The Rubber Man strikes, a pretty girl meets an ugly end, and the Harmons tangle with a fluffer from hell in 'Halloween.' 

By Jeff Jensen
Updated October 27, 2011 at 07:10 AM EDT
Credit: FX

October 28, 2010. Halloween looms. According to legend, the dead come back on the night before All Saints’ Day. But in one Los Angeles neighborhood, the departed — dear and otherwise — don’t need holiday magic to roam free. They just need the house, a home to haunted history, vengeful wraiths and hideous monsters built from baby parts and hooves or wrapped in zippered black leather. One year ago, it was also home to two men whose love had gone corpse-cold. Chad (Zachary Quinto) is an interior designer with an unforgiving sense of decorum and a sharper tongue. Patrick (Teddy Sears) is his companion, a paramedic who likes to work out at the gym. A lot. They bought the house to flip it — fix it up, sell at a mark-up, make a killing. Yet the collapsing SoCal housing market is crushing the dream by the day. To salvage it, Chad has come up with a bold idea to generate publicity and heat for their marketing-challenged home: A French-themed Halloween party worthy of a photo spread in Elle Décor.

Chad is stenciling Marie Antoinette’s face onto a pumpkin when Patrick rushes through the kitchen, eager to get to the gym — eager to get away from his rotting homelife. “Don’t forget to use a condom,” Chad calls after Pat. “And pick me up some Gala apples. I thought the Golden Delicious would look dramatic in the bobbing bucket. They just look dull and depressing, there’s no contrast.” Patrick drifts back into the kitchen, faced pinched with What did you just say? piss. Chad continues throwing combo punches of bitch and blasé. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because you’re screwing your twink trainer? And also I need gourds. I’m gonna hang them from the tree in front, spray-paint them. They’re going to be these clever little organic ghosts.”

Pat is humiliated. Infuriated, too. Chad knows?! And he’s finally confronting me because… I won’t stay and help him carve pumpkins?! Pat comes clean — and fights dirty. Yep, he’s screwing his trainer. And better? “Twink” digs being a “power bottom.” Chad snaps. “First of all, remember our agreement: Don’t ask, don’t tell,” he says. (What a stupid, degrading rule for a relationship. And other things.) “Second, is this crass revelation supposed to hurt me? At this point with you, I’m bulletproof.” Triumphant in his self-righteous scorn, Chad takes a swig of Chablis and resumes crafting. “I also need some dry ice. And have you picked out your costume yet?”

Such is the dysfunction within Chez ChadPat. And Pat, for all his faults, has the eyes to see it. Yes, he cheats. But because Chad is a superficial wuss! “This is all bulls–t! What we’ve become is bulls–t! I don’t give a shit about carving pumpkins! I want passion! Love! I want to be in a relationship with a man, not Martha Stewart!” He also gets the money shot: “I can’t believe this is who we’ve become. Hallow-queens, arguing over pumpkins. We wanted to have a baby. We were going to have this… great life.” Damn. S—t just got real! Pat exits for parts unknown. The Chad hangs alone.

Hours pass. Chad loses himself in frantic “fluffing” – the key word in this episode, defined as the art of covering-up and putting on appearances; of willfully denying or suppressing ugliness with a façade of glamour. Chad dumps red apples into a galvanized bucket filled with water. His inner Martha shrieks in alarm. Red apples compromise the vision. Green apples. It must be green. The façade cracks. Chad deflates. He slumps into a chair, defeated. By everything. He’s doomed, too. Red and green – the show’s harbinger hues, signaling death’s imminent arrival. And there was much red and green in “Halloween,” most of it expressed via apples, that metaphorically loaded forbidden fruit.

Enter The Rubber Man. Who seems to show up when people are in tender, vulnerable spaces. Think: Vivien, flush and woozy from having sex with her own philandering partner for the first time in a year, and also under the influence of her doctor’s mystery meds. Chad sips Chablis and smirks tipsy. He thinks the guy in the suit is Pat, modeling his Halloween costume. Chad approves. Scary. Sexy, too. The Rubber Man says nothing. Chad invites him over to finish crafting a bat. “I’m sorry. Sorry for everything,” Chad says, taking (in my opinion) too much blame for the sake of making peace. “My attitude. My low sex drive. It must be low testosterone from stress. I’m seeing a doctor next week.”

