American Horror Story: Episode 6: Piggy Piggy

PIGGY-PIGGY BANG-BANG
A recap/review of Episode 6 of American Horror Story

The doorbell rings followed be excessive pounding on the door. It is a full out SWAT team searching for a certain young man by the name of Tate Langdon. It’s also 1994. This is my favorite eerie opening to this show so far. Each episode starts out with a different house memory usually horrific in its own way. However this show had yet to chill me, which is exactly what this opening scene did. Maybe it was because we all know, at least in the back of our heads, exactly what was happening and we were as powerless as the Dead Breakfast Club (From the Halloween episodes) to stop it.  We’re suddenly in a school library, the Dead Breakfast Club are not quite dead yet. Goth girl checks out the stacks. Amir plays it smart on the computer being cute (and with a mouth!), Jock and Cheerleader flirt, and teacher-librarian-man lounges reading. Cue the silence to be interrupted by a loud BANG-BANG followed by screams out of the shot. Everyone stills with fright: What’s going on?
More BANGS and screams mix into the silence creating a truly intense emotional feeling. Hurried footsteps echo, coming down the hall, running. They bust in: Its Punky Leatherjacket. He informs them they someone is shooting up the school as he barricades the door like the smart boy he is. Jock jumps into action: We have to get out of here!
Cue the creepy boots walks casually outside the barricaded door. “Go-Go!” the teacher-librarian-man tells the kids as they all hide.


As humans and viewers we are forced into all these archetypes, taking on their fear as our minds race with: What would I do? Would I live? Would I die? Is this it?
It is the kind of disgusting fear that makes you want a hot shower. It is heavy and intense, and I am not ashamed in saying my desensitized mind was on the verge of a full-blown anxiety attack from a few moments of this scene.
It is probably too much for some people.

The footsteps approach and rattle the barricaded doors. Small relief is pumped into the emotion, which only makes your fear as a viewer worse because you know that will not keep the big bad wolf out. The Jock  figures out the freaky footsteps are closing in on another door into the library. Goth girl is too scared to move, or it is all happening so fast. Both thoughts add to the fear. Teacher-librarian-man pulls the all-American hero move charging toward the door and holding the already turning handle in place.  His moment is short lived as he is shot through the door and goes down. Everyone takes cover again as the silence is filled with hard booted footsteps, and fearful breath intakes.
The shooter, unseen face, whistles the TWISTED NERVE theme from which has been played over his school shooting “fantasies” before and performs a cheap fright on Goth girl who is trying to loose him in the stack. Inside we hear her shot off camera, which ups the scare factor again because we know she was shot in the side of the head.

We also got a story from her that he had asked her if she believed in god, and her reacting that she said yes even though it wasn’t even true. This exchanged either did not happen or was not shown. Some saw this as the show already dropping crucial details. However, my sick mind which had already thought about the Columbine Massacre connection.

SICK FACT
One of the Columbine shooters asked a student if she believe in the god. This story branches however as one girl says it was here, and another says it was a Christian student who answered “yes” as she was praying before he shoot her in the head. Christian groups used this action, and this good Christian girl, Cassie, is not depicted as a martyr. Unfortunately for them, it is now more universally believed the student asked the question if she believed in god was not Cassie, but another still-living survivor. It’s a convoluted mess of he said-she said but it is part of the controversy and horrific nature of Columbine.

I’ve gone off track…
The footsteps continue to stalk around the library, picking off each student. It is down to just the couple: Jock and Cheerleader. Jock has had enough. We think he may try to fight the shooter even but instead he seemed to try to just yell at him (or talk). This whole thing seems to not be up for debate as he is shot viciously onto a library table. Cheerleader panics completely now. It’s sort of horrible to watch as she literally pisses herself with fright.
She sobs “Why?” Which is what we all want to know. Why would you do this? How could you do this? What could push someone to do this?
The camera pans upward and a little voice in my head was begging for the shooter to not be Tate. Pleading with the TV gods for it to (for some insane reason) not be Tate. But, alas, it is.
He shoots her. Bang-Bang you’re dead. And police and ambulance sirens fill the air.

