December 14, 2011
While Mummy passes out in front of an episode of Newhart, Young Tate pushes a toy truck around the living room, past the unpaid bills and cancellation notices, down the hall and towards the goblin basement whose door seems to have opened by itself. Young Tate loses the truck in the basement somewhere, and so he begins poking around in the dark until the Gringott’s Goblin Baby grabs him and drags him underneath a table. However! Mrs. Alby appears and screams at the Gringott’s Goblin Baby, NO! YOU GO AWAY GRINGOTT’S GOBLIN BABY! And he does, retreating back into the gloom. Mrs. Alby comforts Young Tate, assuring him that she’s going to protect him, and that if Gringott’s Goblin Baby returns, Young Tate should just yell at him to GO AWAY! (Foreshadowing!) Young Tate wishes Mrs. Alby was his mommy (which, no you don’t, Tate) and Mrs. Alby tells him that life is too short for so much sorrow. GHOST MOMMY HUGZ!
Tate finds the truck in the basement where Mrs. Alby is sobbing, again, and seriously, lady, pull it together already. Life’s too short for so much sorrow! Tate repeats at her. WRONG, says Mrs. Alby, IT’S AN ETERNITY OF SOBBING. Also: Where’s my baby? You know, the one Tate promised her? Yeah, about that, Tate begins. Um, things have changed? And I am in love with the baby’s momma’s daughter? So, no baby for you. And Mrs. Alby is all, “GO BACK AND GET ME A TODDLER. I NEED A BABY, TATE.”
Meanwhile, Ben decides to give “being a responsible father” a try, and drags Violet to the car to visit her crazy mother in the mental hospital. Vivien is coming home today, and Violet hasn’t gone to the hospital to see her once, therefore SHE IS COMING TODAY, THE END. Additionally, Violet needs to know that when they return home, all of her cardigans and MP3s of Smiths songs are to be packed up, because they are headed to Florida to stay with Aunt Jo. Violet, perfectly aware she’s not going anywhere, attempts to protest, but eventually gets in the backseat of the Volvo and lies down so that Ben won’t notice she’s not in the back once he backs off the driveway. Ghost trickery!
Back in her room, Violet and Tate play on YouTube and discuss what will happen when her parents discover she killed herself: Go insane for realsies. Violet then has a sad about never being able to have kids with Tate, which, what? You’re 15 years old, girl. You need to get a ghost education and a ghost job and then you can start thinking about ghost babies. Priorities, young lady.
This prompts Tate and Violet to visit the nursery where Sylar and his boyfriend are busy decorating with potato stamps and gallons of red paint. Sylar giddily explains to the teens that he and Boyfriend are having twins, and that Vivien is their surrogate. Violet protests that her parents are leaving as soon as they return from the hospital, but Sylar promises that the Harmons aren’t going anywhere as long as Violet’s stuck here. Sylar then teases that Vivien’s delivery could get ugly, was Violet a C-section? Maybe there’s a ready-made exit they can use? Violet gets huffy and Tate growls at Sylar only to have Sylar sneer at him. What’s Tate gonna do, murder him?
So Violet, somehow, summons Constance who meets her in Murder Kitchen for a tête-à-tête on this whole “Sylar’s gonna steal the babies/eat their brains” issue. Violet requests that Constance call Ghostbusters Harriet Hayes for some advice on how to get rid of ghosts, but Constance assures her she will handle Sylar herself. Question: how did Violet contact Constance? Did she call her? Text her? Can ghosts do that? Just curious on the mechanics of it all.
And so Constance heads upstairs for a scenery chew-off with Sylar. Constance suggests that Sylar and Boyfriend are unfit to be parents and snarls some Leviticus at Sylar, who whips back that her hairdo is also an abomination. And anyway, studies have proven that gay parents don’t have a negative effect on children. Well, the only study Constance needs is the blood and pain from which her children came. Sylar points out that this means little, considering he is constantly tripping over one of her dead kids. Those dead children are a part of Constance just like that baby — and Sylar WILL NOT PUT HIS HAYUNDS ON HURH GRANDBAYBEH. This piques Sylar’s interest, and Constance tells him that he and Boyfriend can have the other baby, truce? NOPE. He wants both: one blond, one brunette, just like Jacob and Not!Locke him and Boyfriend. Andohbytheway, Sylar and Boyfriend are going to wait for the babies to turn a year old and then smother them with a pillow so they will be cute forever. Urgency!
