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Constance Langdon is the next-door neighbor of the Harmons. She is a character in American Horror Story portrayed by Jessica Lange.

Background

Constance was born and raised in Virginia, but moved to Los Angeles to become an actress. After objecting to the nudity that was flooding the film industry at the time, her dreams of becoming an actress fell to the wayside.

In 1983, she murdered both her husband Hugo and Moira O'Hara (with whom Hugo has cheated with once before) after the husband forced himself on Moira, believing they were having an affair. After disposing of the bodies, Constance fell into a deep depression and began drinking heavily. With Hugo gone and the family's income greatly depleted, the bank repossessed the house and Constance had to move out.  

In 1994, Constance is present when her son Tate is killed by a S.W.A.T team. In the same year, to keep her son Beau from being taken from her and put in an institution, Constance employs the besmitten Larry Harvey to kill him.

Personality

Constance was an archetypal faded Southern Belle. She purported to be gentle and good-natured but was really cunning and rude. She cared very much for her children, even though she frequently resorted to cruel parenting. She also ran a boarding kennel out of her home.

Constance was very concerned with her status and looks. To curb her loneliness, she began a relationship with Travis. In order to restore her formerly upper-class lifestyle, she stole Vivien's jewelry and silverware. When the house fell out of her possession, Constance seduced Larry Harvey, an influential banker who moved into the house after her with his wife and children. After the deaths of Larry's family, Constance moved back into the house with Tate, Adelaide, and Beauregard.

Constance has turbulent connections with many of the inhabitants of the house, but especially Moira. Despite this, it appears the two of them are involved in some sort of plot involving Vivien's pregnancy, as she brings over assorted innards of a pig for Vivien, claiming the organs are good for the baby.

Even though she is well aware of the dead inhabitants and their fates in the house, she says nothing to warn the Harmon family.

Story

Murder House

Constance introduces herself to the Harmon's as their next door neighbor. She also raids Vivien's jewelry box and is caught by Moira, though Moira does nothing about it. [1]

Constance bakes two large cupcakes, ostensibly for Violet, adding Ipecac syrup to the batter. She spends some time with a handsome young man named Travis. She later assists Tate and Moira in disposing of the dead R. Franklin murder reenactors. [2]

She is caught again by Moira stealing silverware from the Harmon's. She tells Moira that she will keep stealing until she has "a full set" to sell on eBay and Moira is "fired for stealing". While walking her dogs she spots Tate through the window of the Murder House's attic and waves to him but he does not wave back.[3]

Constance is at home with Travis and her daughter Addy. She gets mad at Addy for her flirtations with Travis. Constance argues with Addy over her Halloween costume and finally settles on buying her a "pretty girl" mask. Addy is later killed in a hit-and-run accident and Constance tried to drag her onto the lawn of the house so she would come back in spirit. [4]

Constance reveals to Violet that Tate is her son. Mourning the death of Adelaide, Constance visits the corpse at the morgue, where she puts eyeshadow and lipstick on Addy so she can finally be a "pretty girl." [5]

She introduces Violet to a medium named Billie Dean Howard and tries to relate to Violet about her dealings with the dead. [6] Constance tries to prevent Joe Escandarian from buying the house. [7]

Constance has an argument with Travis he leaves. Constance later learns from Moira that Tate has fathered one of Vivien's twins. She confronts Tate about this and later proposes to Travis, apologizing for her earlier actions. She tells him the two can raise Tate's child together, to which he tells her he's unsure, as he is still trying to build his acting career. She shoots down his dreams, citing her own experiences. After they argue, Travis leaves again. Constance visits Vivien in the hospital, offering her help during the pregnancy. Constance asks Billie Dean what could result from a human/spirit conception and is told that it could result in the birth of the Anti-Christ who will bring about the end of times. [8]

Constance is questioned about Travis's murder as well as the murders of Hugo, Moira, and Beau. Although he did not have a hand in Travis's murder (other than disposing of his remains), Larry takes the fall in order to pay for all his sins. He tells Constance he will be able to endure any punishment as long as she admits she loves him, to which she coldly refuses. [9]

Constance assists in the birth of Vivien's twins and quickly snatches Tate's child (her grandchild), Michael. [10]

Constance cautions Ben against bringing Michael back into the house. When Ben dies, she takes it upon herself to raise Michael as her own. Three years later, she returns home to find he has murdered his nanny. Constance smirks at the sight commenting "Now, what am I gonna do with you?"  [11]

Apocalypse

In 2017, Madison Montgomery and Behold Chablis 'move in' to the Murder house to retrieve information on Michael Langdon's origins. At first, the spirits of the house refuse to give them any information whatsoever. Constance eventually introduces herself to the two alongside Billie Dean Howard. 

Billie informs Constance that the two are witches and are not interested in living in the house. Moira interrupts them to seek approval from Constance to see if she did well at dusting a mantle. The two argue, and it is revealed through Moira that Constance "took the coward's way out" and killed herself. Constance agrees to give Madison and Behold the information they seek if they can banish Moira from the Murder House.

Afterword, Constance sits down and explains that Michael is, in fact, her grandson. She describes the birth of Michael and how she took him into her custody after he was born in the house. Constance is very passionate about the fact that "she was born to be a mother." 

Through his love for her, Michael would leave Constance "presents" throughout her house, starting with amputated flies, to dead rodents, all the way to murdered humans. She buried each one by covering them with a bundle of rose flowers. One morning, she stepped into Michael's bedroom to see that he had aged an entire decade. Michael eventually tried killing Constance for forcing him to follow the rules but stopped and anxiously apologized. Constance was afraid that if she had corrected his grammar one more time that Michael would "slit her throat."