No he won’t. The Rubber Man throws Chad into a wall, then throttles him and pushes his head into the bucket of bobbing apples. Before Chad can die from drowning, The Rubber Man snaps his neck. CRACK. Chad is whacked.

NEXT: Looking for fireplace pokers in all the wrong places

In the pilot episode of American Horror Story, when the Harmons found the fetish suit mounted in the attic, Ben assumed it belonged to the guys, that it was an expression of their “kinky” sex life. Wrong. And so The Rubber Man’s origin story remains a mystery. Moreover, we’ve also been told – by Marcy the truth-challenged real estate agent – that ChadPat died in a murder-suicide, and one of them was found with (ugh) a fireplace poker shoved up his somewhere.

And so we brace ourselves for the worst when Patrick, clad in a (midnight?) cowboy outfit, returns just as Chad goes limp. Did Pat tap his Twink during his afternoon pout? We don’t know. But he did buy a costume, just as Chad asked. Sweet. And all for not. Pat sees The Rubber Man. The Rubber Man sees Patrick. We, the viewer, are given a long beat to watch Patrick and The Rubber Man look at each other – but we are not given the moment that shows us what happens next. No murder. No suicide staging. No poker up the rear. Not that any of us wanted to see that anyway. Right?

So many questions. Why did The Rubber Man kill Chad? Clearing the way for the Harmons to move in, perhaps? And did you wonder if maybe, just maybe, The Rubber Man didn’t kill Pat? If maybe The Rubber Man let Pat live, and the Pat we saw later in the episode wasn’t a ghost, but alive? I sure did. I’m not saying that’s what happened, just that the possibility crossed my mind. (To be clear, the rest of this recap will proceed from the perspective that Pat was indeed killed by The Rubber Man.)

I also wondered this: How much should we really trust Marcy? Should we attribute to ignorance her bad, bigoted info about “nasty little perverts” Chad and Pat? Or does this real estate agent represent the house’s darker, more devious interests, too?

WHOYOUGONNACALL? GHOST-FLUFFERS! One year later, The Victorian’s latest unhappy lover-owners – Ben, the intimacy-starved adulterer; Vivien, the artist-turned-suffering homemaker – find themselves in a similar ChadPat bind: Desperate to sell the property, struggling to do so. The whole “Murder House” thing? Makes for an image problem. As we found the Harmons in the first part of this two-part episode, they were huddling with Marcy, brainstorming solutions. We learned the house was egged the night before – and in a flashback, we saw the culprits were twins Troy and Bryan, clad in bloody-rotten red and green. (“Happy Halloween, a–hole!”) Marcy had a suggestion. Fluffers. “People we can hire to come in at a nominal fee who come in and add a dash of style and élan to this place.” Marcy suggested they hire one of these specialists to produced a Halloween night showcase for the house — stir up some buzz among the parents who would be coming by with their trick-or-treating kids. Marcy said she knew a “wonderful English lady, an old pro. But she’s more expensive than the young gay fellow I know.” Ben: “Let’s go with the gay fellow.” Viv agreed.

The gay fellow who showed up the next day — complaining bitterly about the whitefly on the roses – was none other than Chad, accompanied by Patrick. “My ball and chain,” Chad said. I thought: You mean literally? Are these ghosts bound together for eternity per The Murder House Rules? A more pressing question: Did Marcy send Chad? Did the house? Does the house have a plan for the Harmons, and does it strategically use and direct its ever-growing menagerie of specters and creatures in pursuit of that vision? Probably. Tonight, though, I like to think Ghost Chad saw an opportunity to play house again — plus realize the Halloween extravaganza that The Rubber Man denied him — and seized it.

As the Harmons and ChadPat carved pumpkins together, Ben noted: “This is actually kind of fun. I never got to do this as a kid.” When Chad asked for elaboration, Ben fell silent, and Vivien changed the subject. Later, Ben would tell troubled young Tate during a therapy session over coffee and cigarettes (Ben a smoker!) that he, too, had a troubled childhood. “I was kinda like you. I didn’t hold out much hope for myself. Not many other people did, either.” I suspect an ‘Origin of Ben Harmon’ story is forthcoming. Who should play his parents? (BTW, that Ben/Tate scene? Probably the weakest of the season so far. Too much forced emotion/poignancy.)