Harriet Hayes arrives at Murder House and waves her hands around and mumbles about all the pain and regret and sadness and loneliness she’s feeling in the space, as Constance and Violet watch. Constance is all, yeah, yeah, how do we get rid of Sylar and Boyfriend? Harriet Hayes warns that targeting a particular spirit is difficult AHEM, VIOLET, before mentally communicating with Violet that she knows about her … condition. Harriet Hayes explains that the house is filled with evil; that events create energy, and the house absorbs it, drawing negative power from the inhabitants’ sorrow and pain. A force has been created within the house that feeds off the ghosts’ pain and that force wants to break through and move into our world. Super. About the gays? And getting rid of them? prods Constance. There might be a way, but Harriet Hayes can’t make any promises. Tate peeks his head into the room and Harriet Hayes is all OH HELLS NO, NOT WITH HIM HERE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. So Constance and Violet send Tate away and get back to the business of getting rid of Sylar. Will they be needing proton packs, mayhaps?
No, not exactly. Harriet Hayes tells a very dramatic and historically inaccurate tale of the Roanoke colony: According to Harriet Hayes, the entire colony died mysteriously and then as ghosts began harassing the nearby natives, attacking and killing them for no particular reason. The chief, having had just about enough of this noise had his people collect personal items from the dead colonists, which he promptly threw into a fire. The ghosts were, for whatever reason, summoned by this and the Chief was all “CROATOAN!” which made the ghosts disappear. Supposedly. And there’s your Ghostbusting cure — no unflattering jumpsuits necessary.
At the hospital, Vivien wonders where her daughter is, and Ben is all, “Dunno.” So, wait. He didn’t go back to Murder House once he figured out that his daughter was no longer in the car with him? He just, what? looked in the rearview mirror, realized he was alone and that his DAUGHTER JUMPED OUT OF THE CAR AT SOME POINT, and just shrugged? Very good parenting, Dr. Sobsalot! It sure is a good thing you have more children on the way that you will be responsible for raising!
Vivien’s doctor enters filled with discouragements. Vivien shouldn’t be leaving the hospital, much less getting onto a plane and flying across country, what with the need for an emergency C-section and all. Ben is like, “Emergency whatnow?” And the doctor explains that even though the pregnancy is only 6 months along, one twin is ready to be born, and is being a nutrient hog, starving his brother in utero. Vivien poo-poos the doctor’s concerns and is all, “I AM OUTTA HERE. SMELL YA LATER, DOC.”
Violet returns to her room where she repeats the Croatoan nonsense to Tate, and explains that they have to get personal items from Sylar and Boyfriend, like a ring or something. To this end, Tate heads to the nursery and comes on to Boyfriend. Boyfriend, however, has not forgotten that Tate killed him and shoved a fireplace poker into an orrifice not designed for fireplace pokers, and takes such advances poorly. Boyfriend proceeds to beat the ghost snot out of Tate, all the while yelling about how he had actually fallen in love with someone else! he was going to be with Someone Else! but then Tate came along and killed him and trapped him here forever with a brain-eating passive aggressive little jerk! Sylar hears all of this and stomps off in a snit, but who cares, Tate swiped Boyfriend’s ring. Somehow. And Violet, she grabbed Sylar’s watch. Somehow.
Ben and Vivien arrive, and Ben heads inside Murder House to drag his daughter out to the car by her hair while Vivien remains in the car, contractin’.
Ben bangs on Violet’s door, demanding to know how she slipped out of the car because he suddenly cares about this. Knowing that her dad is FOR SERIOUS this time, and neither going to be fooled by the ol’ “lie down in the backseat” gambit nor take “no” for an answer, Violet goes for broke and tells Ben that she’s dead. She took some pills? And now she’s dead? And now she can’t leave, so maybe it’s just best that Ben take Vivien very very far away from this house and go be safe, OK goodbye.
