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"Rubber(wo)Man" and "Rubber(wo)Man Part Two" are the first and second episodes of American Horror Stories. The two-episode premiere was released on streaming on Thursday, July 15, 2021 on FX on Hulu.

Synopsis

Part 1: A teenager and her Dads move into a forsaken home with a grim past. As the family makes renovations, a darkness takes root within them.[3]

Part 2: Scarlett enters a twisted new romance while Michael and Troy are forced to confront their rocky relationship.[3]

Plot

Part 1

Michael and Troy sing to "A Whiter Shade of Pale" on the car radio, while their annoyed daughter Scarlett begs them to stop. They are the newest residents of the "Murder House". An ominous mobile of animal bones hangs outside. Scarlett explores the premises, still under renovation. The family knows the alleged history of the massacres that took place within, and intend to turn it into a tourist attraction. Scarlett is worried about failure far more than they are concerned about ghosts.

While she unpacks, a red ball rolls towards Scarlett's feet. Looking for the source, a closet door opens. Inside hangs the Rubber Man suit. Scarlett takes it back to her room and quickly dresses in it, admiring the effect in the mirror. Blackened eyes glare back at her, and she quickly tosses it in the outside garbage can.

Later in school, Scarlett distractedly listens to a lecture on the nature of the brain. When asked, she says that shame is a far greater motivator than fear. Maya, a model, flirts with her once class ends.

In her room, Scarlett imagines being with Maya sexually. The fantasy quickly turns violent, and Scarlett climaxes at the thought of choking Maya. Once asleep, Rubber Man descends from Scarletts ceiling — though this too is seemingly a nighmarish fantasy that wakes her in a cold sweat.

Maya slips into Scarlett's DMs, and they both muse about not being out publicly at school. Maya invites Scarlett for a sleepover with other friends, which initially concerns Scarlett. Maya swears that she will protect Scarlett from her friends.

As Michael and Troy continue the remodeling, uncovering the disturbing mural on the walls of the old music room. They call her aside and confront her about sadistic porn that they have discovered she has been watching. They are concerned, because this has happened before and they feel she may be unable to normalize her dark tastes later. They ground her for lying about stopping, but she quickly begs to have therapy in exchange for allowance to go to Maya's party.

In her room, Scarlett is trying to decide what to wear, and finds her current selection lacking and her internet browsing locked down. Her closet door opens, exposing the Rubber Man suit, into which she quickly dresses. Once again, her eyes blacken. She enters her fathers' bedroom with a kitchen knife in hand. This terrifies her parents until she takes off the hood. They demand she get rid of it, and she reflexively slashes Troy's arm.

The family is visited by Dr. Andi Grant, a therapist who responds that the porn habits are normal but that the violent act the night before was not. The therapist feels that such behavior has to have a cause, and is not on the same level as simple pranks. Troy describes Scarlett's kidnapping (for 10 days) when Scarlett was 3. Scarlett was not harmed and doesn't remember the incident, but her parents became overprotective and think it may have had an effect on her. The therapist is more concerned about the home in which they're living, and all the dark history behind it. The hour ends, and the therapist excuses herself. As she leaves, Michael insists that Scarlett will not be attending the slumber party. Scarlett leaves angry, heading to her room.

Outside their view, the therapist is distracted by Beauregard's rolling ball and calls from the basement. At the top of the basement stairs, she is assaulted by Rubber Man. He slashes her neck and she tumbles down the stairs. Later, Michael encounters the empty and bloodied Rubber Man suit, which he and Troy burn in the fireplace.

