a bitch,” she murmurs while staring at the hanging Ben. Then we see the immediate aftermath of Ben’s death, with the reunion of Ben and his family. Constance finds Hayden in the basement with the baby. Hayden refuses to give up the kid, saying the baby is special. Travis appears, slices Hayden’s throat, and gives the baby to Constance. However in the present Constance tells the cops that Violet took the baby and fled. Yeah we know that’s a lie. The cops leave, and Constance goes into the mirror room she kept Addie in. To of course pick up the baby and coo at him. Kind of creepy, to be honest.
Back at Murder House, Violet gets busy pawing through Gabriel’s CDs. Introduces herself as someone who “lived in the neighborhood.” Yeah, nice one Violet. She flirts with him a little bit, while Tate watches from the hallway. Methinks the young Mr. Langdon is rather angry at this turn of events.
Down in the kitchen Miguel and Stacey are christening the house. Vivien and Ben watch, commenting on how they used to be like that. Once talk of a baby starts, Vivien and Ben decide the Ramoses are too nice of a couple to suffer through the house’s terrors. After all, Vivien lost two babies inside Murder House (Or did she?). She refuses to let that happen to another couple. Moira appears and offers her help. Some ghosts are angry and want to inflict their fate on the living, she says, but others are victims of another and don’t want to see more suffering. Ooo … ghost battle?
Later that night, Miguel is awakened by voices down the hall. He gets up, and then the Rubber Man crawls into bed with Stacey. Then Gabriel wakes up to Tate sitting in the room. He asks what the younger Ramos is dreaming about, but says he knows. He’d dream about Violet too if he could still dream. Tate confronts Gabriel, while the Rubber Man tries to rape Stacey. She shouts for her husband Miguel, who’s downstairs with his hand hovering over the fire. Vivien and Moira show up to lead him away, but Larry’s wife holds Miguel’s hand over the stove.
Upstairs, Tate towers over Gabriel ready to kill him. It’s nothing personal, apparently. Tate wants Violet to be happy, so he’s going to kill Gabriel to keep her company. Predictably, Gabriel starts blubbering that he doesn’t want to die. Sheesh and Violet was flirting with this kid?
Downstairs, young Moira leads Miguel to the dining room, where the Black Dahlia is lying in pieces on the table. Whoops! Stacy, who’s running for her life, has already been scared by Beau upstairs and at last runs into the basement. There we see the Rubber Man again leap out at her. Miguel finally comes downstairs to comfort his wife, right ahead of Vivien.
Vivien shouts at the Rubber Man, remonstrating Ben in the suit for torturing the fresh meat. She slices him open with a giant knife, laughing, and says she’d wanted to do that for a long time. Then Ben shoots her in the head. As both ghostly Harmons “die,” Ben turns to the Ramoses and tells them of the house’s terrors. Vivien tells them to run, and of course they bolt quicker than gazelle ahead of a hungry lion.
Upstairs Gabriel is still sobbing as Tate holds the knife to his throat. Wuss. Tate doesn’t want Violet to be alone, since he thinks she doesn’t want him anymore. Violet shows up and explains: Gabriel’s not who she wants, and she’s not alone — she’s got her parents with her. She wanted Tate, but he sobs she told him to go away. However, she didn’t tell him goodbye. And she does that now.
Gabriel runs for it, and makes it out of the house and into the car outside. The Ramoses bolt as the Harmons stand on the dark porch. Vivien comments that some other poor family is going to move in, and Ben replies that they know what to do now. Looks like I was wrong about the Ramoses. Oh well. This might be more interesting.
Marcy puts a Reduced sticker on the for sale sign, while the Murder Tour talks about the deaths of the Harmons. Naturally, Marcy shouts at them to stop because she has to sell the hoouse. Inside, Tate stops in to talk to Ben while the good doctor is cleaning up a mess. Ben explains the bullshit of therapy, while telling Tate that he’s a psychopath of the worst kind — charismatic and dark and evil. There’s no possible way for Tate to get forgiven except by the kids he killed.
Ben then applauds Tate, congratulating him on the act of the damaged kid. Tate destroyed everything that mattered to Ben, and the doctor demands to know what the so-called sorry kid wants from him. Tate then admits to lighting Larry on fire, killing the 15 kids at Westfield High, murdering Chad and Patrick, and raping Vivien. He says he plans to tell Ben everything. Ben reminds Tate that he can’t offer absolution, and Tate’s OK with that. He just wants Ben to hang out with him sometimes. Hmm … would you hang out with the man who raped your wife?
In a room somewhere in the house, Vivien plays a cello until she hears a baby crying down in the basement. It’s Nora taking care of the stillborn baby. Apparently the kiddo’s not that happy with being dead, or having Nora as a mom for that matter. Nora freaks on Vivien for not calling her Mrs. Montgomery, and then she recognizes that Vivien’s the birth mother. Finally Vivien’s allowed to pick up the baby and sing a lullaby to quiet him. Nora asks Vivien to take the baby for the night so she can rest, and Vivien readily agrees. “I’m not entirely sure I have the patience to be a mother,” Nora says as she walks away. Perhaps it was all those hideous nannies. Hmm …
Vivien walks through the house with the baby and comes upon Moira cleaning in the kitchen. Moira as well acknowledges Nora’s not fit to be a mother. Vivien hands the little tyke over to the maid, and eventually asks her to be the godmother. Then “Little Drummer Boy” begins playing, while the Harmons (plus Moira) decorate a Christmas tree. Really, Ryan Murphy? We’re going with Christmas songs now? Outside the living room is Tate and Hayden, watching. Hayden comments nothing’s going to happen unless Tate grows a pair. Tate says he’ll wait forever if he has to. Ooo … ominous talk there, folks.
Three years later, Constance walks into a salon to get her hair done. She explains that she’s been housebound ever since she adopted the baby. The best part is the story Constance weaves about little Michael being the son of her distant cousins in Virginia. Snerk. God, I love Jessica Lange’s performances. No wonder she got the Golden Globe nod.
Constance continues talking about how she thought she was going to be a star on the silver screen. Apparently she still feels she’s destined for greatness. Every loss that came before was a lesson, and she was being prepared. Prepared to raise Michael (oddly Biblical name, that) who’s destined for greatness himself. Uh-oh.
Constance comes home and finds the fridge open and Flora, the maid, vanished. She at last finds her maid dead in a pool of blood in the second floor nursery. Three-year-old Michael is sitting nearby in a rocking chair, blood on his mouth and grinning like the Cheshire cat. Anyone else reminded of Damien from The Omen right now? Constance squats in front of her “little angel” and wonders what she’s going to do with the boy. Oh my lord, season 2 is going to be interesting.
So what’d you all think of the season one finale, hmm? For my money, I will be very interested to see where Murphy and Falchuk take this story next season.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our, ‘American Horror Story: Birth’ recap.