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American Horror Story Review: Here Piggy Pig Pig...

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"Piggy Piggy" was the name of an urban legend that left guest star Eric Stonestreet, as Derek, deeply and emotionally paralyzed. Naming any urban legend filled him with such fear that he was unable to function. Goody for him, he chose the good Doctor Ben to treat him.

Ben at Work

Given what he has seen in the months since moving into the house of horrors, and his unorthodox methods of treatment, Ben should be stripped of his license. If he even has one. Does he remember seeing Hayden, burying her under the gazebo? He walks around as if in a fog of utter denial that anything in his life is real.

As I watched him take Derek into the bathroom, turn off the light and demand that he say "here piggy pig pig" into the mirror, I was a) shocked that he would even consider doing that after what he's witnessed in the house, and b) majorly annoyed that he didn't at least open the shower curtain so the poor guy didn't have to wonder what was behind it! I can't be the only one who prefers clear curtains just in case there is something lurking back there.

While Ben was treating patients (as if he could possibly help them when he can't help himself or anyone in his family), Constance was plying Vivien with sweetbreads for their nutritional value and enlisting a medium to meet with Violet in an attempt to bring peace to her dead son, Tate. Vivien was eating raw brains and Violet was overdosing on pills... only to be saved by the sweet, dead, massacre boy next door.

Yes, Tate is dead. As we figured, he killed all the kids who were hanging around on Halloween in a 1994 massacre at Violet's high school and was taken down by a swat team in the house. It would seem like something other students would have shared with her on her first day of school, but apparently she just found out. I'd venture to guess every kid who goes to nearby Columbine high school in Colorado do so with the knowledge of what happened there. Violet not knowing is just another abnormal part of their new lives.

Which brings me to this: are any of them alive? I'm beginning to think that the Harmon family is already gone. That they moved from Boston, dead. That everyone around them is dead. That they are finding things out only as the other dead wish them to discover it. Some of my favorite horror movies have taken this route, but it only took two hours to get there.

Who have we met since the series started that might be alive? I cannot think of one character that might fit the description of living. I think they're all on various planes of the afterlife, awaiting their turn to move on. If they ever do move on. Bottom line? I have absolutely no idea what is happening on American Horror Story and I love every moment of it.

This is big news, because I went in, horror fanatic that I am, truly skeptical. The sexual nature of the previews gave me an immediate dislike for what was to come. I have been proven wrong. Each week new terror arises and is left unexplained. Sure, we get an answer here or there, but so far nothing that can even come close to deciphering what is happening in that house, or the entire neighborhood, for that matter.

One thing is for certain. Visiting Doctor Doom will lead to no good. Derek, feeling brave from his encounter at the house, promptly went home and recited "here piggy pig pig" in the mirror. Nothing happened! Until he opened that damned shower curtain. No Piggy Man, but a burglary in progress and a bullet between the eyes. Never trust a closed shower curtain.

Thanks to my editor in chief, Matt Richenthal, for giving me the opportunity to cover this week's episode in his absence. Come back next week to see if he can find any puzzle pieces that fit together without leaving gaping holes in the process. This is one coaster I'm going to ride with my arms up and my eyes wide open.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Dude, it's Morris Chestnut not Taye Diggs that's going to hit it. They don't all look that much alike!

Christinatran

The "Here Piggy, Pig, Pig..." storyline was so creepy. Good thing I don't have a shower curtain! @James - Cam was actually one of the very first presenters on the CMAs last night. Although I must admit seeing him there and even on AHS did not make up for a Wednesday night without Modern Family.

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I'm getting a Rosemary's baby vibe with Viv's pregnancy. I mean with the eating of the brains and all. I agree with the other poster. Don't make this a "she's pregnant with the devil's baby" type of thing. This is the only show that I never know what's going on and think it's total nonsense.... But I watch it faithfully every week haha.

