Tuesday, October 23, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Return To Murder House

The sixth episode of this season, titled Return To Murder House, brought us back to where it all began and offered up plenty of nostalgic moments filled with emotion. It is also the episode EVERYONE has been waiting for and it did not disappoint. 

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

Madison and Behold roll up to Murder House pretending to be a couple who wants to buy the property. Madison is complaining that the coven only sent her there because she is expendable. The purchase goes through and the real estate agent does his job by telling them about the 'unprecedented number of deaths' that have happened within the house. Behold makes a joke that Madison just love the kitchen so they are okay with the murders. Interesting that the witches now own this house unless they sell it at some point. The cold open ends with Madison walking up to the door and declaring the house a 'shit hole' before walking in. Maybe don't insult the place that is referred to as Murder House.

Upon entry Madison notices the house doesn't look that run down on the inside and inquires how long the house was supposedly empty for. It appears, to her, that someone still lives there. Behold replies that something does.  He quickly surmises that there are souls trapped within the house's walls and likens it to them being in hell. It's a prison they can't escape from. Madison quips that she has been to hell and  Murder House is better. Behold still unsettled by the house inquires if she would rather just go clubbing instead. Madison replies that she is on her third chance at life and doesn't want to screw it up again. Behold reminds her to remember who gave her that third chance. He obviously means Michael but I highly doubt Madison is going to be loyal to him. 

They figure out that the spirits do not want to be seen so they are going to perform a spell to draw them out so they can talk to them. Madison mentions that Michael's family died in the house so if anyone has the goods on their new Supreme it is them. Behold admits he is more worried about all the other ghosts in the house as it is super crowded in there. The spell works and they immediately run into two little girl ghosts that make Madison scream (and prompts Behold to tell her to "Shut up, skinny witch"). They then hear Tate yelling at Mr Harmon. Tate is not happy that Ben is not helping him fast enough. Seems that their daily sessions are not helping much (at least in Tate's opinion). Tate feels like Ben only talks to him because Vivien (Ben's wife) won't. So I guess we now how the Harmon's marriage is going in the afterlife (pretty much as well as it was going before they died). Tate wants help with Violet and is frustrated that is not happening. She is still ignoring him no matter how much he begs or yells. Ben reminds Tate that he set fire to his mother's boyfriend, he shot and killed over a dozen highschool students, he helped kill Violet's parents, and he impregnated her mother. Any of these are reason enough for Violet to not talk to him on their own. Tate claims he is different now and also offers up this very Tate like reason Violet should talk to him again:

Madison walks in and tells Tate that he really isn't that hot. Both Ben and Tate are shocked that Madison can see them (and vice versa). Behold introduces himself and Madison and tells Ben he knows all about him and the fact that he killed himself after his wife died. Ben snaps that he was murdered. Tate just wants to know what is going on because they are supposed to decide who sees them. Madison informs them that they are powerful witches and tells them that unless they want more disruptions they better answer some questions about Michael. Tate scoffs and tells them that even people who are protected by magic are not safe in this house and tells them to 'watch their ass' as he leaves the room. Madison begs and tells Ben that since they bought the house nobody else will come bother them. Ben says that they caught him at a bad time. He has a busy schedule of crying and masturbating ahead of him. He apparently does this daily. Oh, Ben. He is still totally the same. He and Tate have learned nothing. Madison feels sorry for Tate. She wants to help because she feels it's a romantic tragedy for him to be trapped with the one thing he wants and cannot have.

Madison is attacked by Beauregard "Beau" Langdon (Constance's other son) and is saved by Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson's third character this season). She distracts Beau by playing catch with him. She reveals that she is one of the few living people that the ghosts let come and go from the house. She immediately showcases her psychic abilities by telling Madison that she knows who she is. She reveals that she has known some Montgomerys before but she didn't often meet a witch. This, to me, is a huge nod that Madison is of the same Montgomerys that first owned Murder House. She must be a descendant. They are making a bunch of noise which draws Constance out of hiding. Madison demands to know who she is and Constance has the BEST introduction:

Queen Jessica Lange is back! I am so happy that Ryan Murphy was able to make this happen. This story would not feel right without Constance showing up.

