After last week’s stunning, bravura birthing scene that left at least one character dead (RIP, Vivien Harmon), I was wondering just where American Horror Story was going to take things this week. Would the finale focus on Ben‘s guilt? Or Vivien‘s revenge? Or the babies? Or Constance and her sprawling, undead brood? Or maybe the missing Verminator?
In the end, “Afterbirth” focused on all of these things, and managed to throw in a curveball along the way:
THIS WAS A CHRISTMAS EPISODE.
It is a testament to just how batguano crazypants this show has been for the last 11 weeks that the most shocking image in the finale was that of a family trimming the Christmas tree to the tune of “Little Drummer Boy”.
Let’s dig in!
“Honey, you gotta come see this.”
NINE MONTHS AGO
Ben (Dylan McDermott) is looking at something on his tablet in the kitchen of their soulless Boston home, and Vivien (Connie Britton) comes down with her bags, telling him that she’s taking Violet and going to Jo’s. She says that even with the therapy, she can’t get past the wall that’s between her and Ben. He insists that he’s found a house in Los Angeles that’s gonna make everything okay.
“A house isn’t gonna fix it, Ben.” But they said it was a fixer-upper!
He takes her on a loving Architectural Digest walk-through of the house, saying that it’s perfect. (Actually, the tour through the empty rooms is a very nice way to cap off a season of a show whose real main character was the house.) He says that when he saw the house it was like a flash of lightening – he saw the three of them there in the house, with Vivien holding a baby and Violet by the fire reading a depressing novel. (Colonel Mustard: “Yep, two corpses – everything’s fine!”) He jokes that with a price that low it must be haunted or something. Har-de-har-har.
He keeps up with the hard sell, telling her that when he looks at this house, for the first time ever he feels hope.
We cut to Ben present-day, running through the empty house screaming for Vivien. “Where are you?”
OPENING CREDITS – ENJOY THEM FOR THE LAST TIME?
Next door, Ben is picking up his baby from Constance (Jessica Lange) and mentions that Vivien’s sister is also here to help take care of it. She stalls, saying that she needs to feed him, and he demands that she give him his son. She tells him that there are forces in the house that mean to do the child harm – the same forces that claimed Vivien and probably Violet, too. He ignores this last part and says they’ll be fine and she calls him a fool: “After everything that has happened, how can you still be so blaahhhhnd?”
Evil Made Flesh.
We flash back to Ben calling Tate’s mom, which we now know is Connie. Addy (Jamie Brewer) colors at the table as Connie talks to him on the phone – nice of them to confirm our suspicions on this one, and of course always nice to see Addy. Back in the here-and-now, Ben demands to know where Tate is, and Connie says he’s in his grave and has been since the Clinton administration. He tells her to lock her door after he leaves and pray that he doesn’t come back.
In the kitchen, Moira the Elder (Frances Conroy) and Vivien chat, with Moira asking her how her transition is going, noting that it’s the living that make it so hard. Ben comes in and Viv ducks, but Moira reminds her that he can’t see her unless she wants him to.
Viv hovers, giving Ben suggestions as to how to feed the baby. Moira accuses her of wanting him to see her, but she insists she doesn’t, and she’s made Violet promise not to let him see HER any more, either. She says that she wants him to get the hell out of the house and raise the baby somewhere safe.