Home Invasion (American Horror Story)

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"Home Invasion"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 2
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Ryan Murphy
Brad Falchuk
Featured music
Production code 1ATS01
Original air date October 12, 2011 (2011-10-12)
Running time 43 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Murder House"
American Horror Story: Murder House
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Home Invasion" is the second episode of the first season of the television series American Horror Story, which premiered on the network FX on October 12, 2011. The episode was co-written by series co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

In the episode, Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) goes to Boston to talk with the student he had an affair with in the first episode (Kate Mara). While he is away, his wife, Vivien (Connie Britton), and daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga) deal with three home invaders intent on reenacting a murder that happened in the house in 1968. Kate Mara guest stars as Hayden McClaine, the student Ben was having an affair with.

The episode makes use of the musical score to Psycho composed by Bernard Herrmann. This episode is rated TV-MA (LV).



Three sorority girls invite two fellow members, Maria (Rosa Salazar) and Gladys (Celia Finkelstein), to go with them to a Doors concert. When they decline the trio leaves. Moments later, a bleeding man (Jamie Harris) knocks at the door asking for help. Maria tends to his wounds, but quickly discovers that he is faking the injury. The man knocks out both girls and takes an unconscious Gladys upstairs and drowns her in the bathtub. When Maria wakes up, she is told to undress and put on her nurse's uniform. The man ties her up and Maria prays to God for mercy. The man tells her that Jesus cannot save her, and then proceeds to stab her to death.


Ben (Dylan McDermott) meets with Tate (Evan Peters), who reveals his sexual fantasies about Violet. Violet (Taissa Farmiga) comforts a traumatized Leah (Shelby Young). Ben sees a new patient, named Bianca (Mageina Tovah), who is fascinated by "The Murder House". He receives a call from his ex-mistress and former student of his named Hayden (Kate Mara), who tells him that she's pregnant and she needs his support while having an abortion.

Constance (Jessica Lange) bakes cupcakes laced with ipecac syrup and brings them to Vivien, insisting that they be given to Violet. She tells Vivien that they are an apology gift for Addie's (Jamie Brewer) constant intrusion. She senses that Vivien is pregnant, and Vivien confesses that she fears there is something wrong with the baby. Constance assures her that her baby is fine, and confesses that three of her four children were born with some sort of birth defect.

Ben talks with Larry (Denis O'Hare) about his situation. Larry suggests that Ben lie about the trip, so Ben tells Vivien (Connie Britton) that he must go to Boston to see a patient. Vivien brings the cupcakes to Violet, who reveals that she knows about the pregnancy. She coldly tells her mother that a new baby won't fix their marriage, which upsets Vivien.

That night, a trio of serial killer enthusiasts, including Bianca, break into the house and capture Vivien and Violet. The trio, led by Fiona (Azura Skye), plan to re-enact the brutal murders of Maria and Gladys. Violet attempts to escape and runs into Tate, who tells her that she needs to lure the three into the basement. Violet is recaptured, but convinces the accuracy-obsessed Fiona that the original bathtub used in Gladys' drowning was moved to the basement.

Dallas (Kyle Davis), the third intruder, watches over Vivien. Vivien sees Addie lurking in the shadows and signals for help. Addie attempts to alert Constance but Constance is entertaining her lover and locks Addie in the "bad girl closet". Bianca eats one of the ipecac cupcakes and begins to vomit. She tries to rejoin the others but runs into Tate, who kills her with an axe. In the basement, Fiona encounters Tate, who is standing next to the bathtub with Gladys. Meanwhile, Vivien fends off Dallas and flees the house with Violet. Dallas looks for Fiona in the basement, only to find her with her throat slashed before he is killed in the same manner.

Constance, Tate, and Moira (Frances Conroy) enter the basement. Tate tells them Gladys and Maria killed Dallas and Fiona, and the three agree to get rid of the bodies, revealing that they want Ben to continue treating Tate.

When he notices all the missed calls on his phone, Ben leaves Hayden at the abortion clinic and rushes home. The police tell the Harmons they found Bianca, nearly cut in half, on the sidewalk near the house and presume the "missing" intruders murdered her. Ben is upset to learn that Tate was in the house during the attack and feels Tate has crossed the line by becoming involved with Violet. Violet points out that Tate was there to help them, unlike Ben. After Violet apologizes to Vivien, Vivien resolves to sell the house.


Kate Mara was praised by series co-creator Ryan Murphy.

The episode was co-written by series co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, while Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed.

Murphy spoke of Ben's leaving Hayden at the clinic at the end of the episode, and her character's future. "The interesting thing for that is I always like to leave a little room for surprise," he said. "Hayden comes in and certain things happen to her, and Kate Mara was so outstanding in the part that we just keep writing her in the writing room. The same with Lily Rabe as Nora [who plays one of the former owners of the house and pops up in next week's episode, "Murder House"]. They just kill their scenes so much and the writers love writing for those women so we just keep bringing them back."[1]


Rotten Tomatoes reports a 57% approval rating, based on 7 reviews.[2] Matt Fowler, in his review for IGN, gave the episode an overall score of 8, saying "Home Invasion" was a "pleasant, twisted surprise" and praised the opening scene, stating, "What a horrifying opening scene! What a great style and terrifying tone it had to it."[3] Todd VanDerWerff from The A.V. Club gave the episode a C grade, and said that he was "curious" about American Horror Story, and stated, "I spend plenty of time thinking about it, and some of the mysteries at the show's core have got me intrigued.[4]

In its original American broadcast, the second episode of American Horror Story was seen by an estimated 2.46 million household viewers and gained a 1.4 ratings share among adults aged 18–49, according to Nielsen Media Research. The episode dropped two tenths from the pilot episode.[5]


  1. ^ Stack, Tim (October 12, 2011). "'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy talks 'Home Invasion' and 'most horrifying addition' yet -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Home Invasion – American Horror Story: Murder House, Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Matt (October 12, 2011). "American Horror Story: "Home Invasion" Review". IGN. 
  4. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (October 12, 2011). "Home Invasion". The A.V. Club. 
  5. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 13, 2011). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'South Park' Rises; 'American Horror Story' Falls; + Brewers/Cards NLCS, 'Psych' Premiere, 'Ghost Hunters' & More". TV by the Numbers. 

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