QUESTION
Is Tate’s face scratched up? I always sort of saw it in other scenes but had assumed the actor just had some minor scarring. This 1994 Tate seems to have fresher scars… or it’s just the creepy high school florescent lighting.

We flash to Tate waiting on his bed, which appears to be Violets room in present day. Before the SWAT team enters, we hear their boots pounding up the stairs, punctuated by more eerie silence. For a moment he seems troubled (Are you hearing voice Tate?) but his face becomes resolute as the SWAT team enter.
Constance screeches in the background about his youth, and he will go quietly but upon viewing Tate it becomes apparent that just might not be. Red lasers from guns align at his chest. He is unperturbed, and even challenging. He lifts his hand to hi head and mock shoots himself in the head in a very Taxi Driver cool guy move.
“Ka-Pooww”


OPENING CREDITS.
And I need a break to collect my wits for a moment.

Violet however is about to loose all of her wits. She finally is all: WTF Tate. Dead kids. Constance.
And she does the generic Google (ROUNDSEARCH! LOL) search on the Westfield Massacre. The answers she finds are not the ones she wanted. Shock and fright fills her and the camera frame as the images on the computer blur out of focus.
We learn Tate had a body count of 15 after he shoot up Westfield High, and was then gunned down. That realization hit her full force. Violet not longer looks the unmovable teen but the frighten young girl. Her boyfriend is not only a mass murderer but also very much dead.
“Mom?!” Violet shouts into the house in search of her mother. Violet has finally reached her breaking point as her emotions catch up with her. Her vulnerability is growing with each second. “Mommy?!?” She screams in an emotional panic. She spies a smoking Constance in the kitchen. Her emotions tangled in apprehension. Mine do as well, as I am still not completely sold on Constance not being a manipulate witch.
Violet needs answers though and Constance is giving them. Once again they are not the ones Violet wants.
Violet cannot/will not believe it but Constance insists, “This house will make you a believer”. She explains how they were living in the House when Tate “lost his way”. This means Constance shot her husband in the house and then hung around for years. I want more information from those filler years.
“The house drove him to it” Constance insists to Violet who is still in denial about the whole thing. As a viewer I believe this. The house certainly infects/taints its inhabitants, mostly focusing on the males but are we sure Tate really wasn’t just a messed up kid?
“You’re a smart girl. How can you be so arrogant to think that there is only one reality that you are able to see?” Constance chides Violet. This is to heavy for me to over think right now unless you want a 10-page thesis on Lost.
Constance wants to prove it.

Enter Billie Dean Howard, a gifted medium off Craigslist who has a Hollywood agent (and possible pilot episodes on Lifetime).
Violet is all: I didn’t ask for this.
Are they hinting Violet is not simply being haunted but also a medium of sorts? Is she chosen?
Constance offers Violet tea for her nerves. Violet needs it but was I the only one who once again wanted Violet to be cautious of ingesting what Constance gives her? Constance seems genuine though… which is hard for me to even type.
Violet thinks she is in a dream. Billie tells her about her dead housekeeper who visited her about her husband murdered her with an ice pick. (Constance “It’s hard to keep good help” LOL).
“But I was chosen, and when you’re chosen you either get with the program or go crazy. Understanding the truth if you’re only choice.” Billie says. Violet is probably still too busy picturing ever time she made out with a mass murdering ghost to even attempt to understand anything right now.
Violet is still bugging because she is probably suspecting she has already gone crazy as well. She wants to know Billie’s version of the truth. (Interesting choice of words).
ANSWERS! According to Billie there are two kinds of ghosts: Some who refuse to move on and want to exact pounds of flesh and then there are those like Tate who wander around in a childlike confusion. (This makes me think of the Infant Terrible, but there’s not much supporting anything other than a hunch).
Constance adds that this is why she wanted Tate to get help from Psychiatrist Ben. Perhaps he would get some clarity, and see the truth on his own. Billie insists that they must help him crossover.
Violet is freaked and continues to insist on denials. Billie forces her to rethink it by connecting to a spirit?ghost? named Mary who wants to talk to Violet. I am assuming this is a grandmother.
Grandma Mary says, “They don’t understand you” which is essentially Violets entire outlook on life and her parents. Does that mean anything to Violet?
Further distressed violet huffs a sob and run out of Constance’s cute little kitchen.
Constance asks Billie if she can trust her and Billie is unsure. These two strike me as genuine friends, which is sort of nice to see on Constance who is still mourning poor Addy.