Maya texts the grounded Scarlett, wondering where she is. Scarlett explains the circumstances, and Maya responds with a sugestion that Scarlett sneak out. She does, slipping past her sleeping fathers. At the slumber party, Maya's friends muse about their generation being superficial and fake. Maya responds that Scarlett is the only "real" person present, and that she stands up for her convictions. One friend suggests that it's because Scarlett is a lesbian, which is met by shushing that Scarlett isn't out yet. Scarlett explains that she simply doesn't want to be objectified or fetishized for her sexuality. Maya and Scarlett leave the living room to retrieve some pajamas, and Maya is impressed by Scarlett's lingerie. They become intimate, but Scarlett questions how serious Maya's intentions are. Maya insists she is serious, and they begin to make out. Scarlett admits that she is a virgin, which Maya is concerned about (as she doesn't know what to do). Scarlett explains her BDSM fetish, which intrigues Maya. Scarlett's phone begins chiming, and she sees text messages from her friend Shanti warning her that Maya has set her up and that her BDSM confession is being live-streamed. She runs past Maya's laughing friends, humiliated. Once in the car, a call to Shanti confirms that the stream saw her undressed and talking in detail about the fetish. She drives home, weeping, and does not wake her fathers in bed.

Scarlett calls Maya to tell her that she intends to kill herself and leave a note explaining Maya and her friends' actions driving her to it. This would ruin their lives and they could be found criminally liable. Scarlett threatens that she will do it unless they all come to her house immediately. The Rubber Man suit is next to her on her bed.

The four friends warily enter the Murder House through the open door. The door slams closed behind them and they can not reopen it. Scarlett texts the four to come down to the basement. Troy and Bryan await them at the bottom of the stairs as the upper door locks them in. The lights flicker and darken, and Infantata chases them into Scarlett (now the Rubber Woman) who stabs them all.

The next morning, the fathers find Scarlett remodeling. They think she has turned over a new leaf, and invite her to breakfast below. Once they have left, the therapist (now a ghost) suggests they have a session. Scarlett feels she has resolved her issues, and opens a door to find the Rubber Man waiting for her on the other side.

Part 2

A woman with a switchblade chases a ghostly Gladys down the stairs to the basement, where Rubber Woman Scarlett awaits. Together, they make short work of stabbing the ghost nurse to "death". Elated, the two women relax together in the tub. The new woman describes her interactions with her sadistic uncle Tony when she was young, while Scarlett explores the woman's nude scarred back. Her story continues with her reveal that Tony was never actually her uncle, and that her parents had sold her to him. She had spent 10 years of her thinking her parents were dead, when they had simply abandoned her. She returned to Los Angeles and decided to kill herself in the Murder House, thinking it would make the news. Instead, the realtor listing the house buried her in the backyard. She urges Scarlett to kill herself so that the two can be together forever. Scarlett considers this as the ghost vanishes into the bathwater.

Halloween has come again. Investigators looking for the missing girls explain that they know Scarlett called Maya after the livestream and that cell phone positioning shows them all driving to the Murder House the night they disappeared. Though the car was found at Maya's house, the cell phones disappeared at the Murder House. They say they will be in touch. Scarlett's fathers ask her if there's something she wants to tell them, but Scarlett suggests a ghost killed them.

That night in her room, Scarlett is visited by her therapist, who again wants to schedule a session. The ghosts of the missing four girls impale the ghost and menace Scarlett. The ghostly teen from before arrives to scare them away.

At a therapy session, the fathers tell Dr Grant that they are concerned that even Scarlett's friend Shanti does not visit. Troy discloses that Michael "thinks" he saw the ghost of Piggy Man, as Grant and Scarlett are unamused. Troy wants them to sell and cut their losses, but Michael is scared that the rumors about the haunted house might be true. Scarlett says that she wants to stay.

Troy shows contractor Adam around the renovations. Adam is not pleased by what he sees in the amateur work. Troy admits that they have been dipping into their savings to finish the work, and is close to begging for a low bidding contractor. Michael interrupts the two and they banter before Adam leaves to compose a bid. Michael is not amused that Troy is being cruel by flirting with Adam. Michael is desperate to move out of the house and frustrated at the suffering their marriage is taking while they stay.

Troy is indeed cheating with Adam. Adam's associate Martin interrupts them to draw their attention to the chimney shaft Scarlett finished earlier. There is a decay smell coming from it, and Adam demolishes the wall to reveal the corpses of the four missing girls. Adam quickly bludgeons Martin to keep the discovery secret. Adam, too, has secret legal problems and does not want to have further issues. He suggests Martin's corpse be added to the others in the crawlspace. He wants to partner with the pair to get the haunted bed and breakfast running, and also to have sexual privileges with them. Michael is furious at the blackmail attempt and Troy's infidelity, and tries to rush Adam out of the house. Rubber Man meets them on the porch and fatally stabs Adam before he can cross the threshold. They try to flee, and find they can not leave the house. Indeed, they are already both ghosts — killed by Scarlett's girlfriend.