Constance tells Madison and Behold that their babies will have the most beautiful skin colour to which Billie Dean informs her that they are not married but are instead there because they are witches. This bums Constance out because she wanted them to run to the corner store to pick up her cigarettes and Crown Royal whisky (because old habits die hard). Moira, the house maid, comes in and tells Constance the house is now clean. Constance immediately goes and finds some dust to throw in her face. This causes them to throw insults back and forth (so basically their relationship has not changed at all). It ends with Constance throwing a glass at Moira's retreating back.  This brings in Behold and Madison who again demand details about Michael. Billie Dean says that they do not talk about him but Constance has other ideas. She teases that she knows Michael better than anyone else but she won't share any gossip unless they get rid of Moira for her.

So we now that Constance is now dead .... we just don't know how she died (yet). Madison agrees and quickly puts Behold to work digging up Moira's body from the backyard so they can set her free. They find a skull which isn't Moira's (Madison can tell by touching it) and causes Behold to quip that there are so many bodies in the backyard . They finally find her though and offer Moira her freedom instead of some banishment. They allow her to pick where she is buried. This causes Moira to cry and thank Madison with a messy display of tears and hugs (much to Madison's chagrin). Moira chooses to be buried in the same cemetery as her mother. Her and her mother have a very touching reunion. It's an emotional ending that is so satisfying (and deserved). Leaving the property is all that Moira wanted for the entirety of the Murder House season and I am so happy it happened for her. Madison may be a bitch but she did a good thing here. 

Now that Moira is gone, Constance is happy to start spilling the tea on Michael. Constance first has to take a moment to savour the silence. She finally tells them the story of Michael's birth and how she took him to raise when Vivien died. She tells them that she is Michael's grandmother. She admits she made some mistakes with Tate (you think?!) and she wanted a proper do-over with Michael. Things started off well until he started doing unspeakable acts. When questioned she admits that he started killing animals and she knew exactly what path he was going down - the serial killer one. Michael said the little gifts he left her were because he loved her. Yup, perfectly normal to leave dead animals as presents. Constance claims she tried to get him to show affection using other avenues of expression but nothing worked. She eventually gave in and just buried his 'presents' and planted a rose bush on top of the bodies. She admits that she loved all of her children but Michael made her realize that she was put on this earth to raise monsters (and that she eventually came to hate the smell of roses). She finally gets to the incident with the sitter that ends Murder House. Constance convinced the authorities that the sitter killed herself. Up until this point she thought she was just raising a run of the mill serial killer (or perhaps even a gifted one because he is her grandson after all) but this changed when Michael grew up over night. She went into his room one morning to find a full grown teenager in place of the young tyke she was expecting. 

Constance next reveals that Michael tried to kill her once by choking her. He was super apologetic and so child like in his demeanor afterwards. Constance decided that this aging business demanded a priest who Michael quickly killed. This pushed Constance over the edge. She had to admit she was in over her head even if it shattered her to admit. She felt like Michael would have eventually killed her and she wasn't going to give any man that satisfaction. She decided to go to Murder House and kill herself there so she would live on. Her death, much like Constance herself, is extra. She looked fabulous and did it with pills, a bottle of whiskey, and some dancing. She awoke to find herself surrounded by her children (minus one) and that is really why she wanted to be in Murder House. She says that she never wanted to see Michael again and that is the entire story and she excuses herself to go have a tea party with her youngest daughter.

The witches make their way back to Ben (who is in fact crying and masturbating). Madison calls him a DILF and demands he talk to them about Michael. Madison offers to fix it so that he doesn't have to cry and masturbate anymore which seems like a fair trade to Ben so he agrees to talk. He tells them he met Michael when he came over to find Constance. Michael finds her dead on the couch and falls apart. He is like a 7 year old in a 17 year olds body which makes it all the more heartbreaking. Cody Fern is killing this child like quality Michael is supposed to have. Michael is calling for his grandma but she is not answering. Ben shows himself and tells Michael that Constance does not want to be seen which further breaks his heart. Ben tells him that he wants to help him. He offers to help Michael if he really wants to change. Michael's reply to this is:

and he inquires why Ben would want to help him. Ben admits he views Michael as his son even though he technically isn't. Ben reveals that Michael desperately wanted to be good. Ben introduced him to a bunch of child joys he never got to experience. It's a cute montage of Michael learning to play chess, play ball, tie his shoes. Cody Fern's child like joy is infectious here. 

One day Michael is in Tate's room looking at his stuff which causes Tate to loose his temper. He demands that Michael leave his stuff alone. Michael admits he just wants to be like his dad which causes Tate to freak out even more. He rejects Michael as his son and tells him that there is no way he made something as evil as Michael. This is just another time that Michael is rejected by those who should have loved him. Ben could see Michael pulling away and falling further into the darkness. He catches Michael carving up Elizabeth Short (aka The Black Dahlia). He admits that he was losing him and it was made worse when new owners arrived.