Vivian has a wicked nightmare where she is full term pregnant, and her baby is seen moving around in her stomach while listening to intrusive cello music. She awakens, takes off her wedding ring (perhaps consciously putting Ben out of her mind), and hits her panic button, which is using more as a boot call button.
Mister dark skinned handsome piece security guy (I’m just going to make his nickname longer with each week that we don’t get a real name for him) comes right away (probably that sensitivity training kicking in LOL). Him and Vivian make flirty eyes and kissy faces at one another until Ben comes into the house.
Vivian and Ben proceed to have another epic argument. These two characters are best when it seems like they may rip out each other’s throats. He wants to continue to work from the house because they need the money. Vivian can still barely look at him without wanting to bash his face in. She calls him disappointing as a man. This actually seems to slice at Ben, as it is probably a fear of his.

Violet is losing it. She gets out her cute little Cutter Case and extracts a razor. She reveals her already scared arm, as this has been a ritualistic practice for her. She cuts herself and as she watches the blood pool outward she goes on slit her own throat gruesomely. She watches the blood pour out – – – Annnd that second part was a wakeful dream of some kind. Tate appears behind her shoulder and asks if she is scared now. She looks and he is gone. YES SHE IS SCARED NOW.


Now is a new patient of Ben’s. It is Cam from Modern Family. Mitchell and Lilly are waiting outside in the car doing something comical. Just kidding. Cam is actually a man named Derek who is deathly afraid of urban legends. This is sort of the C-plot of the episode but between the actor’s brilliance and insanity of the Piggyman tale I really enjoyed it.


Basically it’s a play on candyman in a sense: A Hog Butcher in 1893 was killed by his pigs and then went on to ghostly kill his costumers. If you stand in a dark bathroom and saying “Here Piggy Pig Pig” three times into the mirror the Hogman will return for the slaughter.  Its complete bullshit and Cam-I mean Derek knows it and but his fear is too intense. Ben seems to take a genuine interest in helping Derek. Perhaps he is subconsciously connecting them as two disappointing men in need of fixing.
His session ends and Derek leaves promising to try to look in reflective surfaces.

Violet enters suddenly looking very much like a zombie. “Dad?” Certain madness is weighing her down. “I’m sorry Daddy. It’s all my fault.”
THOUGHT: What if that little daydream wasn’t just that – a dream? What if Violet really just killed herself in the bathroom? – discuss
The violet reverts back to the terms “mommy” and “daddy” is showing exactly how upset and wrecked she feels inside.
Ben being the superfather Vivian seems to think his is automatically thinks she is taking the blame for them separating. Which just proves my point that Ben Harmon is a big blind asshat.
Instead of reverting to a back talking angsty teen Violet continues unhindered: “It’s the darkness. It has me.” She looks haunted in this realization.
“Baby, I have you. I have you.” Ben says which leaves Violet in a waking coma of abandon. We got the commercial and I can’t help but address that Ben himself is darkened now. If he wasn’t before LA, the house most certainly has darkened him. Therefore him “having violet” is no real comfort to me either. I’m sure he loves her but she is blatantly having some sort of breakdown/episode and I do not think a hug is sufficient mister psychiatrist.

