TV Recap: American Horror Story Haunts FX

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The back story of American Horror Story may merit an entire novel of its own, but I'll try my best to give you a brief and succinct recap. Ben (Dylan McDermott) is a psychiatrist in Boston who had an affair following his wife Vivien's (Connie Britton) delivery of a stillborn baby. Aiming for a fresh start, they upped and moved with their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) in tow to LA, where they move into a house which carries a seemingly endless history of murder and mayhem, and sparks a string of strange and ghoulish people entering their lives. There's a bit less haunting and a bit more explaining in the second half of American Horror Story's "Halloween" episode. Last week's cliffhanger left us off with the dead walking among the living as Ben and Vivien tried to sort through their wreck of a marriage, which has plenty of demons even without the ghouls that keep infiltrating the Murder House.

Dead Larry (Denis O'Hare) has been taunting Violet about needing money from Ben, for having assisted in offing his intrusive pregnant mistress Hayden (Kate Mara). Violet's gone, but she's not with Dead Larry. Instead, she has run off to the beach with the resident bad-boy-hunk Tate (Evan Peters), where they encounter some gross kids with gunshot wounds who manipulate Tate into telling Violet that he killed them in a school shooting. But these ghosts can't prod forever, and in a move right out of a Cinderella story, as soon as the sun rises, they turn into the dead equivalent of pumpkins.

Though relieved to discover that Violet has not gone missing, Ben still attacks Dead Larry, who he is convinced has some conspiracy worked out with (now) Dead Hayden to torment them. Meanwhile, as she prepares for a bath, Dead Hayden calls Vivien to dish more dirt about her and Ben's affair, even going as far as to eloquently tell her of his affection for her lady parts, which he suggested "smelled of raspberries and cream". Then Dead Hayden pulls a Ghost and writes "Ask Him" in the steam on the bathroom mirror. Very original.

In a dramatic twist, Vivien finally comes face to face with the (now dead) mistress, learning that she was also pregnant and that Ben lied about actually visiting her. Dead Hayden gets arrested but then disappears, and also momentarily punks the family into thinking that she has nuked their dog. Fed up (with more than just berries and cream), Vivien finally kicks Ben out. The other main story found Crazy Constance (Jessica Lange) mourning the death of Addie, hit by a car last week. She tells Violet that Tate is her son, and that he cannot find out about Dead Addie. Good, more secrets!

I respect AHS for so clearly going off the deep end from the start. It's like a Skinemax flick where all the actors just show up naked, shirking all pretense of anything beyond steaminess. AHS is Lady Godiva, and she's riding a mighty horse indeed.

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