Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: American Horror Story "Open House"

Non Spoiler Review:
The murder house gets a potential wealthy Persian Armenian buyer, which has Vivien, Marcie, Ben, Larry, Connie and Moira all in a tizzy for a bunch of different reasons. Remember Connie's other children? Where, oh where are they? Vivien continues to tax the health care system by asking for more pregnancy tests to alleviate her concerns she's carrying the Antichrist. Surviving among the crazy is Violet, who manages to pull herself together with Tate's help.

The humour was coming in spades this week, mainly from realtor Marcie who just wants to be done with the murder house and get her commission. I'm wondering if she has some deeper connection to it that we haven't discovered yet. But everyone is in a mad frenzy to seal the deal and pass the house off to its new buyer.

When faced with the potential sale, Connie, Moira and Larry really shone as they struggled to ensure they don't lose contact with their loved ones. The final moment proves that change is the only constant for the Harmons these days.

Spoilers Now!
1994. Larry consoles Connie in her house, who finds out she's being charged with criminal child neglect (imagine!) and her boy, Beauregard, is being placed in an institution. She and Larry are having an affair, and he'll do anything for her. So she tells him he knows what to do. He goes into the attic to find Beau chained to the floor (he kind of looks like the guy from Mask). Larry puts him to bed and smothers him (!).

Back in the present, Vivien and Ben await their amnio results. But nothing is out of the ordinary says the exuberant doctor, except that she's having perfectly healthy demonic twins. Gasps.

Marcie is promoting the house to a developer, Mr. Escandarian (sp) whom everyone thinks is Persian but is really Armenian. Vivien is happy to see someone expressing serious interest in the place. He sees Moira as her voluptuous self, who suggests he build a swimming pool, which would require him digging up the entire yard. He wants to know what's wrong with the place, so Vivien is candid about the violent deaths of the previous owners. But he remains interested, and wants to know if anyone else tries to put in an offer before he gets back to them. Marcie isn't pleased with Vivien's truthfulness.

They hear a noise and find Larry, who's there for the open house, too. Macie informs him it's over for the day, but the two of them seem to know one another. He accuses her of discrimination against his burny affliction. Macie abruptly pulls out a gun and orders him to get out. Vivien is shocked. Larry says he'll sue. She puts down the gun and they show him the house. He's particularly enamoured by the fireplace.

That night Vivien tries to relax in bed, and has an erotic dream about a certain security man who morphs into both Ben and the rubber man.

Tate asks Violet to stop cutting herself, so she promises him. She heads down to a family dinner with her mom and dad, and it's probably the first time we've seen all three eating together. They're worried that she's depressed given she never leaves her room. She admits to being depressed but she's not suicidal, so they should go back to their habitual neglect. She leaves, and Vivien and Ben discuss the buyers, and Vivien comments that one of them is severely burned. Ben agrees with Marcie about not revealing too much of the history of the house. That prompts another argument and Ben warns her not to screw up selling the place.

Mr. Escandarian shows up again and is greeted by Moira, who is happy to show him around. She proceeds to seduce him in Violet's room. They come out to find Ben in the hallway, and Moira introduces the potential buyer to him. Escandarian informs him he's going to bulldoze the house and build apartments.

Larry returns to his apartment to find Ben waiting to confront him about his so-called plans to buy his house, given he has no money. Ben's done some fact checking and learns Larry never went to prison for burning his family, but was institutionalized instead. He believes it's all lies. Larry tells him the house has power and admits he was trying to scare them out of the house. He needs the house to be happy again...with her.

There's a flashback to Larry and his wife Loraine. He confesses he's fallen in love with someone else, Constance from next door. Larry suggests she and the girls move in with her mother and he'll provide for them. Later on he goes upstairs to find the girls' bedroom on fire. That's apparently what really happened.

Larry still wants Constance back. Ben says they have a real buyer with money who will raze the house, and that makes Larry furious that he'd let him do it. Ben departs to file a restraining order against him.

On the murder tour, Marcie and Vivien check out all the backstory on the house. We get more on the Montgomery family saga—that little baby Thaddeus was sewn back together by Charles and apparently brought back to life by one their patient's hearts. Charles informs his wife that they won't have to have a funeral. The baby is upstairs and waiting in the nursery. Nora goes up to have a look and sees something, then comes down looking a little worse for wear. She calmly tells Charles he's a genius. That's all he wanted to hear. Nora tried to nurse the baby but it wasn't milk it was craving. She was unable to kill it. She says Charles is a man after all, and as he hugs her she shoots him in the head. She declares they're damned for what they did to all the girls, then she blows out her own brains.

