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American Horror Story: "Spooky Little Girl"

Written by Tricia Long on Friday, December 02 2011 and posted in Reviews

What's better than two ghost ladies in the house trying to sleep with Ben? THREE ghost ladies!

"Spooky Little Girl" opens in 1947, when beautiful actress Elizabeth Short (Mena Suvari) visits the dentist who just happens to live and practice in the Murder House. She can't pay with money, but she offers herself to him and he, rather hurriedly, refuses. Clue that she's about to die? She's wearing a dahlia in her hair – oh shit, they went there! She's the Black Dahlia! My immediate reaction: "Please don't tell me this is going to be one of those 'I woke up pregnant after my dentist raped me' scenarios." Twist, she didn't wake up at all. Charles Montgomery, the original owner of the house, helped the dentist dispose of Elizabeth's body. It was found chopped in half, drained of blood... and a legend was born.

In the present day, Young Moira's ass gets the cameo it deserves as she tries to seduce Ben. I don't know about you, but I think the adultery storyline is getting old. Yes, it's pivotal to the plot in that it gives Ben and Vivian something to argue about, but Ben has turned down Moira so many times I'm surprised she's still trying. I guess now that Vivian is in a psychiatric ward she thinks it will be easier to make him cheat? But I'm still confused about the motivation here: Moira has that whole sexy-feminist-men-are-pigs thing going on, yet she's actually trying to be a home wrecker. What is the House's endgame? Is the House influencing her in any way at this point? Why are they trying to break up Vivian and Ben when they clearly need the antichrist baby?

Oh, that's another thing that gets re-confirmed this episode. Ben gets a call from the doctor to let him know that Vivian's twins have different fathers. Side note: what does Satan's DNA look like? Is it just, like, red and hot? Does it break all the microscopes, or whatever it is science people use to look at DNA? (I wouldn't know, please enlighten me.) No need to suspend your disbelief about the two-daddy twins, it is something extremely rare that nevertheless happens in the real world. Upset that Vivian cheated on him, Ben confronts her while she's drugged in the ward, because that's the ADULT way to solve your problems. Also, no one believes that Vivian was raped by a man in a rubber suit except for all the ghosts who already know that it happened, and I don't think their testimony would hold up in a court of law.

Next door to Murder House, Constance is drinking and painting because she is WOUNDED and SOUTHERN damnit. Travis, her boy toy, shows up and they argue. This is a great place for character development, but all we get is that Travis is a typical Hollywood hippie trying to make it big and Constance is older and more experienced. He leaves and has sex with Hayden, because she just wanted to see if she could do it with a living dude. I'm guessing she killed all her other sextims first – wonder who she's planning to bone?

Clearly it's Ben, because they once had a somewhat meaningful conversation over beers. (The flashback comes in an odd place, without warning. Sniper recollection!) Actually, all the dead ladies are hot for Ben; even the Black Dahlia shows up to proposition him, trading sex for psychiatric treatment. She and Moira have some sexy time on the couch later, which Ben through sheer willpower is able to turn down. Is this really your opinion of straight men, Ryan Murphy? That they're all horndogs who can't turn down two women? I mean, Ben never even thought of cheating until his family suffered a major tragedy – a miscarriage. It's been blown into this huge character flaw which, as much as I dislike Ben's self-righteousness, is unfair. Ben kicks Elizabeth out and fires Moira, ensuring that they won't ever come back. Right.

There's a somewhat confusing conversation between Elizabeth and Hayden after Ben storms out. It seems that Hayden planned the whole tempting-Ben-thing in order to see if Ben was physically capable of not cheating. Side note: I think her psychology background must have come into play here. I can see her sitting in the basement and going over the data of her experiments: Did Moira crawling over the bed get him to sleep with her? No. Elizabeth throwing herself at him? No. BOTH women? No. Conclusion: Hell, I'd sleep with both these women; he must be ready for commitment!

Anyway, Elizabeth confesses how she yearned to be famous. Hayden is surprised that Elizabeth doesn't know who she is – the Black Dahlia – and tells her that the news story was the headline of every paper for a whole two months. I'm assuming Elizabeth then figured out the internet and googled herself, because two months? Really? Even in the 1940s that wasn't too long. At least throw in that her death inspired a novel and a movie.

