‘American Horror Story’ Season 1, Episode 10: ‘Smoldering Children’ Recap

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Violet Tate American Horror Story Smoldering Children American Horror Story Season 1, Episode 10: Smoldering Children Recap

(This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the episode ‘Smoldering Children.’ If you have not yet seen it, continue on at your own risk.)

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have made well known their intent to answer all the questions raised by various hints and secrets laid out in American Horror Story. Now, after weeks of speculation stemming from Halloween (actually ‘Halloween: Part 2’), this week’s episode, ‘Smoldering Children,’ definitively answers what has been going on with Violet.

Once AHS addressed that Violet (Taissa Farmiga) had been absent from school for the past 16 days, and was spending all of her time in her room – coupled with the fact that she could now interact with all of the house’s spectral inhabitants – it became pretty clear that for the past few weeks, American Horror Story has been pulling a fast one on its viewers.

Yes, as many have likely already surmised, the Harmon’s daughter has been dead for the last few episodes.

‘Smoldering Children’ picks up from last week’s revelation with Ben (Dyland McDermott) telling Vivien (Connie Britton) that he now believes her claim of being attacked, and that the wheels are in motion to end her stay at a mental institution.

Meanwhile, Constance (Jessica Lange) is questioned by the police (special guest star Charles S. Dutton) regarding the death of her boyfriend Travis – who has been dubbed the “Boy Dahlia” after his remains were found to hold a grisly resemblance to those of last week’s guest star Elizabeth Short (Mena Suvari) a.k.a. The Black Dahlia.

Back at home, Ben is handling the issue of Violet’s truancy, which he believes has been resolved after a quick hear-to-heart with his daughter. While Ben goes on feeling like a good father, the “Verminator” he had just hired stumbles on the source of the flies in the house’s crawlspace – which (surprise) also happens to be occupied by Tate.

Because the living and dead come and go in the Harmon’s house as they please, Larry (Denis O’Hare) takes some evidence in Travis’ murder and has a brief discussion with the newly deceased regarding the level of media attention surrounding his death. Larry witnesses Travis having a tea party with his two daughters (the titular ‘smoldering children’), and is visited by his equally burned wife. Larry questions why his family appears to him after so much time, to which his wife replies that Larry is finally ready. The former Mrs. Larry the Burn Guy tells Larry that in order to repent, it is he who must atone for what happened between them, not Constance.

Ben, still oblivious to the supernatural entities scooting around the spectral version of Grand Central Station, does battle with the Rubber Man, and loses – but not before seeing Tate’s face.

Dylan McDermott and Evan Peters American Horror Story Smoldering Children American Horror Story Season 1, Episode 10: Smoldering Children Recap

Rubber Man vs. lamp...who ya got?

After the scuffle, Tate attempts to convince Violet to kill herself and remove the threat of her father ever separating them. Not completely sold on the idea, Violet runs away in search of Ben, but inadvertently discovers the truth of her condition and the Mobius strip that makes up the house’s boundaries.

Violet has difficulty accepting the notion that she is no longer alive, but is given undeniable proof from Tate, in the form of her own dead body. Later, when the two are in her room, Violet is left to ponder the less than thrilling notion of spending eternity with the floppy-haired psycho, in the house that brought ruin to her family.

Finally, when it looks as though Constance will be charged for the murder of Travis, Larry makes good on his wife’s suggestion and names himself as the culprit. The two share a brief, final moment in which Constance once more spurns Larry’s request that she admit her love for him.

Given last week’s reveal that Tate has likely brought about the end times by siring the antichrist, one would think the show had run out of surprises – but American Horror Story doesn’t really work that way. With just two episodes remaining, the lunacy is likely just beginning.

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American Horror Story airs Wednesday nights @10pm on FX.

TAGS: american horror story

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  1. I’m confused. I thought Violet went to the high-school to talk to the librarian guy after her overdose. If that’s the case, why was she able to leave the house then? …or am I getting things out of order?

    • it was in the same episode but before she overdosed

    • That was in the episode before but she does overdose in Episode 6 and her and Vivian run from the house screaming and into the car Episode 8. So Violet can clearly step foot outside the house. We have yet to see her off the property.

      • Precisely! Which makes me wonder if she IS dead! Given the ghosts’ ability to created false images and Violet’s ability to ‘see dead people’, it’s truly something that could go either way. Then there’s the slight ‘hmm!’ teaser when she says, “I don’t remember dying.” Just puttin’ out there! ;-D

    • Tate was able to leave the house and saw his victims because that was on Halloween, when they can all come out.

    • It was on Halloween night when the dead could walk freely which means that every Halloween night the ghosts can leave the house but only for that night.

