Norman Bates has nothing on Vivien Harmon.
The Psycho character once famously said that "we all go a little mad sometimes," but imagine if his husband's ex-mistress was clamoring for his child and some dude in a rubber suit tried to rape him. I can't imagine he'd qualify his level of madness in that case.
Both these events and a lot more went down on "Rubber Man," an American Horror Story episode that delivered on its promise to reveal the person under that black mask (hello, Tate!), while also making it clearer than ever just what those ghosts in the basement want:
You're a gay couple who no longer plans to adopt? So long! You're a female with a troubled history of conception, married to a cheater? We're gonna knock you up with twins and drive you so crazy that those kids are forced to reside in our home... without one institutionalized parent.
For perhaps the first time all season, American Horror Story didn't leave me with many questions. There was plenty of frightening, violent nuttiness this week, but there were also answers, thanks to a pretty tight story arc: drive Vivien insane. The plan certainly worked, and it was anchored by a number of terrific performances.
Lily Rabe continues to elicit both fear and sympathy as Nora; Kate Mara is bat$hit crazy and awesome as Hayden; Zachary Quinto is perfectly cast as the troubled, short-tempered half of a floundering couple; and Connie Britton? What can even be said about this actress that we Friday Night Lights fans have not been screaming for years?
She can hit every emotion, from rage to panic to concern to confusion. Simply put, I feel awful for Vivien. Is there anything more frustrating than having no one on your side? To feel all alone? We've all been there, even if we all haven't exactly been attacked by a man in a rubber suit or told our unborn babies might have horns.
I question whether Ben would be so quick to send his wife to a mental hospital, considering he's experienced plenty of crazy happenings in the house, as well. But nothing along the lines of what Hayden and Tate have put Vivien through. I don't, however, question Violet going along with her undead boyfriend. She's a teenager. She's been dragged into her parents' problems, literally, moving across the country for them only to be told they were still splitting up. Of course she's gonna rebel and take the side of the guy who just took her virginity.
The same guy who also impregnated her mother by pretending to be her father. Gross.
So that's where we stand heading into the final few episodes of the season. We were given plenty of answers this week, from the identity of Rubber Man, to his reason for donning that suit, to the over-arching goal of Nora and her ghostly cohorts. But what will they do now that their target is out of the house and, presumably, out of their reach?
Okay. I guess the episode did leave me with at least one question.
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