Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton in AMERICAN HORROR STORY - Season 1 - "Afterbirth" | ©2011 FX/Prashant Gupta

Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton in AMERICAN HORROR STORY - Season 1 - "Afterbirth" | ©2011 FX/Prashant Gupta

Stars: Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Kate Mara, Lily Rabe, Alexandra Breckinridge, Christine Estabrook, Michael Graziadei, Charles S. Dutton
Writer:
Jessica Sharzer, series created by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Director:
Bradley Buecker
Network:
FX, Wednesdays @ 10 PM
Original Telecast:
December 21, 2011

With “Afterbirth,” AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s first-season conclusion, we’re surprised that a number of characters have quasi-happy endings – that would be unendings, in several cases, as most of them are ghosts – while we’re left unsure of just how seriously to take all those promises of the apocalypse. In any event, the episode delivers on the show’s patented weirdness.

SPOILERS – BEWARE!

Ben (Dylan McDermott), widowed by Vivien’s death during childbirth, retrieves his surviving infant son from Constance (Jessica Lange), who tries to dissuade him. After all, this is her grandchild, not Ben’s biological child, and the house is dangerous. Ben doesn’t care and says Vivien’s sister is coming to help him. Vivien and Moira (Frances Conroy) watch unseen as Ben tends to the baby.

Moira assures Vivien that Ben can’t see her unless Vivien wants to show herself, and she shouldn’t, or else Ben will never leave her. Ben, however, is on the verge of shooting himself. Vivien stops him, saying she wants to be able to imagine Ben raising the boy. Ben finally agrees to leave, but he’s killed by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend Hayden (Kate Mara) and an accomplice. Hayden wants to keep the baby, but when Constance shows up, the ghost of Constance’s boyfriend Travis (Michael Graziadei) slits Hayden’s throat. This doesn’t get rid of Hayden, of course, but it gives Constance time to take the child.

With all of the Harmons dead, realtor Marcy (Christine Estabrook) must once again sell the house. She’s also adopted Vivien’s little dog (amazingly, the one survivor). Marcy manages to sell the place to another couple with a teenager. Ben and Vivien manage to scare the couple away by putting on a little horror show and Tate (Evan Peters) terrifies the adolescent boy, nearly killing him because Tate wants Violet (Taissa Farmiga) not to be alone.

Violet tells Tate she doesn’t want the other boy, giving the poor kid a chance to flee, then says goodbye to Tate. Vivien finds the ghost of her other twin baby, the one believed to have been stillborn, down in the basement with Nora (Lily Rabe), who is tired of tending to him. Vivien brings the child back upstairs and invites Moira to be his godmother. At Christmas, the ghostly Harmon family – Ben, Vivien, Violet, baby boy and Moira – all gather happily round a Christmas tree.

Three years later,Constance is delighted to be the adoptive mother of her little boy. Of course, the toddler has murdered his babysitter while Constance is out getting her hair done, something that Constance responds to with mild scolding and a hug, the way most mothers would react if their three-year-old sons spilled cereal on the kitchen floor.

And on that note …

AMERICAN HORROR STORY co-creator Ryan Murphy is due to give some interviews shortly about the end of this season and what may happen next. Without knowing authorial intent, it’s fascinating that the show’s view of what makes for a truly happy family is one that is bound together exactly as they are for all eternity (or until the house falls down). By the time we reach this point, we’ve pretty much forgiven Ben and actively want Vivien and Violet to be happy.

A confrontation between Ben and Tate is intriguing in its inclusion of both cynicism and hope, with Ben recounting his own failings (although the show goes a bit far in indicting all therapists along with Ben) and Tate finally enumerating his crimes, then wanting to hang out with Ben.

There are even some moments that manage to creep us out, despite all we know by now. The encounter with the poor exterminator ghost, trapped in his suit, is unnerving, and those weird kids from the basement remain ominous.

And then there is Constance, who is supremely suited to her new role as adoptive mother to the anti-Christ. Little wonder Lange has gotten award nominations for her work in this role – a cross between Blanche DuBois, Norma Desmond and Lady Macbeth, she’s a larger-than-life monster for the ages.

There are many different ways next season can go. All of them have to potential to be scary. It’s a given that they’ll be freaky and intense and insane, just like Season One. AMERICAN HORROR STORY has lived up to its title – it’s uniquely American in its characters, suitably horror-filled in its delirious haunted house take, and has spun quite a yarn. As a show and as a story, it has been a big screaming joy to watch.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK – COMMENT BELOW!

Click on Link: Exclusive Interview with AMERICAN HORROR STORY star Frances Conroy

Click on Link: Exclusive Interview with AMERICAN HORROR STORY star Denis O’Hare

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Birth”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Smoldering Children”

Click on Link: Exclusive Photos from the AMERICAN HORROR STORY premiere screening

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Spooky Little Girl”

Click On Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Rubber Man”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Open House”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Piggy Piggy”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Halloween Pt. 2”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Halloween Pt. 1”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Murder House”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY- Season 1 – “Home Invasion”

Click on Link: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY Season 1 premiere

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Article: TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY – Season 1 – “Afterbirth”

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Comments:

  1. We have seen scary on TV for years, but not like this. We have scary , freaky, weird and of the hook. FX scores BIG time with AHS. A show has not moved me like this since LOST and The XFiles. I just hate we have to wait until next October….but all good things come to those who wait.

    Kevin
  2. Love it! Truly King-ish (maybe he should try his hand at an episode). Things are not always what they seem in this story. The twists always make you think. That it’s creepy sometimes is a bonus! Love Jessica! Can’t wait till next season…

    Debra
  3. The friggin little yapping dog survived. That’s why I love this show because the second I saw that thing I knew “that dog will be the first to die.” There are some HIGHLY conventional, but i can forgive them because there are some truly inspired deviations from the normative.

    Justin
  4. This movie it the best. one of a kind! In the begginning the previews was kinda lame but the first timei watched i was amazed. every second is a climax with this. and those damn commercials are forever but then again it has suspense thats outof this world. I try getting people to watch it but they dontthink its worthy,but i know im not the only person who watches. This show really leaves you guessing and wanting more.cant wiat till next season because i’m oh so in LOVE…. p.s I also love tates role hes still a mystery and i altimatly thinks he plays his role well and will continue to be a mystery that you just ask yourself why he does what he does.

    brittany
    • *my bad this shot, but should be a movie just because its that good…

      brittany
  5. * show

    Wow thats how excited i am for next season;can’t even spell right now

    brittany
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  7. I wasn’t expecting to get as addicted to this show as I have been. I hope they stick with these characters for the new season. Obviously, what the producers have going here works – I can’t imagine that they would toss it all out and start from scratch for the new season.

    Steve
  8. This whole season was quite a ride, kind of like a mad roller-coaster. I actually felt bad for Ben when he died and the fate he came to, though I had a feeling he was going to get it in the end from at least one of the ghosts. But it was fun to see the other ghosts do something to keep another family from being preyed on by the other nasty forces at work.

    Bob Smith

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