We’re only six episodes into the first season, and the answers to many of the mysteries on ‘American Horror Story’ are coming fast and furious now. The show is kind of the anti-‘Lost’ in that respect. Its secrets don’t remain secrets for long. While it’s been one hell of an entertaining ride so far, I have to wonder just how long the series can maintain this momentum.
‘Piggy Piggy’ (and we’ll get to the reason for that title in a minute) spills the beans on Tate’s backstory. We already know that he’s Constance’s son, and we’ve kind of suspected that he’s dead. The previous episode‘s confrontation with those dead teenagers also implied that he’s been dead for quite a while but doesn’t know it. This episode confirms that right off the bat, with a flashback to 1994, where the events of his school shooting rampage are depicted in horrifically suspenseful fashion. He indeed murdered all the teens that we met at Halloween. He then returned home and was gunned down in his bedroom by a S.W.A.T. team.
Violet now knows the truth about this as well. After what the teens said to her, she Googled the details of the school shooting, including the headlines proclaiming Tate’s death. At first, she thinks that someone’s playing a prank on her, but Constance comes over to set her straight. “This house will make you a believer,” she says. Constance also introduces Violet to a psychic medium named Billie (Sarah Paulson). Constance asks for Violet’s help in making sure that Tate continues to see Ben for therapy. She’s hoping to ‘Sixth Sense’ him into realizing that he’s a ghost on his own. “We must help him cross over.”
All of this leaves Violet completely frazzled. She spends most of the episode in a shell-shocked state. After obtaining some pills from her new school friend (the one whose face was clawed in the basement), Violet overdoses and nearly dies until Tate rescues her and tells her that he loves her, none of which exactly gives her any comfort.
Meanwhile, Ben returns to the house to see patients. He convinces Viv to let him continue using the house to work until they can afford to move elsewhere. He has a new patient named Derek (Eric Stonestreet from ‘Modern Family’) with a deathly fear of any and all urban legends. The one that gets to him the most is about a killer called the “Piggy Man.” Much like the Candyman or Bloody Mary, if you look into a mirror and repeatedly say his name, the Piggy Man will appear in the flesh to kill you. Even though he realizes how irrational this is, Derek is totally paralyzed by fear of the Piggy Man.
Ben convinces Derek that the only way to conquer the fear is to face it directly. Genius therapist that he is, Ben locks Derek in the bathroom of the haunted house, where the poor man has a grisly vision of a murdered corpse in the bathtub that totally freaks him out. Brilliant move, Dr. Freud.
Later that night, Derek tries once again to face up to his fear in his own home bathroom. He turns out the lights and says the cursed phrase, at which point a home intruder who’d been hiding in the shower steps out and shoots Derek in the head. The robber didn’t care much for being called a pig. Oh, sad irony, how wonderful you are.
With all this, it’s Vivien’s storyline that’s the real kicker. First of all, she tracks down the nurse who fainted (and subsequently quit her job) upon looking at Viv’s ultrasound. They meet at a church. The woman doesn’t mince her words. She tells Viv that her baby is a demon from Hell, which she describes as having claws and hooves. “I saw the unclean thing you carry in your womb.” Lovely! Viv thinks that the woman is crazy, of course.
As if that’s not ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ enough for you, when she gets back home, Vivien finds Constance trying to ply her with food that she says will be good for the baby – namely, a whole lot of disgusting offal that Moira is happy to cook up for her. Viv agrees to eat a little bit of it to be polite, and quickly develops a ravishing hunger for more. She eats not just the cooked meat, but also a raw pancreas (loaded with vitamins!) and eventually what appears to be a calf’s brain. That’s right, she scarfs down a raw brain like it’s a bowl full of ice cream! The scene is just physically revolting – awesomely so.
As we wrap up, Constance tells the medium Billie that she wants to talk to Addy. Billie relays the message that Addy forgives her mother, and is glad that she didn’t get her to the house’s lawn before she died. Now that she knows what Tate really is, she’s afraid of him and doesn’t want to be trapped in the house with him. Oh, snap!
Before I finish here, I need to point out that Vivien’s dog is nowhere to be found in this entire episode. No one makes a point of the dog being missing or anything, but it’s not there at all. I said last week that I thought the dog really did die in the microwave, despite what Hayden said about that being a prank. I’m calling it now – that dog is dead.
I also think that Violet may have been more successful at her suicide attempt that we’re being led to believe at this point. If we don’t see her outside the house in the next couple of episodes (like at school or something), I’m betting that it will be revealed by the season’s end that she’s a ghost, doomed to haunt that house with Tate, the crazy doctor and all the others. She may even get some more company soon.
In case I haven’t said it already, I freakin’ love this show!