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American Horror Story – Croatoan and the red crib

The penultimate episode of 'American Horror Story' brings an unexpected new resident to the Murder House, and Ben becomes yet more aware of his surroundings.

- Season 1, Episode 11 - "Birth"

While some correctly theorized some time ago that Violet was already dead, Vivien’s death came as a surprise. The birthing scene was haunting and brutal to watch on several levels. First there was the environment Vivien was forced to give birth in — the house she hated, lit with candles and crowded with macabre-looking “people” she had no idea were actually dead. Then we’ve got the winner for worst doula ever, Constance, who haunted over the proceedings like a nightmarish in-law. But one of the surprisingly painful scenes was the flashbacks to Violet’s birth. Ben and Viven, many years ago and happy, as they bring Violet into the world — Violet, who was driven to take her own life. Let’s not forget the crazy goings-on in Ben’s head — the man was teetering on the brink of insanity.

I wonder what the medium, Billy Dean’s racket is with her story of Roanoke and “Croatoan,” and the fact that it didn’t work. Earlier in the episode, little Tate is told he just has to say “go away” and the ghost will … go away. Violet winds up doing this to Tate later, but how effective is it? I guess we’ll find out. But “croatoan” was something that came up on Supernatural a few times which I guess I just thought was cool. In any case, my guess is that Billy Dean has no interest in ridding that house of any spirits, and her advice to Violet was a bunch of BS.

Now to the cribs. I found it interesting that the cribs the two guys put together were two different colors and styles, and they clearly had a good/evil vibe going on. It was as though you could put God in one and the Devil in the other, with the red crib being rather pointed, the white one clean and smooth. After Vivien gave birth to the babies — the first, smaller one being stillborn — Chad is seen burning the red crib in the basement furnace. I’m wondering if that was symbolic of the stillborn baby being the baby meant for the red crib — Tate’s son — and the one that survived being Ben’s. Reading too much into it? Will we find out soon if the surviving child is Ben’s? And will that stillborn baby forever “live” on at Murder House now?

With one episode left, what’s Ben going to do now? Will he wind up making himself another permanent resident of Murder House? What if Ben kills himself, and new residents make their way to Murder House next season? The premise could continue to be that of the baby and protecting him, while new living people attempt to reside in the house around the hostility going on around them. If Ben doesn’t kill himself, he’s going to soon have to answer to some outside people where his wife and daughter are besides being holed up at home all the time. (Update: Since the Murder House is for sale — for real — it’s more likely that next season will be in a new house. How will that work out?)

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

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Categories: | American Horror Story | Episode Reviews | Features | General | News | TV Shows |

13 Responses to “American Horror Story – Croatoan and the red crib”

December 15, 2011 at 12:23 AM

What a heartbreaking episode. I was not expecting Vivien to become a permanent resident of the house she so desperately wanted to leave.

But, just because the real house is for sale shouldn’t affect next season since they don’t actually film in the house. They’ll just need some exterior shots now and then so unless the new owners don’t want that attention, it shouldn’t change things. I’m sure the production company pays for the use of the place. Could help cover the selling price!

December 15, 2011 at 12:34 AM

There is speculation that season 2 will be in a new house with a new cast. Not sure if I like the idea or not. Guess it will depend how the finale ends.

December 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM

I know that Jessica Lange was only signed on for one season, and the original intent was to not have the family survive the season, but they were also cagey about that not meaning their deaths would be the last we’d see of them. I just suspected a new family would move into the house next season. I’d hate to even consider this show without Constance!

December 15, 2011 at 1:27 AM

Connie Britton was also only signed for 1 season.

December 15, 2011 at 1:47 AM

I think everyone was. Doesn’t mean they can’t come back on occasion as a ghost. I don’t think they even expected the show to last more than a season. I don’t know if rebooting it in a new house with a new family with new ghosts would be the same.

December 15, 2011 at 6:07 AM

I seriously hope they continue this show. I find it amazing. And seeing as how you never leave if you die there, i cannot see the show without those actors as they would be ghosts roaming around, new residents or not.Also i cannot see bens baby being the one that survived. The woman constance handed it to finally got her baby.As it will now be a ghost baby i assume. The crib burning to me was nothing to do with which baby was which. His loving relationship was over and the red crib was the one his lover painted. Also he told violet tate raped her mother. And when she said she didnt believe it, he said how she was about to find out as they heard the second baby being born. And if its the anti-christ as predicted i really doubt a normal human baby could steal its nutriants. Also she was only 6months pregnant. Yet the stronger baby was ready to come out. Babies lungs would be no where near developed yet that baby is fine. That baby is not Bens… no way

December 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I echo what Lunalily said.
There’s too much to be resolved in just one more episode. The current characters have too many skeletons for it to just drop off suddenly and start with a new house/family. Jessica Lange is faboo as loony Constance. Must keep her!

December 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Keith, as much as I’d like Ben’s baby to have survived, I think I’ll have to go with Lunalilly on this one. I doubt the human baby would be stronger than the “devil” baby, but who knows how the writers could try to twist it. As far as the cribs, I think Chad may have been in the process of burning both cribs, although we only saw him tossing in pieces of the red crib at the time.

The story of Roanoke and “Croatoan” is based on a true story about the “Lost Colony” – one of the first European colonies that settled in America, who mysteriously disappeared… the only clue left behind was a carving in a tree or post that read, “CROATOAN”. More on theories about it at
You’re probably right about Billy Dean purposely misleading Violet. But there’s also a possibility that maybe she just didn’t have to “right” word for the spell to work. Maybe the word changes with each situation.

Either way, I can’t wait to see what happens next. They have the perfect amount of twists in the story; not so many that it gets overwhelming and ridculous, but enough to have me on the edge of my seat wanting more.

BTW, great site, Keith. I look forward to reading and posting here.

December 15, 2011 at 11:40 PM

The medium is probably dead. I’ve found “they’re probably dead” to be a pretty accurate theory throughout the season. It is fantastic that 90% of the characters are actually dead

December 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Strike against that theory is that she’s been outside the house. Then again, maybe she’s an all-powerful spirit who can move about at will.

December 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I love this site. I look forward to reading it after every apisofe.y question now, since violet told Ben that she was dead will he not be able to see her now. Remember when she to Tate she was going to tell and he told her she couldn’t because it would mess things up? And will Ben think that vivian didn’t actually die because he will still be able to see her? Clearly he is seeing things as they are since all the ghosts were bloody and such. I just wonder how it will affect Vivian and violet. I just wonder if he’ll end up like the rest of the people still alive who still flock back to the house because their loved ones are there, like Constance and her Lover. And with the babies, since the one was a still-born and died in the house will its spirit roam? And the doctors kept saying one of the babies was growing at a very fast rate. It had to of been Tates baby not bens. I don’t want to wait for the next season! It’s just amazing how many twists come along with this show.

December 16, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Everyone is assuming Tate is the one wearing the rubber suit when Viv is raped. I went back and watched, but not once does he ever admit to raping her. I don’t think it was Tate in the rubber suit during the rape. Constance doesn’t let Tate finish his sentence when she accuses him. I think there is a twist there.

December 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I agree. I’m not convinced it is Tate either.