NEXT: More theories about the Murder House rules

Ben’s warm and fuzzies for the happy holiday childhood he never had turned chilly when Chad suggested that Ben’s recently-built gazebo – the capstone for Hayden’s secret grave – was an eyesore aberration that simply had to be torn down. Chad’s piercing look seemed to be full of I Know What You Did Last Episode subtext. But was it? Ben, spooked, sliced himself with the carving knife. Upstairs in the bathroom, Paramedic Pat dressed the wound with a perfect makeshift stitch — and then groped Ben’s crotch. He also offered to give Ben a “You Oughta Know” Movie Theater Special. Ben’s response was firm. So to speak. Which is to say: “No.” Pat felt chastened. “Sorry, it’s just been a long time for me,” Ghost Pat said. “Don’t tell Chad, okay? We’re not doing well.” Developing theory about afterlife living in American Horror Story: Some kind of cruel typecasting occurs when The Murder House claims a soul. The role you had at the moment of your death is the role you’re stuck playing for as long as you remain bound to the house. Worse: What if your killer is your casting director – the one who gets to choose the part? Hence, Moira is stuck playing The Seducer of Husbands, thanks to Constance’s gunshot judgment. Troy and Bryan are stuck playing The Vandals, thanks to Infantata the House Protector. And Patrick is stuck playing The Horndog, thanks to… well, himself, if you accept the official story that he committed suicide. Enjoy that costume, Midnight Cowboy. You’ll be wearing it a long time.

Downstairs, Chad continued to work his agenda – or maybe he was being his plain old catty, philanderer-hating self – by filling Vivien’s head with suspicion about Ben. “Your husband seems very… nervous. It’s just a feeling I get. A darkness.” Vivien, touchy, said it was obvious that the snippy-with-each-other fluffers were no better off. Chad readily agreed. Pat was a dick. Couldn’t keep it in his pants. Vivien sparked to this. “You found out he was cheating?” she asked. “How?” Chad’s eyes took on a cunning glint. “Easy. Cell phone records. You can erase texts, but not the bill.” A seed had been planted. And on Halloween night, it would bear bitter fruit.

THE FACE A MOTHER COULD LOVE. The series of unfortunate events that led to a certain pretty girl’s shocking death began with a disagreement over men and costumes. Constance entered the frozen-in-time mid-century kitchen in her humble abode and found her daughter mooning over Travis the Himbo Handyman as he read from a book about the real origins of Halloween – about how the current holiday is a secularized fluffing of a Celtic religious ritual called Samhain (Gaelic; pronounced “SOW-en”); how the Celts believed that the dead walked free on Halloween. “I would never want to be a ghost,” Addy said. “That’s so sad.” Constance told her boy-toy to beat it to the “Ko-rean” and fetch her some Pall Malls, then ripped into Addy for flirting with her latest lover. Constance reminded Addy of some unspecified, regrettable incident involving the older woman’s last beau – an allusion to molestation that reminded me of what Tate told Ben in the pilot, about how his mother was reckless with the men she brought into their home and how he had been abused by his stepfather. Again, we ask: Do Tate and Addy share a mommy? Constance wagged a witchy finger in Addy’s face. Momma had given “every inch of my life” to Addy. Momma would even “kill and die” for her. (Had she done so before?) But Momma will not be sharing the (purchased?) affections of hustler-studs with her. Don’t make me get out my red dress of lady-scorned vengeance, missy!

Addy wanted to be “a pretty girl” for Halloween, just like the ones she saw in her mother’s beauty magazines. Constance was appalled by the idea: “You can go as Snoopy again. The costume will still fit if you lay off those chocolate chips.” Addy protested. “Not Snoopy again! Not a dog!” Constance: “It’s Snoopy or it’s nothing at all!”

NEXT: Addy gets fluffed

But Addy would not be denied. She asked the prettiest girl she knew – Violet, the Harmons’ daughter – to give her a pretty girl makeover. (And by “ask” I meant she snuck into the Harmons’ home, hid under Violet’s bed, and then nearly scared the girl out of her Kinks t-shirt by reaching out and grabbing her ankles before finally asking: “Make me a pretty girl. Like you, Violet.”) Violet was wary; she was a soulful goth-in-training who read Camus and Manga, listened to Morrissey, and accessorized her wrists with cutting scars. What the hell did she know about cosmetology? Yet she tried. And maybe even enjoyed it, too. They gabbed like girlfriends on a sleepover, beginning with a chat about Addy’s age. (“’A lady never reveals,’” Addy teased.) About Tate. (Addy: “He likes you. I can tell.” Violet: *Blush*) About sex. (Addy: “Are you a virgin?” Violet: “Yes. Aren’t you?” Addy: “Hell no!”) And about Addy’s trespassing. Violet told her she had to stop invading the home and playing fetch with the Infantata. “But I like it here,” Addy protested. “My friends are here.” (Distracting/interesting: Violet’s chalkboard was visible during the scene, and the word “TAINT” that Tate had written back in the pilot was scratched and smudged but not erased, as if unerasable.)

