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Tate Langdon

Last edited on April 13, 2014
by BadlyBruisedMuse
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Tate Langdon
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A troubled patient who's hiding a dark secret from himself.
Portrayed by Evan Peters
First Appearance Pilot
Last Appearance Afterbirth
Species Ghost
Cause of Death Shot by S.W.A.T. team (Piggy Piggy)
Occupation High School Student
Relationships Ben Harmon (psychiatrist)

Violet Harmon (ex-girlfriend)
Nora Montgomery (mother figure)
Vivien Harmon (mother of his son)

Relatives Constance Langdon (mother)

Hugo Langdon (father)
Adelaide Langdon (sister)
Beauregard Langdon (brother)
Michael Langdon (son)

Tate Langdon is a patient of Ben Harmon harboring dark secrets. He is a main character in the first season ("Murder House") portrayed by Evan Peters.


Background

Tate was born in 1977 to Hugo and Constance Langdon. Tate was the brother of Adelaide, Beauregard, and one more sibling, whose identity remains unknown in canon on the show; it was revealed post season that the fourth sibling was an albino brother. He is the only one not burdened by some sort of mental or physical defect, although he was shown to be psychologically disturbed. This is due largely to his father's absence and his mother's neglect as a child.  Although Constance shot Hugo upon discovering him in bed with Moira, Tate mentions several times how his father "ran away" when he was six years old.  It is highly probable that, in order to spare Tate's memory of his father, Constance lied and told him that Hugo abandoned them.  Tate, however, found solace in the ghost of Nora Montgomery, whom he viewed as somewhat of a mother figure, since Nora treated him like her own son after her real "Frankenstein-like" son Thaddeus tried to harm him. Tate reached his breaking point in 1994 when he set his mother's then boyfriend, Larry Harvey, on fire for murdering Beauregard with a pillow and then afterwards committed a mass shooting at Westfield High, taking the lives of 15 students.

Following the shooting, Tate returned home where he was killed by a SWAT team and since then has resided in the Murder House.

Personality and Appearance

Tate has a very grunge-like appearance, having been a teenager in the early 1990s. He likes Nirvana and in one episode asked Violet if she had any Kurt Cobain. His disposition is primarily solemn and weary, with perpetual bags under his eyes. There is tension between him and his mother, Constance . He has even admitted to her that he hates her. His hatred for his mother was born out of her negligent parenting and the verbal abuse she constantly dealt him as a child in her drunken alcoholic rages. Despite her disapproval of his behavior, Constance frequently makes excuses for him, saying he is a sensitive boy.  This appears to be true, as Tate appears to be apathetic at first, but he can quickly become enraged when someone or something he cares about is threatened.  Tate pretends he is oblivious to his current state of existence to those unfamiliar with his past. In truth, he is aware that he is a ghost. He kept this a secret, fearing Violet would leave him if she knew.

As a ghost, Tate primarily dons a BDSM fetish coverall to become (what is popularly referred to as) the Rubber Man whenever he commits violent acts. In this persona, he killed Chad Warwick and Patrick in a particularly brutal fashion. He beat Chad and drowned him to death, and went on to beat Patrick and sodomize him with a fire poker as he was dying. Tate appears to be super-humanly strong as a ghost, as he was capable of overwhelming Patrick and Ben in separate fights. In his earlier treatments by Ben, Tate often fantasized about murdering his classmates (though seemingly unaware such "fantasies" are actually memories of true events) and took pleasure in mocking Ben about his sexual desires and infidelity with his past student, Hayden McClaine .

As his relationship with Violet and treatments with Ben continued, Tate seemed to become softer and friendlier. He often speaks highly of Ben as a father, telling Violet he wished he had a father like him while growing up. He also expressed the sentiment to Hayden that he was getting tired of hurting people. However, he continues to be unwilling to let Violet move out of the House, to the point where he attacked both Ben and Vivien as the Rubber Man, though at the end of Smoldering Children, it is revealed this was because he was trying to prevent Violet from finding out she was dead, as he was afraid of how she would react. Tate would later tell Ben that he really did feel like his treatments were helping him get better. He also broke down in tears and admitted to the suffering he'd caused, though Ben did not believe he was really remorseful.

