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American Horror Story: Rubber Man

"I'm not crazy, I'm just pregnant."

Happy Thanksgiving! And what better way to celebrate than with a bunch of graphic sexual violence! Ugh.

This was the much-anticipated 'rubber man reveal' episode, and it sure was as gross as promised. The identity of the fetish baby-daddy was reliably squicky, with connotations I found deeply uncomfortable and scenes of forced intercourse that pushed this show into really horrifying areas. Sure, we had major grossness last week, but that was a whole different wheelhouse to the stuff that went down here.

It wasn't just the visual ugliness that kind of repulsed me, either. The driving force of this episode was the ghostly plan to make everybody believe Vivien is going crazy, and it took some sleazy denial from Violet to cement it all. Now, I liked Violet at one point. But sending your own pregnant mother to a psych ward so you can be with your new BF who, you know, shot a bunch of people that one time? Gross, Violet. Seriously. Poor Vivien, though. I feel like I'm saying that all the time, but girl's got it beat.

Constance wasn't around to provide some levity, but I loved the changing roles of the ghostly inhabitants of the house. Hayden really took charge this week, calling the shots and setting things in motion to get what she wants. I especially liked that great scene where she attacked Nora for her constant weeping ("you gotta knock this shit off!"). Similarly, Moira is becoming a real protector of sorts. I had initially pegged Nora as a good seed in the house, but she seems a little too distracted by the promise of a new baby. Moira, instead, seems to be Vivien's strongest ally at this point, and I adored that great monologue about The Yellow Wallpaper and the history of men writing women off as crazy to satisfy their own desires. Frances Conroy is incredible in this part.

Finally, Zachary Quinto returned. There was a lot less on-the-nose dialogue than last time, and we actually got to see a lot of Chad's pain. He's the classic 'wronged partner', desperate to please his husband with extreme methods, only to have it thrown back in his face. He and Vivien should really get together with some tequilas and bond over their mutual hatred of latex.

Rubber Man was a little much at times (especially Tate's second attempt at rape), but the major story arcs continue to be pretty wonderful. The characters on this show are so absorbing, even if you can't help but be disgusted by them every once in a while.


- No Jessica Lange or Denis O'Hare this week. Boo.

- When you're escaping ghosts in your house and then find creepy cultists hiding out in the back-seat of your car, don't run back into the house! Doesn't anybody know the rules??

- Creepiest moment of the week: Rubber Man scuttling past Ben on the stairs right at the beginning. Gah.

- To give this review a rapid change of tone, this episode was directed by Miguel Arteta, who directed an incredibly sweet movie this year called Cedar Rapids with Ed Helms and Anne Heche. I really recommend it.


Peggy: Pat's a great guy, Chad, worth fighting for. And if that means that you have to fight with a cat o' nine tails and some titty-clamps well then, brother... gear up.

Hayden: Don't act so high and mighty with me, you old bat. I saw you feed her raw brains.
Moira: That was for her benefit!

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.


  1. I think Violet died when she swallowed those pills.

    There were subtle clues peppered in this episode to point to Vi being deceased and now trapped in the house and with Tate.

  2. Definitely a surprise with Tate as Rubber Man (I really did think it'd be freakier if it was the devil). I wonder how Violet will feel when she finds out her new siblings are her dead psycho boyfriend's ghost spawns. Or how Vivian and Ben will feel when they find out she got knocked up by their daughter's dead psycho boyfriend. Wonder why Tate wants to please the female ghosts? I get the feeling that despite all of the screwed up things he does, he has good intentions. Good intentions don't excuse what he did to Chad and Pat. That last scene was just sad. I doubt Tate will feign ignorance to killing them if they ever confront him. It's a small house after all.

    Chad's subplot was probably my favorite part. I never thought I'd see a scene of Zachary Quinto crying over a crumbling relationship (a gay one no less) in a latex BDSM suit. As sad as it was, I couldn't help but laugh. The sex shop scene was pure gold.

    I put up with a miserable, jaded, outcast rich girl for only so long. And Violet has passed that point. It's reaching Bella Swan levels at this point. You don't bitch at your dad about ignoring your mother's 'insanity' and than stand by and let her be taken to an asylum (pretty much helping her along the way) so you can be with your boyfriend. I used to like Violet and understand the 'what about me' sentiment until it becomes an 'it's all about me' plea.

    Not sure what Moira wants anymore. She cares about Vivian, it seems. Despises Ben and most other men. She seems to loathe Constance and the other ghosts but is more than willing to help them. The teaser for next week seemed to imply Vivian and Tate's babies are not meant to be at all. If that's the case, I wonder why Constance and Moira are trying to keep them healthy.

    I feel bad for Nora. I hope her monster baby Thaddeus is not lurking around the house somewhere.

    And I really want Hayden to die, or move on or something. But she's still very pissed and even crazier than before, so this probably won't happen. Her and Hugo Langdon deserve each other.

  3. I so agree with your creepiest moment of the week... Rubber man walking down and daze idiot walks up and she didn't even roll over and talk to him about the suit, like it was taboo? ewww... But it is making for some GREAT horror. I know I had a hard time going to sleep that night.

    And yeah, I think Violet is dead ;-)

  4. I didn't spot the Violet death hints. Maybe I'm just that oblivious, heh. But it definitely sounds about right, and probably explains why she was so eager to stay in the house and set Vivien up.


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