Connie is in the basement of the house searching for Larry. She got his flowers and the card to meet him at their house. Larry comes out. She taunts him and asks if he's seen her new beau (Travis). He loves her, but Connie calls him disgusting and weak, letting the house get the better of him. If she catches him peeping in her windows again, she'll ruin the other half of his face. He tells her they're going to tear down the house. 

Violet hears movement in the attic so goes upstairs. A ball rolls out to her and she sees Beau. Tate appears and tells him to go away, then comforts her. Violet feels she's going insane. Tate explains they're the ghosts of people who died in the house, and they're appearing to her now because she's evolved. She just has to tell them to go away. Tate's found a bunch of stuff hidden in the attic—jars and photos of babies, including some of Charles and Nora. Violet then sees Maria's ghost and tells her to go away. And it works!

Connie meets with Mr. Escandarian at his home, but her usual manner of dealing with men doesn't work on him. He asks her what she wants for her house and is willing to pick up her property too. He's a developer and has no patience for her long-winded tales. She advises him to stop unearthing things while he's ahead and to show some respect to the old lands. He pretty much tells her off. She warns him his time is going to end and someday they'll be building on top of him too.

Ben sees Tate again, who puts on a great act assuring him the therapy has helped him a lot. His visions are gone. Ben is happy to hear that, and then privately asks him if Violet is in trouble and to come to him right away if she is.

Connie shows up and runs into Moira. She wants to speak to Tate, given she knows he has an appointment with Ben. But Moira notices she was crying. Connie wanders the house searching for Tate. He appears and is not that happy to see her. Tate sarcastically adds it turns out he hates his mother. She then goes up in the attic to see Beau and tells him she has to say goodbye. They're going to take everything away from her.

Connie returns to the kitchen and Moira, chiding her for throwing herself at the Armenian. If she gets her swimming pool, they'll find her bones and send Connie to prison, Moira explains. Connie reveals he's actually tearing the whole thing down, which will seal her tomb for good. But when the walls come down she'll lose her family forever and she won't have that. Moira realizes he lied to her too. She wonders why they (men) always lie. Connie assures her they can help each other and Moira asks what she wants her to do.

Moira gets Mr. Escandarian to come over for a second round. This time she takes him down to the basement where she proceeds to service him with too much teeth. Larry puts a plastic bag over his head and smothers him. Connie watches from the shadows. She's finally come to appreciate Moira's talent, and tells Larry to make sure he's off the property before he dies because she doesn't want to encounter him again.

Vivien talks to Violet about the offer on the house, explaining they'll go stay with her aunt until they find a place. She apologizes for how it's all gone since they moved to LA. Violet asks how she knew she loved Ben, and her mother explains love makes you do crazy things. Then Violet shows her the old photo of the house and the other photos from the attic, including the Montgomery family. Vivien recognizes Nora.

The Verdict:
I'm throwing down right now that Vivien's doctor is in on the demon baby. She seems to be too much of everything's fine, and the ultrasound malfunction smacks of a cover up from someone higher up.

With the introduction of another of Connie's progeny, Beauregard (and not Thaddeus) appears to be the one rolling the red ball in the basement whom Adelaide was playing with some episodes back. What's the fate of the remaining members of Connie's brood, and are they in the house too? It actually kind of makes some bizarre sense from her perspective to have all her kids dead and preserved in the house, and the thought of losing them all really made for some more great Connie scenes.

I don't entirely buy Larry's new story about how his family died, but it does explain why the missus and the two girls haven't popped up in the house as ghosts. Does Connie now live in Larry's old place?

The Charles and Nora drama gets filled in some more, which just leaves the fate of Thaddeus himself, given we haven't seen the little tyke for quite some time now. That's assuming that the creature in the basement actually is Thaddeus.

Just as Violet has come to terms with the spiritual nature of the house, now it seems Vivien will have to take a similar journey given she's found the incriminating photographs of Nora. There's little logic left to explain away all the insane happenings. But how will Ben take it all in? He's yet to receive his epiphany, despite having Hadyen thrown in his face and his usual sense of denial when it comes to his own affairs means he'll likely fight the truth right to the end. With only ten episodes this season, I'm curious to see where this will all end up by the finale, given the Harmon family is virtually torn apart. Could they all end up as ghosts in the house for a new family to arrive next year?

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