Friday, April 11, 2014

American Horror Story- Murder House- Episode 5- Halloween Part 2

**This review contains spoilers**

Synopsis: Following the events of Halloween Part 1, Violet (Taissa Farmiga) is safe and sound with Tate (Evan Peters) during an unusual date night. But the date takes a bizarre turn, when a group of disfigured and bloody high school kids ruin Violet and Tate’s peaceful moment on the beach.

At the house, Ben  (Dylan McDermott) attacks Larry (Dennis O’Hare) after another heated argument, because Ben is sick and tired of Larry’s demands for a $1,000 loan. Ben’s ultimatum? If Ben catches Larry in one more trespassing incident, Ben will kill Larry without hesitation.

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to protect Violet, Tate lures the bloody high school kids away from Tate and Violet’s hiding spot with a chase to the beach. Violet tries to call 911 for help, but Constance shows up to force Violet into a talk about Addie’s (Jaime Brewer) death. At first, an enraged Constance (Jessica Lange) blames Violet for Addie’s demise, but Constance lightens her tone, because she needs a shoulder to lean on.

A panicky Vivien (Connie Britton) suspects something fishy after an eerie phone call from Hayden (Kate Mara), and a frustrated Chad (Zachary Quinto) smashes pumpkins on the porch after Patrick’s (Teddy Sears) disappearance. Vivien hits the panic button for Luke (Morris Chestnut) after a series of warning signs for Hayden’s intrusion, but Hayden corners Vivien with a shard of glass, and Ben is unconscious after a sneak attack from Larry in the basement.  Suddenly, Nora (Lily Rabe) surprises Ben with a few words of encouragement. Nora’s pep talk gives Ben some motivation, but Hayden is determined to murder Vivien and Ben’s unborn child for revenge……….

Review: Tate’s speech about high school? It’s disturbing and dark, and Evan Peters did a wonderful job of selling Tate’s disdain for high school life. Tate and Violet are sitting on the beach together, and Tate expresses his disgust and hatred for having to fit in, to be normal, and gain acceptance. Tate rejects the idea of needing a memorable run in high school to enjoy life, and Tate dismisses high school life as a blip on the radar. There’s a glassy and far-off  look in Peters’ eyes during the speech, and you can really feel Tate’s sadness about high school during this scene.

Who are the disfigured high school kids? Well, a few things are clear. For starters, they’re dead, but that’s okay, because the dead can walk the earth on Halloween. On top of that, the kids have a score to settle with Tate, and they’re not leaving until Tate gives an explanation or an apology.

Tate tries to fight a series of flashbacks with some clues to the incident, and Tate escapes prosecution during sunrise. Chloe (the only cheerleader in the group) pushes Tate for an explanation, but the high school kids run out of time, because they only have “special visit privileges” to the living world for one day (Halloween), and their time is up.

Constance calms down after a talk, but Constance drops a bombshell on Violet during their harmless chat: Tate is her son, and Addie is Tate’s sister. Tate is an unstable kid, and Constance knows the news of Addie’s death would crush Tate, so Constance urges Violet to keep Addie’s death a secret, and Violet agrees.

At the house, Ben confronts Hayden, but Larry smacks Ben in the back of the head with a shovel. Ben is out cold, and Larry tries to burn the house down, but Chad shows up at the last second. Upstairs, Hayden confronts Vivien, and a shocked Hayden snaps, when Vivien announces her pregnancy. Remember, Ben never told Hayden about the baby with Vivien.

To make matters worse, Hayden reveals her pregnancy with Ben to Vivien, and the plans for an abortion. Vivien tries to talk some sense into Hayden, but she won’t listen. Instead, Hayden smashes a frame with a picture featuring Violet, Ben, and Vivien. She picks a BIG piece of glass from the frame, and Hayden tries to cut the baby out of Vivien.

After some help and a pep talk from Nora, Ben shows up. Hayden will spare the baby and Vivien’s life….under one condition: Ben has to tell Vivien the truth. With no other choices in front of him, Ben reveals all of his dirty secrets about his secret relationship with Hayden, including a recent trip to Boston to reunite with Hayden.

A stunned Vivien and Hayden are heartbroken for different reasons, Hayden drops the piece of glass, and Luke arrives on the scene to apprehend Hayden for a trip to jail. Without any resistance or arguments, Ben packs all of his belongings to leave the house with one good-bye kiss on Vivien’s forehead. 

