American Horror Story Review: That's Gotta Hurt

at . Comments

My goodness. That was uncomfortable to watch.

And disturbing, and creepy, and stomach-turning and downright shocking that a show would go that far, even one on cable, even one airing at 10 p.m., even one that has already gone farther - in terms of blood, gore and general fear factors - than anything else in recent television memory.

Seriously, "Birth" absolutely freaked me out for that entire, elongated, painful scene that gave the episode its appropriate, simple title. That was some effed up stuff.

American Horror Story Birth

But it kept my attention, that's for sure. And here is why I appreciated the installment so much: the photo above. The cutaway flashes to Violet's birth, to Ben and Vivien as a happy, non-haunted couple. That's where this show has surprisingly shined for me all season long.

It would have been easy to just make things go bump very loudly every night and for Ryan Murphy and company to just slap together a bunch of random ghost stories and call it a series. That's what I feared we were in for after a haphazard premiere.

But American Horror Story has never lost track of its core relationship, and that was evident tonight. Move past the maniacal apparition delivering Vivien's twins... ignore Constance's grandchild-obsessed biddy for a moment... try to drown out violent screams... and what are you left with? Two people who have seen their marriage completely fall apart, one of whom is still holding out hope and the other of whom can scarcely hold on to her life. By flashing back to Ben and Vivien's happiest moment, the show brought a gravitas to a scene that could easily have been played for pure, shallow fright.

It was very well done, even as I had to literally turn away every few seconds. Or maybe because I had to literally turn away every few seconds.

Overall, the episode was probably the tightest we've seen all season. Not a great deal happened. It was mostly focused on the birth of Vivien's fast-growing twins (how scary is the term alpha fetus just on its own?!?) and mostly used to set the stage for next week's grand finale. We have a deceased Vivien - someone who ended the hour by saying she had NOT lost her baby, either referring to Violet or, more likely, her plan to gank back her newborn - and a heart-broken, enraged Tate, both of which make for compelling fodder.

Then, of course, we have the brewing battle over this poor baby, as Constance will face off against Nora and Hayden (Hey bitches. You get all that slime off my baby yet?) and a team of Vivien and Violet and who knows who or what else feels like rising up from the basement.

Then there's Ben, all by himself, except for the interaction he can have with his ghostly daughter and, I presume, his now-dead wife. It's impossible to guess where the series is going, but I'm just glad we have a few days before it arrives there. I need that time to catch my breath and for my stomach to settle. I can only imagine how Connie Britton felt after those scene.

Oh yeah: and this child may be the Anti-Christ.

What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (144 Votes)

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


"The scene that touched me the most was when Violet was losing it after yelling at Tate and Viv showed up to comfort her. It seemed to me the 1st time this season that they showed the love between the mother and daughter." I agree with Jills comment here. That scene actually brought tears to my eyes. I think Violets acting is improving each episode as well. Jessica Lange is just AMAZING in this roll!! Love this show.


The scene that touched me the most was when Violet was losing it after yelling at Tate and Viv showed up to comfort her. It seemed to me the 1st time this season that they showed the love between the mother and daughter.


OMG!! What a great episode last night! This is the best show on TV right now...the whole cast is fantastic! Jessica is perfect in her roll, LOVE HER! If this show doesn't get any Emmys, something is wrong with the universe!!!


I think this is the best show on TV for sure. Last night was great and well written. The twists that happen on this shoe each week are unbelievable. I just cannot wait to see what happens next season. They will never be able to top this one for sure. Great show. It was not that bad in regards to the gore. Come on people.


Did expect that ending I was shocked.


Also how shitty for Vivien to have to spend eternity with Hayden? :( I guess even death's a bitch sometimes.


The Bad: Going out of their way to make a statement about gay parenting. Regardless of politics, it seemed extremely forced. That's what they have glee for. I've lived in Tidewater Virginia all my life, and have never heard even a hint of the 'Croatoan' ghost removal curse. Everyone knows the legend of the lost colony and seeing it grossly defaced was very distracting. The legend is scary enough without turning it into some bs exorcism rite. Ben seemed to take his daughter being a ghost very very well? The Good: Obviously the birth. I think I see how Nora will be placated. Ben and Viv's baby was obviously not term and died or more likely will die shortly after birth, and give Nora her baby again. Another look at the Infantata, which yes IS Nora's mulitated baby, she called him by name. Violet finally seeing Tate for what he is...too bad she didn't have this revalation befores he took a bottle of pills. All in all I think this episode gave a lot of creedance to Ryan Murphy saying that each season will feature a different horror story with new characters new locations, etc. Which actually is quite intriguing for a television show.


I thought that the infantata was that Frankenstein-style baby that Nora's doctor husband stitched together to try to placate her grief over her lost baby - the one who attacked her when she tried to feed it in the episode where she killed her husband & then herself. Did I get that wrong?


After reading a couple of reviews of the show (and watching it with my hands slightly over my eyes) I do wonder if the last episode will finally explain the Infanta and its (his?) link to Tate. I think that the first few minutes of the show, while demonstrating that Tate's life was pretty awful from early on, can also insinuate that perhaps Tate and the Infanta have a deeper connection and that perhaps, it is not Tate that has been pulling the strings for so long but the Infanta, through Tate (the monster within Tate). Afterall, the Infanta is the only ghost who has grown and could possibly be the ghost version of 'Alpha Baby' and feeds on other ghosts. Things to think about.....



Tags: ,