Friday, June 22, 2018 • Midnight Edition • "Shit happens here."

American Horror Story: "Piggy, Piggy"

Written by Tricia Long on Thursday, November 10 2011 and posted in Reviews

How would you react if your boyfriend were actually a dead Columbine-esque murderer? Or if your baby was the spawn of Satan who craved brains? Find out how the Harmons cope in "Piggy, Piggy".

**Obviously, SPOILERS.***

Compared to the rest of the season, "Piggy, Piggy" was a quiet episode – which almost made it scarier. It opens with a flashback to 1994, when Constance (Jessica Lange) and her incongruously young son, Tate (Evan Peters), have their house raided by the SWAT team. (Where's Addie? Shouldn't she be fired up about this and somewhere in the scene?) Cornered, Tate shows just how messed up he is by making a gun finger and shooting his head while the SWAT team have their lasers pointed right over his heart. We also get to see Tate do some unnecessary killing in the library, with all the kids who harassed him on the beach last week present and still alive here. He also shoots a teacher, who lives on to tell the story to new batches of creepy freshmen every year – including Violet (Taissa Farmiga), who has finally figured out thanks to the power of the internet that her boyfriend is definitely dead.

In the present, Violet is understandably freaking out over the fact that her boyfriend is dead. It's nice to see someone freaking out over the preponderance of dead people in this neighborhood, I was seriously starting to question the Harmons' collective sanity. Violet has a nice sit-down with Constance and her medium, Billy Dean (Sarah Paulson), to talk about how to get Tate to cross over given that he hasn't realized he's dead. Violet can't handle the weirdness of what's happening to her, so she storms out of Constance's house. Constance cryptically asks Billy Dean if Violet can be trusted, and Billy Dean isn't sure. Trust her with what? How many more secrets is this show going to throw at me?

At the house, Violet chases after Tate and down into the basement. I don't know where her defensive instincts, so present last week, have gone but you can rest assure that they have left the building. If there's one thing I learned by the time I was four, it was never, ever go into the basement by yourself without 1) all the lights on, 2) a buddy, and 3) making absolutely sure that your house is not haunted by murderous ghosts and possibly the Devil in a gimp suit. Violet fails on all three, here, and is assaulted by almost every ghost we've seen so far – the murderer groupies, the fat nurse, the abortion doctor, the creepy ginger twins. Vivian (Connie Britton) and Ben (Dylan McDermott) later fight about having no money – they should just start charging rent from all these ghosts.

Speaking of Vivian and Ben, in case you were doubting that their marriage was on the rocks, they have a very honest conversation in the kitchen where Vivian state in no uncertain terms that she never wants to have personal feelings for Ben again. This comes hot on the heels of Vivian's creepy demon baby dream and subsequent call to Sexy Unnamed Security Guard who is also Sensitive (Morris Chestnut). Ben is clearly jealous, as he should be because Vivian (and every male-loving audience member) swoons when SSUSG is on the screen; speaking of which, he really needs a name. Unless he's the devil! Entirely possible, based on the previews for next week.

Vivian lets Ben stay in the house during the day because he needs somewhere to see his clients, which I'm having a hard time believing he has because they all seem to be dead or die very shortly after they meet with Dr. Harmon. This week's patient is Derek (Eric Stonestreet), who is deeply frightened by urban legends. The one he is most afraid of lends its name to the title of this episode – a hog-killer who lived in Chicago and wore a pig-mask when killing his pigs. One day, he was eaten by the hogs he slaughtered and they never found a trace of him. But, if you look in the mirror and say "Here, piggy pig pig pig" a few times, he'll show up and kill you! Aaaaaahhhh!

Derek claims to be more afraid of trying to do this than it actually happening, which shows that he has a deep psychological fear of self-sabotage in my opinion. Of course, Dr. Ben's solution is to make him stand in front of a mirror in the haunted murder house and say it! Sure, piggy man doesn't appear, but a ghost does in the bathtub! It might even be a new ghost, definitely wasn't one I recognized. Later, when Derek tries in his own bathroom he is shot by burglars – because the real horror story is living in an unsafe neighborhood.

