American Horror Story episode 11 review: Birth

American Horror Story nears the end of its first series, and delivers another hypnotic episode. Here’s Ron’s review of Birth…

This review contains spoilers.

11. Birth

This week on American Horror Story, it seems like everyone in the house has baby fever. Well, to be fair, they’ve always had baby fever, but it has really kicked up several notches this week, because guess who is getting out of the mental hospital? (Hint: it’s Vivien!)

Oh yes, Viv and her twin babies are closer than ever, and everyone in the house is looking forward to the blessed event, from sweet, pining 30’s grief monger Nora to everyone’s favorite gay ghosts, Chad and Patrick. Even Hayden shows up to get in on the baby brawl, and she doesn’t even like Vivien; she just wants to own that little piece of Ben. Fortunately, the house has a couple of protectors, namely Constance (who will not let Chad and Patrick touch her grandchild), Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson) the psychic, and the Harmon’s oldest daughter, Violet.

Ad – content continues below

As it turns out, Billie Dean believes there is a way to rid the home of ghosts, but she needs help. Between Violet and the ever-helpful Tate, there just might be enough will to get some of the home’s occupants sent away for good, but will it be in time to protect Vivien and Ben’s offspring? Is there a way to banish ghosts from unlife, or is everyone stuck there forever?

More importantly, what would the house do with babies even if it got them? Chad’s plan is vicious and selfish, but not entirely evil. Well, it is evil, but not evil, and if Billie is to be believed, evil is what makes Murder House Murder House. Does this have something to do with the Infantata, or is Basement Baby a symptom of the house, rather than the cause?

One of the things you have to admire about AHS is that they give people what they want. The fans want crazy? They get crazy. The actors want scenes together? They get scenes together. Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto went to the writers and asked for a scene where sassy Chad faces off with Constance in full bore queen bitch mode, and boy, they got what they wanted and then some. This was one of the better character exchanges in quite some time, and one in which the cattiness was through the roof. Credit to Tim Minear (Firefly, AHS‘s Halloween Part 2) for his ear for dialog this week.

Also a stand out this week was the direction of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Primarily known for Glee, this might be his best work, if only because it’s the only bit of his work I’ve seen as a primary director. (For the record, he also did Home Invasion earlier this year, and that was another excellent episode.) He just has a way with the camera, and the finale of tonight’s episode was one of the most beautiful final few minutes I’ve seen on television. The whole birth scene was shot very well, and the aftermath was handled beautifully and with grace, which is a bit surprising given the creepy rawness of the show’s cold opening scare.

It’s hard to believe we’ve only got one more episode left of American Horror Story, isn’t it? It seems like only yesterday the pilot blew my mind, and the show hasn’t stopped being utterly crazy through and through this entire time. Every week, there’s something new and different happening, some new aspect of the show to enjoy, from Jessica Lange’s incredible performance as Constance to the emergence of youngster Taissa Farmiga in her first major role. The special effects have been stellar, the scares have been numerous, the suspense plentiful, and the twists are off the charts. For entertainment value alone, this show has been brilliant. The incredible performances only sealed the deal.

American Horror Story has been the best show of the 2011 TV season, and it’s not even close. The hard part will be matching this quality next year, because there’s no possible way Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk top what we’ve been given this year.

Ad – content continues below

Read our review of the last episode here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is already looking forward to firing up the rumor mill about next season of AHS. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.