Vivian is calling the hospital where she went on Halloween when her baby was kicking WAY too early looking for the nurse who fainted from seeing her sonagram. Moira is listening in.
Later on in the episode Vivian has tracked down this runaway nurse Angela in a church no less. Angela does her best Cokewhorebullyrogue Leah impression and explains what she saw on Vivian’s sonagram was the unclean thing. The beast! Vivian dryly remarks, “So, you didn’t see anything?” Angela explains more religiously babble and even offering that she saw the beast’s hoofs. Vivian’s runs away because shits crazy.
Back to earlier in the kitchen Constance shows up bearing more presents: Pork.
To help with Vivian’s violent morning sickness when she leaves the house.
Is Constance conditioning Vivian’s body for something? Is that all really just pork? Does Constance and Moira know what is growing in Vivian’s uterus? Constance said she had the same for her pregnancies… Vivian is obviously not thinking straight because this is the same woman who said her womb was cursed.
Constance discusses how she also included the pancreas because that is obviously the best part – for the baby.
She asks about Violet and we learn Vivian putting her daughters actions (more like elusiveness) to being upset over Addy.  Constance supports the idea of leaving Violet alone because she probably just needs some alone time.
Is this Constance hoping Violet won’t spill the beans about Tate to them? Or is she deliberately trying to keep Violet isolated in her own crazy mind? Or is this how Constance handled Tate? Am I over thinking this? Probably.
Constance leaves stating “We need that baby.” It seems purposeful and directly related to the fetus in Vivian’s womb but then she adds: “We need another sweet child around here.” Which could legitimately being saying that Constance really does think it is a real human good Baby and is linking the idea of a new child to one of her own. (Addy? Tate? I can’t wait to meet her other cursed children).

Moira is still somewhat a mystery. I feel pity for her – and her sadness. But is she a slave to the house? To Constance? Does she have a real agenda? Does she just hate and distrust all men? All husbands? All cheaters? This may be just showing her vengeful-side and her need to stay in the house. One thing I do believe is her loyalty and devotion to Vivian. This once again just might be a trait she has as a ghost. Forced to obey the woman, and hate fuck the man.
After Vivian eats some wonderful meat Moira cooked, she shows her mistress the uncooked pancreas she left out. Vivian is all: Umm are you shitting me – no!
But then Moira says the magic words: Think of the baby.
Vivian seems to think this over and right when we think she’s defiantly not going to do it she smells the raw meat.
Does it smell yummy Viv?

Ben is with patient Derek again. This time he is making him to the Piggyman ritual. The problem with this is it is in Ben’s Murder House bathroom. Ben actually says, “You’re in my house, you’re safe.” Which is laughable to say the least. He cannot even finish saying the entire nursery rhyme when GLADYS one of the nurses slain in that very bathroom in the 60’s appears in the bathroom all wet and red eyed.  Poor Cam. I mean Derek.

Ben shows up at Vivian’s amino test playing the role of “Daddy”. Which I hope he starts to live up to better – Don’t worry Ben I have faith. You haven’t burst into tears in this episode yet so there’s always that.  I cannot wait to see the follow up to this test. I wonder if there is a test to check for horns and a tail.

