American Horror Story: Rubber Man

Posted on November 27, 2011

Once again, the only way to write about this show is to not care about flow or paragraph structure. It’s not quite stream of consciousness, but it’s getting there. If the show won’t attempt linear narrative, then we feel safe discussing it in a herky-jerky manner. Strap yourselves in.

Uh-oh. We’ve started asking questions. That’s never a good sign.

Questions like: If Tate can murder people, then why is Hayden not trying to kill Vivian? She certainly seems fairly murderous in her intent. If ghosts can take form inside the house, to the extent that they can fire guns and impregnate women, could it be that the ghosts can’t kill a pregnant lady? After all, it seems to us that all the supernatural shenanigans that are going on under that roof center around the idea of a baby. The house wants one. Fine. We salute the house’s 21st Century open-mindedness by pursuing a baby through a gay couple. But why were Tate and Hayden trying to drive Vivian nuts? The end result was that both she and her much-discussed babies are now no longer in the house.

Don’t get us wrong; obviously,Viv won’t be gone from horror house for long. After all, she threw Ben out and he’s still there every day. People never really leave the house, it seems. But what, exactly are the ghosts in the house trying to accomplish? It seems like every week they have a new goal with the Harmon family; drive Ben nuts, torment Violet, and now, drive Vivian nuts. We suppose the argument could be made that they’re ghosts and therefore not likely to think in a linear fashion, but still. We’ve had everything the writers could think of thrown at us every week since the beginning, and that’s been a lot of fun. They’re clearly trying to craft a larger, overarching story here and that is quite welcome, as far as we’re concerned. You can’t keep relying on jump cuts and Jessica Lange to do all the work. At some point, a plot has to emerge.

So if the house (we’re using the term generally here; it could mean either “the house” as an entity or just as a collective term for all the various creatures un-living inside it) wants a baby (more specifically, Dead Nora wants a baby), then why is it driving the people who move into it crazy? Why make the gay couple fight all the time, thereby reducing the chances of them securing the much-wanted baby? It’s probably a mistake to ascribe motives either to the house or to the ghosts as a group, but with the reveal of the baby-seeking ghosts, all the murders and events designed to drive people away from the house make a whole hell of a lot less sense now.

In other news, Tate is the Rubber Man and we can’t say we’re all that surprised. The only adult male ghosts in the house are Tate, the gay couple, or Nora’s husband, right? Of that group, it only makes sense that Tate would be the one to get Viv pregnant. Besides, we already saw him in the suit once. We didn’t actually need to get an entire origin story on the suit and find out where, how, and why it was bought, but it’s nice to have definitive answers on at least one aspect of the show.

And if Tate’s such a sensitive soul, why did he murder the gay couple so brutally?

Also, is it a sad commentary on the two of us that we just now figured out that the show is deliberately rolling around in particularly American fears? It is called “AMERICAN Horror Story,” after all. From baby-snatching, school shootings, home invasions, and serial killers to back alley abortions and kinky gay sex; it’s like the house is a microcosm of all the things Americans fear the most. Expect undocumented immigrant ghosts before the season is out.

And while even the most open-minded parents might feel a twinge of fear at the idea of a sexually active teenage daughter, we’re willing to bet even the most liberal of them would have major issues with their daughter sleeping with the dead school shooter who, oh, by the way, got mom pregnant when he raped her. But then again, we’re pretty sure Violet is dead herself. She hasn’t apparently left the house in about two weeks (which we’re guessing takes us right back to the time of her suicide attempt) and even as she and Viv tried to escape the house, she only made it as far as the driveway. Girl can’t leave the property. We’re wondering if she even knows it.

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