By the end of Violet’s fluffing, Addy had a lot of product on her face. And she liked it. “Wow, Violet! I look beautiful!” Smash cut to: Constance chasing Addy around the kitchen, trying to wipe the Pretty Girl off Addy’s face. She fumed at Violet. (Hilarious: “That girl has another cupcake coming!”) And she was cruel toward Addy. “You’re not a pretty girl and you know it.” Constance’s attitudes about her Down’s syndrome daughter were — and have always been — self-centered and ugly. Constance believed — and actually said aloud — that when people saw them walking down the street together, they considered themselves “lucky” that they weren’t like Addy, and that they viewed Constance as some kind of hero. “Like I have a choice!” Constance thundered. Mom of the Century! In being painfully honest, Constance did exude a (pitiless) objectivity that represented the extreme counter-point to the denial, suppression and self-deception of “fluffing” practiced elsewhere in the episode. But you wished Constance could have appreciated Addy for the beauty she possessed (and helped her daughter see it, too) instead of judging her and defining her by external, cultural standards of beauty that she (and most of us) couldn’t ever meet. As Constance saw it, Addy needed more than fluffing to look magazine ad pretty — the girl needed to be concealed and wrapped within a whole new facade.

So Constance gave her one. That night, Constance made peace with her “honeybear” by supplying her with a proper Pretty Girl Halloween costume, beginning with a rubbery pull-over mask suggesting a young woman with unblemished pale skin, long lashes, button nose, supple lips, brown hair. It looked like someone had given the Michael Myers/Halloween mask a Girl Next Door makeover. Addy took the fake face and beamed. Now she could be pretty. Now she could look just like the girls in the magazines. Constance had just the thing to finish fluffing Addy into a caricature of beautiful womanhood — a maternity dress. One of her old ones. Maybe the one she wore while carrying Addy. The color: Blood red, natch. Excited, Addy trotted after her mother to a fitting, clutching the rubbery gift she’d been given – a death mask that was about to get her killed.

DR. FRANKEN-FLUFFER MAKES SOME MONSTER MASH. ‘Twas the night before Halloween, and down in the basement, not an Infantata was stirring… though a boy in a fetish suit was lurking. Violet descended the stairs to meet with Tate – forbidden lovers on a clandestine date in the Murder House underworld. She called out to him, then backed into what seemed to be The Rubber Man… who turned out to be Tate wearing the fetish suit, just playin’ with her. In my recap of the pilot, I named Tate as Rubber Man Prime Suspect No. 1. Last week, I changed my mind and pointed my finger at Constance’s (dead) husband, the man she shot dead after catching him trying to rape Moira. My money’s still on The Man, so I think the beat with Tate was a red herring. It also provided fuel for the debate raging in my head, and maybe yours: Is The Rubber Man monster or man? Is “he” a unique, inhuman entity unto itself, or is he someone we know (or don’t yet know) in disguise?

NEXT: When life serves you chopped baby, make an Infantata Frittata

Tough girl Violet insisted sex-suited Tate didn’t scare her. But the mystery boy bet he could give her a chill by communing with the spirit of the home’s original owner, Dr. Charles Montgomery, using an old Ouija board. Violet was game to hang but wanted Tate to cut the crap and give her some answers about some of their recent adventures. Like: What happened to the Psycho-Fans of Franklin? How did Tate get rid of them? “I told you I didn’t do anything,” Tate lied. Then, a quarter honest: “I had some help.” Violet didn’t dig Tate’s ambiguity, but moved on. “What’s in this basement? I want the truth.”

