American Horror Story: Open House

Posted on November 17, 2011

Well gosh. Maybe we’re getting spoiled. After watching Vivian masturbate,  Moira bite off a man’s penis, and a single-breasted Nora put a bullet in her crazy husband’s head (as well as one in her own), we actually felt a little let down by this episode. That should tell you something about just how nuts this show’s run has been so far when oral castration, mothers getting their breasts ripped off by undead babies, and watching a pregnant lady rub one out just seems run of the mill to us.

Thankfully, Jessica Lange is on hand to yank the camera in her direction and force it not to move from her, but even then, the only real revelation we got is that she’s got yet another dead kid in that house and said kid is responsible for the rolling red ball we’ve been seeing here and there. Oh, and that she pretty much ordered Larry, the Burned Guy to kill attic kid back in 1994. But wasn’t 1994 when Tate was killed by the cops? Are the events related somehow or did Constance just have a really shitty year?

We know this show is going to disappoint us because it’s the creation of Ryan Murphy, who can’t seem to sustain quality in his shows over time and has a history of overseeing the degrading of a good initial concept into a frustrating mess, most often through the overuse of that old time television writing technique known as “Throw everything at the viewer and see what sticks” (see: Glee and Nip/Tuck). With that flashback to 1994, we got a glimpse of how this future disappointment might shake out. There’s so much backstory already and now we’re being treated to the first real revelation of an unreliable narrator. Apparently, Larry’s story to Ben about killing his family wasn’t true. We’re not gonna lie; that kind of annoys us, happening so relatively early in the story. If Larry’s story wasn’t true; then whose story is? Are any of them true? Are we going to see these sorts of retcons a lot when the writers run out of shocking reveals or write themselves into a corner? Because you once you go the unreliable narrator well, it’s tough not to return to it.

Anyway, Constance’s interest in the house is now fully clear: it’s where she goes to visit her dead family. Knowing that, it’s surprising to us that she got over Addie’s death relatively quickly. Given that the previous two children of hers that died can still be visited to and spoken to every day just by popping over to the neighbors (and letting yourself in), you’d think the permanent loss of one of her children would completely unravel her for an extended period of time. Then again, when the house that shelters your ghost children is threatened with a bulldozer and you have to urge the maid you killed to bite off the buyer’s penis and get help from your former lover, who’s nuttier than a shithouse rat and only has half a face, to kill said castrated Armenian, then maybe Constance just doesn’t have the time to mourn.

In other house news, we’re thinking Violet has some deeper connection to the house than what’s been revealed so far. Constance has an interest in her that seems to go beyond “You’re dating my dead son,” and she appears to be able to order the ghosts of the house around. We hated Violet for most of the run of the show, but we’re starting to feel really sorry for her, what with having the two stupidest, most self-absorbed people on the planet as her parents.

Oh, and twins! Viv is having twins!  Mazel Tov, Harmons! But twins without hooves, it seems. Again: unreliable narrator. Why did the ultrasound tech say her baby had hooves? Why is the doctor (who, admittedly, seems a little suspicious, since she keeps ordering Viv to stay in the house) apparently not seeing hooves? Who wants to bet one twin will be evil and one will be good? Or will she have dual, creepy twins a la The Shining?

And will Viv finally start examining her life now that she’s seen the picture of Nora or will she continue to wander around in a haze, coming out of it only to eat brains, yell at her husband, or masturbate? Granted, we think the house itself is doing a number on her, forcing her not to examine all the weird shit around her. Anyone else notice the enormous slabs of undercooked meat all over the table during the dinner scene? Seems that house is making Viv and Ben a little bloodthirsty.

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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