Violet is back at the fountain of imagery otherwise known as the empty pool turned skate park with cool hipster lanterns. We last were here when Violet was trying to talk about whatever she saw in her basement with the cokewhorebully girl – Leah – Who now has a cool rogue streak in her hair. She says it’s because of seeing the devil. Apparently her tune hasn’t changed. Violet is now identifying with Leah’s special kind of crazy. Here she goes on and on about the devil being real, and a wicked warped version of an already messed up bible story. Comically she comes out of her scary religious rant to say that: Yes, indeed, things have gotten pretty weird for her. She even needs pills to get any sleep at all. Violet is interested and asks for one.
THOUGHTS: Could be completely off with this idea buuut – What if this place is more like a empty pool hang out of lost souls and Leah is actually a ghost now – dead from the attack in the pilot. Hmm.
Then Violet ventures to the library – OF DEATH and looks at the memorial for the dead breakfast club.  The same librarian from the 1994 opening is there, now stricken to a motorized chair.  He assumes Violet is like “the 4-5 sickos” they usually get a year interested in the shooting.  Violet is all “You’re that guy! You’re a hero” and he actually says, “Now, you know what heroes look like” which rings in my ears because until recently Tate had been her Hero. He had replaced her father in a way only a certain boy can.
Violet asks what he knew about Tate. He couldn’t recall much, but liked books about birds and the poet Byron.
FUN FACT! Bryon!  If this romantic poet could be described in a short sentence he would be credited with creating the emergence of the anti-hero archetype. TATE are you all bad or is there some good?
Violet needs to know why Tate would do this. She needs an answer. Was he bullied? What did they do to make her Tate do this? Liberian dude is all shit happens. Violet will not take that because a good person wouldn’t just does something like that. Motorized Liberian tells her like it is: Maybe he wasn’t a good person.

Moira’s first reaction to Vivian is assuming she lost the baby, which is so interesting because I’m really in the dark about what Moira really wants out of this situation. Even when she compares her presence there to be less a job and more a reprieve. Her increase in pushing raw meat on Vivian is more disturbing. She says it’s from Constance. I am not sure what to believe because it’s a goddamn brain. Moira is all: It’s from an organic farm! And don’t forget it’s for the baby!
For some insane reason Vivian’s reaction is completely accepting. She sees the brain and just inhales it. Yet, at that very last moment she did make a facial expression that screamed: What the hell did I just do?!?

Violet comes home and seems to see Tate out of the corner of her eye. This spectral Tate leads her to the basement where she is confronted with an arsenal of ghosts.
The mischievous twins. GLADYS. The home invaders comically asking for some help. Dr. Montgomery asking if she is there for an abortion.
None being Tate.  She runs!
Upstairs she hears music playing from her bedroom. She seemed more distraught from this. She gets in and turns of the song playing out of her IPod, no doubt turned on by Tate. He also left her a new note on her chalkboard: I Love You.
THOUGHT! Tate originally wrote the word Taint on Violet chalkboard in the pilot episode. This is what I assumed was a way of demonstrating how he was tainted or he was the taintee and was spreading it to her. Was this what Violet was talking about when she told her father that the Darkness had her? Is she now tainted? Was Tate tainted back in 1994? Was that what drove him to kill all those kids? Or is he just the bad guy?
The second time we saw the word Taint on her chalkboard was during Addy’s makeover visit to Violet. It was in the background was partially wiped off but could still be read as though Violet could not wipe it off. Like she cannot get rid of the darkness?  Or is Tate the darkness? His message of I Love You completely destroys what is left of Violets thought process. Her chest sobs violently. She needs something. She searches – ahhh – The sleeping pills from bully turned weird religious pal Leah. Violet needs sleep! So much sleep that she begins to swallow down the entire bottle until she tearfully curls herself into a fetal position on her bed.  Her mind woefully declares sleep finally and the screen turns black.
Cut to Tate dragging her lifeless body down the long hallway. He is howling with wet sobs for what Tate sees as the first girl he’s ever felt anything for. He drags her like a ragdoll into the shower and turns on the cold shower. He cries for her not to leave. “Don’t you die on me Violet! Don’t you die. “. He forces his fingers into her mouth effectively gagging her to throw up the offending sleeping pills. She throws them up and when she realizes where she is and what is happening all she can do is cry while a soaking wet Tate holds her and plants messy wet kisses on the back of her head.
These young actors really sold this for me. What would look too over dramatic with other actors, looked natural and sad but lovely from them.  Tarissa (Violet) especially sold me on her character. Violet was lovely as she was but ultimately she was too one dimensional for me. With her downward spiral in this episode I fell in love with her… much like Tate obviously has.