Episodic Appearances

Tate begins seeing Dr. Ben Harmon in the pilot and forms a relationship with his daughter, Violet. He later helps Violet terrorize her bullying schoolmate, Leah, and it appears he may have some connection to the Infantata; Violet sees intermittent flashes of the Infantata and Tate attacking Leah in the basement of her house.

In "Home Invasion," Tate kills Bianca, one of the Franklin Murder recreators, with an axe, nearly chopping her in half in order to save Violet and Vivien. He also coaxes the other intruders into the basement. He later appears in the basement with Moira O'Hara and Constance. He is familiar with both of them, and alludes to the fact that Constance has some invested interest in Tate continuing to see Dr. Harmon.

"Halloween: Part 2" Tate is Constance's son. Her late husband, Hugo, is presumably Tate's father. According to Tate, Constance cheated on his father with a neighbor (possibly Larry), and after learning this information he abandoned the family. This occurred when Tate was 10. However, in a more recent episode, he stated he was 6 when this happened. We do not know yet what this means. This could be a plot hole: Tate could have lied, misremembered, or Constance got remarried after Hugo's death.

Tate refuses to be transferred to Dr. Goldman when Ben terminates their counseling sessions because of continued boundary issues. He continues to see Violet, despite Ben's efforts to cease their relationship. Tate sheds some light on the house's history when he tells Violet the story of Charles and Nora Montgomery, the original owners of the Murder House, and the origins of Infantata, though Violet does not believe him. She then confronts him about not having been outside of the basement for a "real date".  He takes Violet on a "real date" away from the house on Halloween.

Tate brings Violet to one of his favorite spots on the beach. After passionately kissing as well as insight from Tate about his time in high school, they are suddenly interrupted by a group of teenagers dressed up as murder victims. The teenagers follow them home and Violet confronts them. Tate comes out as the group began harassing Violet, and leads them on a long chase. They end up back at the beach as they surround Tate and accuse him of their deaths. A horrified Tate denies this and believes they are simply hallucinations. They demand an explanation as to why he murdered them or to at least admit his wrongs. However, he claims not to know who they are and they depart as the sun begins to rise.

In "Piggy Piggy," it is revealed that Tate did indeed kill the teenagers who accused him of their murders. He shot them all one by one while they took cover in Westfield High's library and killed 15 people in total during the school shooting. A Los Angeles S.W.A.T. team confronted him at his house and shot him several times after he pulled out a gun he hid under his pillow. We later learn that Tate had snorted large amounts of crystal meth before the shooting and was most likely not in his right state of mind at the time. While talking to Adelaide via a medium, Adelaide mentions that she is scared of Tate after learning of what he has done. In the same episode, Tate tries to save Violet from a suicide attempt, and tearfully admits his love for her.

In "Rubber Man," it is revealed that Tate is the Rubber Man. It is also revealed that prior to the Harmons' moving into the Murder House, he promised a devastated Nora he would provide her with a child. He dons the suit to partake in gruesome activities such as impregnating Vivien and brutally murdering Chad Warwick and Patrick, as they decided not to have a child. He also wears the suit when attacking Vivien in her bedroom, which leads to her being taken by the police for a medical observation due to Ben's belief that she is losing her mind.

In "Spooky Little Girl," it is revealed only one of Vivien's twins is Tate's (the other is Ben's). Constance discovers this and confronts Tate, only for him to plead for her not to tell Violet. Billie Dean reveals in the episode's climax that a child conceived between a spirit and a human will usher in the "End of Days" and is considered the "Anti-Christ."

