American Horror Story "Piggy, Piggy" - TV Review

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Don’t ask Moira to make you dinner – she’s an offal cook…

THE ONE WHERE Violet researches the Westfield High massacre, and Ben takes on a patient who’s terrified of urban legends.

VERDICT This is American Horror Story assuming a holding pattern, basically. We learn a few tantalising details – there’s confirmation that Tate doesn’t know he’s dead, and that Vivien’s unborn child is something hideous, but you couldn’t really say that the episode significantly advances the plot. And while the B-plot climaxes in a pleasingly sardonic Tales Of The Unexpected -style twist, it’s not the best either.

Still, the opening flashback sequence, where Tate stalks the high school library coolly executing everyone in there, is very powerful, and the moment where Vivien calmly tucks into a dish full of brains is memorably icky.

REFERENCES AND HOMAGES Well, Candyman , obviously. Tate is clearly a fan of Taxi Driver : his finger-pistol-to-the-head routine when the cops come calling is pure Travis Bickle . And all the stuff with the pregnant Vivien munching on raw pancreas is straight out of Rosemary’s Baby .

BERNARD HERRMANN This week, the theme from Twisted Nerve is heard when Tate whistles it, in 1994. Which makes him a fairly unlikely admirer of this 1968 British psychological thriller . Maybe he’s the one who told Quentin Tarantino about it.

DID YOU SPOT? The first page we see Violet looking at as she browses Audobon's Birds Of America concerns the Mangrove Cuckoo. That could be a sly reference to the house’s own “brood parasite”, the Rubber Man… but then, unlike many cuckoos, the Mangrove Cuckoo doesn’t actually leave its eggs in the nests of other birds.

NITPICKS Last week, one of the massacre victims recounted how Tate asked her if she believed in God before he shot her. Here, he doesn’t say a word. Also, Ben’s session with his patient seems to last about two minutes: no sooner has he summarised the nature of the problem, than it ends! I hate it when TV dramas do that. On the plus side, at least someone (Violet, looking for info on the massacre) finally remembers that the internet exists... although that does rather remind you that in reality she would have probably googled her ghostly grunge beau about four weeks ago.

SPECULATION Given that they’re feeding her raw meat, do Constance and Moira know that Vivien’s child is something inhuman? It seems likely, but how do they benefit, exactly, from feeding this unborn monster?

BEST LINE Vivien to Ben: “I'm finding it really hard to look at your face. 'Cause I really, really, really want to bash it in.”

Ian Berriman

Read all our American Horror Story season one reviews .

American Horror Story airs in the UK on FX, on Monday nights at 10.00pm!

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