Nine months ago, the Harmons were a damaged family in a contemporary home in Boston and Viv was packing to leave Ben after she caught him banging his student in their bed. He is laying on the charm, trying to convince Viv to keep the family together by moving ... to Los Angeles to live in THAT house.
"It was like a laser beam went through my brain when I saw it," he says.
Oh, I'm sure it was. Am I the only one wincing, wishing Viv had swallowed those tears, picked up her bags and kept walking? Well, sure, we wouldn't have had a show, but still ...
Now we're in 2011 and Ben is running through the house screaming for Vivien, kneeling by the bench where she delivered Hellspawn and then died.
"Where are you?" he asks the empty room.
Constance is caring for Hellspawn at her house and oh, wow, he's cute. Ben came to pick up the baby now that Viv's sister is in town to help out. They have a brief tug-of-words and finally Crazy Connie just breaks it down.
"There are forces in that house that will do him harm, just like they did to your sweet wife," she finally blurts. "And what about your daughter, did you buy a casket for Violet, too?"
She screams that Ben is a fool, thinking that everything will be fine, that he can still be so blind. He learns the truth about Tate and threatens some harm to Constance if she doesn't lock her doors after he leaves.
Moira is giving Viv the How to be Dead 101 class, reminding her that Ben will only be able to see her if she wants him to. Still, Viv ducks and weaves as Ben moves around the kitchen to warm a bottle for Hellspawn. Okay, I'm sure the baby has a name, but a duck is a duck, right?
Viv made Violet promise to not show herself to Ben because then Ben will never leave the house, and he needs to leave to raise the baby.
Ben says nothing is Hellspawn's fault and then lays out important documents and labels keys before swigging some whiskey (?) and holding a gun in his mouth. Viv appears in the nick of time, telling Ben to take the baby and go. She tells him to stop the drama because the baby is a spot of light.
There are a number of touching moments but Violet lays it all out - get out because Ben is in danger and so is the baby. Viv begs him to do it for them. They share an amazing kiss and then ... he's standing alone in the library and hears the baby cry. Only his escape is not so easy. Hayden appears on the stairs and then someone (who is that?) grabs Ben from behind and gets him swinging from the chandelier.
"Now we have all the time in the world," Hayden says.
A new couple is at the door (Stacy and Miguel Ramos) and Marcy is giving them the tour. Apparently the furniture is from the previous owner and might be part of the estate.
"Why is the price so below market?" Stacy asks.
Well, Marcy tells them, the wife died in childbirth and the husband committed suicide. A tragic love story. Oh, is that what we're calling it now?
"At least it wasn't murder," Miguel says. Yikes.
Their son, Gabe, doesn't believe in ghosts, but he does believe in skateboarding on beautiful hardwood floors after he was told not to do just that. The basement door opens and he takes a header. He's a little groggy but the twins with the snaps do their snaps and now he's maybe believing in ghosts.
Is Marcy part of the house in some way? She must sell this place at least once a year and even at 200 grand under market and she never looks flustered.
The cops are in Crazy Connie's kitchen because the baby is missing. They're going over her statement again because of how traumatized she is from finding Ben's body swinging in the foyer. By the time she got there, the baby was gone, but she spins quite the tale of Violet perhaps running off with the baby.
We know different because we see Travis slit Hayden's throat to surprise her into lossening her grip on the baby while rocking him in the basement. He hands Hellspawn - she calls him her "Little Angel - to Crazy Connie and she takes him next door to her house.
Gabe meets Violet because, of course, his room is her room was Tate's room. She tells him that she's dead, but he takes it at less than face value. Still, Gabe's fate is pretty much sealed once Tate observes their not-so-meet-cute.
Stacy and Miguel are about to get it on in the kitchen with Viv and Ben observing. A little ... porn-ish, no? Anyway, as Stacy and Miguel are getting it on, they talk about Gabe graduating and how nice it would be to have a baby. Viv and Ben vow to not let that happen and Moira is there telling them they'll need help.
While there are vengeful spirits in the house, there are also kind people who were innocent at the times of their deaths. They don't want to see more suffering in the house.
Miguel and Stacy are asleep when Miguel hears a voice that leads him out of the room so ... a (something) in a rubber suit can feel up Stacy? She's half-asleep and is enjoying the attention, but when her eyes pop open, so do Gabe's and he discovers Tate sitting at the foot of his bed talking about dreaming of Violet.
Stacy is screaming for her husband as Ben (we know it's Ben because of the blue eyes behind the mask) is imitating a rape suspect, but Miguel is in the kitchen turning on the gas. Gabe tries to help his mom, but Tate starts beating Gabe up and now it's night of the living dead. Ghosts are popping out everywhere.