Though Constance struggled with many tragedies, she emotionally mentions that the incredible responsibility of raising Michael just "shattered her." Finding a murdered priest in Michael's bedroom was the last straw, and once again she was reminded that her days of being a mother were over. Constance stated she never wanted to see Michael again; thus, she admitted to killing herself in the Murder House because it is where she could spend eternity with her three children. As she closes her story, Constance gets up and disappears with her daughter Rose.[12]

Later in the season, Mallory created a new timeline and killed Michael in his weakened state. This had reversed everything that happened after the priest was murdered in Michael's bedroom back in 2015. Thus, Constance never committed suicide. This would also include freeing Moria from the Murder House never happened, and The Murder House itself is once again vulnerable to new buyers. Constance witnesses Mallory running over Micheal in the street, right after Constance had told him to "get out of her house". Constance and Mallory make eye contact as she runs him over for the third and final time. Constance goes to Micheals mutilated body in the street and begins to weep. Michael asks her to take his body to the house so he can die and be with her forever. As she looks up at the house, Constance lets go of Michael's body and tells him to "go to hell", leaving him to die. [13]

Quotes

  • To Tate Langdon: "Just a smile or a kind word could open the gates to Heaven."
  • To Moira O'Hara: "I am trying to find some dignity in this situation. Move on, Missy!"
  • To Vivien Harmon: "I'm a good Christian, but Jesus H. Christ..."
  • To Moira O'Hara: "Don't make me kill you again."
  • To Moira O'Hara: "Every time I find my heart break in just a sliver for you, I suddenly remember; You brought this all on yourself."
  • To Vivien Harmon: "He was a model of physical perfection. He was my gift. But I lost him to other things."
  • To Violet Harmon: "They say when a parent dies, a child feels his own mortality, but when a child dies, it's immortality that a parent loses."
  • To Violet Harmon: "He's a sensitive boy, you know that; a young man with too deep feelings, the soul of a poet, but none of the grit or steel that acts as a bulwark against... these horrors of this world."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I questioned my sanity when I first found out, but this house will make you a believer."
  • To Vivien Harmon: "We need that baby. We need another... sweet child."
  • Constance Langdon: "At the end of the day... he meant less to me than dog shit."
  • To Chad Warwick: "Why can't you people just be content with having pets? Why must you subject an innocent child to your perversions?"
  • To Billie Dean Howard: "Well that's all nice and dandy, but what about the gays I mean, how do we get rid of them?"
  • To Moira O'Hara: "There's not gonna be any swimming pool you stupid slut!"
  • To Larry Harvey: "Even dead, even a boy, he’s twice the man you are."
  • To Detective Granger: "I have grieved enough for two lifetimes. Most people would be broken by the deaths of their children, but my nature would not permit such weakness."
  • To Vivien Harmon: "I thought those people were supposed to be stylish."
  • To Ben Harmon: " You stupid son of a bitch."
  • To Moira O'Hara: "Jesus H. Christ, you almost gave me a heart attack."
  • Constance Langdon: "Like I said earlier, I was born to be a mother. Why not die to be one, too?"
  • Constance Langdon: "Now I am the first to admit that um, there were mistakes made, raising Tate. And that's why with Michael, oh my god, he was such a perfect little angel of light. I thought that would be my chance for a do-over."
  • To Michael Langdon upon his death: "Go to hell."

Notes

  • Rubber Man was the only episode of the season in which Constance was absent, though she was still credited during the opening credits.
  • Constance's kitchen was used as a set for Ryan Murphy's other show, Glee. It was the kitchen of Santana's grandmother.
  • Although Constance stated that she had four children, a fourth child Rose was revealed for the first time in Return to Murder House. However, in a recent interview with Tim Minear, it was revealed that there was supposed to be a mention of Rose in Constance's beauty salon speech in the final episode, but it was cut.[citation needed]
  • Ryan Murphy stated that Constance was to have an albino child in his commentary for "Pilot".
  • She bore many similarities to the character Minnie Castevet, the strange and eccentric neighbor portrayed by Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby. Both characters try to obtain babies destined to become malefic entities from their respective mothers.
  • Constance claims to be distant cousins to the DeLongpres of Virginia. [11] "DeLongpre" happens to be the last name of former Supreme, Mimi DeLongpre. This may imply that Constance is a witch or at least has some witch genes. Based on events seen during Murder House, she may have some form of precognition; in "Pilot" she entered the house in the middle of the night to prevent Ben from being injured, and later baked toxic cupcakes she claimed to be for Violet during the events of "Home Invasion", only to cause one of the home's intruders to become violently ill, thereby saving Violet from being murdered. 
  • Constance is the first character portrayed by Jessica Lange. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
    • Constance is the only character portrayed by Jessica to have survived her retrospective season, though she later dies during the events of Apocalypse.
    • Constance seems to have a more gentle personality when we revisit her in Apocalypse.
  • Constance is the first character to refer to the use of sage to cleanse spirits of a place - something that Iris and Behold Chablis later do.

Gallery

References

  1. Episode: Pilot
  2. Episode: Home Invasion
  3. Episode: Murder House (episode)
  4. Episode: Halloween: Part 1
  5. Episode: Halloween: Part 2
  6. Episode: Piggy Piggy
  7. Episode: Open House
  8. Episode: Spooky Little Girl
  9. Episode: Smoldering Children
  10. Episode: Birth
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode: Afterbirth
  12. Episode: Return to Murder House
  13. Episode: Apocalypse Then