American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

"Murder House" is the third episode of "American Horror Story: Murder House". It premiered October 19, 2011 on FX.

After putting the house back on the market, Vivien learns about its first residents. Ben's visitor causes him to further unravel. Constance and Moira's history is revealed.— FX Networks[1]



The young Moira is the maid of the house and is cleaning the main bedroom when a drunken man enters the room and gropes her. After resisting his advances, he attempts to bribe her with the offer of a car. She continues to deny him, and he advances on her, pinning her to the bed to rape her. Constance enters the room holding a gun, and catches them in the act. She shoots a warning shot through the window, then shoots Moira through her eye. Constance turns to the man and points her gun at him. She exclaims that she has loved him since she was sixteen. The man is her husband, Hugo; she then shoots him three times in the chest and kills him.


Ben and Vivien are arguing as they are unable to move out of the house until it is sold. They agree to rent an apartment, but Ben must continue to see his clients at the house.

Vivien has tea with Marcy, the realtor who sold them the house. Marcy tells Vivien stories of the former owners and alludes to the fireplace poker being used in their sexual habits. Vivien interjects that they need to put the house on the market and sell it without a fiscal loss. Marcy debates the possibility of this, given the market. Vivien counters that Marcy should have told them more about the history of the house, but Marcy defends that she was under no legal obligations to reveal any more information about deaths on the premises earlier than the last three years. Vivien claims she will sue Marcy for gross criminal negligence if she does not try to sell the house.

In another room, Constance is once again caught stealing silverware by Moira. Moira clearly hates Constance, but Constance rebukes her for being a terrible maid and a thief of biblical proportions, alluding to Moira's affair with Hugo. Constance hopes that Moira will eventually be accused of stealing the Harmon's things and that they will fire her. Moira breaks down, furious with Constance and frustrated that she is bound to the house and unable to move on. Constance retorts repeatedly that Moira put herself in that situation.

Ben's new patient is Sally Freeman, a woman whose husband is leaving her because he feels she is boring, despite her best efforts. Ben is distracted and zones out during the session, regaining consciousness in the backyard, his hands bloody, standing on a patch of worn earth. He washes the blood from his hands and enters to see Moira sponging blood off the hallway floor. She claims that she didn't see anything. Moira has already cleaned his office so that it is ready and presentable for his next patient. Ben is missing his digital recorder of the session with Sally Freeman. He frantically searches for it, desperate to find it and discover what had happened during that session. Moira once again distracts him, trying to seduce him. She becomes increasingly aggressive, and Ben has had enough. He grabs her and yells that she is fired. Vivien walks in, perplexed by Ben's yelling.

In the kitchen, Ben defends his case for firing Moira, saying her continued attempts at seduction are unacceptable. Vivien, who perceives Moira as an older woman, is shocked and confused. Subtly, Moira explains that while men objectify women and see what they want to see; women instead see into the soul of a person. Moira assures them that she is willing to forget the incident and carry on with her job. Vivien contemplates whether to fire her, but Moira bites back, saying that she deserves respect and that she should not to be tossed away like trash. Moira threatens to press charges if Ben lays a hand on her again or tries to fire her without just cause. Ben tries to press the point with Vivien, but they view the situation very differently. Vivien thinks Ben's indiscretion has left him very messed up, paranoid, and guilty. She wants to avoid any additional lawsuits from Moira as they try to leave the house.

Outside, Vivien is cutting the rose bushes when she hears the tour guide for the Eternal Darkness Tour, announcing her house as the gem of Midtown.

Ben finds Violet outside smoking. Despite her concealment, he knows and claims he is not there to bust her. He is going easy on her due to her recent trauma during the home invasion. He offers to find her a therapist if she wants to discuss the incident. As he walks away, Tate, who was hiding behind a pillar, emerges. He tells her she is lucky to have a caring dad.

Ben once again confronts Moira about his missing tape recorder. She attempts to seduce him again and says its absence is hopefully not a problem, as his next patient is in his office.

