Madison and Behold’s visit to Michael’s childhood home on Wednesday’s American Horror Story: Apocalypse proved even more enlightening — and more unsettling — than they could have possibly imagined. But, hey, at least they had plenty of potential witnesses to interrogate; all told, a total of 36 souls apparently inhabit the Harmons’ former home.
Let’s begin with the spirit we were all most excited to see: Michael’s “grandmother.” Though she didn’t exactly welcome the new owners with open arms (“I’m Constance Langdon, and this is my f–ing house!”), Jessica Lange’s character eventually agreed to spill the tea on Michael, provided that Madison and Behold do her one small favor: rid the house of “that insufferable, cloudy eyed ginger.” Or as she’s also known, Moira. (Speaking of Murder House‘s mischievous maid, one of the highlights of this stellar episode was watching Lange and Frances Conroy tear each other to shreds with some truly cutting one liners.)
After relocating Moira’s bones to her mother’s cemetery and reuniting their souls — which gave us one of the most stunning shots in AHS history, a tribute to Sarah Paulson’s impeccable turn as director — Madison and Behold got Constance to open up. She admitted that “there were mistakes made” in raising Michael, but insisted that she thought he’d just grow up to be a “garden variety serial killer.” It wasn’t until he mysteriously aged 10 years overnight that she really became concerned. The final red flag came when Michael attempted to choke Constance in her sleep, at which point she realized that he was done with her, which she remedied with a whiskey-and-pills suicide. (“That’s what I can a bon voyage!”)
Constance refused to reveal her spirit to Michael after her death, but another eternal Murder House resident was ready and willing to keep him company. Ben Harmon, whose personal hell apparently involves repeating his infamous masturbate-while-crying schtick on a daily basis, became both a father figure and a psychiatrist to Michael. He was convinced that Michael wanted to be good — even when he was giving poor Mena Suvari a thorough face carving — but Ben eventually gave up hope when Michael (in the Rubber Man suit) murdered an innocent lesbian couple that purchased the house.
The third part of Michael’s twisted backstory came courtesy of Ben’s wife Vivien — she who gifted the Antichrist with that gorgeous head of hair — who apparently hasn’t spoken to her husband since we saw them last. When Ben told her, “I never stopped loving you,” she replied, “I know, but I never stopped hating him.” She then revealed her own observations of Michael over the years: crows constantly circling the roof, the temperature in the house climbing to insufferable levels, etc. You know, typical Antichrist stuff.
But everything changed the night of the “Black Mass.” The Satanic cult that came to worship Michael — which included Ms. Mead, Anton LaVey and a new character played by Naomi Grossman (aka Pepper!) — murdered an innocent girl and fed her still-beating heart to Michael, at which point the shadow of Satan appeared behind him, cementing their dark connection. When Vivien realized what Michael truly was, she tried to kill him, though he and his fiery powers were one step ahead of her. Had it not been for some quick thinking on Tate’s part, Michael would have destroyed Vivien’s very soul.
Speaking of Tate, he never accepted Michael as his son. (“You didn’t spring from my nut sack! Not even I could create something as monstrous, as evil, as you!”). Instead, he’s been focusing all of his love on Violet. Though Ben and Vivien’s daughter initially wanted nothing to do with her psychotic ex-boyfriend, Madison was able to convince her to give him another chance — resulting in one of several surprisingly happy endings for the otherwise hopeless residents of Murder House.
Also worth discussing…
* I wish we’d gotten to spend a little more time with Billie Dean Howard. As someone who predicted so much of what’s gone down since Season 1, I find her fascinating.
* Did anyone else catch that blood moon reference? Second one this season! #RoanokeForever
Did you enjoy your visit to Murder House this week? Any new theories about what’s still to come this season? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.