The identity of the man in the rubber suit is finally revealed. Vivien’s family fears for her sanity.
**CONTENT WARNING: Violence, death, suicide**
This opening flashback is only six months ago, as the Harmons move into the house. Nora is disoriented and distraught by the changes the new owners have made. An offscreen man asks how he can help, and she says she wants her baby. He agrees to get her a baby and retrieves the rubber suit from the trash. After raping Vivien as we saw in the first episode, he privately removes the hood to reveal his identity: Tate!
Throughout the rest of the episode, further flashbacks reveal more of Chad and Patrick’s story when they were the home owners. Chad finds out that Patrick participates in BDSM online chat rooms. In an effort to be more appealing to him, Chad buys the rubber suit and surprises him with it, but Patrick is uninterested. Tate, who even that far back tries to help Nora get a baby, deduces that their breakup means they won’t be adopting a baby after all, so he dresses up in the rubber suit and kills them, as we saw in episode four. Tate and Moira arrange them in the basement to make it look like a murder suicide.
In the present, Vivien tells Moira and the realtor about Nora’s ghost. The realtor doesn’t believe her, but Moira confides that the house is possessed and warns her to get out while she still can. Vivien takes Violet and tries to leave to stay with her sister, but they see the dead home invaders in the car and are scared back into the house. Vivien doesn’t know they’re dead and thinks they came back to finish what they started. Violet confirms with Tate that they are dead, but he says she can’t tell anyone or they’ll lock her in a loony bin, so she lies to Ben about it and says she didn’t see anything.
Nora and Hayden agree that it’s not fair they both lost their babies, but Vivien gets to have two. Hayden hatches a plan to use their ghostly powers to drive Vivien crazy and take her babies for themselves. They and other ghosts mess with Vivien until Ben and Violet get worried about her mental state. Feeling unsafe, Vivien steals the realtor’s gun, which she accidentally shoots Ben with when he comes in at night, while she’s being tormented by the ghosts. Convinced she’s lost it, her family has the responding officers take her away to be evaluated and potentially institutionalized. At first objecting, Vivien finally goes without a fight, figuring at least she’ll be away from the house.
The only new ghost is a confirmation that Constance’s husband is now one. However, we got to see a lot more behind the scenes ghost conversations and actions. Hayden, like Moira, seems more aware of her status as dead and the power of the house, while some, like Nora and Constance’s husband, seem unable to tell for sure if they’re dead, and frequently revert to old loops. Tate is an oddity. In past episodes, it was blatantly stated that he has no idea he’s dead, but in this episode he’s constantly working with Nora, Moira, and now Hayden. We know he knew about the ghosts, and that he’s sometimes helped with murders like with the home invaders. But he also killed the gay couple and is weirdly determined to help Nora get a baby. He’s actions speak more of what he might do as a ghost all the way through, rather than as a ghost who thinks he’s still alive and has spotty memory. Hayden is still annoying, but it was kind of fun seeing glimpses of her interactions with the other ghosts. Moira hates her, which is fine by me.
It is now clear that the ghosts are plotting to steal Vivien’s babies. While I understand their motivation, their methods aren’t the brightest. If they care so much about getting ahold of Vivien’s babies, they probably should wait until after she’s given birth before driving her crazy, especially since she’s already prone to miscarriages. If they scare her so much she loses these babies, they’re going to have to start from scratch again.
Ben and Violet are pretty quick to turn on Vivien. They aren’t even around for most of her panics as the ghosts terrorize her, but they’re pretty much convinced before the accidental shooting that she’s lost it. It’s not like she wasn’t literally home invaded, or wrong about her husband cheating on and lying to her. Her track record doesn’t indicate she’s crazy, so even when she suspects Hayden has been breaking in and messing with her, it shouldn’t have been such an immediate cause to doubt her entire mental state. Violet finally sleeps with Tate for the first time, which is really creepy timing since this is also the episode we find out he’s the one who raped Vivien. I can’t believe she would turn on her mom and side with Tate, who she knows isn’t even alive.
Vivien deserves better. But I am happy Moira at least tried to warn her away. I had previously mentioned hoping she would try to convince Vivien to leave before it was too late, but I didn’t actually expect it to happen. It did happen after all, it just wasn’t enough to keep Vivien safe. I’m looking forward to seeing if Vivien will manage to stay away from the house now, though I’m sad she’ll have to deal with institutionalism while pregnant.
“Rubber Man” American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1) Episode 8 | Nerd Union