Back with Cam – I mean Derek, is having another session with Dr. Ben. Ben gives a short speech about how the more you fear something the more power you give to it. The interesting part of this is it shows him spying on Vivian and Hottie Security Guard With Sensitivity Training having another flirty meeting of the kissy faces. Ben is definitely seeing himself in Derek and he wants Derek to get better.
Ben promises Derek that the moment he faces his fear he will be free.
Upon a second viewing of this episode this line strike me deep. This is due to later in this episode is the conclusion to this plotline. Derek is home and he is facing his fear in his darkened bathroom mirror. He does it. PRIDE! FREEDOM! BANGBANG!
An overly sensitive burglar was hiding behind Derek’s shower curtain and he had cruelly assumed Derek was making fun of his weight. HA! Poor Derek dies.

Back in Constance’s kitchen of cigarettes and passive aggressive bullshit she and Billie Dean has a conference with the newly dead Addy.
Addy is as fierce now as she has always been. Billie remarks “The dead hold a grudge better than most Scorpios”. (HA!).
Constance gets real for a moment and apologizes to Addy who is loved completely and way more than any of the viewers knew. There are lovely words on both sides but the scene picks up interest at the end was Addy admits she is grateful that Constance never managed to drag her to the lawn of Murder House because she did not want to be stuck there with Tate as a ghost. She is now scared of him now that she knows the truth.
This sets Constance to have a flashback to the same 1994 day when the SWAT team raced into Tate’s bedroom. Except we see the continuation of the scene. After Tate creepily does his homage to Robert Dinero he reaches for a gun under his pillow. The tons of SWAT guys take him out right away in an extreme overkill type of way. An officer rushes forward to a dying Tate bleeding on the bedroom floor and asks him why he did it.  Why. As viewers that is exactly what we want to know as well. Want to know who else wants to know: The Dead Breakfast Club.
Truthfully I am still not sure Tate was possessed (or is still possessed) in some way but that could be the mary sue in me. What if there is not answer? That is how it is in most school shooting. There is no for sure answer to why.
Tate dies before he can answer.

We pick up with Violet looking through a book about birds on her bed. She gets to the back cover and finds the library card showing that the last person to take out the book was a certain Tate Langdon.
Tate appears at the foot of her bed – which we now know if the same place he died.
He says he likes birds too. She asks why and replies, “Because they can fly away when things get too crazy I guess.”
He asks if she’ll tell her parents – no. They already think she is depressed. He asks if she is in fact depressed? Violet tells him no and that she is sad. He is sad too. This pushes Tate to a full loving tearful monologue that seems entire genuine:
“Something’s changed in you toward me. You’re distant cold and I don’t know what I’ve done.” He continues seemingly oblivious with his undead nature. “I’ll leave you alone from now on if that’s what you want, Is that what you want?” He seems truly sad at this idea. Violets eyes are starting to tear up as well. He continues” I would leave you alone, because I care about your feelings. I love you. There. I said it. Not just words on a chalkboard. I would never let anybody or anything hurt you. I have never felt that way. About anyone.”


Swoon right? Violet just gives up whatever visage she is trying to hold on reality and invites her mass murdering ghostly boyfriend into her bed for some hardcore spooning.
She holds him now comforting both of them.
“I’m tired” Tate shares.
“Me too.” Violet agrees.
And they lay together in bed as the credits roll.
So is Tate a true Byronic hero? The homicidal maniac who saves his sad girlfriend from overdosing on sleeping pills? Will Vivian eat for raw food unsolicited? Does Constance know what’s growing in there? Will Ben cry? Will Violet try to help Tate crossover? I hope not.

-sagebeth

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~ by ATOM on November 12, 2011.

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