Confused since he has no other patients scheduled, Ben goes to his office. The unexpected visitor is Hayden. She tells Ben that she did not have the abortion and is instead moving to Los Angeles, demanding financial support for their alleged baby. She also wants active participation from Ben but the conversation is cut short by detective Jack Colquitt, who is at the door. Hayden leaves, making plans to meet up with Ben the next day. Ben thinks the detective is there because of the home invasion, but he is from the Missing Persons Division and is there regarding Sally Freeman. Her husband has reported that she did not return home, which leaves Ben as the last person to have contact with her before her disappearance.

1976 []

Stan is working as a guide on the Eternal Darkness Tour. He informs his tour bus that the film actor Sal Mineo was knifed to death in a Los Angeles alleyway by a man he thought was cruising him for a sexual hookup.


The tour concludes with a stop outside the Murder House. Vivien is sitting incognito at the top of the tour bus, and she listens to a history unknown to her about her own home.

1922-1926 []

Stan relays that in 1922, Charles Montgomery was a surgeon addicted to ether who grafted different body parts from separate species onto each other. His Philadelphian socialite wife, Nora, was disappointed by the austerity they must practice from his lack of funds. In 1925[2], their son cries as they eat dinner and argue, and Nora orders Daphne, their servant, to remove the child. Nora states that bill collectors have come once again and she will have none of it. She demands Charles see a young pregnant starlet named Dorothy Hudson and perform an abortion on her. Dorothy gives Nora sixty dollars, and Nora drugs her and ushers her into the basement. He performs at least two dozen other illegal abortions by 1926.


Stan is about to describe the "grand finale" of 1926, but Vivien, seeing blood on her pants, runs to the house and interrupts the tour.

At Dr. Hall's office, Ben and Vivien are told that the blood is benign spotting, and that it is not a miscarriage. Stress is potentially dangerous to the pregnancy, and the doctor chastises them for thinking about moving during Vivien's pregnancy, as it is one of the most stressful times in a person's life. Ben is suddenly overcome by flashbacks regarding his affair with Hayden and passes out.

Constance is walking a dog and waves to Tate, who is standing in a window of the house. Tate does not acknowledge her, which leaves her confused. Observing this while putting the "For Sale" sign back up, Marcy is perplexed as well, as she did not see Tate at all. Constance makes a snide remark to Marcy, wishing her luck on selling the house.

Ben is jogging and encounters Larry. Larry solicits a thousand dollars for headshots, but Ben refuses.

Ben tears his office apart, looking for the recorder, and blacks out again. This time, he is awoken by Constance, lying in the same spot in the yard as before, again with a shovel. He begins digging up the spot where he has awoken several times. Constance claims that the soil will not support plants due to pesticides and suggests he build a gazebo and patio instead. Moira watches anxiously from above.

Vivien is examining classified ads for a new apartment when the doorbell rings. Wary given the home invasion, Vivien approaches the door. Peering through the peephole, she sees Nora, who claims she has an appointment to look at the house. With a candlestick as a potential weapon behind her back, Vivien lets her in. Nora marvels at the wood and glass fixtures, which have been restored to their original grandeur, i.e. being how they were when she lived in the house. Upon entering the kitchen, Nora is horrified at the modern appliances. Vivien mentions that she is pregnant, which piques Nora's interest. Vivien asks Nora if she would like tea, and Nora accepts. As Vivien turns around to retrieve the tea she was preparing, she realizes that Nora has vanished.

The detective returns to tell Ben that they have found his missing patient Sally Freeman. Two days earlier, she had overdosed in a suicide attempt and put herself into a coma without any sort of identification. She had Ben's recorder on her, and the details from Ben's blackout during the session are played. Sally was uncharacteristically violent, trying to get Ben's attention, and slashed her wrists with his letter opener. The detective thinks Ben's lack of action made him culpable, if not legally accountable, for the crime.

Vivien and Violet tour an apartment for rent. Violet accuses her parents of running away from their problems rather than facing them and thinks the house is a source of strength.

