American Horror Story Review: The Boy Dahlia

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Did you see that coming? I expected "Smoldering Children" to reveal quite a bit about Larry's family, but so many things caught me off guard.

For example, I naturally assumed he was mutilated trying to save his loved ones in their burning house. That Tate doused him with gasoline and set him ablaze before his high school massacre? Stunning!

Fire Scene

When the truant officer showed up and found the apples covered in flies, my mind screamed "Amityville Horror!" Anyone else? Just the tiniest flashback to some of the brilliant horror of the past tickles me pink. Violet hasn't been in school for 16 days. I was right!!

Let's chat about Violet's demise. Just seconds before she tried to leave the house to go to school, Tate grabbed her and kept her from attending. He was afraid of her reaction to her own death. Something tells me she will be very happy at Murder House. She didn't fit in anywhere, but in a home that she loves, full of other dead people just like her, she might find she's in her element. Because we didn't see who was in the crawlspace and Tate kept the exterminator from leaving, I immediately knew he was protecting her.

I thought it was quite sweet of Tate to try to talk her into committing suicide with him so that she could make a decision about her life that she didn't necessarily get to do when she died. Like Constance said, he really could bring heaven with a smile. Except Violet figured it out and tried to escape. Sorry, sweetie, you can't leave the property. Yes, I did pat myself on the back at the reveal. I love following the clues!

Constance has lost at least three children that we know of. Her husband "disappeared" in 1983. With the way Moira was dressed, I always imagined it was at a different time period, but given her age, the year is appropriate. I was surprised she was questioned about Travis' murder. She seems to live her life without any outside interference.

Her statement to the police about what Hugo meant to her after she discovered he had cheated was brilliantly told over the flashback of her dogs eating some freshly ground flesh. She was genuinely upset at Travis becoming the Boy Dahlia, and knew instantly Larry had a role.

Did you notice that Larry still sees his children and ex-wife with their injuries? I'm fairly certain we've seen the girls running through the house before, so they can be whole. I suppose his own condition, and his involvement with their deaths, clouds his visions of them. I liked that Travis took a liking to them, and they to him. Too bad Larry won't be able to bring him clippings about his newfound fame. Maybe when Constance finally visits, she'll humor him with a scrapbook.

Other bits:

  • It appears Larry's story arc is over. He's being shipped out of state to serve time.
  • Ben told Vivien one of the children wasn't his, but he didn't know at that time the other was Tate's.
  • How long until Ben or Vivien figure this house out?
  • No Moira this week. I missed her. Young or old, she's been an entertaining character on an ongoing basis.
  • You'd think Hayden would have been front and center enjoying Violet's discovery. Where was she?
  • It's rather disgusting to think that the flies landing on Ben had just been chewing on his daughter's rotting corpse.
  • Violet's dead!!! 

What did you think about "Smoldering Children?" Sounds off now!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (105 Votes)

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


I don't think if the bodies are removed it matters, if you die in the house you're stuck in the house. I think what moira was crying about was now the chances of her body being found and constance going to jail went to zero, and also, there is the desire for her family to have peace. As her family has no idea what happened to her, and think she just ran off with a guy and abandoned them.


okay i understand the story and its brilliant, but one thing that gets me is in the episode where ben puts in the gazebo where hayden and moira are buried, moira is watching and crying and constance says something about, "now you're stuck here forever..." i assume that would mean if they take the bodies out they'd be free, right? well if elizabeth short only "visits" the house and the same thing happened to travis, why is he stuck in the house? assuming of course that if the bodies are removed so are the ghosts. just a thought..


Ok Ben And Viv are definitely not dead, atleast, not yet.
I would sincerely hope this isn't tied into the 2012 myth.
I think it could be done well if each season was a new horror story.
There are many horror story archetypes. This is obviously the 'haunted house grisly end for the unsuspecting family' archetype.
But I think if it's just new families moving in the same the house it would be boring.


Also - just occurs to me, but I'm slow - is the birth of the anti-Christ being timed to coincide with - well - you know?


I can believe the concept of "new cast, new house" next season (but how do we retain Constance?) because offing every year's cast and putting them in the basement results in a very crowded house. On the other hand, if every season is a dark as this one - and it's why I am not at all pleased with the death of Violet - the only reason to watch is to enjoy another family come to grief with no hope visible anywhere. Now, life itself may seem that way, but if we need to delude ourselves with hope in our daily lives, we also need our entertainment to bear out that delusion somewhat. Otherwise, it's gonna be - what's the point? nothing's gonna work out. why go on? why watch?


Laura... that was before she died. She hasn't been dead all along! Remember when she took all the pills and Tate found her? He tried to save her but was too late. That was like 3 eps ago,


I was absolutely shocked that Violet was a ghost. But how was it that she went to Constance's house a few episodes ago and met the psychic woman? She shouldn't have been able to do that, she should have been trapped in the house.


It clicked on me when Violet can't run away from the house. I love the suspense they throw on us! I feel bad for Violet. She really wants to live after all.
And no Moira and no Hayden and no gay couple :(. Still a strong episode though!


"I thought it was quite sweet of Tate to try to talk her into committing suicide" I had to read that quote in the review a couple times to make sure I had read it correctly. Without this show such a statement WOULD be utterly crazy. Can you imagine how damaging that quote would be if taken out of context while running for public office? LOL Was the exterminator actually killed? If so, are we to assume that Tate only gassed him enough to render him unconcious in order to kill him once his body was taken off the house's property?


Samale, I thought the same thing!

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American Horror Story Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

You know Tate, unlike your siblings, you were graced with so many graces. How is it that you cannot bring yourself to use them? Just a smile or a kind word could open the gates to heaven.


Tate: Thank you for the salty pig meat we are about to eat, along with the rest of the rest of the indigestible swill. And thank you for our new charade of a family. My father ran away when I was only six, and if I had known any better I would have joined him. And, also because she's been trying to get back into this house ever since she lost it, Lord, a big thank you for blinding the asshole that's doing my mother so he can't see what everybody knows: that she doesn't really love him.