Tate responded with a story that gave us a flashback that continued the twisted tale of demented Doc Montgomery and his unhappy, materialistic wife, Nora. When we left them last week, the year was 1922, and the couple had just launched a basement abortion biz catering to wannabe movie queens who didn’t want a skirt-tugging child weighing down their rise to stardom. Three years later, according to Tate, the boyfriend of one patient went bats—t nuts after learning about his girlfriend’s abortion and decided to take vengeance by giving the Montgomerys a taste of their own illicit medicine. He kidnapped their baby boy (shades of: The Lindbergh Kidnapping of 1932), then chopped him up and put the pieces in pickle jars and returned the collection to Chuck and Nora. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, Boyfriend the Baby Butcher intoned over the phone just before the cops arrived to deliver the little box of bottled horrors. The parents were devastated. But then Chuck had an epiphany. I shall use the learning that I gained from my mad experiments in Xenotransplantation – see: when I sewed those bat wings onto the dead pig in last week’s flashback – to rebuild my son! And so it went that Nora found Dr. Franken-Fluffer working in his lab late one night, making a Monster Mash – stitching together their diced-up child… and adding animal parts to the mix, like pig hooves instead of feet. “What he created was ungodly, even monstrous,” concluded Tate. “And even after [Charles and Nora’s] tragic end, that ‘thing’ remained, down here, to this day.”

Violet didn’t believe a word. (But I did.) But she was sufficiently creeped out by Tate that she wanted to get out of the basement. NOW. Also? “Why can’t we go on a real date?” Tate — who looked a little bummed by Violet’s incredulity – was cheered by the implication of her suggestion. She liked him. She really liked him. “Tomorrow night,” he said. “We’ll go out.” As they left the basement, a breeze – or was that a breath? – blew out their candle.

THE WALKING DEAD. Halloween night was all dirty tricks and absolutely no treats for those who lived within the house’s sphere of influence. It began with Ben and Vivien getting ready for the evening. Ben dressed as a vampire – an homage, perhaps, to Violet, his “fierce little girl,” who dressed as Dracula for her first Halloween. Vivien was a sexy witch, and she had cooked up some bitter brew in her Chad-spiked cauldron. She had checked Ben’s cell phone records. She knew his psych-student mistress had been calling him. A lot. Ben gulped, then tap-danced. He didn’t tell Vivien about Hayden’s cellular stalking ‘cuzzz… he didn’t want to stress her out, what with the baby and all! Yeah! That’s it! Vivien wanted to know: Did Ben see Hayden when he went to Boston two eps ago? The answer was Yes. He lied and said No. “I swear to Christ, Ben, I told you that if you lied one more time we were done,” Vivien fumed. “I can’t do this again. I just can’t do it.” Confident that Hayden was dead and buried under the gazebo in the yard, Ben brazenly promised she would never call again. Ring! Ring! It was Vivien’s phone – and it was Hayden calling. D’oh! Ben’s eyes popped. How the f— is that possible?!

NEXT: Reason #108 to love this show: A “Count Chocula” reference

The tension escalated when the Harmons went downstairs and found Chad fine-tuning the “candy/scare station” for visiting trick-or-treaters. It was stylish and inviting – and Viv’s cheap drug store outfit and Ben’s “Count Chocula” ensemble did not compliment Chad’s “meticulously appointed” vision whatsoever. “Whatever, there’s nothing that can be done about it now,” Chad said. “We still need to decorate the bobbing station.” The Ghost-Fluffer eyeballed the red apples floating in the galvanized drum. SHRIEK! went his inner Martha. “Golden Delicious? We specifically talked about Granny Smith!” When Ben apologized for his faux pas and explained the local Gelson’s didn’t have any Granny’s, Chad popped off with yet another killer only-in-SoCal line for Zachary Quinto to chew through: “Then you go to the Farmer’s Market or an off ramp in Valencia and you buy a bag from Pedro. I mean, where’s the effort?”

Vivien told Chad he was over-reacting. Chad said no, he just gave a s—t. Then, the former owner of Murder House laid his claim to it. “I think you should just leave,” he said. “It’s not your house. You know it, we know it and the house knows it, too.” Vivien had had enough. She told ChadPat to leave. When Pat said they wouldn’t, Vivien went ballistic and attacked Chad’s candy/scare station. And as Vivien raged against the rotten fluff that filled her life, we saw The Rubber Man outside of the window, looking in. Hunting for new victims? Watching over Vivien? Making sure the investment growing inside her womb would survive the crashing and thrashing of Vivien’s stressed-out freak-out? Now nervous, Pat told Chad it was time to exit. “Come on, Chad. Let’s just go,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to watch this.” Did Chad catch a glimpse of The Rubber Man as Pat pulled him away? I couldn’t tell.

