TV Recap: American Horror Story, Episode 9

Written by Doug Strassler on . Posted in Arts & Film, TV.


There was quite a bit more forward movement with the AHS plot lines this week in “Spooky Little Girl” (although curiously, there was no Violet). This was also the much-ballyhooed episode in which Elizabeth Short, aka “the Black Dahlia” is woven into the fictional world of the Harmons, et al. But more about that in a sec.


Firstly, I’m still not clear on the world of human-dead people interaction. When can people see them? When can they physically touch (or do more than merely touch) one another? Because last night, Dead Hayden (Kate Mara) sure got physical with Constance’s rent boy Travis (Michael Graziadei), who learns that Hayden can’t get pregnant. Not because of a lazy ovary or anything, though. ‘Cause she’s dead. The humor in scenes like this is where AHS (this episode was penned by the great Jennifer Salt, a Murphy regular) should be all the time: twisted but still winking, never taking itself too seriously.

And throwing in the Black Dahlia mystery was several tads too pretentious for its own good. Short (guest star Mena Suvari) visits the Murder House circa 1947, where dentist David Curan (other guest Joshua Malina) works out of his home. She wants work done on her teeth, and her form of payment is unconscious sexual favors. She never wakes up from her anesthesia, however, so another lingering ghost with an MD we’ve come to know, Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross), finishes up the mess, doing the ignominious carving on the poor actress wannabe. Hey, it’s as viable a theory as any for her unsolved murder.

It’s just that it didn’t add much to an episode that could have finally provided Ben with more meat on which to chew. We learn that Vivien’s twins have two different daddies, making Constance furious at Tate and leading Ben to suspect Viv has cheated with Security Guard Luke (Morris Chestnut, still wringing what he can out of a totally thankless cardboard role). Luke confirms this isn’t true, and Ben resists temptation with both Elizabeth Short and Moira, who he can then finally see in Frances Conroy form. Dylan McDermott was very good here, justifying every gradient of Ben’s conflicted adult responses throughout the episode, and it made me wish the show had given him more than cheating-but-well-meaning-husband dialogue to keep hurling out.

If there’s hope for Ben, though, there isn’t any for Travis, who Dead Hayden offs in a Single White Female-esque fit of pique. We then see some neighborhood kids discovering his dead body in a field a la the Black Dahlia, in what is a nice but empty touch. Will we see any of Dead Travis? We should, right? He does belong to Murder House now. (Before he dies, however, Constance gets in the line of the night. In dissuading him to leave her for a modeling career, she taunts “What career? This dream you have of appearing half-naked in your skivvies 60 feet high above Tiiiiimes Squaaaayaaaaaah!?” And the way she draws out “Squaaaaaaaaaaaaaare” in her multi-affected drawl is nothing short of camp brilliance.)

Meanwhile, it looks like one of Viv’s babies comes with some very high expectations. Apparently a child conceived in the union of a human and a spirit will “usher in the end of times.” Now how is that gonna play out? My new hope is that the next season of AHS is like The Fly II, in which poor young Devil Baby Harmon gets to navigate his way through LA. And I’m hoping Daphne Zuniga’s able to join!

What about you guys? Are you getting more and more into the season or just counting down until its end?

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