AMERICAN HORROR STORY Recap: Rubber Man

     November 23, 2011

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Now that we’re officially past the half-way point of American Horror Story, we can expect the Harmons (and friends) to get a little crazier with each episode. Last weeks episode, “Open House,” gave us a peek into Larry Harvey’s (Denis O’Hare) life and further confirmed the secrets of the house. The preview for this week’s show, “Rubber Man,” promised us that we would find out who’s been creeping around in the rubber S&M suit. They teased us that it was Chad (Zachary Quinto), but was that just a red (or black) herring? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, perhaps you should click here to get caught up on American Horror Story. Everyone else, hit the jump for my recap.

[The following episode recap contains spoilers.]

American-Horror-Story-Rubber-ManWe’re going to try a play-by-play recap tonight, so here we go:

And the episode opens right where they left us off, with Rubber Man sauntering down the hall. We go back to six months ago when Chad and Patrick (Teddy Sears) are moving in. Nora (Lily Rabe) is wandering around and checking out all of their new furniture. She is not amused. A man puts his hand on her shoulder and asks if he can comfort her; Nora asks where her baby is.

Flashback to the first time Rubber Man and Vivien (Connie Britton) have sex. Viv may have thought it was her husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) but we clearly see Ben walking up the stairs in a stupor. In one of the creepiest scenes so far, Rubber Man walks right by him and Ben doesn’t seem to notice. Seconds later, Rubber Man reveals himself to be Tate (Evan Peters). This is really going to fuck up his relationship with Violet (Taissa Farmiga).

After the break, Viven is discussing the ghost of Nora Montgomery with Moira (Frances Conroy) and Marcy (Christine Estabrook). They’re blaming her paranoia on her pregnancy and clearly not believing her. Moira confesses she believes in things “unseen,” calling herself a “lost soul.”

American-Horror-Story-Rubber-Man-3Chad echoes Vivien’s sentiment in a lunch discussion with a friend, played by Tanya Clarke . He mentions that Patrick has been sleepwalking and fears that he’s going to leave him. Chad finds out that Patrick has been visiting S&M sites online and interacting with people in a chat room. Chad’s friend suggests that he fights for Patrick and Chad ends up in an S&M star with some horrific devices (my personal preference, no judgment here…). The owner of the store helps Chad find the appropriate attire, which (surprise!) happens to be a life-size black rubber suit hanging from the wall.

Chad (we think) shows up at home in his rubber suit and Patrick laughs at him. Rather than respond favorably to him, Patrick shrugs him off. The two argue about their relationship and throw some pretty awful zingers back and forth at each other. It obviously parallels the current dysfunctional state of the Harmons. Patrick leaves Chad weeping.

Which transitions to Nora weeping (always weeping) in the bedroom. Hayden (Kate Mara) shows up and they discuss the fact that they’re dead and stuck in the house. Hayden describes the difference between the innocent and deserving people that have been killed in the house. She plays catch with Beau (Sam Kinsey) and argues with Moira. Hayden is stirring up trouble with more than just the Harmons it seems and she is enjoying the power the house gives her. Hayden and Constance’s dead husband, Hugo (Eric Close) have violent ghost sex in which Hayden stabs him to double-death…but, in her words, it “doesn’t stick.”

American-Horror-Story-Rubber-Man-2Nora is apparently having an issue with the revelation that she’s dead, even when she feels the hole in the back of her head. Hayden and Nora bond over the fact that they’ve lost their children and Hayden sets a plan in motion to steal Vivien’s twins by driving the woman crazy and having her committed.

Vivien thinks she is hallucinating when she sees a red ball roll at her from down the hallway and no one else is there. Hayden causes the lights to flicker and burst while vases shatter on the floor. A roaming bookcase traps Vivien in the bathroom where she finds the rubber mask.

Cut to Tate putting the rubber suit on to drown Chad in the basin full of apples. We finally get to see what happened to Patrick in his cowboy suit after he came in to see his partner being killed. Tate deals with Patrick in a brutal fashion, one that was alluded to by Marcy the homophobic real estate agent in an earlier episode.