  2. Even though I expected that Violet was dead it was still pretty disturbing to watch her run out of the house and then back in. Also I have to give credit to the actor who plays Tate. Everything we have learned about him should make the audience cring at the site of him and he should be one of the most hated characters on TV. But I find myself feeling bad for him most of the time.
    Also, there’s only 2 episodes left and I’m excited to see how this wraps up.

  3. I haven’t heard, but is this going to be renewed/on-going after the initial run? – Stark

    • It was renewed for a season two consisting of 13+ episodes.

  4. I am still a little confused, didn’t Tate leave the house and go to the beach with Violet where they met his victims? If so why can Tate leave the house and not Violet?

    • That was on Halloween. When souls are free to roam. That’s why he and the others could leave the house.

      • Yep, that’s right I had forgotten it was halloween. Thanks that definately clears that up!

    • That was on Halloween, when all the ghosts in the Harmon’s home can temporarily leave.

      • Oops. :)

  5. Have to say vilent being dead was a surprised for me, cannot wait for the remaining eps and also this eps has raised a few pondeing questions as well which i hope will be addressed.

  6. Rubber Man vs. Lamp? Looks more like rubber lamp vs. man.

  7. I thought Violet and Viv got in the car to drive away before being stopped the ghost couple. Or were they still on house property?

    I don’t always watch the show closely so was shocked at the discovery about Violet. I thought Tate was messing with her when she couldn’t leave the house.

    • I thought about this also, but if the ghost that attacked Violet and Viv were in the car then they obviously were still on the property. I have all the epesodes on dvr so I will definitely be watching them again.

  8. why can Tate leave the house and not Violet?

    • Tate cant leave the house. As previously stated they can only leave on Halloween. I have a feeling by seasons end more than just violet will be spirits in the house from her family.

  9. So why did Tate want Violet and himself to “commit suicide” if both were dead already?

    • he wanted her to think she died for love and happy (he mentions Romeo and Juliet) rather than the way she really died which was miserable and crying

    • He was trying to protect her from finding out she was already dead. He wanted her to think it was her choice to die. Which technically it was but she just didn’t know yet.

    • ah, thanks for the clarification.

  10. I have one question though…Everyone on all these message boards keep saying they knew Violet was dead. This was a complete shocker to me, so what was the give away that I missed?

    • she wasn’t going to school

      • But she never even tried to go to school or leave the house…Why was it not obvious to her that she couldnt leave before now and what other clues did I miss?

        • I didn’t know she was dead either until I noticed the people across the street didn’t even look at her while she was screaming. Unlike others I wouldn’t have guessed it a few episodes back because we only saw her at school about 3 times and the show centers on the house. It didn’t seem relevant. When they said she missed school i just figured she was ditching class elsewhere lol Apparently, everything means something on this show

          • Yea, I guess thats why I didnt think anything of it…She hated school and already said she was not going back. Im watching again now to see what little titbits I missed.

        • Yeah, exactly, she didn’t even try to go to school or leave. She also was super tired, which Tate has said before too. In fact they even told one another they were tired.

  11. Questions??? Since Tate was blown away by the s.w.a.t team why doesnt his ghost show his wounds like the rest of the ghost? Also Violet gound the articles and talked to Constance about Tate being dead so why was it such a shock for her Wednesday?

    • I have the same question, for instance, Constance’s boyfriend was dismembered just like the other girl who was an actress, so why don’t they appear disfigured or something, nevertheless it’s an insignificant point, the show is perfect. She wasn’t shocked by Tate being dead, but herself being dead.

      Other questions:

      -What is it so special about that specific house that traps dead people in a limbo, inter-dimentional portal, space-time rupture?

      -When the cop was taking Hayden to the police station and all of a sudden she disappeared, didn’t he report this, why did he ignore it?

      -Don’t you feel bad about Violet being dead, fact that might give us a possible outcome for the series where somehow (when they discover everything) they find peace with the ghosts and stay in the house as a happy-adams-family or where they destroyed the house and all the souls are freed, Violet says good-by to her parents and the story ends?

      -End what if…Violet isn’t even dead and this is just another puzzling, piece of the movie to drive us away from the truth by wrapping us into these unexpected outcomes, what if “somehow”, it was actually another dead body end Tate tricked Violet to make her believe it was her. Oh… I guess it’s undeniable, she’s really dead…

      • Luke says Hayden must have escaped at a traffic stop. We don’t know that he didn’t report it, but without her in custody and sworn statements from the Harmons, the police can’t verify her identity. Luke is not police.

