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“AHS” revisits the Murder House: Paulson directs as the Harmon and Langdon families return in full form

“AHS” revisits the Murder House: Paulson directs as the Harmon and Langdon families return in full form

“AHS” revisits the Murder House: Paulson directs as the Harmon and Langdon families return in full form
October 23
15:29 2018

Warning, spoilers ahead!

On Wednesday night, one of the most ambitious crossovers in television history took place as the sixth episode of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” merged characters from “Coven” and “Murder House.”

The episode was an immediate blast from the (recent) past, feeling almost exactly like an episode from the FX series’ debut season in 2011.

I must admit, “Apocalypse” has not been my favorite season, but this episode will go down as the epitome of how you do a crossover event, and I don’t think any show will top this in the near future. Not only did we re-enter the infamous haunted house from season one, but we also got to check up on the entirely deceased Harmon family, who all lost their lives within the walls of the home and are thus stuck there for eternity as ghosts, but we also were given the pleasure of seeing the “AHS” GOAT Jessica Lange return to reprise her role as Constance Langdon (a role that won her an Emmy in 2012).

The purpose of the visit was for Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (a new warlock character) to return to the origins of Michael Langdon (the antichrist born inside the Murder House to a human mother, Vivien Harmon, and a ghost father, Tate Langdon).

Anyone who has watched the debut season will remember Vivien died giving birth to Michael, and the infant was taken by his grandmother Constance to be raised in the house next door. Michael is Constance’s only grandchild, as all four of her children died young (more on that later).

Upon arrival, Madison and Behold talk with several of the resident ghosts and try to figure out what makes Michael so special. When they run into Constance (now a ghost), she tells them she knows Michael better than anyone else in the world, dead or alive. But Constance does not “spill the tea for free,” so she asks them to perform a task before they can learn anything about Michael: That task being to get rid of Moira’s ghost (the maid who Constance murdered in 1983 for sleeping with her husband).

Frances Conroy — who plays dual roles this season reprising the character of Moira this episode and having reprised her role as Myrtle Snow in the previous three episodes — effortlessly has one of the most emotional scenes in the entire episode.

Madison and Behold quickly figure out a plan to rid Constance’s afterlife of the poor maid, and dig up her bones from the backyard and remove them from the property, eventually placing them with Moira’s mother’s body in a cemetery.

Those who watched “Murder House” will remember that ghosts can roam the world free on Halloween night, and that on Oct. 31, 2011, upon a visit to her mother in a nursing home, Moira pulled the plug on her to release her from agony. Her mother appeared behind her then, as a spirit, and asked Moira to come with her to whatever is next. Moria, in tears, responded that she wanted to but couldn’t.

Moira is seen reuniting with her mother at the graveyard and walking into the mist, finally set free from her eternal stay in the Murder House, and one of the true happy endings for the many tortured souls in this crazy fictional universe.

Following Moira’s exit, Constance sits down with Madison and Behold to “spill the tea” about Michael.

Lange’s glorious return to “AHS” was not wasted one bit: She fit right back into her role as Constance, and her story of Michael’s youth was told as an informative monologue, giving Lange quite a lot to work with.

We learn that Michael started by tearing flies apart in his crib, before moving onto rodents and small animals. Eventually he graduated to grander things, like killing his nanny, and after an attempt at an intervention, a priest.

Constance explained that Michael literally grew overnight from a preschooler to a teenager, as if he had something so important to do it could not wait. After an attempt on her own life, Constance finally decides she cannot take it anymore and commits suicide in the Murder House so she can exist for eternity with three of her four children.

Constance said she always felt she was born to be a mother and that her purpose on earth was to raise the monsters.

As explained in “Murder House,” Constance had four children, three of whom had abnormalities. We only ever met three of them in the first season, and the fourth remains a mystery. At the conclusion of Constance’s monologue, her fourth child, a young daughter named Rose, shows up, as it is time for a tea party. Oh, and Rose doesn’t have eyes, she just has big gaping holes where they should be.

That’s all the show had to do with Rose, as the pair left the room and weren’t seen again in the episode.

Most of the remaining time was spent showing Michael’s ascension to evil, and a devil-worshipping cult group shows up and hail him as a powerful spirit. The group kidnap and murder a young woman, rip out her heart and Michael takes a bite out of it, after which his shadow becomes something non-human with wings.

Another couple of characters saw a happy ending as well. Violet and Tate were the young and troubled couple from season one, and their relationship ended terribly after Violet realized Tate raped her mother and also shot up his school in 1994. Of course, Tate came home after the shooting, where he was later killed by police, thus why he is a spirit.

With years having passed, the two have not spoken or seen the other, as the ghosts of the house can choose when to be seen by others. Now, with some new information, Violet realizes that maybe Tate was not evil, the house was just using him for evil purposes. The two embrace and are set to be together forever, stuck in the house.

The episode was beautifully shot and well directed by series mainstay Sarah Paulson in her directional debut. It was a very important episode, and one that pulled off what it set out to do: add to the story currently unfolding, while also continuing (and ending) stories from the past, all the while satisfying longtime viewers.

In a way, the episode was a love letter to the devoted fans who have been tuning in for eight years, and let’s hope the rest of the season plays out as well as this hour did.

My rating: 5/5

Featured Image: Jessica Lange makes her return to “American Horror Story” after four years. The Oscar-and-Emmy-winning actress reprised her role as Constance Langdon from the series debut season “Murder House.” Courtesy FX Networks

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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