On Halloween, the boundary between the realms of the living and death is thin, and the dead are able to roam free. For the ghosts at Murder House, this is the one day of the year they can leave the property.
**CONTENT WARNING: Violence, death, suicide, child harm**
The opening flashback in this episode shows the last owners before the Harmons, a gay couple who have been talked about before as dying in a murder/suicide in the basement. Well, turns out that’s not what happened. On the verge of a breakup, the couple, Chad (Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Teddy Sears), have a big fight as Chad prepares for Halloween. Patrick leaves, and later Chad sees the man in the latex suit. He, like Vivien, assumes its his significant other trying to be playful, but the man attacks him and drowns him in the bucket of bobbing apples. Patrick returns home just then, and presumably is murdered as well.
The realtor encourages the Harmon couple to hire a fluffer, someone who specializes in adding some style to the house in order to improve its image to potential buyers. The realtor says she will send over a gay guy who is great at it and affordable. With this expectation in mind, the couple are later fooled by the ghosts of the gay couple, assuming they were sent by the realtor. The Harmon couple sees similarities in the bickering between the other couple that sounds an awful lot like what they’ve been fighting about themselves. Chad gives Vivien the idea to check the phone bill for signs of cheating. Vivien uses this trick to learn that Hayden has been calling a bunch. Ben tries to defend himself, claiming that she wouldn’t leave him alone, but he finally convinced her to stop bothering him. Vivien doesn’t believe him.
Tate tries to spook Violet by telling her more of the story of the original house owners. The boyfriend of one of the girls who had an abortion became angry with them and kidnapped their baby. The baby’s body was later found dismembered and placed into various jars. The father essentially became a mad scientist at this point and, in a disturbing manner, tried to sew together the body parts. Violet is un-phased by the story. The two then make plans for a date on Halloween evening.
Moira, able to leave the house for this one day, visits her mother, who is on life support. She hates seeing her mother like this and disconnects the life support. Her mother’s ghost appears behind her, telling her to come with her, but Moira laments that she can’t.
As Halloween evening begins, the Harmon couple gets into an argument with the gay couple and Vivien tries to kick them out, but Chad tells her it’s not their house. Vivien gets angrier at him until suddenly she feels something weird, as though the baby is kicking, but it’s too early in her pregnancy for that. She and Ben rush to the hospital where the ultrasound technician tries to placate her, until seeing something on the screen that causes the tech to pass out.
Addy argues with Constance about her Halloween costume, determined to be a “pretty girl”. After initially rejecting that idea, eventually Constance buys her a mask of a pretty face. Excited to show Violet, Addy goes next door, but Violet doesn’t answer the door. Some trick or treaters mock Addy, when they leave, Addy rushes after them and into the street where she gets hit by a car. Constance notices and tries desperately to pull Addy to the lawn of the Murder House before she dies so that Addy’s spirit will live on, but doesn’t make it in time.
Violet mans the house while her parents are in the hospital. The burned man shows up, banging on the door and demanding he get his thousand dollars. Violet is scared and calls her parents but doesn’t open the door. Behind her we see the latex man. The parents rush home from the hospital without finding out whatever is wrong with the baby. The front door is ajar and Violet is missing. To make matters worse, Hayden’s ghost shows up on their doorstep.
The House and Its Ghosts
The backstory of the original couple who built the house is most likely a reference to the Charles Lindbergh story. A wealthy man named Charles has an infant who is stolen from the second story window, and later found dismembered. It was in a similar era too, though off by a few years.
Hayden’s officially back. Joy. We also meet the last owners, who have been mentioned a few times. Zachary Quinto is actually the reason I watched some of this season when it first came out—I was a huge Heroes fan at the time. I feel bad for his character, Chad. He was the one wronged in his relationship, and then he was just murdered out of the blue by the latex suit guy. Now he has to spend the rest of eternity trapped in a house with the guy who cheated on him. I’m also a bit disappointed in their backstory. We were led to believe it was a murder/suicide, so I expected to see what drove the couple to this point, much like how the burned man was driven to murder his family. But that didn’t even happen—they were just killed by the ghosts in the house without provocation. I believe those were the only new ghosts in this episode, but we did see that Addy apparently did NOT become one. I thought it was interesting that her mom tried to trap her soul in the property, although earlier in the episode Addy said she wouldn’t like to be a ghost.
Well, the truth is half out. Vivien at least knows there has been contact with Hayden, although she doesn’t know about the pregnancy or murder… yet. Now that Hayden has shown up, it’s only a matter of time. She’s not exactly a quiet person, and that was before she was murdered and her body hidden by Ben, so she’s gonna be pissed now. Vivien finally invested in a high quality security system. Not that it’s going to help much in a situation like this, but I’m relieved to see she’s being smart about this, considering how a person not aware that their house is literally haunted might go about things. Something is obviously wrong with the baby, so Vivien was right to worry, but we still don’t know what caused the tech to pass out. Can you imagine being pregnant, already being worried about the baby, and then seeing the technician pass out at the sight of your ultrasound? Yikes. Violet was last seen with the latex man behind her and the burned man banging on the door. The latex man is never a good sign, and the burned man literally just murdered someone without hesitation in the last episode. So… double yikes.
Moira was only briefly in this episode, but I liked the scene with her mom. She was obviously very close to her, and she was stolen away from her as a young woman, so she missed most of her mother’s remaining life, only able to visit her once a year tops. I’m glad her mother didn’t seem mad at Moira for allowing her to die. Her body seemed to be failing, so she might have even been relieved. I just feel bad for Moira being unable to escape the Murder House. Maybe she’ll actually start helping the family at some point, since she hates being stuck there so much. Maybe she’ll be worried they will end up that way, too, so she will get them to leave. But I doubt it.
They did a good job of subtlety in this episode. They establish that the dead can roam on Halloween, and then without pointing it out, have natural reasons to show Tate off property. It’s not really obvious if you aren’t thinking about it that Tate has never been seen off property before. Also, with Addy dying, it makes sense that Constance would try to keep her ghost nearby, because she already has a child in that situation.
A Halloween episode was perfect for this story line. I liked that they played off of Halloween myths and gave the ghosts, like Moira, a chance to do things besides hang around the Murder House all the time. Oddly enough, this was probably the tamest episode so far—little violence, no sex or attempted rape… Go figure the Halloween episode would be the one with the least amount of mature content. I’m excited to watch the next episode and find out what happened to Violet—this is the first episode with a true cliffhanger so far.
“Halloween, Part 1” American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1) Episode 4 | Nerd Union