      • I think Travis and the actress are not disfigured ‘cuz they’ve being dismembered after they was already dead, think, Moira has the ghostly eye ‘cuz Constance shouted in her eye, Hayden has the wounds of the shovel, Violet and Viven doesn’t got any wound ‘cuz they haven’t being shouted or dismembered at the time of death. I think is the only explanation. I’m sorry for my bad English, I’m Brazilian

    • Seems like Hayden explains it when she says they can choose to be seen and interact with the living. They must have some sort of control over how others see them. That’s why Moira seems able to affect men and women differently. She can appear however she needs to appear to get more cooperation from the homeowners. Many of the ghosts exhibit this control: Elizabeth, Travis, Hayden, Moira.

  12. If Tate fathered a child as a ghost, I wonder if Connie’s boyfriend could father a baby with the Hayden ghost – who was already pregnant with Ben’s baby…ARGH!
    If Hayden was pregnant when she was killed, then I wonder if she is carrying a ghost baby.

    • Right! She should be preggers still.

  13. What about when Hayden left the house to go with Ben to the bar? How could she leave, it wasn’t on Halloween?

    • That was a flashback from when they started their affair.

    • That was a flashback to the night they first slept together.

  14. so did violet die in the episode “Home Invasion”? Or when did she die, I don’t remember…

    • Aparentally she dies in the epesode “piggy piggy” when she overdosed on the pills her coke head school mate gave her to sleep.

  15. They are all already dead,they just don’t know it yet !

    • Vivian can’t be dead yet. Neither can Ben.

  16. How did Hayden ride off the property in the back of the security guard’s car? Was that on the Halloween episode, also?

    I think the ghosts who don’t know they are dead or are in denial appear as they did at the moment they died. (Although Larry’s wife appeared to know she was dead.) The others who know they are dead appear normal.

    Perhaps those who commit suicide appear the way they looked at death and those who don’t know they are dead do also.

    • Yeah, it was on the Halloween episode (she disappears at dawn).

    • I believe that the epesode where Hayden escaped the police car was also the Haloween one. That is a very good theory about why some shost show their wounds where others don’t…could be quite possible.

  17. I just have to say this even though probably everyone is thinking this, how sick is this show in that it is clearly almost every sex scene can be sumed up in one word…necrophilia..maybe i spelled it right. In response to one of you about how the maid appears young to men, there was a hint that yes she does appear sexy and young towards men because that is what they desire and if like ben did finally told the b off and refused her, he finally saw what she was an old hag also to mention the potential byer who at the point of death got the shock of his life seeing her old knowing in the moments right before death he let an old lady give him a bj among other things..priceless.

  18. Travis and Elizabeth had already died in the house before they were dismembered, that’s why they appear fully formed. The only ghost who does not look physically as she did when she died is Moira.

    • Why does Moira look old when she died as a young woman? and still Tate died in the house with multiple bullet wounds…Where are they?

      • Moira is buried sided Hayden, underside of the gazebo, but Tate, well I don’t know, probably buried too

  19. These living people not even aware they’re conversing and sexing up ghosts. Its too funny. It would one thing if they knew they were ghosts, but they don’t seem to know.

  20. I stopped watching this show weeks ago. I stopped caring about these characters probably around Episode 5. So disappointed with this show.

    • Then why are you wasting your time and effort posting on a forum which “you don’t care about?” I think its a brilliant show :)

  21. I have a question what about when Tate went with Ben to the park how did he leave the house then? remember Ben said he wanted to talk about Violet? And why does Moira look soold when she died as a beautiful young woman? Still yet the best show on TV!!

    • I wonder that about Moira myself but Tate and Ben went to the park on Haloween day :)

    • Constance explains why Moira appears young to men and older to women. Constance and Moria are having a conversation and Constance says “Men will always see a woman as an object, but women will see the true soul of a person”. Thats why when Ben tells Moira he loves Vivian and doesn’t want her so she needs to leave him alone etc, Moria’s then appears to Ben as her true soul (old lady) and not as an object (young lady) anymore. Moria retorts that he has finally learnt something (I don’t remember her response but it was something like that). This bugged me from day 1 but I understand Moira now. The reason why Moira plays this game I think has to do with her own personal issues of being used as an object by men…

  22. Constance explains why Moira appears young to men and older to women. Constance and Moria are having a conversation and Constance says “Men will always see a woman as an object, but women will see the true soul of a person”. Thats why when Ben tells Moira he loves Vivian and doesn’t want her so she needs to leave him alone etc, Moria’s then appears to Ben as her true soul (old lady) and not as an object (young lady) anymore. Moria retorts that he has finally learnt something (I don’t remember her response but it was something like that). This bugged me from day 1 but I understand Moira now. The reason why Moira plays this game I think has to do with her own personal issues of being used as an object by men.

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