American Horror Story "Birth" TV REVIEW

It's Labour Day

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It's Labour Day

THE ONE WHERE Vivien gives birth to her twins… then dies.

VERDICT A fantastic episode, American Horror Story at its best. There’s so much to admire here. Vivien’s death is tragic; Tate’s confrontation with Chad is a fabulous bitch-off; and the scene where Violet, having finally snapped out of her denial and woken up to Tate’s true nature, turns against him is really powerful. It’s actually possible to feel sorry for him for a moment, despite the fact that he’s a homophobic, spree-killing rapist.

It’s the spite-laden face-offs I’m really going to miss when this series ends though, especially the ones that expertly play with your sympathies. Take the exchanges of fire between Constance and Chad: Constance’s blunt homophobia makes you root for Chad.. then he unveils his hideous childcare plan – smothering a baby with a pillow so it’ll be stay cute forever. Yeuch.

Any flies in the ointment? Well, I still find it hard to accept that practically everyone in this show now wants to steal a baby (particularly Chad and Patrick… why would Patrick play along with this plan, if he hates Chad so much?). And withholding the flashback to the birth of Tate’s emotional connection with Nora until this late in the series was rather naughty. If we’d seen that earlier on it might have been possible to guess that Tate was the Rubber Man. So it’s hard not to feel that we’ve been tricked.

ONLY IN AMERICAN HORROR SHOW… would you see a psychopathic, homophobic ghost coming on to the ghost of another guy that he murdered, then buggered with a poker. This series is mental, isn't it?

SPECULATION We’re told that the first twin born (Ben’s child) is stillborn, but we never see it, so maybe Constance is telling porkie pies… could it still be alive?

NITPICKS How come, when the ghosts aid Vivien’s delivery, that they have ether? I've just about accepted that the spirits themselves are remarkably solid manifestations, but can they materialise any medical supplies they need too? Don't tell me that stuff was in the basement, I'm not buying it.

TRIVIA The TV show glimpsed in the '80s flashback at the start of the episode is the sitcom Newhart .
The tale Billy Dean recounts of a lost colony refers to a real historical event in the 16th century.

REFERENCES Chad compares Violet to ‘80s horror host Elvira and Tate to Norman Bates - that guy’s knack for coining nicknames rivals Sawyer from Lost .

Constance (on gay parenting): “What you’re planning to do is unnatural!”
Chad: “Deodorant’s unnatural, but it’s a public good.”

Read all our American Horror Story season one reviews .

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

Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.