Chad and Pat were gone, but Vivien wasn’t through casting devilish men out of her sight. She couldn’t ignore the Hayden thing. Something about it stank like poorly buried spoil. Vivien wanted Ben to move into “the sh—y little apartment” she and Violet visited last episode. She just didn’t trust him anymore. “I don’t believe you,’ she said. “I hear your story, and there is a glimmer in your eye, Ben, an untruth, a lie, a darkness. I won’t live with suspicion anymore. I want you to leave.” If Chad’s objective was to stoke Vivien’s antipathy toward Ben, then mission accomplished. The house clearly doesn’t want that man around.

In Ben’s small defense, it makes sense Vivien saw taint in his her husband — the dude was dressed like Dracula. Then again, sometimes, our fluffing doesn’t obscure our rotten core, but bring it into sharp relief. Ben does have darkness in his soul; we’ll see in the episodes to come if he’ll try moving toward the light, and if he can change enough to win back Vivien. But for tonight: Reprieve! For just as Vivien gave Ben the boot, the kidney bean-sized collection of cells within her womb kicked her in the stomach, as if recoiling at the thought – punishing Vivien, perhaps – for daring to send Daddy (?) away. (Hypothesis: Murder House and The Baby are at war! The house is trying to split the Harmons up; the baby is trying to keep them together.) Of course, there was no way the baby could be really kicking — not with the pregnancy only eight weeks along. (Unless this is one of those accelerated quick-grow pregnancies that only happens in horror pop?) Regardless, they had to get to the hospital. Ben ordered Violet to stay in the house and not answer the door. “Don’t answer the door?” Violet said. “It’s Halloween.”

At the hospital, the E.R. nurse used an ultrasound machine to take a look at what was inside Vivien’s womb and fainted away from shock. Did we get a glimpse? Sigh. No, of course not. QUESTION: What the hell did she see? An embryo with devil horns? The face of Eric Close? A fully-grown middle aged Danish demon-doctor played by Udo Kier?! (See: Lars Von Trier’s Kingdom Hospital. If you dare.)

Meanwhile, Addy approached the Harmons’ house dressed in her Pretty Girl costume, and instead of sneaking in, she actually knocked on the door for a change. She was trick or treating, after all. She was also really excited to show off to Violet. But Violet was upstairs, in her room, listening to her iPod and reading Manga. While Addy waited in vain, a quartet of teenage girls in tarted-up Halloween costumes – Slutty Pirate, Skanky Mermaid, Sleazy Belly Dancer, Smutty Zombie — joined Addy on the porch. They didn’t quite get why the girl in the rubber mask and vintage maternity dress just wouldn’t just obey the “Take One” sign that Violet had drawn up for the basket of candy she placed outside the door. “I’m a pretty girl,” Addy said. “I want Violet to see.” Slutty Pirate heard the voice. “Shortbus,” she teased. Now where’s an ass-kicking Rubber Man when you really need one?

NEXT: Addy gets snuffed

Addy watched as the faux fatales grabbed their candy and flounced across the street to another house. She watched as the woman who lived there was quick to open the door and dish out sweets to visitors. We watched as Addy decided to give up on Violet and run after the girls, to get to that friendly woman with the candy, to be seen by her, before she closed the door, before anyone else had the chance to ignore her. We saw what Addy saw, through the holes of her rubber mask, as she dashed into the street. And then we saw what Addy couldn’t see, because those holes didn’t allow for peripheral vision. CRACK. The car ran her over, then just kept going. The Pretty Girl lay in the street, lifeless and grotesquely bent in her mother’s crimson dress.