Ben receives a call from Vivien's doctor, who tested his blood after he passed out in her office. His blood shows traces that he's been drugged with Laudanum, an archaic compound which causes memory loss. He realizes Moira has been spiking his coffee with it. Moira tells him to prove it when he confronts her. Hayden shows up at the door, having been stood up during the course of the day's events. She is furious, wanting to tell everything to Vivien, who is not yet home. Ben talks her down from her outburst, and she agrees to leave. As she exits, Larry comes up behind her and hits her over the head with a shovel. Ben goes into hysterics, asking Larry what he has done, and Larry explains that he was trying to save Ben from having to kill her himself, as it would have been the only way to solve his problems. Larry convinces Ben not to call the police and that he will take care of the body. Larry notices the hole that Ben has been digging and digs deeper as Ben recovers. At the bottom of the hole are Moira's remains. Larry drags Hayden's corpse on top and fills the hole.

Later, Ben takes Constance's advice to cover the hole with a gazebo. Watching upstairs with a horrified Moira, Constance tells her she's now stuck at the house forever. Ben and Vivien enjoy the completed gazebo, drinks in hand, though Vivien has no knowledge of the two corpses buried beneath it.

That night as Vivien sleeps, Nora pays her a visit, hovering her hand over Vivien's stomach.

Featured Characters[]


  • Constance: "I've loved you since I was sixteen."
  • Hugo Langdon, after raping Moira: "Sweetheart, please, this didn't mean anything!"
  • Constance: "You broke my heart for the last time."
  • Vivien: "Don't lie to me again. If you lie to me again, we're through."
  • Constance: "Until I get a full set. Then it's off to eBay, where I'll make a pretty penny and you'll be accused of theft. You are a thief of Biblical proportions, after all, your specialty being weak husbands."
  • Moira O'Hara: "I don't want to be here anymore! I'm frightened! I miss my mother!"
  • Hugo Langdon: "Why? It's a shame to waste such a beautiful bed."
  • Constance: "You think I wanna stay? In this world of death and rot and regret? Try to find some dignity in the situation. Move on, missy!"
  • Constance: "Every time I find my heart breaking just a sliver for you, I suddenly remember, you made this mess for yourself. And, I also remember, every time I see that ghostly eye, that I was and continue to be a hell of shot."
  • Moira
    You need to pay for what you've done.
    Oh, I do. Every goddamn day.
  • Moira: "Adding those to your magpie stash?"


  • After shooting Moira and Hugo, Constance removes her earrings. This room is the same one from which Moira caught her stealing earrings from Vivien's collection in Pilot.
  • Moira explains that while men objectify women and see what they want to see, women see into the soul of a person instead. This explains why Ben, the detective and presumably anyone sexually attracted to women see the young Moira, while others the older Moira.
  • This episode promulgates a longstanding but unfounded urban legend that the actor Sal Mineo, one of the first major actors in Hollywood to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, was killed by a man he had tried to solicit for sex. In fact, the man who confessed to and was tried and convicted for the crime had been a pizza deliveryman who killed Mineo while trying to rob him; unaware of both his sexuality and his celebrity. Also, Mineo was only stabbed once (not multiple times), though the stab was in his heart.'
  • Detective Jack Colquitt mentions that Sally attempted to kill herself in a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. It is possible that the hotel that he was referring to was the Hotel Cortez.

Cultural References[]

  • Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks - Sally lists all these football teams as her husband's teams.
  • Hugo offers a Chevrolet Camaro to Moira in 1983.
  • Constance says she is going to sell stolen cutlery on E-Bay.
  • Hayden mentions that she likes the seaside community in Marina del Rey, California.
  • Charles proclaims that there will be articles written about him on the Boston Medical Journal.
  • Sally didn't turn up for her Powerpoint class at The Learning Annex.
  • Marcy mentions that she lives the Valley Village, Los Angeles.



  1. FX Networks (n.d.) . "Home Invasion". From FX NETWORK. AMERICAN HORROR STORY: MURDER HOUSE - (#103) "Murder House". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06.
  2. The year is not displayed in "Murder House", but in the Threads of Horror video.