American Horror Story Review: They See Dead People

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American Horror Story introduced a storyline on "Murder House" that was more unbelievable than any ghost tale or basement haunting: no doctor in the history of mankind would ever tell a patient she can't move because she's pregnant.

I know this FX drama had to answer the question of why the Harmons wouldn't just leave, but both the reasons given felt like a stretch. There was this wayward, inappropriate medical advice; and then there was Ben's admission that the family's money is tied up in the home itself.

They can't move unless they sell.. and good luck selling the star attraction on the Hollywood murder tour!

Murder House Scene

Granted, that's a small complaint for a show that isn't asking viewers to buy into its take on reality. It's just asking us to strap in for a gory, mysterious, suspenseful ride. And that wasn't difficult to do here.

We learned a lot more about the property and those familiar with it, including the history lesson many had been waiting for since Constance warned Moira on the pilot about killing her again. Yes, she apparently already did so. Back when Constance was married (and lived in the house?) and Moira was the pretty young thing Ben currently views her as.

So this makes the modern day version of Moira some kind of apparition, but not a happy one. She doesn't want to be in this world. She's being punished for her sins somehow. She's being forced to remain alive, remain as a maid, and remain in contact with the woman who shot her. And the same is true of Denis O'Hare's Larry, right?

But there's a difference between these two: I'm operating under the assumption that no one can see Larry except for Ben. There's something Sixth Sense-ish going on here. Think about it: Ben only sees Moira as she was before she died, and he sees Larry as a mostly-burned shell of a human being. Have we seen anyone else talk to Larry? Acknowledge him? Give any strange looks when Ben is speaking to this disfigured individual in the park? No.

Larry literally killed his wife and daughter, while Ben is figuratively doing so via lies, affairs and major deceptions. That makes for an interesting, paranormal pairing.

Vivien, meanwhile, interacted this week with the ghost of a woman with whom she shares a similar history of child-bearing problems. No, Viven isn't encouraging Ben to abort fetuses in the basement, and I can't possibly say for certain what is actually going on here, but it's worth noting the connections between the unusual visitors both Ben and his wife have entertained.

Overall, for the second week in a row, American Horror Story put to rest my fears that this show would simply aim to be weird for the sake of being weird. There are explanations being given (the ghosts in the basement are dead babies and children? Creepy.) and major character developments taking place. Ben Harmon is one seriously effed up individual, digging a hole deeper for himself than the one in which he buried his ex-mistress.

She was pregnant, too, of course. Can we now expect that gazebo to be haunted? Unborn children don't like being killed on this show. You might not wanna plan too many picnics out there, Harmons.


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (81 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I do feel sympathetic for Moira and everything, but the 'Why is Constance punishing her?' comments are a little annoying when both Moira and Constance's husband stated that they've had sex before. :P "Last time was a mistake...I was just lonely!" "Do you want a car?"


I'd like to find out why Moira is being punished. In the flashback she seemed more like a victim of sexual assault. She might appear guilty of seduction in Constance's twisted mind but that would imply that Constance is the one who is punishing her. How? And is she still manipulating Moira's spirit, forcing her to seduce Ben? I think you're right about Larry. If he's a living person that means he dug that hole one-handed. It looks as if someone/something is forcing the Harmon family to relive the same scenario that the house's previous occupants experienced.


I'm not a horror genre fan by any means, though I did love Discovery's "A Haunting", and laughed at "Paranormal Activity". American Horror Story is intriguing and simply so suspenseful and drama-filled I have to continuously push pause on the DVR to re-collect myself. I don't think Tate is a ghost, I think he's a "ghoul" as he seems to enjoy the "taste" of blood. He may or may not be Constance's son, I'm leaning toward yes. My husband thinks the Harmon's are already dead a la The Sixth Sense. I love this show and sad I almost didn't bother with it. A dear friend begged me to watch it so she'd have someone with whom to discuss the show. The writers are over-the-top...and it works well.


Hopefully this show will answer some questions but leave the rest a mystery. I think when Zachary Quinto (love him in anything) guest stars as the former homeowner who is alive (say what?) we may start to see some more crazy. I also agree about the basement, dead children are creepy.


I'm starting to think there's some kind of conspiracy to keep the Harmons in the house and many characters are involved, even the doctor. So instead of seeing the admittedly weak explanation for their staying as a plot hole, it could just be one more layer in this intriguing show. I don't know about you but even though I tuned in for the horror, I'm sticking around because of the humor. Larry is a darkly hilarious character. And that Constance, she's funny... and a good shot. I mean, it's not like the show should change its name to America's Funniest Home Horror Stories, but for me, very few things are more satisfaying that a nice dose of good ol' fashion dark humor.


i just love it.


I think there is too much going on its hard to keep up..we need MORE explanations or its just going to be too confusing. Overall good show a lot different then most of the shows out there.


I love this show its very interesting and creepy!! I look forward to learning more about these characters every week.

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