Film and TV

American Horror Story: Endings Are Hard

We have a theory, and you're going to need some pretty hard arguments to dissuade us. The entire purpose of the season finale of American Horror Story was simply to endure long enough so that viewers would see a variety of trailers for upcoming horror films. We counted five different films that ran teasers during the episode, and that was fine with us since apparently nobody bothered to actually write a final episode anyway.

We can sum this up real quick, ready? Beetlejuice + The Omen. Thanks folks, good night.

What? Oh, fine. We'll keep going.

When last we left, Ben (Dylan McDermott) had lost everything but one of his newborn twins, and literally every other major character in the show was dead except for Constance (Jessica Lange). Initially, it looks like Ben is going to move on, leave the Murder House with his son, and a new chapter will begin. Then he tries to kill himself to rejoin his family. He's stopped by Vivien (Connie Britton) and Violet (Taissa Farmiga), who encourage him to live...not that it matters anyway because the other vengeful ghosts murder him on the way out the door.

Then the whole thing turns into Beetlejuice, but Beetlejuice made by people who didn't know that Beetlejuice was a comedy. The Harmon family and a few of the more benevolent ghosts decide that they will scare the living hell out of every single person who moves into the house in order to keep anyone else from being trapped there. Oh, and they also have a perpetual newborn, Vivien's stillborn baby, and we end on a touching, if dead, Christmas Eve in the Murder House.

By the way, we're making this sound a whole lot more coherent than it was. There was at least 20 minutes of completely random character interaction that did little more than fill in the show's time slot. In the end, they couldn't decide whether to end the season on a cathartic note, or go for one last scarefest in the form of the Harmons' spectral assault on the brief new residents.

Unfortunately, the gore is more or less meaningless as we've already seen far worse in the course of the show, and the ghost's intentions to actually help the family have already been made clear. There is literally no sense of suspense at all, no possibility that we'll feel any concern for the well-being of the fleeing residents. In a show that perfected the television scare, the final effort is laughably ineffectual.

And what of the baby, the live one? Well, as everyone saw coming from miles away, Constance ends up raising him, and at the age of three he begins what we are sure is a very successful career as a serial killer when he rips out the throat of his babysitter. Again, you could've described the plot of the overall season of American Horror Story to anyone who'd never seen a single episode and they would've guessed demon killer baby (And towheaded to boot).

The only thing we can say for certain that was positive about the season finale is that it appears that they have decided to close the Murder House story and move on to something new. Ideally, should American Horror Story continue for several more seasons, each would explore a new aspect of traditional horror entertainment rather than continuing to focus on a haunted house premise that has already worn thin.

We're not saying we're über-excited about a season centered around the alleged toddler Anti-Christ or anything. For our money, evil kid will never be done better than Isabelle Fuhrman did it in Orphan (We still say she deserved an Oscar nomination for that role). Still, it's time to leave the House. That story is over. We'll see where the next chapter takes us.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner