It always seems so ham-handed to begin with a warning. When we are kids we have no fear until it’s given to us by adults mostly for our own good but sometimes as extensions of their own fears about life or what lies ahead in it. The only warning I will give you is just the usual one about spoilers – you know, if you’re saving it for an awesome DVD marathon don’t read any further. But for the rest of you, come inside one last time…
“Afterbirth” opened with Ben walking around the house looking for Vivien, who’s being schooled in the ways of being a ghost by Moira (old Moira that is) who explains that the living can’t see the dead unless the dead want to be seen. Vivien seems at peace with being dead and in the knowledge that Ben might have a future away from the house with their surviving baby if he leaves now. Vivien and Violet then appear to Ben to say good-bye and warn him about the dangers of staying, which he heeds. As he’s leaving with the baby he’s confronted by Hayden who, along with others, hangs Ben from the second floor chandelier. Murder House has claimed another victim.
The house then goes up for sale again (greatly reduced) and a very pretty new family moves in (are there no normal, average-looking American families living in L.A.?). Violet appears to the teenage son much to the jealous rage of Tate, and Ben and Vivien work their newly-found magic to scare the living hell out of the family “Beetlejuice” style. The funniest moment of the whole series comes when the new family is watching Ben and Vivien kill each other while each explains “I’ve always wanted to do that” (priceless). But Tate cannot stand the idea of losing Violet to another man and is about to kill the new teenage boy when Violet intervenes. The new family drives away screaming, leaving everything behind. The Harmons know there will be more families but they also know how to get rid of them now.
Tate comes to dead Ben to ask to see Violet and to resume their weekly talks. With fear now removed, Ben tells him (awesomely) he’s full of shit and that he’s a psychopath responsible for rape and multiple murders. He also, humorously, explains that therapy doesn’t work and is a racket for the weak to feel better about themselves while therapists get rich from that. He explains Tate can’t ever be helped and even mocks him for his performance. Meanwhile, Vivien hears a baby crying. She heads to the basement where she finds Norah trying desperately to rock the Beta baby to sleep to no avail. Vivien explains she has a way with kids and cradles the baby who falls asleep in her arms. “I thought he was stillborn,” Vivien asks. Norah explains that, for a moment, he was alive but that her husband, the doctor, didn’t notice so the weak, frail baby died very shortly after its birth. Norah then concedes she was never meant to be a mother and gives Vivien her baby. The Harmons are reunited at last, all at peace with each other and all one big happy family…finally.
Jump ahead several years. The Harmons actually put up a Christmas tree and celebrate the holidays together while Tate and Hayden are on the outside looking in, seething in their own want and desires. Hayden tells Tate to grow a set and accept Violet will never speak to him again even as she angrily, but longingly, looks at the life she so desperately wanted with Ben. Constance, who’s been mysteriously absent for all this time, revisits her hairdresser and makes up some wild story about how she now has a “son” (from the tragic death of her distant relatives – she had to explain it somehow especially with the police still looking for the babies). When she returns home she sees blood in the kitchen. She hurries upstairs and sees her nanny lying dead on the floor, her throat slit. And in the absolute creepiest thing I have ever seen on TV, we see the blood-soaked Alpha child, Tate’s (and Murder House’s) evil offspring, sitting in a chair over the body laughing, rocking back and forth enjoying his first kill ala Damien/“The Omen.” “What am I going to do with you now,” asks Constance as the screen goes to black. Evil now has a vessel in which to move about in our world, a child with no fear biding its time until he’s grown up.
After watching “Afterbirth” I was scared, truly scared. What will happen now that this evil is now free of the house which was its boundary? Does the house actually exude such force it can draw victims to it as we saw in the opening? Does the house have some sort of control over that wacky, racist real estate agent to make her the only one to re-sell it time and time again? Will Jessica Lange get a richly-deserved Emmy nomination for her performance as Constance? But what gives me real fear is that they don’t screw up Season Two. I think the writers know how to carefully (masterfully) craft a full story arch but I thought the same of “Heroes” and “Twin Peaks” after their first seasons, too. Only time will tell…
We know there will be more families to come but for some reason we can’t wait. Until then, we conclude this chapter of “American Horror Story,” a wonderfully crafted televised novel we just couldn’t put down.
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