Michael decided to put on the Rubber Man suit and kill both of the new occupants in a bloody mess (how very like his father). Michael claims he did it because they didn't belong there but Ben reminds him that they will now be stuck in the house forever. Michael is not happy about this so he burns their ghosts of out existence. He literally makes them disappear. He murdered their bodies AND destroyed their souls. This makes Ben turn his back on Michael (so this is now three people he has cared about who have rejected him). This news causes Madison to want to immediately run to Cordelia for help. This prompts Vivien to enter and she tells them getting rid of Michael will not be that easy. 

We finally get to check in with the Harmons at this point. We discover that Vivien and Ben don't speak because of Michael. She never stopped hating Michael and she resented that Ben needed him. There is a brief moment of tenderness between them but it is still pretty frosty as Ben kisses Viven but she barely leans into it.

Vivien reveals that Michael isn't just some witch they can exterminate and fills them in on the fact that he's actually the Antichrist. She shares some of the things that made her come to this realization - crows circled the house each day, it was really hot all of the time. It wasn't until a group of people showed up that she was sure though. We see that one of the members of this group is the caretaker that Michael is so fond of. The one gentleman in the group introduces himself as Anton LaVey (who was the real founder of the Church of Satan). They, of course, praise Michael and call him the 'chosen one'. This would have been very alluring to Michael who was feeling the sting of rejection from those who he felt should have loved him.

Madison inquires why Vivien didn't stop this group and she says that she felt they were just lost souls following a con man. She didn't think there was anything to fear until the night of the Black Mass. The group abducted a woman and performed a ritual sacrifice that brought out Michael's true powers. The ritual involved killing the poor woman and having Michael eat her heart. There is a fun Rosemary's Baby reference when one of the supporters declares "For you, Michael. It's all for you" before she plunges the knife into the poor victim. Michael watches this whole thing in wonder. As Michael eats the heart we see a shadow behind him unfurl to show the devil with wings.

Vivien shares that she decided to kill him that night after realizing what happened. Seriously, no wonder Michael thinks the human race are a bunch of assholes. He has experienced nothing but rejection from those he considered family. His own mother wanted to kill him. I get he is the Antichrist but his opinions don't seem as strange now. She sneaks into his room with a knife and as she approaches we see that Michael is awake. We also get to see the new branding that is now on his ear:

Michael, sensing he is in danger, sets Vivien on fire. He is trying to get rid of her soul! Tate comes in and saves the day though. Vivien shares that when the fire was out Michael was gone and she has no clue who took care of him after that (we know it was the caretaker though). She says that neither Ben nor Tate is Michael's father. Michael was born from the evil of the house. The source of its darkness is Michael's father (aka the devil). 

Madison has heard enough. She is ready to get the hell out of there and tell the coven everything. Behold chases after her and Madison quickly snaps at him that he better not try to stop her. Behold says that he is not going to. He never would have supported Michael if he knew that he was the Antichrist. They both begin to wonder what happens if they can't stop him (a frightening thought).

Madison hears crying and decides to go investigate. It's Violet who is upset. She reveals to Madison that she stayed cleared from Michael so she can't help her. Madison offers to help her as she sense Violet is having a hard time. Violet admits that she is tortured by the fact that she still loves Tate even though he has done so many awful things. Madison tells Violet that Tate was not really evil. The house used Tate and used him as a vessel to do things that would bring about what it really wanted (which was the birth of the Antichrist). She uses a spell to show Violet the truth of who Tate is which immediately makes Violet soften towards him. She immediately calls for him and he comes running to her side. It's a rather sweet reunion  and pretty much what every Tate and Violet fan could have wanted. Also, look at Madison doing good all over the place in this episode.

We leave Murder House with Madison magically locking the gate so that the ghosts of Murder House can spend their afterlife in peace.

The episode ends with Behold teasing Madison about helping out. She reveals that she just wantd someone to have a happy ending. Behold reminds her that if they don't stop Michael nobody will have a happy ending. Eeeep!

See you next week where we'll hopefully hopefully see the coven deal with this whole Antichrist mess.

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently watching Season 2! I didn't read your whole review, because you gave a heads up for spoilers, but I just wanted to share the love for the series :)


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