TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY 1.09 “Spooky Little Girl”

This week, we learn that The Black Dahlia, played by Mena Suvari, died in the Murder House along with the rest of creation.

This week, one of Hollywood’s most notorious murder victims, Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, pays a visit to the murder house. Short is played oh so earnestly by Mena Suvari in an atrocious wig (drink!). It turns out the Black Dahlia, among billions of other victims, died in the Murder House. The reason we’re only seeing her this week, according to Ryan Murphy, is that the house waits to reveal to its occupants “secrets and spirits and lessons” when they’re ready to hear them. So Ben is trying to deal with his sex addiction in “Spooky Little Girl,” and AHS’s version of Elizabeth Short is dealing with her sex addiction, and the house is preying on that weakness of Ben’s. Sounds like a tidy way to cram a thousand more random ass ghosts in this house without having to pay exorbitant guest star salaries every week, but at least Murphy has thought out a somewhat plausible reason for the haphazard ghosts that pop in and out of the Murder House.

“Spooky Little Girl” was plenty of fun, thanks in large part to the return of Jessica Lange, who turned the sultry, unhinged Norma Desmond up to 11 this week. Constance drinks, she smokes, she paints, she torments her boytoy Travis and then proposes to him and then torments him some more. Hayden (Kate Mara) continues to almost match Constance in craziness, convincing Ben that she’s alive, in love with him and has had the abortion while boning and eventually murdering Constance’s boytoy down in the basement. Now Short, Charles Montgomery, Hayden and Travis are all dead and hanging out in the basement together. The episode sort of had a theme, or two of them. One of which is that being dead and famous is better than being alive and a nobody, and the other that sex addiction is bad, I guess.

Ben has a sort of redemptive episode, other than one scene where he is more detestable than ever. He turns down sex from Hayden, from Elizabeth Short (he doesn’t recognize her and just thinks she’s a patient who dresses weird) and from Moira repeatedly despite the hot little fantasies he has going in his head at all times. But then he hears from Vivien’s doctor—aha!—that her twins have different fathers. I knew it! So he goes to the mental institution and heaps a bunch of sanctimonious, hypocritical hate on his bed-ridden, pregnant wife AND I HATE HIM SO MUCH. Then Outrageously Handsome Security Officer Luke gives Ben what’s for, because he’s the best, and Ben finally starts to acknowledge that Vivien’s story of being raped may be true. Oh gee, how generous of him. At that point, Moira appears to him as her elderly visage and says that he’s finally starting to see things as they are.

A couple other things went down in this episode. Hayden has established herself as the ghost who knows everything and always informs other ghosts who have been dead much longer than she has what the situation is. I don’t know how she does that. And Constance wants one of Vivien’s babies, so she can just get in line with all the other dead and living women clamoring for Viv’s fetuses. Constance rightfully schooled Tate for ghost raping and impregnating Vivien, and he sobbed and asked her not to tell Violet, but of course she will. Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson) returned, to my great pleasure, and rambled on about her Lifetime pilot (which we may see in webisode form! I would totally watch that), the Pope box and how Vivien’s ghost fetus might be the Antichrist. As we suspected. So we have that to look forward to!

The episode was mostly fun (although absurdly written as ever) and action packed, with plenty of Glascow grins, gore, sex, and hilariously overwrought lines from Lange and Frances Conroy as Moira. It was lacking in Britton, but she packed her two scenes with potency. We only have three more episodes this season, and the last two are titled “Birth” and “Afterbirth,” which is super gross and intriguing. What will happen?! Something stupid and yet undeniably sort of fun, I bet.

Questions:

Who did Hayden mean when she said there is somebody who owes her a favor and could drag out Travis’ body for her? Larry?

Why does Tate keep saying that the ghosts can’t hurt “us,” including Violet, when he was able to rape and impregnate Vivien and Hayden was able to stab the boytoy to death?

Theories:

Does he mean they can’t hurt Violet because SHE’S DEAD?! I know that was last week’s theory, but they still haven’t resolved it and the fact that we didn’t see her at all this week leads me to believe it further.

Inconsistencies:

My friend Erin pointed this out and I can’t unsee it. How did Moira’s ghost age when no other ghost has? The Black Dahlia should be eleventy by now. Tate should be in his 30s. Sure, she has her sexy young id, but the show has made a strong case that her real countenance is the old one. But she was killed when she was young and hot! Makes no sense.

Why doesn’t Hayden have any death wounds either? Why do only some ghosts wear their death wounds around? I don’t expect these questions to have answers, which is why they’re under the “inconsistencies” category.

Hilariously overwrought lines:

"Why don't you run on down to the Koreans and get us another carton of ciggies?" Oh Constance. You are so racist.

"The girl's taste in men is hardly refined but I doubt it runs to rough trade." Nice to see Moira get in a few digs on Constance for a change.

"He smelled...something other than canine." Ew, Constance! Eww!

"If the devil's going to use a human womb for his spawn, he's going to want a little more bang for his buck." Give this woman a Lifetime pilot immediately!

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