Birth (American Horror Story)

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"Birth"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Tim Minear
Production code 1ATS10
Original air date December 14, 2011 (2011-12-14)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Smoldering Children"
Next →
"Afterbirth"
American Horror Story (season 1)
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Birth" is the eleventh episode of the first season of the television series American Horror Story, and premiered on the network FX on December 14, 2011. The episode was written by Tim Minear and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. This episode is rated TV-MA (LV).

Plot[edit]

1984[edit]

Nora (Lily Rabe) cares for and protects a young Tate (Paul Butler) from the Infantata (Ben Woolf), whom she still refers to as her son, Thaddeus. She tells Tate that if he tells them to "go away", the ghosts will listen and leave him alone. Tate gets closer to her, telling her that he wished he had her as a mother.

2011[edit]

Tate (Evan Peters) cannot promise Vivien's baby to Nora, for fear of revealing to Violet that he raped her mother. Nora is resolved to take the child anyway. Ben (Dylan McDermott) picks up Vivien (Connie Britton) to take her from the ward to her flight to Florida, not understanding why Violet (Taissa Farmiga) refuses to leave with him. The doctor strongly warns Vivien and Ben that, despite only being six months in the womb, one of the twins is ready to be born any minute, telling them that the other twin is dying because the dominant twin is taking all the nutrients.

In the house, Violet and Tate encounter Chad (Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Teddy Sears) preparing a nursery and cribs, planning to take the twins. Violet objects, contacting Constance (Jessica Lange) for help in stopping them. Constance and Chad confront one another. Constance offers Ben's twin to Chad, but demands her grandson for her own. Learning that Tate is the father of the other twin, Chad remains resolved to take both children. Constance and Violet enlist the help of Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson), who senses Violet is dead, but keeps it a secret from Constance at her request. She tells Violet that she can banish a spirit if she burns one of its close possessions and recites the word "Croatoan". Tate obtains Patrick's ring when Patrick attacks him, screaming that he could have been "free" of Chad and the house if Tate hadn't killed him, which Chad overhears, heartbroken.

Ben enters the house to retrieve Vivien's bags and Violet. Violet tells him that she is dead from suicide and cannot leave the house, futilely urging him to take Vivien far away from the house and its ghosts before she gives birth. Ben thinks she is high and tries to take her to the car. Meanwhile, Vivien goes into labor in the car and Constance appears, taking her into the house against her will. The power goes out and ghosts destroy the car, forcing Ben and Vivien to have the babies there. Dr. Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross) handles the delivery, with the nurses' Maria and Gladys (Celia Finkelstein and Rosa Salazar) assisting. Constance urges Ben to accept the house's help with the birth.

In the basement, Violet burns Patrick's ring and Chad's watch, and recites the spell, but Chad mocks her, saying that "banishment spells" are all fake. When she asks why he is destroying the cribs, he explains that he now knows that Patrick no longer loves him and has given up. He then tells her that Tate killed him and Patrick and also raped Vivien.

While Vivien gives birth, Ben helps her with her breathing, remembering the day Violet was born. The first twin is stillborn, and Dr. Montgomery hands it to a happy Nora. Constance takes the second twin, and she and Moira (Frances Conroy) gush over it, until Hayden (Kate Mara) appears demanding the child. Vivien begins to postpartum hemorrhage due to the larger child, and Violet appears, apologizing to her and urging her to let go and join her in death. Ben, unaware of Violet's presence, urges Vivien to live, promising her that they can still have a happy life together. Vivien dies and Ben finds himself alone.

Violet confronts Tate, revealing that she knows all he has done and she forces him to remember the school massacre. Distraught, Tate begs for forgiveness, saying that Violet has changed him. She believes him, but cannot forgive him because Vivien is dead and Ben is alone. She states he must be punished for it and that, therefore, she cannot and will not be with him anymore. She forcefully banishes him by saying "go away" and Tate disappears. Violet, alone and crying, is soon comforted by Vivien's ghost, who tells her she was brave and that she is proud of her. Violet says she's sorry that she and the baby died, and Vivien states that she didn't lose her baby – referring to the daughter she joined in death.

Production[edit]

Connie Britton knew from the beginning of her character's fate.

The episode was written by consulting producer Tim Minear, while Alfonso Gómez-Rejón directed.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, series co-creator Ryan Murphy stated that he had told Connie Britton, early on, that her character Vivien would die this season. "We've really had the whole season mapped out from the beginning," he said. "In the meetings with the core actors, the three leads being Connie, Dylan [McDermott] and Jessica [Lange], as we tried to snare them we were able to say this is where you start, this is the middle, and this is where you end up. So, yes, I was able to tell Connie really the whole run of the series."[1]

Reception[edit]

James Queally of The Star-Ledger commented about the episode: "For 10 episodes American Horror Story has ranged from ridiculous to ghoulish fun... but "Birth" is all execution, and quite frankly, that might be exactly what this show needs to be."[2] The A.V. Club '​s Todd VanDerWerff stated: "In general, I thought "Birth" was basically fine, just my kind of genre hokum/guilty pleasure. But at the same time, it was just a touch too sedate."[3]

In its original American broadcast, "Birth" was seen by an estimated 2.59 million household viewers and earned a 1.4 rating share among adults aged 18–49, according to Nielsen Media Research. The episode was up in number of viewers but down in the age range from the previous episode.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stack, Tim (December 15, 2011). "'American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy warns finale's brutal labor scene is 'the most shocking scene we’ve ever done' -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. 
  2. ^ Queally, James (December 14, 2011). "American Horror Story 'Birth' Review: Baby Battle Royale". NJ.com. Retrieved December 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (December 14, 2011). "Birth". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 15, 2011). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'American Horror Story' Falls, But Leads + 'Sons Of Guns,' 'Moonshiners,' 'Psych', 'Hot In Cleveland' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]