Meanwhile, Nora is having issues with the new ghosts that are appearing in her house. Tate appears to her and tells her that he killed the current residents because they changed their mind about having a baby. He hoped that the new residents would give her what she wanted.

Ben descends the stairs to see Violet playing catch with a red ball in the basement. Apparently Violet has missed the last two weeks of school and cites being bullied. She points out to her father that her mom is going crazy. (Odd observation, but Violet appears to be wearing more lipstick than usual.) Violet tells her father off, telling him the bold-faced truth that he is a cheater and a womanizer. There are obvious rifts being driven between the Harmons at this point.

American-Horror-Story-Rubber-ManVivien blames her recent medicine for her visions and confides in Moira. Moira references “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story about the madness of women caused by the actions of men. She also mentions the Victorian practice of doctors prescribing a “hysterical paroxysm” to cure their madness. Moira finally confesses to Vivien that the house is indeed possessed and begs her to leave as soon as possible.

Vivien and Violet attempt to leave in the middle of the night to Tate’s displeasure (and who can blame him? There goes both of his slam pieces and his eventual babies). Then two of the ghosts appear in the back of Vivien’s car and scare her back inside. Oh, if only she’d known that they would disappear as soon as she left the property!

Ben is harassing Vivien for trying to take Violet away from him. As usual he’s doing his shrink thing and not really listening while Vivien is busy freaking out. While the Harmon parents are fighting, Tate and Violet are laying in bed after their “first time.” (Which we know obviously isn’t Tate’s first time.) Violet wants to tell her parents about the truth of the house, but Tate doesn’t want her to because she’ll be locked up and will have to leave.

Vivien’s crazy train is coming off the tracks as she accuses Ben of setting up the home invasion when he visited Hayden in Boston. She brings up their “kinky night” which Ben clearly doesn’t remember. Violet then takes Tate’s advice and throws her mom under the bus, refusing to corroborate her story.

American-Horror-Story-Rubber-Man-4Hayden continues to needle at the ghosts and turns her attention to Tate. He turns down her sexual advances and prepares for…something.

Marcy and Vivien meet to discuss the lack of communication from Mr. Eskandarian (Amir Arison) and Marcy utters the intentionally funny line, “don’t bite the man’s head off.” (Viewers of last week’s episode know what I’m talking about.) Anyway, as Vivien feigns sickness, she uses the diversion to steal Marcy’s gun from her purse (which also appeared in the last episode but wasn’t used). Later, as she lays down for the night, Rubber Man/Tate is sneaking around her room and attacks her. Ben storms in when he hears her scream and she, predictably, shoots him.

Cue ambulance and the heroic arrival of Luke (Morris Chestnut) from Heirloom Security. Luke and Ben have an argument and Luke outs Ben to the police, citing the fact that Ben doesn’t live in the house and has a mistress. Vivien is upstairs, whacked out on Valium, but is woken by Hayden appearing in quite a state of anger. As usual, Mara is super-creepy when delivering her lines, especially the one that says, “I want what’s in your womb.” Hayden remains creepy as she observes Tate/Rubber Man attempting to rape Vivien.

american-horror-story-poster-undatedPsych! It was all a dream/hallucination on Vivient’s part. Ben and Luke help her off the floor as she says that the man in the rubber suit and Hayden are in the house. She’s nuttier than a bag of squirrels at this point. Violet announces that, “They’re ready for her” and the police haul her off to the loony bin. Violet stands there and watches, knowing that she could support her mother with the truth, but also knowing that if she does, she’ll join her in the nuthouse. Violet, confessing to her father that it was all her fault, now has another set of baggage to handle. Tate, as usual, appears at her side.

Flashback to Tate dragging Patrick and Chad into the basement. He and Moira argue about the best way to finish Chad off (as he was still alive) and make it look like a murder/suicide. Chad dies reaching for Patrick’s hand on the basement floor. Tate says, “It’s kind of romantic, isn’t it? Now they’ll be together forever.”

On next week’s American Horror Story, there’s some sort of metaphor with the selection of the pope and an Exorcist/Rosemary’s Baby-type warning about a “child of evil.” Looks like they’re stepping out of the boundaries of the house next week as Ben tries to ascertain what exactly is going on with Vivien.

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