Ben, reasonably, asks Violet if she’s on drugs.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Vivien’s contractions have become NO JOKE, and she stumbles out of the car only to be grabbed by a nearby Constance. And now that her water has broken all over the place, Vivien doesn’t have much choice but to go inside Murder House and have some murder babies.
Ben attempts to call an ambulance, but the phone lines, both land and cellular, aren’t working. Driving Vivien to the hospital himself isn’t an option either, thanks to the ghost twins who have taken their baseball bats to the Volvo for no very good reason. And that’s when the power goes out. Just to make it even more fun.
Constance leads Ben into the candlelit office where Dr. Alby and the ghost nurses are prepping Vivien for delivery. Ben sorta wonders who all these people are but Constance yells at him to not worry about it, and that he needs to get in there and support his wife. Vivien, who unsurprisingly is in a great deal of pain and distress on account of being in labor in the middle of Murder House with no one to help but a bunch of ghosts, is given a huff or three of ether. Take what you can get, honey. Her memory slips into the past to Violet’s birth where everything was brightly lit and blue and sterile and not a candle was to be found and all of the attendants were alive and she didn’t want to bash her husband’s face in … Superhappy funtimes! In reality, however, she is in the middle of her living room, pushing out a stillborn baby which is promptly handed over to a dead woman from the 1920s.
Violet, uninterested in watching her mother give birth, because, come on, hurries downstairs to a furnace? There’s a furnace? Sure. Let’s just say there’s a furnace, and she throws Sylar’s watch in this furnace, which immediately summons a very angry Sylar. HEY, I MADE THAT WATCH! he yells, only to have Violet yell back, CROATOAN! However, the spell doesn’t work, because obviously, and Sylar helpfully explains that such spells are a way living humans try to feel in control. Which is what he’s doing right now: putting the baby’s crib in the furnace to gain some sort of control over his own crummy situation. Violet’s mother’s babies are safe — from him, at least. Sylar is doomed to spend eternity with a man who doesn’t love him, it would seem. Of course, it could be worse: Violet’s man does love her, but he’s a mass-murdering, mother-raper. So.
Upstairs, Vivien is busy pushing out Devil Baby who, unlike his brother, arrives perfectly healthy and quite alive. As Dr. Alby worries over Vivien’s extreme bleeding, Constance offers to wash the baby, and hurries away. HEY BEN, I WOULD MAYBE NOT LET HER DO THAT.
In Murder Kitchen, Constance washes Devil Baby as Milk Eyed Moira stands nearby and cries. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
And that’s when Hayden arrives, wondering if they’ve cleaned up her baby for her yet. OH GURRRRLLLL. NO YOU DID NOT.
Dr. Alby is unable to control Vivien’s bleeding, on account of being dead for 90 years, and Vivien goes into shock. Ben tries to talk Vivien into holding on. They can be happy together! They can make a life together! Just stay with him! However, Violet also wanders over and assures her mother that if she’s in pain, she can let go, she can come to the other side, it’s OK. Vivien notes that she doesn’t think she has any choice. And with that, Vivien dies. Sad.
Violet then heads upstairs to deal with her Tate problem. She informs her ghost boyfriend that her mother is dead, and Tate expresses his sympathy for both Violet and Ben, whom he likes! Yeah, about that, Tate. So why did Tate become one of his patients in the first place? Tate explains that Constance thought he needed help. OH? REALLY? WHY? Could it be because he killed a bunch of his classmates? Tate wonders why he would do such a thing, and Violet, she doesn’t know. Why would he do that? Why would he kill Sylar and Boyfriend? Why would HE RAPE HER MOTHER? Tate sobs that he’s sorry, and that he’s changed now. But Violet? She’s not having it. She used to think that he was just attracted to the darkness, like her. BUT, NOPE, WRONG. He is the darkness. And while she loves him, she can’t forgive him. GO AWAY. GO AWAY, TATE!
And with that, he goes away. (For now.)