Somewhere in the middle of this, because the Harmons never lock their doors, Constance shows up to accuse Violet of sleeping with Travis. Does she not know about Hayden the Slutty Ghost? Moira stops her from looking for Violet, saying that Violet is in love with Tate and is in for a disappointment. Then, she lets Constance in on the secret of Vivian's pregnancy, or at least of one of them. Constance has the perfectly natural reaction of going down to the basement and summoning her demon son, who she proceeds to beat unmerciful. I'm seriously worried for his ghostly mental health – I'm not sure if he's schizophrenic (Violet clearly has great taste in men, just like her mother) or just possessed some of the time. I guess the latter would make more sense, given the situation, but the fact that he felt no guilt until this moment about knocking Vivian up tells me he's just a manipulative demon who uses puppy dog eyes and a fake wounded spirit to outmaneuver the women in his life. Men.

Ben's ability to refuse Elizabeth and Moira's sexiness gives him the courage to later tell Hayden that he never loved her. He was using her to get over his baby's death, which he knows because he is a psychiatrist with years of training who did not figure that out until now. Hayden is understandably devastated since she's built her entire afterlife around this, so she tells Ben that Vivian cheated on him with Luke, the Sexy Security Guard with Only One House to Watch in the Whole of Los Angeles.

Constance goes to visit Vivian to see how she's doing – answer: not too great. She's lying to the nurses, saying that she wasn't raped, in order to get out sooner. But she confesses to Constance that she was, which shakes her up a bit. Later, Constance proposes to Travis because she wants to raise one of the babies with him. I think her grandmotherly responsibility is kicking in here, but how would she ever prove that one of the babies was Tate's? Travis turns her down because he's still young, they fight again and he goes to work out his frustration by sexing Hayden.

After he, in the most gentlemanly way possible, tells her to "finish herself" because he has to go get married to Constance, she stabs him. A lot. I'm pretty surprised they didn't take it one step farther and have that be the thing that makes her orgasm, but I guess even AHS can get prudish. Travis appears at her side, as do Elizabeth and Dr. Montgomery, and they plan to hide the body. Travis worries about no one ever knowing who he was, but Elizabeth assures him that this is the best way to get famous. Larry, everyone's favorite homicidal burn victim, leaves the chopped and drained body where some basketball players can find it. There are some serious problems with the portrayal of African-Americans in this show, but I'll let that slide for another day.

Luke shows up when Ben pulls a fake alarm and – ok, I have to interrupt here. When I was growing up we had a security system on our house and they always CALLED before sending someone out. You know, to not waste anyone's time. Things must have regressed in the last decade or so. Anywhoozle, Ben and Luke have a man-to-man talk about how Luke knocked up Vivian, presumably after shopping for organic fair trade groceries at Whole Foods (that hotbed of suburban infidelity). Luke reveals that he can't father children, which is why his wife left him (awwww poor Luke, not being able to pass on those dreamy eyes) and then gives Ben a dressing down he desperately needed.

Luke leaves. Ben feels like shit finally and realizes that maybe Vivian was telling the truth. He confesses this to Moira, who ages before his eyes. "Congratulations, Mr. Harmon. You're starting to see things as they really are." No joke, I heard the Mario music when she said that. It was in my head, but the truth remains that he should get a level bonus here. Also he is utterly unfazed by the fact that he's been trying to bang an old lady this whole time. Should this guy really be practicing psychiatry?

We close the episode next door, where the teaser scene from last week is finally put into play. Constance is hanging with Billie Dean, her medium friend (who I love!), and BD asks her why she keeps getting visions of babies. Naturally, this leads to the topic of ghost boning. BD tells Constance that any child born of a union between a spirit and the flesh is bound to be the Antichrist, which the Pope knows because it's the message in a box he receives after he becomes Pope. Is BD the Pope? Sorry, got tripped up by my logic again. Anyway, such a union is a perversion of the Immaculate Conception and therefore summons in the ultimate perversion of Jesus. Constance is seriously freaking out now, and we're left on that cliff until next week.

So, still more questions than answers. My first question: who is the spooky little girl to which the title referred? Is it Hayden, who uses her undead charms to lure in deadbeat actors? Is it the Black Dahlia, who has that strange mixture of wide-eyed innocence and sex appeal? Or is it the unseen Violet, who I'm still not convinced is alive? Better still, is it one of the twins? We don't know that they're both boys, and wouldn't it be just like American Horror Story to reverse our expectations there?

I say that last bit based purely on the fact that they mentioned "The Yellow Wallpaper" last week and I'm still geeking about it. It gives me faith in the show's ability to produce quality work. Even though my boyfriend said this was his favorite episode yet, I have to disagree based solely on the amount of Ben in the episode. Nevertheless, the story has been moved forward and we have no way of knowing how they will avert the apocalypse. Oh wait, yes we do. Montgomery is an abortion doctor for crying out loud. Problem: solved.

Written or Contributed by: Tricia Long

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