This is going to sound really strange to some people, but Vivien is kind of a hypocrite in this episode. Why? Well during a phone call with Hayden, Vivien reveals details for her affair with a married man from the past. Of course, the affair happened before Vivien met Ben, and I’m assuming Ben doesn’t know about Vivien’s affair.

Eh, wait a minute. Why is Vivien so judgmental towards Ben for his affair with Hayden, when she did the same thing at a younger age? I’m not saying Ben deserves a clear 100% pass. Not at all. He’s a habitual liar, who ruined the lives of two women, and he deserves his punishment. BUT Vivien is standing on this holier than thou pedestal, and she’s scolding Ben left and right? Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.

Yeah, I know. Vivien is the victim, and a psycho stalker is determined to ruin her life, but Vivien should be more understanding. Am I saying Ben deserves Vivien’s forgiveness with no strings attached? No. But She's not in a position of authority to lecture others about morals, because Vivien's past is tainted. 

Anyway, the build and all the “Where is she hiding?“ teasing for the confrontation between Hayden and Vivien is just perfect. Hayden’s mind games include, cryptic writing (“ask him”) on a steamy bathroom mirror, a fire in the bathroom, and a nasty Halloween prank. The prank? Vivien walks into the kitchen, and there’s an explosion of blood in the microwave. Vivien is distraught, because she believes Hayden microwaved the family dog, but Hayden used some tomatoes to trick Vivien.

The moment with Hayden holding Vivien hostage, and Ben trying to play the role of a peacemaker is a real nail-biter, because you have no idea what’s going to happen next. Will Hayden listen to Ben? Will Hayden cut Vivien? What’s going to stop Vivien from launching a sneak attack out of the blue? 

And there’s a symbolic shot with Ben looking at the broken family picture towards the end.  If you’re wondering, it’s the same frame Hayden smashed during the confrontation with Vivien. The smashed picture is symbolic, because Ben’s family is broken, and Hayden is the catalyst. Ben deserves a lot of blame, but Hayden is one of the main reasons for the Harmon’s demise as a family.

Also, there’s a little cliffhanger for Hayden’s fate after the fiasco at the house. Luke is driving Hayden to the local police station. At the police station, Luke steps out to open the backdoor……but Hayden is gone with no signs of an escape. Luke is baffled, because Hayden seemingly vanished into thin air. Oh, and Luke doesn’t know Hayden is a walking corpse.

Towards the end, there’s a shot of all the Murder House’s victims (Chad, Patrick, Nora, Moira, Nurse Gladys, Nurse Maria, etc.) walking together. It’s a bizarre and creepy sight, because you can see walking casualties for the Murder House’s wrath. Patrick tries to apologize to Chad, but when you look at the hopeless looks on the faces of the victims, Patrick’s apology is insignificant, because the Murder House victims are doomed to suffer an eternity of hopelessness and misery.

I’ll tell you this right now, if you’re expecting a bloody brawl between Hayden and Vivien in Halloween Part 2, you’ll be disappointed. The long-awaited confrontation between Vivien and Hayden delivers, because you hear both sides of the story from different POVs for the women in Ben’s life, and the timing was perfect. Ben ran out of lies and excuses, and you can’t tip-toe around the Hayden problem for another three or four episodes, because you‘ll run into a dog chasing its tail problem. To add to that, the Hayden confrontation adds the essential big event to this episode to maintain the momentum after Halloween Part 1.

What’s going to happen, when Tate finds out about Addie’s death? Will he turn on Violet? Remember, Violet encouraged all the pretty girl stuff. Also, Tate and the group of high school kids obviously share a dark past together, and you have to believe Tate is trying to block the memories out of guilt. And Nora helping Ben was a nice surprise, because she’s an unlikely choice to fill the role of a helping hand.

Larry Harvey? He’s running out of options for his $1,000 loan, because Ben finally stood up to him. No requests, no talks, no compromises, no delays. Ben issued a simple and blunt warning to Larry, but Ben is not out of the woods yet. Larry is still alive, and it’s clear Larry is more than willing to complete the mission to destroy Ben’s life with help from Hayden.

Rating: 8/10

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