Seriable’s Aria Mohtadi reviews American Horror Story 1.03 — “Murder House”
The show’s mythology resurfaced again, big time. With Harmons settling down to every possible selling offer, things took a darker turn this time around in AHS‘ Murder House.
In ‘Reflections’ we discuss major plot points and general aspects of the episode.
What we already knew before watching the episode:
- The House of horrors and its residents keep a watchful eye over Hamons, protecting Vivien’s “cursed” baby from outside harm.
- Constance’ pain goes way back, when her family fell apart.
- Vivien’s finally had enough of the horrors and break-ins. She urges Ben to sell the house.
The episode opens with an explosive flashback, shedding some extra light over a significant part of the background of one of the shows’ most mysterious characters; Moira.
As foreshadowed in the pilot by Constance’s threatening ‘reminder’, we see how she had killed Moira once before: Apparently, Moira was constantly being intimidated into a repulsive affair with Connie’s husband; until one day Connie catches them in the act and kills them both (point-blank) with a handgun. Oh, and the secret behind Moira’s now-ghostly right eye? Constance shot right through it.
Vivien is dealing with the revelation of Ben’s lie about meeting one of his ‘patients’ in Boston, and the recent serial copycat’s invasion. She’s so desperate to get out of the -evil- house, unfortunately Ben’s investment is cemented there, also his patient count is getting low (no wonder), so they have to wait at least for a while before selling the house and not losing more than already.
The writers have managed to find a way to keep the Harmons trapped in the house for a bit longer. In the Pilot Vivien seemed to have formed a connection with the murals/paintings of Saints in hell, and so had Violet with the basement. I think even if things get worse, the trio have sunken deep enough into the horror swamp to not be able to pull themselves out. In other words, the House shares the LOST island effect.
Humor moment follows, while Vivien’s obviously pissed that the cunning real estate agent can’t sell the house as easily as she sold to them a while ago. Britton is so amazing to watch when she’s angry about something.
Back to “The adventures of the house-owner peeking the house-keeper” of the week…Moira makes Ben some ‘hotttt’ coffee. I have to say I love the way Alexandra Breckenridge portrays Young Moira; so devious after death yet sympathetic when alive (in the opening flashback). I think now we can understand why Moira’s spirit has transfigured into a young version; her own guilt plus Constance’s grudge against her, have made her become a “manifestation” of a victim/seductress.
And I do feel bad for her; she wasn’t exactly guilty; She couldn’t have spoken of her affair with the guy, ‘cause she would have been accused of being a seductress anyway. And it seems that the house entraps “spirits filled with regret”. This, and being constantly harassed by Constance’s stinging tongue, makes one sympathize with Moira and care for her more…after all, Connie’s one damn hell of a shot in both ways!
We’ll get a closer look to the Moira vs Connie scene in Beneath the surface.
Ben’s new patient is a woman who her husband perceives to be “boring”, and he wants out. She’s trying to prove him otherwise…Interesting that the same perception overwhelms Ben, and you can tell he’s bored to death. Then suddenly, in a blurry motion, Ben finds himself standing upon his (burial ground?) yard, with his hands covered in blood…Did he just experience a time shift? This brings a curious Spanish movie to mind, named Timecrimes, in which the protagonist would see the consequences of his actions beforehand.
Clearly, Ben has made a big bloody mess involving the poor patient, and good old Moira is cleaning up after it; that’s what she does best. She’s willing to be discrete about Ben’s mess, while also flashing a discrete angle of her special stockings to our Dr. Ben…The House comes with wonders, I guess at least for Ben!
Moira only cleans up the ‘stains’, while she gets ready for Ben’s next “victim – err – patient” – interesting remark by Moira, ’cause Bianca also ended up victimized. Will Tate share the same fate?
Looking for his session tape recorder, with Moira touching him, Ben suddenly gets ‘physical’ with her, and since he’s got a bad habit of being caught in the act of getting “physical” with women, Vivien shows up. I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of Ben shaking old Moira…their expression was priceless! But then again AHS is playing the same note over and over again. It’s time they broke off of the cliché.
Talking about Myth-reliefs (well, to be precise, I believe AHS has managed to merge comic relief moments with plot-oriented moments; hence the myth-reliefs.), Ben’s explanation was top-notch hilarious:
“She just won’t stop! Unbuttoning, bending over” [also she doesn’t work in her own clothes] ” …like you’re headed to a fetish ball” – says Ben, and righteously so.
The dynamic between the two versions of Moira and the Harmons is great, but I mean a simple moment of “revision” would solve their problem. “My days of romance are long over” – c’mon open your eyes Ben! It’s still complicated; is old Moira truly aware of being perceived as the young seductive maid by Ben? One thing for sure, is that she can’t leave, and she has to stay to atone for her “sins”. But the kitchen scenes sets one thing straight: She’s aware of what people (figuratively) may “think of her”; due to her history with Constance. She clearly heard what Ben had to say about her, so she knows what he “thinks” of her, but I guess she’s not aware how he “perceives” her.
Poor Ben, acting “crazy and guilty”…the House has already been pulling his strings; first with the fire, then Young Moira, and now no sign of his last patient. I think he’s becoming more of a protagonist than Vivien, except for the Pilot.
Moira is crossing an already crossed line here…c’mon cut the crap and give the good doc his tape recorder. Talking about discretion… From halfway through the episode, things start to get REALLY (really) ugly for poor Ben:
Guess who’s Ben’s next patient? No patient! It’s Hayden, having “aborted” the abortion she’s come into Ben’s life this time, with a baby on the way. Things not band enough already? Wait…Oh, a detective has dropped by to investigate the disappearance of the ‘boring’ patient…I think we can already put the pieces together and realize that – yes – the forces of the house have tapped into Ben’s mind, and made him somehow responsible for the patient’s disappearance.
Again, gotta give credit to Young Moira for her nice relief moments… I wonder if she appears as her young self to all men who walk into the house…