When this season began, I was excited about the opportunity to see different, smaller stories with American Horror Stories. Unfortunately, we return to the Murder House for the finale. Yes, the same place we spent the first two episodes. Then again, this episode suggests that it provides a definitive end to the Murder House itself, so maybe it’s a necessary evil. I hope so.
We begin with Throwaway Couple Connie (Noah Cyrus) and Dylan (Adam Hagenbuch). I call them a Throwaway Couple because they’re that couple in a horror movie, typically a slasher, who are offed within the first scene. They have no character development and they often have no names. They’re just fodder for the beast.
In this case, while I don’t remember hearing their names–I got them from the credits–there is a bit of backstory here. Just a teensy squeeze, though. You see, we’re in a meta-world, where the Murder House, which is a real place, is now used as a murder-themed AirBNB. (Note: In real life, it’s a private home and the owners would really like it if you didn’t show up there for funsies. In the “real life” of the show, the realtors have resorted to short-term rentals because no one wants to buy a home in which so many people have kicked the bucket.)
Like Leo and Teresa, the Throwaway Couple from the Asylum season, they’re horror junkies who get their jollies by visiting places like this. And like Leo and Teresa, it doesn’t end well for them. They’re chased throughout the house, not only by classic denizens of this address but also by characters from other seasons. That and the fact that Connie starts glitching is our clue that something is up here.
We’re not really in the Murder House. We’re really in a video game that mom Michelle (Mercedes Mason) is trying to design to bond with her son Rory (Nicolas Bechtel), an AHS super-fan. He thinks the game is just okay, though, pointing out the weird appearances by other season’s characters as an example of its flaws. He acts like his mom just doesn’t get it, man, as if there’s something deep and meaningful to get. It’s a Murder House, bro. You go in, you get murdered. (Probably.) Anyway, Rory leaves in a snit to go stay with his dad.
So without telling Rory or her ex-husband, Michelle offers to buy the Murder House. Realtor Tim (Tom Lenk) is more than happy to accept her low-ball offer since no one else is biting. (And neither is Michelle, since she doesn’t actually have $100K.) Unfortunately for Michelle, she’s picked the worst day possible to explore the house. That’s right–she’s “moving in” on Halloween, the one day of the year in which the Murder House ghosts can leave the house.
Despite the freedom, not all of them exercise it. For instance, Ben Harmon (Dermot Mulroney), who, of course, died in the house in season 1, continues to mope around. Luckily, he doesn’t, uh, tear-jerk, if you know what I mean. He does reference his habit of doing it, though, because we’re not that lucky. Anyway, he and Michelle basically psychobabble at each other until he decides that she should really leave while she still can. And if you’ve seen this show before, then you know what happens next. Michelle is murdered and thus, consigned to the house for all eternity.
Rory, in a rage, sets the house on fire. He has help, by the way, from some of the other ghosts in the house, who want it all to end. Not among that band is Ruby, who sends a frantic text message to Scarlett for help. She’s basically too late, though, and the house burns to the ground.
Later, they build condominiums on the site of the former home. Scarlett, who’s been working as an assassin, buys the last available one. She’s hoping that Ruby will somehow still be there. And she is, so great thinking. It turns out all that drama was for nothing because the ghosts could choose to move on or not. Ruby didn’t, because she knew that Scarlett would return for her. Sniff, sniff, the end.
Except no, it’s not. All of this was actually version 2.0 of the game, which “real life” Rory has now won. He and his mom are closer than ever, and life is just peaches. Uh, except for the ghost she seems to have attracted. (Thankfully, though, the red ball indicates that it’s Beauregard Langdon, who was actually a gentle sweetheart most of the time.)
7/1o – Uh, okay? I will ignore the fact that this episode plays like it has no idea how video games are made. (I’m no lawtician, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just make your own product based on someone else’s intellectual property.) I will ignore that because I don’t mind a fake-out when it’s done well, but this is solely done to fake me out on whether or not there will be more stories about the dang Murder House in the future. In Rory’s words, “I never want to see or hear one more thing about Murder House again!”
Also, strange of them to take an apparent shot at Sarah Paulson, who’s been less than enthusiastic about Roanoke. Ummmm, she’s right. The best I can say about that season, besides praising Adina Porter’s performance, is that Andre Holland is very handsome.