Violet, emotional and exhausted, is comforted by her mother who passed through Makeup on her way to the Other Side. Vivien assures her daughter that she is brave and strong. Violet, sobbing, is so sorry that her mother had to die, and that she lost her baby. But Vivien, holding her daughter, tells Violet that she didn’t lose her baby.
AND NOW I AM EXHAUSTED. I feel like I’ve just given birth to my very own Murder Baby. Seriously, this show. So good! So completely crazy!
I don’t have much to add about this episode, in part because it feels very much like the first half of a two-parter. And while technically it is not, the next episode is entitled “Afterbirth,” to this week’s “Birth,” so, you know, for all intents and purposes, etc.
But we have to talk about Harriet Hayes’ curse. I loved the inclusion of the Roanoke/Croatoan story. The lost colony of Roanoke remains one of history’s spookiest stories, and while there are plenty of perfectly reasonable explanations for what happened to the colonists and what “CROATOAN” might mean, this version of the story is more fun. Of course, the question is whether or not Harriet Hayes knew the “CROATOAN” curse wouldn’t work when she shared it with Violet. Is Harriet Hayes merely incompetent or did she give Violet misleading information deliberately? And if so, why? OR, is it supposed to put a seed of doubt in her whole Antichrist/Pope and a Box story? If she got this curse business wrong, can we possibly trust anything she has to say?
A couple of other things worth briefly mentioning: the red crib. Red is a powerful color, symbolizing blood and life and war and lust and, of course, often associated with Hell and Satan himself. Red is an ambivalent color: sometimes representing power, strength and vitality, and other times representing mystery, esotericism and death. What red is not associated with is babies, for the reasons listed above. The intention here is, of course, to suggest that this baby is different, powerful, ominous.
And his birth certainly indicates as much. As a symbol, death in childbirth represents a blood sacrifice: from the mother’s death, a life is brought forth. What is interesting is that generally speaking while a mother’s death in childbirth is always a sad event, it also is suggested to be something of a balancing one. In fiction, children whose mothers died giving birth to them often grow to be special, different and heroic. For such an important figure to come to life, something important must be sacrificed — i.e. his mother. In this case, this baby was so special, he required the sacrifice not only of his mother’s life, but his twin’s as well. Whatever this child is, he is very powerful.
Timeline so far:
1922: Dr. Alby (Montgomery) builds the house for his wife, Nora.
1926: Baby Alby is kidnapped and dismembered. Dr. Alby revives him. After attempting and failing to kill Baby Alby, Mrs. Alby shoots and kills Dr. Alby and herself.
1947: Dr. Curan kills The Black Dahlia in Murder House.
1968: The nurses are killed by Franklin.
1974: Addy is born.
1978: Twins are killed by the basement goblin.
1983: Constance kills her husband and Moira.
1984: Young Tate meets Nora and Basement Goblin in the basement.
1994: Larry kills Constance’s son Beau in the attic.
1994: Mrs. Larry sets a fire that kills her and Larry’s daughters in Murder House.
1994: Constance, Tate and Addy move into Murder House with Larry.
1994: Tate sets Larry on fire. Tate goes on a school shooting spree. Tate is killed in Murder House by a SWAT team.
October 2010: Tate, as Rubber Man, kills Sylar and Patrick in the house.
Summer 2011: Hayden’s baby is conceived.
September 2011: The Harmons move in.
September 5thish, 2011: Vivien’s baby is conceived after Tate dons the Rubber Man suit and rapes her.
Fall 2011: The Murder Festishists are killed inside the house by Tate and the Nurses.
October 2011: Larry kills Hayden.
October 31, 2011: Addy is killed.
Late 2011/early 2012: Violet overdoses on pills and dies inside Murder House.
Presumably early 2012: Prince Farid is killed by Larry and Moira.
March, 2012: Vivien is institutionalized.
Spring 2012: Hayden kills Ace Young in Murder House.
Spring 2012: Tate kills the exterminator in Murder House.
March 2012: Vivien delivers the twins and dies in childbirth.
American Horror Story airs on FX Wednesdays at 9 p.m. It is very naughty.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.