In "Smoldering Children," we learn that Tate is aware he is dead. It appeared that Tate had no recollection of his own death. However, Tate revealed he was simply hiding the fact to avoid scaring off Violet. We also learn that Tate is the one who burned Larry, in revenge for killing his brother. After Tate fails to convince Violet to commit suicide as a couple "like Romeo and Juliet", we find out that Violet was already dead, due to her suicide attempt in "Piggy Piggy", and that Tate was aware of this. He hid her body in a crawl space beneath the house, afraid of her reaction and knowing that she didn't really want to die. Tate later knocks out Ben, while disguised as Rubber Man, using chloroform. Ben manages to unmask him before going unconscious discovering that he is the one responsible for impregnating his wife, Vivien.

In "Birth," a flashback to 1984, explains the dynamic between Tate and Nora and why she is so important to him. In the same episode, Tate tells Nora he is reneging on his promise to give her his and Vivien's baby, as he cannot bear to see Violet or her family hurt, now that he's fallen in love with Violet. Nora, however, vows to take the baby regardless, as do Chad and Patrick. Tate tries working with Violet on a way to get rid of Chad and Patrick, only for the ritual to fail.

Vivien later dies due to complications during labor, and Violet learns from Chad that one of her mother's twins was fathered by Tate. Violet then ends her relationship with Tate and makes him "go away," against his tearful pleas.

In "Afterbirth," Tate attempts to murder Gabriel, a new occupant of the Murder House, believing Violet will need some companionship now that she no longer wants him in her life. Violet kisses Tate goodbye, distracting him long enough for Gabriel to escape. Tate later confides in Ben, admitting to all his wrongs now that he knows what he's done, asking for his forgiveness and friendship, which Ben seemingly agrees to, reluctantly. He and Hayden later watch the Harmon family as they celebrate Christmas, where Hayden tells him that Violet will never forgive him for all the pain and suffering he has caused her family. Tate replies that he will wait for her forever if necessary.

