American Horror Story: Everybody Loves You When You're Dead
In general we don't bother telling you that a review contains spoilers because we don't know why you'd read a review of a television show you haven't seen. However, this one is a big one, so be advised that we are going to be ruining a big part of the ending for you if you haven't seen this week's American Horror Story.
Violet (Taissa Farmiga) is dead. She did not survive her suicide attempt despite the intervention of Tate (Evan Peters). She's become one of the corporeal specters trapped in the house, and because of the many, many problems facing her parents as they struggle with a bad housing market and the fact that they are mortgaging Hell's wraparound porch, they've chalked it up to typical teenager moodiness.
Tate tries his best to help her through the transition from being alive to basically being sentient wallpaper with an attitude here in ye old Murder House. Of course his "therapy" is for her to consciously try and commit suicide with him again. We don't know what kind of brilliant psychiatric battle plan we expected from a man who went on a school shooting spree as well as setting his stepfather on fire, but even for his rather dubious deductive skills, this isn't his best work.
Plan B? Show her her own rotting corpse in the crawlspace under the house! There aren't many times over the course of our lives we've thought Dr. Phil could've handled a situation better, but by green ooze of Cthulhu this is one of those times. Still, it does finally get the job done.
We're very leery of the decision to kill Violet. Maybe it's because we always viewed her as the Angela Chase of the series, our point-of-view character walking us through a place and time where madness itself goes mad. There is the equally unfortunate circumstance of her being the only truly likable character the series has yet birthed. Well, the security guard Luke is pretty nice, but an amiable African-American authority figure in a horror franchise has the life expectancy of bob-omb, so we're trying not to get too attached.
You can identify with Violet, whereas getting behind Vivien (Connie Britton) is difficult, and with the rest of the cast it is completely impossible. What we're left with is an entire group of people who you're not really rooting for. Sure, as a parent we empathize with the whole horrors of childbirth and the fear that your unborn may be monsters. Every expectant parent has had that dream, but that fear is almost too primal to put a human face on. It belongs to a place within us that is essentially reptilian. Being a scared adolescent is a much more universal experience and a more comforting one because we can look back at it and see how we conquered fear.
With Violet now out of the continuity of the living, we're forced to find purchase in the culmination of unholy union between woman and spirit that is now the focus of the show. We're looking forward to seeing how it all plays out, but now we view the whole thing a little differently.
Before, we were personally invested in the show through Violet's eyes. We feared the house and the uncanny happenings that it causes. Now we feel more like viewers walking through a Hell House. It's a minor step back into objectivity, but it's cost us something that was previous so caught up in the experience as to find it real. All that is left is exhibition.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events