If you’ve been a loyal viewer of American Horror Story, then you know it’s about that time in the season when the show goes completely off the rails. But before it does, Ryan Murphy always delivers a fantastically sewn up, well constructed episode. And this one was it.
The show’s intro brought us back to the Murder House of Season 1 and I am not ashamed to admit that I was utterly stoked to see that beautiful structure on my screen once again. It’s the Countess who brings us way back to the dire medical facilities of Dr. Montgomery. Heavily pregnant and calling herself ‘Mrs. Johnson,’ the Countess finds herself in need of an abortion and a discreet doctor who can perform it.
What happens next is something hardcore AHS fans will appreciate as it sort of harkens back to something Sister Jude said in Season 2: the abortion fails and it appears that the newborn baby is a so-called Monster Baby. Straight out of the womb, the baby—who we later find out is christened Bartholomew—attacks the attending nurse and kills her on the spot. But that doesn’t put Dr. Montgomery off one bit.
Now, given the Countess’ late-stage pregnancy and decision to actually keep the kid once he survives the attempted abortion, one wonders what she’s even doing at Murder House—I mean, Dr. Montgomery’s office in the first place. Perhaps the show will reveal her true intentions later on, but I kind of wonder whether she couldn’t birth her Monster Baby on her own and needed an alternative method.
One thing that struck me about the doctor’s return, is that it marks the first time Matt Ross and Chloe Sevigny have graced the same series since their days on Big Love (God, I miss that show). I’ve always liked Matt Ross because he’s got a perfect mix of acting skill and creepiness that makes his characters incredibly smarmy. Anyway…
This episode also threw us knee deep into John Lowe’s psychological meltdown. In the preview for this episode, we saw Alex tell him that he was having a psychotic break, but in reality she was just covering her own tracks after he catches a glimpse of her and Holden in their sleeping coffin. While it’s a low blow to a guy who’s lost pretty much everything, I suppose one could understand why she does it—she wants to be with Holden and she needs to be loyal to the Countess. Having John discover her secret could blow it all out of the water, thus ruining her ‘ever-after’ existence with Holden.
So, rather than let that happen, Alex concocts a plan to get John to just go home already. Remember those Swedish girls from Episode 1? Well, their souls are in search of a purpose and Alex uses their vulnerability to her advantage. Using their girlish (ghoulish?) charms, the girls seduce John and what results is a complete bloodbath that leaves him practically screaming for mommy.
On the flip side of this twisted marriage-on-the-verge-of-divorce between the Lowes, we get a great example of true love in Liz Taylor and…Tristan. Yes, Tristan. No, he’s not quite Richard Burton but for this Liz Taylor, he fits the bill. And, believe it or not, it’s actually quite a beautiful depiction of love. Despite the superficiality he’s exhibited thus far, Tristan is capable of seeing and appreciating Liz’s true identity. And in Tristan, Liz finds that there’s as much untapped potential as there is love, which makes this weeks’ old relationship mutually beneficial and one to strive for. Unfortunately, it comes to a swift and bloody end when the Countess is confronted with Tristan’s betrayal. But it was beautiful while it lasted.
Also causing trouble this episode are Donovan, Ramona, and Iris. We find out that they’ve all plotted to kill the undead children together. But there’s one problem: they can’t find the kids now that Alex and Liz Taylor have removed them from the pool area to keep John out of the loop. The next best thing, at least for Ramona, is to go after the Countess where it’s really going to hurt. She makes a mad dash for Room 33 where Monster Baby Bartholomew is safely kept. In the end, Ramona fails miserably and Bartholomew escapes just as John is packing his things to go home.
And yep, you guessed it: John unknowingly carts the Monster Baby home in a suitcase. While Scarlett spends a relaxing, popcorn filled evening on the sofa, John discovers Bartholomew and lets a few bullets fly. But unfortunately for John, Scarlett shuns him, the police show up, and Alex paints him as the craziest man in town.
After hitting the final nail in John’s psychotic breakdown coffin, Alex finds Baby Bartholomew and returns him to his rightful bassinet in Room 33—to the Countess’ shock and delight, of course.
Tara Martinez is a New York-based writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.