It was the sound of sirens that drew Constance from her house. The Evil Queen of Horror Show Lane saw her daughter lying in the street – the one she called “mongoloid;” the one she used to punish by locking her in a closet full of mirrors; the one she loved, but poorly — and her frigid, shriveled heart broke into a million little teensy-weensy little slivers of melting ice. She pushed the paramedics and dragged Addy’s 35-year-old (allegedly) sized body toward the house. Not her house – Murder House. “We need to get her to that lawn while she’s still with us!” she screeched at the EMTs. Then, to Addy: “We’re gonna get you home, to all your friends…” My take on the scene may have been yours: If Addy expired on Murder House property, she’d cheat death. But how? 1. Maybe anyone who dies on the premises, from whatever cause, natural or unnatural, “comes back” in undead form. 2. Maybe you can only “come back” if you’re killed on Murder House grounds – which means that Constance was in hurry to get Addy to the Murder House lawn before she died so she could kill her there, thus meeting the requirement for revival. 3. Maybe Addy was already “undead” and bound to Murder House (she may not have been aware of this); maybe souls could continue “coming back” each time she died as long she died on the property.

Whatever Constance was trying to do, it didn’t work. Addy expired a few feet shy of the Harmons’ lawn. Constance wailed. And somewhere else, Addy must have been relieved because she was somewhere else. I would never want to be a ghost. That’s so sad.

As Constance grieved the loss of her daughter, the woman she killed 28 years earlier was grieving the loss of her mother. Ghost Moira was MIA for most of the episode – a necessary condition for the storytelling, given the housekeeper could have/should have recognized former owners Chad and Pat. It would have been very interesting to see what would have happened when those ghosts collided. Maybe next week? Moira had asked for time off to visit her mother, and watching the episode a second time, I did wonder if perhaps if she was acting on orders from the house. Basically: Get lost, Moira. Time to let the Chad and Pat play their part. Go find your mom and euthanize her or something. [UPDATE at 4:30 PST: Reader Tricia observes that Halloween may have been the only day Moira could have made this visit, given it’s the only day of the year that the dead can walk free. So maybe the house was taking advantage of Moira’s absence, not directing her to leave.] Moira found Molly O’Hara in the saddest convalescent hospital in the world, where infirm men roamed the halls with catheter bags leaking piss all over the floor. The sight of Mama hooked up to life support machines – the only thing keeping the elderly woman alive – filled her with crushing guilt. “This is my fault,” she said. “I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry, mother. I’m sorry.” Moira looked around, made sure no one was looking, and unhooked a tube. When Molly quit breathing, her spirit appeared behind Moira. Come with me, baby, she said. “I want to. But I can’t mother,” she said. “I can’t.” Moira turned to face the ghost – but Molly was gone. No catharsis for you! Do you think there’s still more to be said about Moira’s mom? My theory: Molly was one of Nora Montgomery’s maids. Time will tell.

Back at the Harmons’ house, Violet was finally roused to the tragedy unfolding outside her house by the flash of ambulance lights. Before she could investigate, she heard a pounding at the door. She peeked through the peephole and saw a face marked by burns. Make-up? No: Larry Harvey. He wanted his 1000 bucks for clocking Hayden and burying her in the yard and he wasn’t going to leave until he got it. My latest theory about Larry’s antagonism toward Ben? He wants Ben to kill him, on the premises of Murder House, so he can be reunited, in eternal undead form, with the wife and two daughters he set ablaze in the house years ago. Larry ain’t going to stop until he gets those headshots –- two bullets (or some shovel whacks) to the head.

Violet called her father and told him about the scary scorched face man demanding money. At the hospital, Ben told her to hang tight and keep the door shut. Vivien – realizing Violet was distressed – agreed to bail on waiting for a new nurse and getting another reading from a different ultrasound machine; they needed to get home. Violet hung and backed away from the door. Behind her: The Rubber Man. Uh-oh.

Arriving at the house, Vivien raced upstairs to Violet’s room, but she was gone. Missing. Vivien’s heart sank, just as Nora Montgomery’s heart 86 years earlier when she discovered her baby boy was missing, and just seconds before the police arrived at the door with a box full of jars. The doorbell rang. Ben, downstairs, opened the door. We expected the worst. News of Violet’s death? Nope. Undead Hayden. Face streaked with mud and blood, a crooked grin on her face. Trick or treat! And to be continued.

Your turn. “Halloween (Part One)” – trick or treat? What little details did you notice? What new theories did you come up with? And what did you make of Morris Chestnut, who stopped by the Harmon house to install a new security system — and flirt with Vivien. Who seemed to like it. Where is that headed? Share below. Also remember to leave questions for American Horror Story exec producer Ryan Murphy either here or there. Until next week: Stay scary.


Episode Recaps

American Horror Story

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.

  • TV Show
  • 9
  • TV-MA
  • Ryan Murphy
  • FX
stream service