Scarlett arrives home and calls after her dads. She finds the exposed crawlspace with new corpses added, and her dads bodies in their bedroom. In a surprise session with Dr Grant, the parents are surprised that they did not remember being murdered; the therapist explains that it's common to repress the trauma of their own murders. She muses that she and the other therapist are working on a book about the phenomenon. Scarlett explains to the ghosts that her girlfriend killed them to keep her around; while they may think it is not safe for her, she has no intention of leaving. She leaves to get dressed for a Halloween outing. She dons the Rubber Man suit, and — because of the special Halloween rules for ghosts — is able to leave with her ghostly girlfriend. Overhearing this new wrinkle in the rules, the four teen girls plot to kill Scarlett outside the house.

While they muse on life after death, Scarlett makes Ruby (her girlfriend) promise that she won't cut her life short. As they explore street faire, they encounter Shanti. Shanti is upset that Scarlett pays her little attention now that Ruby is in her life, and Shanti runs off. Scarlett follows her, and tries to talk her down. Shanti believes Scarlett has not returned to school — not because she's traumatized — because Scarlett fits the traits of a psychopath. Scarlett tries to explain that she keeps Shanti away for her own safety, but Shanti knows that Scarlett killed the girls. She has covered for her former friend out of guilt, but now wants nothing to do with her. Scarlett leaves, and Maya's foursome takes the opportunity to attempt an attack on Shanti. Before they can hurt her, Ruby emerges to protect Shanti. The girls leave, and Ruby says they will not bother Shanti again. Shanti urges Ruby that if she really loves Scarlett that she will set her free.

Scarlett wanders a "haunted house", and finds Ruby enjoying some carnage. The foursome track Scarlett down, as they have realized that Scarlett is vulnerable off-premises and will die without a ghost. Ruby tells her to run, and they give chase. Nicole, one of the four, is recognized by William, her brother.

Scarlett hides until Ruby finds her, and they walk home. The foursome bar Scarlett's entry, and Scarlett pleads with Ruby that she needs to live her life elsewhere. She just wants an opportunity to get her things and say goodbye to her dads. William asks Nicole if he can tell about her to mom and dad. As they enter, Nicole tells William that the police should find the bodies in the house, and Ruby chimes in that he should claim Ruby killed them all.

The family says their goodbyes, and Scarlett leaves the Murder House. Ruby hugs her on the way out, and they profess their love for each other.

10 months later, Ruby's cell phone rings. Scarlett has called during extended-family breakfast with some news: Scarlett has found "Uncle" Tony, and Rubber Woman is going to ensure it is his last day on Earth. When Halloween comes, the two lovers will reunite.

Featured Characters

Andi Grant

Dr. Andi Grant is a character in American Horror Stories portrayed by Merrin Dungey. She starred in both parts of "Rubber(wo)Man".

Dr. Andi Grant was a Los Angeles therapist hired by Michael and Troy Winslow to deal with their daughter Scarlett's obsession with hardcore porn and violent S&M scenarios. Dr. Grant immediately established a common ground for the family in which to have a constructive conversation, without shame or judgment.

Dr. Grant is lured to the basement door by Beauregard's red ball rolling on the floor, and the Rubber Man cuts her throat. As a new addition to the long line of ghosts stuck in the Murder House, Andi adapted fairly quickly to her new spectral status.

Since Michael and Troy ignore the existence of ghosts and the gruesome activities going on under their roof, Dr. Grant continues the therapy sessions as if nothing had happened. She hints at collaborations with a colleague and when the Winslows also become ghosts, the therapist helps them in their transition.

Arriving at a truce after struggling over therapy schedules at Murder House, Dr. Grant and the other therapist began a collaboration in writing research on the paranormal phenomenon.