In the kitchen, Constance brings over some offal for Vivian to eat "for the baby." Including some pancreas, which Constance and Moira (France Conroy) recommend she eat raw. Constance asks Moira to prepare the offal the way she did when Constance lived there, which cannot be a good thing. Just a shot in the dark here, but I think Tate was the child of Gimp Suit Demon and Constance fed her body these weird foods when she was pregnant with him to make sure he would be evil and messed up. Why she wants the same for Vivian I have no idea – possibly because she's bitter.

Several other scenes brought greater proof that Vivian's baby is a demon . First, Violet meets with her friend who tried to beat her up in "Pilot", who has taken to wearing hats as well. They sit over the abandoned but fabulously lit empty pool while other teenagers skateboard below and talk about how they can't sleep, how the devil is real and they've seen it. Her friend asks if Violet has ever read Revelations, and talks about how the in that book the archangel Michael casts a beast with seven heads down from heaven for trying to eat a baby, and that's why the Devil hates us. It made more sense in the episode, I guess.

Second, the reference to the Beast and pregnancy returns later when Vivian confronts the ultrasound technician who was frightened by images of Vivian's unborn child. She will only meet Vivian in a church, and accuses Vivian of carrying the Antichrist. Like a good secular woman, Vivian immediately thinks the tech is crazy and storms out. Given how few supernatural things have happened to Vivian – most of this ghost stuff is in the background, happening elsewhere for the audience to see – it's not hard to blame her, but she should definitely be more alarmed.

Lastly, Vivian tries to fire Moira later in the episode. She doesn't want to, but the Harmons are short on money and can't afford to keep paying her. Moira insists on staying, given Vivian's condition, but mostly I think that it's because she wants to help make sure Vivian's baby is a demon. I seriously hope I'm wrong, but given that Vivian eats raw freaking brain later in the episode (literally, the whole thing, with a nice garnish of parsley because she doesn't want zombie breath afterwards) this baby is probably evil.

Before I get to the climax of "Piggy, Piggy", I have to mention the very sweet and then horrifying moment that happens with Constance and Billy Dean (ugh). Constance has a few last words to say to Addie, who died in the last episode, and Lange really shines as the dramatic mother who never got a chance to tell her daughter that she was loved and admired. Addie, through Billy Dean, says thank you. I was pretty skeptical of Billy Dean's sincerity – there are numerous references to her possibly being a fraud, up to and including that Constance found her on Craigslist – but then she mentions that Addie is happy her mother didn't get her to the lawn of the Harmon's house before she died. Addie didn't want to end up there with Tate, now that she knows what he really is (which I'm assuming is the offspring of THE DEVIL... DUH DUH DUHHHHH). So, Billy Dean is a real medium, and Constance is definitely afraid now.

Ok, climax time: Violet gets some sleeping pills from her friend and takes way too many. Clearly, she cannot live in a world where she is loved by a ghost. Tate appears and saves her by getting her to throw up, and then confronts her over her suicide attempt. Peters has a nice monologue here where he talks about how he's noticed a change in Violet and how much he loves her. I'm not sure, given the overwhelming evidence in this episode, if he's just a sensitive kid who doesn't realize he's dead, or if he's a super manipulative demonspawn. (Violet's friend did warn her the devil can be beautiful.) In the end Violet gives in to Tate, possibly because she feels sorry for him but more likely because she's just tired. Or dead, and my vote is totally for Violet being dead. Now they can go to dead prom together!

This episode was even better than "Halloween (Part Two)" because it slowed down and gave us a chance to get some character work in. I love that I had time to ponder what each scene meant in the bigger picture of American Horror Story, how all these pieces will fit impossibly together in a way that is not lame or confusing. If you haven't been watching this show, there are full episodes at the American Horror Story website. Go watch it, I promise that if you can make it through the first three breakneck episodes it will be worth it.

Written or Contributed by: Tricia Long

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