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American Horror Story: Murder House kicked off the popular anthology horror show by demonstrating how excellent twists, like the death of Violet (Taissa Farmiga), can be seeded for episodes before the truth is revealed.
The first season of American Horror Story sees the Harmon family moving to a haunted murder house unaware of the chaos that awaits them. Ben (Dylan McDermott) tries to reconcile with his wife Vivian (Connie Britton) after an affair, while their daughter Violet is left to cope with the emotional fallout. Throughout the Harmons" adjustment into their new house, they are introduced to other interesting characters, many of whom are permanently attached to the "Murder House" in the afterlife. The mixed pressure of her own life crumbling and the presence of ghosts pushes Violet to attempt suicide in episode 6, “Piggy, Piggy.” Four episodes later, episode 10, “Smoldering Children” reveals that this actually did end up leading to her death.
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While Ryan Murphy"s first season of his long-running horror anthology was careful not to show all the cards regarding which characters were living and which were dead, some deaths were more surprising than others. Violet"s death was certainly one of the most shocking, but there were multiple clues that foreshadowed her death long before her body was ultimately discovered.
AHS Hints That Violet Died When She Stops Leaving The House
Episode 8, “Rubber Man” reveals that, since attempting suicide, Violet has not gone to school. Two episodes later, her absence from school becomes so severe, truancy officers get involved. The show cleverly masquerades her death and physical inability to leave the house beneath symptoms of depression that Violet was already presenting. At a family dinner in episode 7, “Open House,” her father points out that her refusal to eat is a textbook sign of depression.
Tate (Evan Peters), one of the few people to know Violet is dead, acts much more protectively between episodes 6 and 10 to keep her from discovering the truth. When Vivian packs Violet into a car and tries to run away, Tate looks on with distress, aware Violet cannot leave. In episode 7, Tate is angry with Violet for continuing to self-harm and vehemently discourages it, a far cry from his initial reaction; he now understands the stakes of what he is dealing with.
AHS: The Blowflies Foreshadow Violet’s Corpse
Between episodes six and 10, the Harmon house becomes infested with blow flies. These insects often symbolize death due to the way they flock to corpses. The flies get worse and worse as Violet’s body begins to decompose. The exterminator Ben eventually hires finds the source of the flies and begins panicking, foretelling that there is something terrible waiting in the crawlspace. Tate kills him, which can retroactively be understood as a way of protecting Violet. The way the camera cuts in this scene also has a foreshadowing function; the scene shifts from Tate’s murder to a picture of Violet that her father keeps on his desk, with Ben discussing Violet’s school situation in the background.
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American Horror Story Foreshadowed Violet’s Death Through Dialogue
At the start of episode seven, Tate asks Violet if she believes in ghosts. To her, the question comes out of left field, prompting a confused and defensive response. Retroactively, it can be understood as a gentle probe to preface a future, more difficult conversation. In episode 8, Tate has a conversation with Hayden (Kate Mara) where they mysteriously discuss a difficult thing he “has to do” for Violet’s sake. Tate refers to his need to “prepare” himself; while it might seem like he is planning on murdering Violet himself, he is really emotionally preparing to reveal the truth. At one point, he tells Violet that she can now see ghosts because she is “evolved.” Many of these conversations work naturally both with and without the context of Violet’s death, which proves American Horror Story’s great skill in carefully weaving plot with foreshadowing.
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