Shanti


Maya


Nicole


Rowena


Erin


Adam

Adam is an American Horror Stories character portrayed by Aaron Tveit. He starred in "Rubber(wo)Man Part Two".

Adam is a contractor hired by Troy Winslow to renovate the "Murder House" via an online advertisement. Adam was the most affordable contractor given the Winslows' financial shortfalls. After commenting on the sorry state of the work in progress — due to the DIY — Adam started flirting with Troy. The two are caught in the act by Troy's husband, Michael. He lashes out and the three find themselves arguing over payment. Adam suggests sexual performance, half joking in response to Michael's statements. After all, renovating the haunted house and surviving is a good selling point for new clients.

Adam and Troy begin hooking up in secret during construction work on the building. When Michael and Martin, one of the builders, complain of a bad smell in one of the recently bricked up walls, Adam smashes the wall and finds four bodies — it's the missing girls from Scarlett's school. Afraid of losing his job, Adam smashes Martin's head in with a hammer. The contractor is in debt after a trial for stealing money from previous clients, and views the Winslows as his winning ticket to get back in business. While Troy and Michael are terrified of the discovery and Adam's murder, Adam sees the bright side. He wants in on their Haunted Bed & Breakfast project, as well as "mouth and ass privileges" from them both, but doesn't want any serious attachments.

Michael refuses and attempts to throw Adam out of the house's front door, only for Adam to be stabbed in the chest by the Rubber Man. Now one of the ghosts in the house, he continues to hang out with Troy, his face and white T-shirt covered in blood. After Michael and Troy realize they are also ghosts in the house, they come to the agreement that if their eternity in the house together ever gets stale, they have Adam to spice up their marriage.

Martin


William


Tony Peterson



Quotes

  • Scarlett: "Fear isnt what stops us from doing what we want."
  • Scarlett: "Shame is what keep us from being our true selves."
  • Michael: "When you watch these things, do you fantasize about being the masochist or the sadist?"
  • Scarlett: "Pain and shame turn me on. It turns every girl on. Haven't you seen Fifty Shades of Grey?"
  • Troy: "We don't believe in haunted houses."
  • Dr Grant
    You just murdered four girls. We need to talk about your feelings about this.
    Scarlett
    Why? I've never felt better in my life.


  • Ruby: "Kill yourself, and we can be together forever."
  • Adam: "I remodeled the haunted house and survived is a pretty good selling point."
  • Gladys: " Thanks for not stabbing me, lately!"
  • Ruby: "On Halloween, no one ever rang the door for candy at the Murder House."

Notes

  • The episode establishes a direct connection with the main series as it takes place at the "Murder House" from the namesake season.
  • Although none of the characters from the main series is named, Ben Harmon is indirectly referenced as "the other therapist", while the Infantata, Troy and Bryan make for a spooky appearance. Beau also came out to play with Scarlett, but she was distracted by the Rubber Man. Gladys made some friends.
  • Michael had an encounter with the Piggy Man, an "urban legend about a Butcher from Chicago in the 1800s" of Murder House fame but who peaked haunting Roanoke.

Cultural References

  • Scarlett asks her dads why they can't be "normal gays" who like Madonna and Britney Spears instead of singing "A Whiter Shade of Pale" in the car.
  • Scarlett mentions the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Gray.
  • Scarlett compares the Murder House to Amityville horror on crystal meth.
  • Scarlett indirectly mentions Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University taking his own life after being a victim of cyberbullying and homophobia after a sex video filmed and posted without his consent by his roommate was posted on Twitter.
  • In Part 2, Adam mentions using lye to hide the stench of a corpse. That's a subtle reference to the second season of Pose, the acclaimed TV series created by Ryan Murphy.

Raised Questions

Part 1
  • Will the Winslow make it out alive of the Murder House?
  • Where are the fan favorite ghosts trapped inside the Murder House?
  • Will Scarlett get away with the murder of the four girls?
  • How does the payment of a ghost therapist work?
Part 2
  • Were the other ghosts so busy they skipped pancake breakfast?
  • How does the Eternal Darkness Tour fare with the recent murders update?
  • Will Scarlett keep visiting each Halloween?

Gallery

References

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