Season eight of American Horror Story has been an absolute symphony of fan nostalgia. We’ve seen the infamous rubber suit, the return of our favorite coven of witches (White Witch Stevie Nicks included!), and even a quick trip to the Cortez to see our old favorite, James Patrick March. But so far, Return to Murder House has been the stand out episode.
Obviously, spoilers ahead.
We were treated to so much back story, so many Murder House feels, so much Jessica Fucking Lange. We also got something very unexpected, and I’m not sure how I feel about it- the reunion of Tate Langdon and Violet Harmon. While fans of the pairing were happy to see the lovers reunited, I think I hold an unpopular opinion. We deserved a little better.
Now hang on, hang on, hear me out. Stop clicking the back button damn it and give me a chance to explain myself. At first, I was stoked to see Violet and Tate back together. I loved them, they were one of the things that drew me into American Horror Story (which became a huge part of my life and love of horror). But the more I think about it…it didn’t make sense. It was rushed. I’m selfish, and I wish they would have given us more.
Return to Murder House takes place entirely in the infamous house of season one. Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold (Billy Porter) travel to the house as the new owners and make contact with the spirits inside. The first familiar faces we see are Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) and Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott). We find out that Tate is still pining after Violet (Tassia Farmiga) and Ben is being shut out by his wife, Vivian (Connie Britton).
The real dirt on Michael Langdon comes from Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). The last we saw of her and Michael, Michael had killed and partially eaten his nanny. Constance fills in Madison and Behold in on his parentage, and how he went from a murderous baby to the Antichrist in record time (he literally aged ten years overnight, that’s how).
I’m not going to give you the play by play on this- I just want to lay down a foundation on Tate and Violent.
Madison and Behold speak with Vivien Harmon who fills them in on Michael’s Black Mass (which, may I add, the actual Satanic Church is quite unhappy about in real life). Madison witnesses Michael’s ability to not just kill but to destroy souls, and is almost destroyed herself when she tries to kill him.
Her saving grace is Tate Langdon, who pulls her away from Michael’s soul crushing fire.
While exiting the house, Madison meets Violet and tells her how Tate saved her mother, and how Tate’s evil was just the evil of the House using him as a pawn. She explains that the last traces of evil left with Micheal.
Violet “unbanishes” Tate and they reunite, which brings us to my ultimate displeasure.
After sputtering indignantly for a few minutes, I’m able to articulate why this is so unsatisfying.
Tate Langdon WAS THE DARKNESS. The atrocious crimes he committed in season one were his fault, and to absolve him of those crimes as a cop out to restore his relationship with Violet was just fucking lazy.
In Return to Murder House, Tate wants nothing to do with Micheal because he deems him “too evil”. There was so much room there for him to earn actual redemption. Between his fear of Micheal and his love for Violet at the end of the first season, we could have been given a real reason for Tate and Violet to end up together.
This season could have spent one more day in Murder House to do good by the show’s early characters who built the show up to what it is now.
Micheal Langdon wasn’t the house trying to spit its evil into the world in the form of the antichrist. He was the result of a dead evil teenager raping an innocent woman. Tate Langdon was a master manipulator, a rapist and a murderer, and he shouldn’t get to walk clean so he can spend eternity happy with Violet. They should have made him work for it.
That major bit of laziness aside… I loved the episode. Jessica Lange is a powerhouse every time she’s on screen. Madison and Behold were an unexpectedly fun duo. And I was thrilled to see my favorite season come back even if it was for one episode. I forgive you, American Horror Story. I just know you had so much more potential.