Beau drops the attic stairs to block Stacy running. Tate freaks himself out while trying to kill Gabe. Viv and Moira try and steer the Ramos' out of the house by appearing in Miguel's dream and now the freak show is full-on flying its flag. One of the dead nurses pops out of the tub when Stacy tries to go there to escape Ben.
She runs to the basement because now Rubber Man is everywhere. Miguel sees the Dead Dahlia actress cut in two with the icky smile on the dining room table after older Moira turns into hot Moira and leads him there. They tell him he's awake and now he hears Stacy so he runs to the basement and Viv "stops" Ben from continuing his "attack" on Stacy.
So what does Viv do? She guts him, smiles and says, "You don't know how long I've been wanting to do that?"
So what does Ben do? He shoots Viv in the forehead and echoes the sentiment.
No surprise the Ramos' are freaking out, huddling together while Ben and Viv "bleed" on the floor. They get up and get the Ramos' to run while Violet interrupts Tate killing Gabe, using some cool teen-girl Jedi-like mind tricks like kissing him and then saying "good-bye" before she disappears and he's alone in the room.
Miguel is outside honking the horn of their car like a mad man and just like that, the Ramos' are part of the house's history, but more as footnote and not a full-fledged annotated resource.
The Harmons gather in the doorway to gloat. Now they know what to do to keep families from living in the house. There's still time left in the episode, though, so we know that's probably not going to go as smoothly as Ben would like to think.
Back from commercial break, our favorite Murder House tour bus is going by just as Marcy is waving them off.
"Nothing to see here!" she cries. "I have to sell this house!"
Ben is cleaning up when Tate asks if he can talk to Ben. The good doctor calls Tate on his BS for being a psychopath, but then again, Ben is a fraud, too. Therapy doesn't work but people buy-in because then they don't have to take any responsbility for their actions.
Why is Tate so interested in mercy and forgiveness? Ben isn't buying it, though. He breaks it down for Tate, telling him sorries are easy, but what about taking responsibility for his actions. So Tate tells Ben how he set Larry Half-face on fire, killed those kids and the gay couple and then raped Vivien.
"I can't absolve you, Tate," Ben says. "I'm not your priest."
Tate understands. "But can you just hang out with me sometimes?"
There's a baby crying and Vivien hears it from upstairs. She goes tearing into the basement to find Nora - Mrs. Montgomery - rocking the basinet where the stillborn baby is screaming its little lungs out. She's rambling about Viv's poor nutrition or inferior genetics being the reason the baby died. When Viv tries to pick the baby up, Nora snaps.
"Arrangement were made! This is my baby," she says.
Viv sees Mrs. Montgomery is whack-a-doodle and offers some "tricks" to quiet the baby. She gets permission to pick up the infant and ends up singing him to quiet. Mrs. Montgomery needs a rest because the baby has been inconsolable for days and Viv is glad to hold her baby, walking him through the house.
Moira is cleaning the kitchen but takes a break to hold the infant and notes how frail he is with skin like peaches. Viv asks Moira to be his godmother and Moira agrees because she knows that will make Viv feel safer.
So now it's Christmas and Violet is decorating a tree with Moira while Ben gets to do the age-old Dad duty of plugging in the lights. "The Little Drummer Boy" is playing in the background as Viv brings in the baby so Ben can hold him while they gather around the tree.
Ben realizes that he's happy. Moira smiles while Tate and Hayden look on from outside the room and talk about how Violet is not into Tate anymore, but he'll wait.
"Forever if I have to," he mutters.
Three years later and Crazy Connie is walking into a beauty salon, asking for a miracle. She tells Helen, her hairdresser, that she has a new son, the son of distant cousins killed in a car accident. His name is Michael, her little angel. Arch-angel? Oh, boy.
Constance "confides" that she was once destined for greatness on the silver screen, but glory was not hers. Instead she got death and tragedy, but it prepared her to be Mommy Dearest for Michael. He's a remarkable boy, destined for greatness, in need of a remarkable mother who can guide him out of the fires of diversity into his shining destiny.
Only when Crazy Connie returns home and her babysitter/nanny Flora isn't answering, there's what looks like blood on the door of the fridge and the cookie jar has crashed to the floor. Oh, yeah, that is definitely blood and there is a lot of it dragged down the hallway.
Constance discovers Flora slashed and quite dead on the floor of Michael's bedroom and Hellspawn is sitting in his rocking chair with blood, quite literally, on his hands and cheeks. Momma kneels in front of him and strokes his cheek.
"Now, what am I gonna do with you?" she asks.
And that is the end of the first season of American Horror Story. That was quite a ride! Will you tune in for a second season?
Michael just grins and rocks.