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So-so episode, but I don't expect or even want every one of them to be a pedal-to-the-metal, high adrenaline, jam-packed-with-revelations nail-biter. Maybe it's because I grew up watching TV in the 70s, but I can appreciate a show that's willing to take its time and let suspense and dread build. In fact, my biggest concern about AHS is that too much will be revealed too quickly; from what I've read in the comments of these reviews, it seems a lot of viewers have already sussed out the secrets of the house, and we're what--only 6 episodes in? I liked that this week included another guest-star side-story--Eric Stonestreet's date with Piggy Piggy--and think more of that should be done. It was a self-contained tangent that had little to do with the continuing mythology of the show, but was still entertaining and involving. If that aspect of the show is kept--Ben has a different "case" every few weeks or so, the same way legal or medical dramas, for instance, have serialized story arcs but also individual, self-contained situations that are wrapped up by the end of the ep--AHS might just be more than a 2-season phenom. Poor Eric Stonestreet's character; I can't help but feel that his ultimate fate was influenced, however, peripherally, by his bad luck of choosing Ben as a therapist and stepping foot inside the Mouth of Madness; that house casts a long, dark shadow. Other quick observations:
1) This episode vaugely, slightly hinted that the show might be moving from supernatural horror to religious supernatural horror, which I think would be a mistake; it's been done to death, and it means the stakes are becoming too big too fast. Then we'd not just be dealing with a creepy family drama playing out on a lonely L.A. side street, but a situation of global, apocalyptic proportions. I would rather the scares of AHS remain intimate and cozy. And when the Devil becomes the main villain of your story, the solution is all too apparent. 2) Constance and her proprietary attitude toward Viv's baby: I think another commenter hit the nail right on the head: I think the pregnancy presents hope that some--or at least one--of the souls trapped in the house might be reborn; but I think she's gonna be in for a bit of a letdown when she discovers the circumstances of the conception. Also, I hope Constance doesn't become toooo much of a sympathetic character; I like her when she's got a little venom under all that motherly concern. 3) Tate saving Violet from suicide: I thought the conflict here would be along the lines of "Seance on a Wet Afternoon", with Constance intending for Violet to join the ranks of the house's permanent residents as a companion to ease her son's loneliness, but apparently Tate would rather she remain hale and hearty among the living. 4) It was a hoot seeing Viv eat the raw sweetmeats--brainsssss!!!-and finding she actually has a taste for them. But pregnancy is often said to bring forth strange appetites ...

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Yes, yes, they are all dead! Protagonist as ghost is practically the only horror trope that hasn't been used yet. The show has the vaguest mythology and rules so creators can do what they please and we'll just keep going along with it and watching to see what they do next. I liked this episode the best because of the deepening of characters and the slower pace. Show doesn't need full throttle gotchas and oddball shenanigans all the time to be watchable. Great job, C!

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But we DO know some mythology, as revealed to us in Halloween episodes by the 'boy toy' in the beginning he says to Addy 'according to old irish legends on halloween the dead can roam freely' which we then see and we seem all return to their points of departure, by episodes end. As revealed, and as I suspected, by Addy last night via medium dying on the grounds of the house causes spiritual limbo. Which Addy was happy to have avoided. So we do have those two things to go upon. And both have been pretty rock solid with no inconsistencies. Mythology is developing. It's not complete, there are still unexplained events, but pretty much with those two myths in place, pretty much the only thing left to be explained is why and how the 'curse' is on the house(obviously, something to do with what happened between the Montgomerys-which is probably why they've been scarce, as of late). My number one reason for rejecting the 'Lost' scenario, besides the fact that I don't consider it satifising television to invest years of one's life in a greatly written story to have it jump the shark at the end, is the realtor's reaction to Constance waving at Tate. She reacted as if she saw a woman waving at an empty window, of course, now having it confirmed(it was obvious since home invasion he was a ghost)how he became a ghost, she could have been(if she's dead)reacting to acknowledging a horrible person. For me great and very clever(the setting up of the victims of the shooting spree last episode, so as to spare us the gore of close range head shots)writing are what makes this show, not that it's unpredictable. It's a very conventional true horror story(as opposed to a thriller or grotesque blood fest which masquerades as horror)but the writing is great. The taste of the irony of cam getting popped by fat murderer in his shower after overcoming irrational fear of being hacked to death by a fat murderer in pig skin in his shower, was magnifique, but it was pretty evident that would happen, but the way it was written and way it happened was amazing.

Modwild

I don't think we have enough knowledge yet to understand the mythology of the show. I'm pretty much open to the idea that anything can and will happen, and it's going to be a darn good time.

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Oh and AHS gets a BIG up in my book for on a night when Modern Family was yanked for the dumb CMA's(can't they just roll that into a pop music award show, none of its country music anyway, its just pop music sung in affected southern accents---sorry pet peeve)AHS brought me Cam! I almost yelled when I saw him, I was like yes! Cam and AHS on a Wednesday, in one shot! AHS is probably the best show that's ever been on basic cable. I thought Lost was ridiculous, it was obvious from the second episode they were all dead, and the wiki articles are more interesting than the show. AHS isn't up to Boardwalk Empire or Treme, but hey that's not tv it's HBO :)

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The Harmons cannot be dead. According to the mythology of the show, we know 1: The dead can ONLY leave the place of their departure during Halloween(the Harmons have left the house at will and interacted with many people we know ARE alive).
2: Only those who die in the Murder House still remain in limbo(ie. Abby). For my own far out prediction, my guess is the Harmons die by season end, and the show takes on a new family every season. The dynamic which as lead to the death of all previous families is full on with the Harmons(infedility, empty bank accounts, money tied up in the house keeping unhappy couple together way past the relationshps expiration date). Two observations:
1. Vivien's grimace after she ate the brains(-yea bitz, your stomach's probably going to feel wierd after you eat a brain, and not even a cooked brain at that). Even Hannibal Lecter would say faux pas. 2. Taye Diggs is gonna hit it!

Picazo

i Love it when a show is compared with our old time fav 'LOST'. That been said i am so into this show it was my #1 last nite since Revenge took off.