Now this is exactly the kind of stuff we were expecting from American Horror Story! Last night's climax of the two-part Halloween storyline raised the bar for this series as a whole.
Last week I said Zachary Quinto had saved AHS, and I stand by that. His performance elevated this series to the pace and acting insanity that it should be running at. And furthermore, "Halloween Part 2" might be my favorite episode of AHS so far — hell, it's now in the running for favorite episode from a horror show ever. And this from a person who was never all that impressed with the scares that this series was dishing out. Last night all the puzzle pieces started to fall into place, allowing the oversexed spirits who haunt the Murder House to finally have a little fun. Plus we found out that Tate is an irredeemable monster... right after we fell for him.
It feels as though AHS is finally utilizing all the spooks inside this manor, to get out the good scares. For the first time this felt like a real haunted-house story and not just three folks trapped in a fancy showroom. Granted, parts of it were still a jumbled mess — but holy hell Quinto must have laid $100 on the ground after his MacBethy pumpkin tirade and said, "Out-act this, jerks." Because no one phoned it in for Halloween. Even Burning Man Denis O'hare was taking Jessica Lange's Southern wiles to court.
But first and foremost, I want to talk about the most surprising part of the episode: Tate's backstory. While on their first real date, Tate and Violet spend their night cuddle-humping next to a beachy campfire. Which I assume is some sort of teen date law in California because I've yet to watch a show with someone under the age of 19 without the government mandated campfire cuddling. Meanwhile, it's fucking snowing in New York. Snowing! Anyway, kisses and cuddles and crotch grabs were flying... but what's this? Tate doesn't want to sleep with Violet just yet. Is it because he has a ghost penis? It's gotta be a ghost penis thing, right?
Rebuffed, Violet motions to leave, and instead Tate wins her over with a romantic, "fuck High School and everyone in it" tale. It's actually fairly sweet and clearly these two who prefer black roses (barf) and Kurt Cobain are meant for each other. Surely this is true love, and Tate and Violet will get married on the smokers' stairs on the side of the High School.
NOT SO FAST. Enter a gaggle of zombiefied High Schoolers. They know Tate, which is odd because he's a ghost. Turns out the gang has been looking for Tate for years, and they're pretty pissed. It sinks in pretty fast what this little shit did.
And yes that was Alessandra Torresani, better known as Zoe Graystone from Caprica. So excellent — love her.
The gang follows Tate and Violet back to her home. And this is where things slowly unravels from the Lost Boys-meets-Breakfast Club stand-off the audience was expecting. And our worst fears are confirmed.
It starts when Amir, the boy with no bottom jaw, tries to blurt out (I think) something about how he just wants his face back while the gang is circling Violet. His words bubble up under a thick spout of black blood. Defeated he slinks off, hand clutching the gaping hole of where his lips should be. The cheerleader makes a sad face of disgust, puts her hand on his shoulder and says, "It's OK."
Hmmm, jerk off bullies looking to Cobra Kai the local geek on Halloween rarely hit the pause button long enough to console each other. I didn't really need any more confirming after that point, Tate did exactly what American Horror Story hinted at in the pilot episode and had been bricking off in each episode, by sending Tate on "protect Violet" errands. He took a gun to school and murdered his classmates.
Taking a murder of this magnitude, for entertainment. Christ, American Horror Story, that's a big pill to swallow. Buffy couldn't even get their Columbine-esque episode on the air. And it's impossible to shake the comparison — especially when one of the victims claims Tate asked her if she believed in God before he pulled the trigger.
But, instead of vengeance, these spirits want answers. They follow Tate screaming, pleading, and eventually begging through tears, to know why. "This guy was honor roll, he could have been valedictorian... Now I'm not going to change the world, but he could have. He could have been something, and you ruined all that potential." It's all very reminiscent of a play I saw a long time a go that was titled (I think) The Columbine Project where the victims talked about the future they were robbed of. What happened last night was horrifying, completely debilitating and then eventually unspeakably sad. I found myself muttering "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" the entire time from entrance to exit. Which was probably the point.
Now how are we to feel about Tate? His actions have yet to be fully explained. But can there be an explanation that lets him off the hook for these unforgivable deeds? Even if he was possessed by a spirit and didn't know he was doing it, I would hate to think they'd use that, that kind of cheapens introducing these victims, doesn't it? Of course there's his side of the story, and it might even be very sad and touching, but I'll never be able to watch this show with him in it, past a few more episodes. And I imagine that's how Violet feels as well. (Not about watching the show, but you know what I mean.) It's a lot to digest. It looks like the next episode shows what happened at the school, and I'm curious. However, I am happy that a show who has only been utilizing ghosts for sex and death used these characters in a far different way.
Moving on, the rest of the episode was all Burning Man and Hayden trying to out-crazy each other. In the end, Hayden wins when she pretends to microwave the dog (yay Urban Legend reference). One thing we can take away from Hayden's ghostly appearance is 1) she tastes like raspberries and cream YIKES now I know that forever! 2) Vivo now knows that Ben got her pregnant 3) Vivo thinks Ben forced her to abort said baby and 4) Hayden likes baths. But most importantly Vivien is going bang the shit out of that hot security guard.
Meanwhile Ben moves out. Good Riddance!
And finally the last scene of this epic two-parter was the ghostly walk of shame back to Murder House. Exhausted, sad and trapped all the spirits we know and love saunter back to their prison. The ginger twins, Quinto, Moria, the Evil Abortionists wife all grudgingly trudge back into their "home." And even though Quinto is ever so rude to Vivien and smashes her pumpkins, he did save the home from burning, just like the Abortionist's wife saved Vivien by untying Ben. It was an eerie retreat back into the ghostly haunting that is the Murder House, but we love that Patrick was off getting laid (just like Quinto said he was last year.) Oh these ghosts, they're so horny!
We leave this episode with these questions. How does Ben NOT KNOW this house is haunted by now? And how in the hell can Vivien stay there? Go take up with a relative, girl. Finally, I can't wait to see how Violet deals with Constance's big reveal, although I wonder how much Constance really gave away. Then again, all of his deeds are but a google search away. Until next week.