Keeping with their tradition of beginning the show with a flashback, this week we witness the Harmons just prior to moving into the house. This gave the writers the chance to have a product placement for iPads and use the awful line delivered by Ben, who tries to explain the low price of the house, “Maybe it’s haunted or something.”
After so much tension during the entire season about Vivien’s baby, in particular about it being some kind of antichrist devil baby, the filmmakers didn’t hesitate to reveal the baby looking normal and ordinary. Perhaps this was intended to disarm viewers before a big reveal, but they could have at least kept us guessing and holding our breath a little longer rather than tossing it all aside.
The high moment for this episode was the brutality of Ben’s death. Hayden and a couple of others force Ben into a noose and throw him over the balcony. It was a surprise and was shocking and sealed his fate to stay in the house. The other moment that came with less impact than it should have was Tate’s confession that he remembered all of his crimes. For such a big revelation, the scene fell flat and had little impact.
Then the writers thought it would be good to skip ahead to a new family moving in. Rather than explore the new dynamic of the house or transition for Ben, they hastily skip over this and show a new family being scared out of the house by the Harmons, in an effort to protect them.
This was followed by a sickening scene of the now dead Harmon family decorating a Christmas tree with Moira and finding happiness together in death. Please.
Skip forward another three years and after a long and indulgent monologue from Constance, she returns to find that the now three-year-old boy that she stole from the Harmons has turned evil and killed the babysitter.
Plans for season two apparently involve a whole new family moving into the house. The storyline for season one was so rushed and frantically tied up, whereas, if they had taken their time to tell the story it could easily have been two seasons of much more character driven material that would have been a far more rewarding experience.
Despite some nice moments and a degree of creativity, American Horror Story ultimately wasn’t worth the ride.