'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on the Violet reveal and Ben's 'magical towel'
SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST AMERICAN HORROR STORY!!!! Well, Ryan Murphy had promised last week that we would get closure on Violet’s status and we sure did: The Harmon daughter is indeed dead. She kicked the bucket a few episodes back when she took all those pills, attempting suicide. While it appeared Tate had saved her, he was in fact too late. Last night’s episode, “Smoldering Children,” also revealed that Tate was actually the one who burned Larry in a drug-induced rage before embarking on the school shooting. Heavy stuff but then there was some levity when Tate attacked Ben, who was wearing only a towel. For more on Ben’s “magical towel” (see photo for a lovely visual aid) as well as Violet’s big twist, EW talked to AHS maestro Ryan Murphy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So Violet’s dead. Did you always plan on that happening?
RYAN MURPHY: That was a really interesting experience and I think we have such a wonderful writing staff and I adore them and love them. I always knew she was dead but I didn’t wanna tell people until I absolutely had to. So in the writer’s room as we’re writing one day, two episodes after the pill thing, I go “You guys do realize Violet’s dead?” And then they’re all like, “What?!” I edited the show where she took the pills in a way to me that was very vague. So yeah, I always knew that I wanted her to die. The thing about where the body was revealed was always in my mind, as well. I think Evan and Taissa were so brilliant in that episode. It was very emotional to watch.
When we shot it, I think we did not show Taissa the mold of her body. We reserved that for her close-ups, so what you’re seeing is her actually responding and looking at a dead her.
Will Ben and Vivien find out that she’s dead?
They will eventually find out if she’s dead, and imagine what you would do as a parent if you found out your child was dead. Would you want to live? Would you want to die yourself? I knew that it would be ripe for that family.
Is this the last we’ll see of Larry?
Yes, I think this is goodbye to Larry.
He’s headed off to Illinois?
Oh yeah, we had to ship him out of state.
Do you think he’s actually doing this as penance for his sins? Or is he still just infatuated with Constance?
I think it’s both. I love that scene with the wife where he says, “I’m gonna make Constance pay.” And she says, “You’re the one who broke the vow.” I think that was an interesting lesson for him and I love that the show is dealing with the consequences of actions. I do think he realized he needed to pay for what he did to his family. But I also think he did it to save Constance who against all odds he should not still love. And I just loved what Jessica Lange did with that scene. My favorite scene Jessica has done in the whole show is the interrogation where you cut to see what Constance really did. I love that.
So is Tate’s reason for the school shooting mostly Beau’s death and his hatred for his mother?
Yes. Well, I think it’s more than that. I don’t think his motivations were as sinister and dark and f***ed up as Dylan Klebold for example. I do think Tate was probably someone who was bullied and made fun of. What he has done in many ways, all of it is in retaliation of Constance. She had several children and he was “the most beautiful” and she had such high expectations and needs and wants and probably wanted him to fill some of her own dreams and ambitions and he was just not gonna have it. We show him doing a lot of crystal meth. That’s what he’s doing, coke and crystal meth, before the shooting. I think his massacre became even worse because of the drug taking.
So are we gonna see Constance’s fourth child?
Is the fourth one like a spider-monkey or something?
I think Constance’s fourth child is Michelle Pfeiffer [laughs]. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Where is the infantata?! I miss that little guy.
The infantata is further explored and we really get into him in the one after this one. The thing about the episode that’s great is we’ve been very careful to only show split seconds of the infantata and in the next episode you really get to see what that little baby has grown up to look like and it’s really scary. I think it’s the scariest shot of the year.
I love that the fight between Ben and Tate occurred with Ben half-naked.
We almost called this episode “The Case of the Magical Towel.” [laughs] Dylan was so funny when we were shooting. He’s gotten so much attention for his quite well-formed derriere. Well if he lost the towel it would be like, How are we going to shoot it? We had to protect his pee-pee. But I loved that as the title. “The Case of the Magical Towel.”
Since next week’s episode is called “Birth,” does Vivien give birth?
She does give birth but the outcome is not what you would expect.
Next week’s is the second to the last episode?
“Birth” is the penultimate episode and “Afterbirth” is the finale.
So what can you say about “Birth?”
“Birth” is dealing with the fact that she’s deceased so she’s trying to protect her parents from the pain of that. I think that episode is really about “Out with the old and in with the new,” so to speak. Also, there’s been so much talk in the last five episodes that people want those babies. Everyone in that house has baby fever.
It has one of my favorite scenes we’ve ever done. Zach Quinto and Jessica Lange wanted a scene where they went head-to-head. So we were like, “We are happy to oblige.” So we wrote this really great, three-page fight scene between them where it’s Chad vs. Constance which is quite delicious. It’s really good. I’m sort of pissed we didn’t do this earlier because truly the only person who go against Constance is Chad.
The next two episodes in terms of “Smoldering Children” and “Birth” are interesting because I know that some people in the two before with the Black Dahlia and Connie and the loony bin, I think people felt you’re getting away from our main characters and people really loved the Tate/Violet stuff and they really wanna know about the core Harmons. So these last three episodes are all about the Harmons and the outcome of the Harmons.
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An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.