(This article contains massive spoilers for the episode ‘Birth.’ If you have not yet seen it, continue on at your own risk.)
In American Horror Story’s penultimate episode of the season, the Harmon’s are once more drawn to the Murder House, despite every inclination to get away. Meanwhile, the other occupants of the house gather to stake a claim on the newborns as their arrival draws near in ‘Birth.’
The episode opens with a young Tate being introduced to one of the more malevolent spirits in the house. Before any harm can come to him, however, Tate is given a simple lesson in Murder House survival by Nora Montgomery (Lily Rabe), who teaches the future murderer that the phrase “go away” can make sprits do exactly that – temporarily, anyway.
Cut to present day where Ben (Dylan McDermott) is dragging Violet (Taissa Farmiga) away from the house to receive her mother Vivien (Connie Britton) from the mental institution she’s been in for the past several weeks. Unsure of how to tell her father that, due to her current state of being dead, she won’t be taking any cross town visits to mental hospitals, Violet settles for laying down in the back of her father’s car and reappearing in the house’s window as he speeds away.
While at the hospital, Vivien is urged by her doctor to have an emergency cesarean section to deliver the antichrist, since he’s ready to be born anyway, and is leeching all the nutrients from his half-brother. This is all news to Ben, but Vivien has heard it before and remains steadfast in her determination to have the “twins” at her sister’s house, across the country.
Back at the house, Constance has words with Chad (Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Teddy Spears), while the two prepare the nursery with a pair of thinly veiled cribs: one white and simple, while the other is red and adorned in corner posts that almost resemble horns. It seems Chad has it in his head the newborns should be his to raise – a sentiment held by a number of guests at the house.
In an effort to rid Murder House of Chad and Patrick, local medium Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson) is called in. Over more than one glass of Scotch, Billie regales Constance and Violet with the tale of the Roanoke colony, and how the Native Americans were able to dispose of some nasty apparitions by burning their belongings and saying the word “Croatoan.” Sounds more like they need to call in the Winchester brothers.
After Tate (Evan Peters) and Violet secure suitable talismans to forever expunge the house of Chad’s infernal interior decorating, Ben comes to fetch his daughter – only mildly confused at how she could disappear from the back of his car. Fearful for her mother’s life, Violet refuses to go, and comes clean about being dead.
Meanwhile, perhaps sensing the pull of the house, Vivien goes into labor, and is escorted inside by Constance, who has assembled a crack-team of dead nurses and a maniacal surgeon to bring her grandchild into the world. Ben slips into a half-dream state, and dutifully coaches Vivien through the painful process of birthing an evil child.
The bloody scene is tempered by flashbacks of Violet’s birth, until the first, weaker child is announced stillborn and handed off to Mrs. Montgomery. The second child, however, leaves Vivien hemorrhaging before being taken lovingly by Constance.
Despite ghost-doctor’s best efforts, Vivien passes and the rest of the spirits vanish – leaving Ben with a hell of a mess to clean up.
Upstairs, Violet confronts Tate about his litany of past misdeeds, and tells him that while she loves him, she’ll never be able to forgive him. Using the “go away” technique, Violet banishes Tate from her room, and is comforted by the ghost of her mother.
Things wrap up in the 90-minute season finale appropriately entitled ‘Afterbirth.’
American Horror Story ends its first season Wednesday, December 21 @10pm on FX.