American Horror Story Review: Harmony for the Harmons

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"Afterbirth" focused on the afterlife this week, as American Horror Story wrapped up an enjoyable, scary, bizarre first season with a relatively calm finale.

It was mostly an epilogue for the Harmons, really, as Ben was killed early on in the 90-minute episode, leaving him and his ghostly loved ones to finally move past their bitterness and resentment, coming together as a family unit that included a new godmother and an adorable - albeit deceased - baby boy.

Vivien and Her Baby

I was actually pretty bored throughout. A great deal of time was spent on the spirits frightening away the new home owners, which was sort of entertaining - it was nice to see Vivien and Ben actually laughing together, wasn't it? Too bad they couldn't find that kind of happiness in life... - but also rather pointless.

The haunting by these "good" ghosts proved how they'll now band together to prevent any more children from being born in the house, which is a noble goal, but not one I needed to be spelled out for me in such a manner. It should have been a DVD extra, some kind of bonus footage. Or maybe season two could have started with the arrival of a new family and this strategy to scare them away.

Because there wasn't a lot of action here, at least not related to the characters we've followed all season long. Moira is settled in comfortably with the Harmons; Vivien, Ben, Violet and Unnamed Child are in a contented place; Tate is, well, still all Tate-like. And then there's Constance, whose truly horrifying grandson may actually be the anti-Christ, as he was so forecasted a few weeks ago.

The final image of the season was undoubtedly a haunting one, making it likely that at least Jessica Lange will return for season two. (The status of Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton are not known; the latter says she was only contracted for one season when she signed on.)

I'm not one who believes a season finale has to feature a number of twists or turns, which is why I was perfectly happy with this episode. It brought everyone together, teased season two and tied up the key relationships nicely. I just don't have a lot to say about it. It definitely didn't need to be an hour-and-a-half. Once Ben died, the main source of tension in the house flat-lined along with him. There wasn't even a lot of suspense over the baby: Vivien found him with Nora and didn't have a lot of trouble re-claiming him as her own.

So a series that came in with a major bang - and sustained that bang for a majority of its season - ended on a slight whimper. And the bloody murder of a nanny by a three-year old, of course.

What did everyone else think? Grade season one of American Horror Story now:


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (123 Votes)

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


I loved it ,it leaves it open to battel over the dead baby ,does miss harmon know hydens dead and how will tate be with ben. About the grandbaby killing the babysitter how will constance keep him hidden will he walk over to the house and she follow him and be killed in the house will the bodys ever be found? Lot of things they can do with season two! I hope all the cast member return lot of geat actors!


I don't think the next season will be in the same house because they can't just have them scaring away people who want to live there for a whole season.


I guess I am just left wondering where do they go from here? I don't want to watch a whole season of them scaring away potential new home owners. I am assuming they are going to elaborate on the whole anti christ child but I am still wondering then what? I love Connie Britton and she was one of my favorite characters on the show as was Dylan McDermott but how will they keep them in the plot line of season 2? I wouldn't say I was disappointed with this finale at all. It was a little calm for what they usually have going on, but that's not a bad thing. I am just skeptical on whether or not next season will be good at all. Seems like they're already wearing their plot lines thin...


Loved it,Can,t wait untill next season.Hope everyone comes back......


Real Snooze Fest(to the poster who was wondering-the other baby was the one that Nora was keeping in the basement, it died shortly after birth, and will be eternally 1 second old...bit of a shitty deal if you ask me).
I definitely think the show will not be continuous now, though, next season will not feature any of the characters from this season. I am certain because it ended pretty wrapped up, and it told a complete horror story. Unhappy family moves into haunted house, daugher kills herself, mom dies in childbirth, and dad hangs himself. reunited in death, they are happy(very macabre, actually, but played off very well).
On a purely male sidenote, it would have been nice to see the new wife in some of the poses we've seen Vivien or Moira in.
I'm not sure the kid is the antichrist. Maybe the kid is just Tate. Or maybe Tate was conceived in a similar way, because he did seem quite 'changed' in the final scene with Ben and him.
Another thing that really seemed odd to me, why couldn't or didn't Hayden and Tate interfer with the Harmon's Christmas? Are they restrained by the happiness?
All in all, the finale was a let down, which only really made it due to the investment in the characters.
I'll watch next season, but if it's not an entirely horror story, then I'll not watch it. I understand they had to rush some episodes into production as they only planned a 10 episode season, so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming a lot of the shortcomings were due to that.
So the writers have a challenging dilema, they now have a full off season to turn in 13 solid episodes, they have to do it without revisiting the harmons, which would turn the show into a very bad copy of Beetlejuice. Also, if they go the 'new horror story every season' route, they'll have to do so without seeming like a grown up version of Are You Afraid of the Dark.
I stand waiting.


I thought it was great! Kept me entertained the whole hr and 10min. That final scene with the anti-Christ really freaked me out. Kept one eye open the whole time I was sleeping, lol...


Once again trailer have fooled me. Last week episodes was suspenseful and interesting, it was building to a big battle. The trailer show us as if the episode would have a major battle between Hayden, Constances, Harmons and Nora in who will get the baby. However, that didn't happen, the episode was dragged out and overall boring (not saying the series, the episode), as if they were actually planning for something interesting, but then decided to just change the whole episode to just build up for Season 2 instead. It is just a bit sad, because now the final image of the show is this cheesy and dragged out episode. Ben dying that early was a major letdown, every moment of suspense is gone. Hayden (the major villain along with Tate in my opinion) only appeared in 3 scenes with only the killing of Ben being the awesome moment. Tate's apology seems really fake and way too rushed. Harmon celebrating being too cheesy. Furthermore, what about the gay couples? They appeared a lot in the series and interact with both the Harmons and the other ghosts a lot, however, the episode decided not to feature them, instead they have the Black Dahlia (who never met the Harmons other than Ben), nurse ghosts (which never did anything important) and the murderers from the 2nd episode (seriously? I wouldn't have remembered them if I didn't rewatch the whole season before the airing of this episode). So yeah, I think this episode were major let down compared to the rest of the episodes in the series.


i am so lost with this show. i thought she was having twins? what happened to the other baby? mayb it died during birth but then she gave birth in the house so it would also be sort of alive right?


I love Horror shows and I think this is one of the greatest shows Fx has put on Tv. I hope they continue with it.


I am going to miss this show. Did anyone else notice that Marcy's sales pitch to the new owners was exactly the same pitch she gave the Harmons, word for word, except different? Marcy is great! Could it be that Constance was raped and that Tate is the rape baby? hmmm. I could forgive Tate if that were the case. For all the Hayden haters, me included, in order to get rid of Hayden her body would need to be found and that means they find Moira. In order to keep Moira, a beloved character, we need to put up with Hayden. And what about Nora's baby the Infantata? Wasn't its creation the key to evil? I would love it if this were explored. One more thing, the dead Harmons seem very different to me, passive. It would be great Marcy buys the house and turns it into a Bead and Breakfast, oh the fun cause I think March knows more than we think!

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