Avast, ye Readers – Here there be SPOILERS!
Admittedly, it’s been too damn long since the American Horror Story finale aired for these thoughts. I’ve been busy, gimme a break. All good things come to those who wait – and all that crap, right?
Part of the problem… I just wasn’t sure what to think. There was so much discussion immediately after the episode aired that it felt like any additional commentary from me would have been one too many. Hell, that’s probably still true – but whatevs. The other problem is that I don’t have one opinion of “Afterbirth” – I have two.
Opinion #1: As part of an ongoing series – which is what we all thought it was when it aired – I was heavily disappointed in the finale. I wanted vengeance for Vivien, pain and suffering for Ben, peace for Violet – and for Tate to finally get his comeuppance. One out four ain’t bad, but it isn’t all that great either. There was one, brief-but-immensely-gratifying moment where Vivien enacted violent vengeance on her miserable husband – but it turned out to be a cruel trick: the family play-acting in order to scare away the latest living slobs who bought “Murder House.” Dead Mom, Dad, and Daughter all pull a ghostly “Scooby Doo” and frighten away the living Ramos family before the darker spirits in the house could get their mitts on them. I also wanted some answers (which Ryan Murphy promised): Why does the house want babies so badly? Who/What was Constance’s 4th child? Did Tate accept his horrible past? What happened to Beau/Infantata? Why do no authorities (nor any living person in the house) seem to notice Violet’s smelly corpse just under the main floor? What does the home’s realtor really know? What happened to Chad, Hayden, and all of the other ghosts in the house?
But mostly I wanted Ben’s pain and suffering. So the ooey-gooey, dead happy camper ending left me very much MEH. I didn’t want Season Two to be: The Happy Harmons Haunting Hapless Homeowners.
But then an interesting thing happened. The very next day, it was announced that American Horror Story was always conceived as an anthology series – each season will have different characters and a different location. Some actors may return, but they will be playing different characters – not the same ones that inhabited the Harmon’s home. The more this settled in… I ended up with Opinion #2: I’m satisfied with the finale and 89.5% thrilled with the series.
Why? Mostly because I dig anthologies. Always have, always will. In a TV series, they allow the creators to keep the stories fresh and interesting. It also allows them to attract a better level of performer than they may normally be able to entice into TV. Anthology series give actors the freedom to pursue other work – they aren’t tied to years & years of the same character. The same can be said for writers and directors. With the success it had – and continues to have into the awards season – more & more talent will be attracted to this show and others like it. All very exciting.
I also liked it in relation to the story and these characters. If the characters of Violet, Vivien, and Ben were to go on – I would have felt that the ending was a rip-off. I wanted more closure for Vivien and Violet and more suffering from Ben. But as an encapsulated story in one season, I’m happy with a nuclear family of ghosts who will now help the “nice” ghosts keep balance in Murder House. Ultimately to me, it flipped the story from being 100% about the Harmons to being 100% about the house. And the house – with its ghostly balance in check now – does have closure. I’m still a little annoyed that we don’t know some of the answers (especially about Constance’s 4th child…), but that is less important to the home itself so I can deal with it.
Plus, I’m not giving up hope that we’ll see Constance again. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Tate’s demon-spawn son being raised by her. The finale showed us a glimpse of 3-year-old Michael – clearly still growing faster than normal and happily murderous. Even Ryan Murphy can’t leave a potential Antichrist dangling out there for all of eternity in Storyland… can he?
What was your take, fans? Were you disappointed? Were you excited? What do you think about the surprise anthology announcement? And what actors do you suspect will return for season two? There were hints in the finale, supposedly – not that I caught any. Did you?