Well, they did it. The cast and crew of American Horror Story [FX, Wednesdays, 10/9C] created a memorable, if uneven, season finale.
After last week’s teaser for Afterbirth, you probably wouldn’t find it surprising that The Murder House has a new family – but the way it happens [about a third of the way into the finale] probably will. In what is the most sedate episode of the season, we learn a great deal more about the house’s many occupants. Apparently, not all of them are psychopathic killers or monsters.
Various promises from the over the course of the season figure into the finale [Mrs. Montgomery becoming a mother – by proxy – among them] and give rise to the conclusion that, for all that series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk seemed to take a shotgun approach [let’s just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks], the season was pretty tightly plotted after all.
Some of the highlights include: the new couple is Latin, which gives everyone’s favorite racist real estate agent plenty of opportunity to go there; a visit from the rude ghost twins; Tate’s [Evan Peters] ridiculously over the top approach to finding company for Violet [Taissa Farmiga]; the promised good look at the Infantata, and a fitting reward for Moira [Frances Conroy] – and a surprise admission from her regarding her presence in the house].
Somehow, after its tumultuous first season, there’s even a rather heartwarming Christmas scene with Ben [Dylan McDermott], Vivien [Connie Britton] and Violet – and, just so that the finale’s glimmerings of hope don’t flicker too brightly, a glimpse of Constance [Jessica Lange] as the mother from hell.
Afterbirth [written by Jessica Sharzer and directed by Bradley Buecher] sets up clean start for season two by setting up a very promising new situation in the house where its ghosts are concerned, but the ep does get a bit maudlin at times, which doesn’t so much give a sharper contrast for the chilling/scary stiff, as it feels like scenes from a completely different show were edited in. There are scares though – watching the Harmons get freaky may be the best of them.
Overall Afterbirth is not the most effective ep of the season, but it kills the job that a season finale requires – it leaves us on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what happens next. And it looks great!
Final Grade: B+
Photo by Prashant Gupta/courtesy FX