TV: ‘American Horror Story’ Recap Episode 01.06

For weeks now, there has been a huge build up among “American Horror Story’s”” younger female viewers about the origins of Tate Langdon; resident heartthrob and mass murderer. Okay fine, so maybe I was really excited about this episode too. Crazy or not, you can’t help but have a certain affection for this kid, who sort of acts as a scrappy mascot for the show, and provides some of the more intense and emotional scenes the series has to offer. So this is the Tate episode primarily. Keep that in mind. All things Tate are revealed here. For 40 something minutes, the Harmon’s take a backseat, and we fill a much needed knowledge gap.

Ryan Murphy described the first 15 minutes of 1×6 as “disturbing”, and he managed to deliver his promise quite effectively. It’s 1994, and a group of diverse teens are hulled up in a library after hearing gunshots outside. They are the same teens that approached Tate in the last episode, so right away, you know that no matter how well they manage to defend themselves, their fate is sealed. Watching the students waiting to die and slowly being shot is, in my opinion, a million times more unsettling than any ghost or monster this show has managed to produced so far. the coldness of these executions is beyond brutal, reminding us that human beings at their ugliest are capable of things truly fit for horror pictures.

Once Tate gets home, he is instantly ambushed by the police and shot to death. In present time, Violet uses the power of the internet to uncover the truth about what she had seen the night before. She realizes that Tate is a ghost, along with all of the other teens that approached her. Violet rushes downstairs to find her parents, only to find Constance waiting for her instead. Constance tells her that her family lived in the house when Tate killed those people, and she believes that it was the house that drove him to do what he did. She brings her next door to meet a medium, who tries to convince her to help Tate cross over. Violet is understandably, not so eager to poke and prod at an unstable ghost, and rushes home.

Even though he was forced to move out, Ben still needs a place to work, and so he continues to come over to the house. The Harmons managed to move to what may be the craziest town in America, as none of his patients ever seem to see him for things like low self esteem. No; they all see him for creepy things to match their very equally creepy personalities. Every single person we have seen Ben talk with so far passed the point of needing a therapist years ago. This week’s session reflected the name of the episode, focusing on a man cripplingly scared of urban legends, with a current fixation on a ghost called “the piggy man”. The guy himself is about as normal as someone who steps into Ben’s office can be. By that I mean he isn’t a complete and total mumbling mess….and he hasn’t killed anyone.

After several semi successful sessions, the man goes home and recites the “chant” to call out the piggy man and face his fears. There he is robbed, shot, and killed. His life was spent fearing urban myths, and yet he was ironically murdered by something much more tangible. This brings Ben’s patient body count to two now. Something that will bite him in the ass later for sure. Other than the possibility of getting blamed for this man’s death, Ben’s story was probably the least central to the overall plot, and seemed to more serve as a placeholder to remind us that Ben is still doing something after getting kicked out of his home.

Vivian’s exploits without Ben turn out to be a little more concerning. As the baby grows in her, she is beginning to have alarming and sinister dreams. Constance and Moira are bringing raw meat to her plate, including a pig’s brain that she gobbles up quite eagerly. Speculatively speaking, the two friendly women appear to have some sort of stock in the baby’s birth. Whether they are trying to somehow manipulate the pregnancy or not is up for question, but it seems like they want to have some sort of control over it. She later visits the woman who fainted during the ultrasound , who suggests that she is carrying a spawn of Satan, an abomination.

Violet’s quest to find the truth has left her broken, reverting back to self harm to deal with her problems. Unable to eat and sleep, she visits her bully turned friend, who tries to convince her that what she is seeing is the devil. After what Tate did to her, she is having similar problems, and gives Violet a share of her pills to help her sleep at night. Despite being so heavily traumatized, Violet is far from finished with her investigation into Tate’s past. Her next stop is the library where the teens who cornered her were murdered. There; she runs into the surviving teacher of the massacre and questions him. Her efforts are fruitless, but like all of the others, the teacher says that Tate seemed like a good kid. That he had no reason for doing what he did. Tate’s actions, along with his death, seem increasingly connected with the house rather than something being wrong with him as a person.

When she gets home, she follows Tate down to the basement as he creeps through her house. Rather than his casual and friendly greeting, he seems much more ghost like now that Violet actually knows that he is dead. Instead of her boyfriend, she comes face to face with several of the house’s ghosts who all conveniently choose to reveal themselves at the exact same time. This severely triggers the already unstable and erratic Violet, and causes her to attempt suicide in her room. Tate finally reveals himself and thwarts her suicide plan, forcing her to throw up the pills that she took. It’s actually a very tender moment if you get past the fact that the guy holding this little girl and fighting for her life is the ghost of a serial killer.

Right now there seem to be two different Tate Langdons presented in the show. There is the one that Violet fears. The psychopathic murderer without a heart, who is more or less the boy from the first episode. Then there is the one that Constance talks about that we have seen these last few episodes. Still lacking a true grip on reality, but ultimately both sensitive and loving with a true desire to keep Violet alive and out of harm’s way.

Once she is lucid, Violet finally manages to have a civil conversation with Tate. At this point she seems to be aware that if anything, he doesn’t mean her any harm. Tate tells Violet that he loves her, and that he will leave her alone if she wants him to because he cares more about her feelings than his own. He promises to protect her no matter what choice she makes. She is moved by this, and invites him to fall asleep with her.

Finally, there is the ending to the Addy and Constance arc, and Constance is finally able to meet with Addy using the help of her medium. You’d think that after the death of her last child, a mother would become more crazy; but it seems that in the wake of Addy’s death, Constance is becoming much more empathetic. Both towards her late daughter, and others. She tearfully tells Addy her regrets. Though their relationship was touch and go in life, Constance can truly appreciate her in death, Addy tells her that she is happy to be on the other side rather than with her brother, and that she is scared of him.

Reflection notes:

- Is “American Horror Story” going to get biblical? The red dragon. The screaming pregnant woman. The book of revelations that Violet’s bully friend was reciting seemed to reflect on what was happening within the walls of the house. Not to mention what the nurse saw. It seems like they are going in a “spawn of satan” direction. I guess that would make the gimp “satan”

- What roles do Constance and Moria play in this babies birth, and for what purpose?

- Tate. This episode really blew up the internet in terms of discussion about this character. Some people seem to be under the impression that he is by and large a good person who was manipulated by the house, and because he has no memories, he isn’t the same boy who shot up his school. Others seem to feel that he is the same psychopath at heart and is hard to sympathize with.

- “American Horror Story” was renewed for a second season. Where do you honestly go from teenage serial killer ghost love and gimp-satan babies?