Quotes

  • To Chad Warwick and Patrick: "You pathetic homo's couldn't steal the shit out of your own asses!"
  • To Ben Harmon: "No more weird shit, I promise."
  • Tate Langdon: "I was afraid my big dick wouldn't work."
    Ben Harmon: "What?"
    Tate Langdon: "That's why I didn't take the meds. I was afraid my dick wouldn't work, because I met someone."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I painted it black. I know how you don't like normal things."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I used to come here... when the world closed in and got so small I couldn't breathe. I'd look out at the ocean, and I'd think... 'Yo, douche bag, high school counts for jack shit.'"
  • To Stephanie Boggs: "What is this? Is this part of a Halloween act? Because, I mean, the makeup, it's chilling, but the performance..."
  • To Violet Harmon: "You’re doing it wrong. If you’re trying to kill yourself, cut vertically. They can’t stitch that up. And if you're trying to kill yourself, you might also try locking the door."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I love you. There, I said it...not just on some chalkboard. I would never let anybody or anything hurt you. I’ve never felt that way about anyone."
  • To Ben Harmon: "So what do shrinks think when a wildly brilliant patient doesn't talk to punish said psychiatrist? I bet you think about sex."
  • To Hayden McClaine: "I'm tired of hurting people."
  • To Violet Harmon: "Hi, I'm Tate. I'm dead. Wanna hook up?"
  • To Violet Harmon: "You're the only light I've ever known. You've changed me, Violet."
  • To Ben Harmon: "I prepare for the noble war. I'm calm; I know the secret. I know what's coming, and I know no one can stop me, including myself. I kill people I like. Some of them beg for their life. I don't feel sad. I don't feel anything. It's a filthy world we live in. It's a filthy goddamn helpless world, and honestly, I feel like I am helping to take them away from the shit and the piss and the vomit that run through the street. I am helping to take them somewhere clean and kind. The world is a filthy place; It's a filthy goddamn horror show. There's so much pain, you know? There's so much… There is something about all that blood; I drown in it. The Indians believed that blood holds all the bad spirits, and once a month in ceremonies they would cut themselves to let the spirits go free. Now, there is something smart about that, very smart. I like that. You think I'm crazy?"
  • To family: "Dear God, thank you for the salty pig meat we are about to eat, along with the rest of the indigestible swill. And thank you for our new charade of our family. My father ran away when I was only six. If I'd have known any better, I would have joined him,. And, also, because she's been trying to get back into this house ever since she lost it, Lord, a big thank you for blinding the asshole that's doing my mother, so that he can't see what everybody knows, she doesn't really love him."
  • To Adelaide Langdon: "NO ADDIE!!!! You're a smart girl, you KNOW he killed our brother!"
  • To Ben Harmon: "In 1994, I set my mom's boyfriend on fire, and then I shot and killed 15 kids at Westfield High. I murdered the gay couple who lived here before you, and I raped your wife."
  • To Chad Warwick: "Watch it you Goddamn queen!"
  • To Nora Montgomery: "I'm in love with Violet [...] I just can't take her brother away."
  • To Violet Harmon: "If you love somebody, you should never hurt them. Never."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I would never let anybody or anything hurt you."
  • To Violet Harmon: "Close your eyes and remember everything is gonna be okay. I love you."
  • To Violet Harmon: "I tried to save you... I did. I tried to make you throw them up. You threw up some, not enough. You took so many Violet. You died crying. I held you. You were safe. You died... loved. I hardly feel anything. I didn't want you to find out this way, Violet. You or your parents. I had this idea that if you chose to die... with me... you wouldn't be so sad. I never wanted you too see this. I'm so sorry, Violet."
  • To Violet Harmon: "You're all I want! You're all I have!"
  • To Violet Harmon: "I used to come here... when the world closed in and got so small I couldn't breathe. I'd look out at the ocean, and I'd think... "Yo, douche bag, high school counts for jack shit." Kurt Cobain, Quentin Tarantino, Brando, DeNiro, Pacino, all high school dropouts. I... hated high school. So I'd come here and I'd look out at this vast, limitless expanse. Then it's like, that's your life, man. You can do anything, could be anything. Screw high school. That's... it's just a blip in your timeline. Don't get stuck there."

Notes

  • He is the first character to be portrayed by Evan Peters. The second was Kit Walker and the third is Kyle Spencer.
  • Tate mentions that he likes Kurt Cobain, who killed himself in the same year that Tate committed the murders and was killed. Tate's grunge clothing style also seems to be inspired by Cobain as well.
  • Tate ran track at Westfield High.
  • According to the school librarian, Tate mostly read books on birds and on Byron. Tate is very much the archetypal Byronic hero.
  • In his school shooting fantasies, Tate's makeup is a replica of the intricate body tattoos of real life model and sideshow act Rick Genest, aka Rico Zombie.
  • The actor who plays Tate Langdon, Evan Peters, is the ex-boyfriend of the actress who plays Young Moira, Alexandra Breckenridge.
  • Evan Peters said that to prepare he read a lot of books about psychopaths like Charles Manson because he was charming as well as terrifying, like Tate. [1]
  • "Norman Bates Jr" (reference to the main antagonist of the novel/movie Psycho) is a nickname given by Chad to Tate.
  • The name Tate is a reference to Sharon Tate, just like Charles Montgomery and Bianca refer to either victims or perpetrators of the Charles Manson murders. The original description of the Tate character was "Charles Manson dangerous."
  • The name Tate also apparently means either He who brings happiness or Cheerful. Ironically, Tate is the source of most of the despair to the Harmons, especially Violet.
  • Ryan Murphy on Tate: "'The devil is beautiful' [...] Tate is the true monster of the show." [2]
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References

  1. TV Guide
  2. 'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy talks the Black Dahlia and whether Violet is alive... or dead -- EXCLUSIVE