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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday’s “Rubber Man” episode of American Horror Story.]
Vivien Harmon has left the building — at least for the time being.
On Wednesday’s American Horror Story, Ben (Dylan McDermott) sent Vivien (Connie Britton) off to a mental institution after his ex, Hayden (Kate Mara), foils her attempted escape from the property following Moira’s (Frances Conroy) confession that the house is possessed.
In addition, Hayden finally clues Nora (Lily Rabe) in on her status among the house of the undead and attempts to ease her sorrow by suggesting the mansion’s denizens take Vivien’s unborn twins in a thinly veiled attempt to unite the spirits.
The Hollywood Reporter checked in with Mara to find out what Hayden’s master plan is, why she and Moira clash and why the ghostly gang will unite to bring Mrs. Harmon home.
The Hollywood Reporter: What’s Hayden’s master plan, to take one of Vivien’s twins or to replace her?
Kate Mara: Hayden has some serious abandonment issues. The fact that Ben abandoned her throws her into many different emotions. First, she’s sad about it, then angry, then she wants revenge, then she’s back to pleading and begging. All of those things send her into this spiral and what’s the next thing she can hang on to? Their baby. And she doesn’t have that anymore because she’s been killed. In her psychotic state she thinks Vivien’s babies will be the next closest thing to her own. In her mind, Ben will be hers eventually even though everyone else sees that that’s really not true. In her mind, that will bring her closer to him. Feeling loved at the end of the day is what she wants — at least that’s what I’m telling myself playing such a psychotic character (laughs).
THR: With Vivien out of the picture, how will Hayden make her move on Ben?
Mara: Ben has turned her down so many times. In the grand scheme of things, she’s going to do what ever it takes to get Ben back in her life. In her mind she thinks, “If I steal one or both of Vivien’s babies, then that will bring Ben closer to me and he’ll see what a great mother and wife I can be.” She’s got a twisted fantasy of stepping into Vivien’s shoes.
One of her big flaws is that she can’t figure out how to bring him back to where they were before everything went sour. We have a flashback scene in the episode after “Rubber Man” — with Hayden and Ben where you discover how their affair happened and see what their chemistry was like and what got Ben into trouble. We show a very short glimpse into what it was like before he discovered psychotic.
THR: How will she get the babies if Vivien’s in the psych ward?
Mara: She’s happy Vivien is gone, but she has to get the ghosts on her side to get figure out a plot to get Vivien back into the house before she has the babies so that they can take them. She’s in the house, trying to get all the ghosts on her side — even the ones she doesn’t get along with like Moira. Tate (Evan Peters) doesn’t like her but she’s doing what ever she can to seduce him into going with her plan, which is, “Everyone is going to be happier if we can get rid of Vivien and take her babies.”
THR: How sure is Hayden that Vivien’s “twins” are Tate’s/The Rubber Man’s?
Mara: Hayden is definitely convinced those are Rubber Man’s babies. You’re going to discover a lot more than that in next week’s episode where you find more information about that; it’s pretty shocking. You find out more information about the pregnancy and the twins — it’s not as simple as it seems.
THR: How would Hayden feel if Vivien gave birth to a demon or some kind of hoofed creature?
Mara: I don’t think she’d be as psyched. Hayden doesn’t seem like the most open-minded person. But at the end of the day, I don’t think she cares as much about the baby as much as does about getting Ben. If she had to choose, she’d choose Ben over the child. But in her mind the only way to get him is to get the baby first; maybe it wouldn’t matter what was born as long as it would get her closer to him.
THR: Violet (Taissa Farmiga) is standing in the way of Hayden getting Tate behind her. Is Violet a friend or foe to Hayden?
Mara: Hayden doesn’t really care about Tate; she thinks she’ll seduce him and then he’ll do what she wants. But when she realizes that won’t work, that’s when her brain goes, “OK, what does he want? He wants Violet, so how can he get Violet?” The easiest thing for Hayden is seducing him, which is what got her into trouble in the first place. When that fails, she goes to her next tactic: How can Hayden help him spend the rest of his life with Violet? You’ll discover in maybe the next episode how that plan is going to unfold for Tate. Hayden doesn’t care about Violet because she hasn’t been in her way. Hayden’s biggest concern is Vivien: How do I destroy Vivien and take her babies?
THR: How will Hayden handle Moira, Vivien’s lone voice of support?
Mara: Moira wants to keep the family in the house and happy so her feeding Vivien raw brains was to keep the baby healthy. In [next week’s] “Black Dahlia” episode with young Moira (Alexandra Breckenridge) that shows that we clearly don’t like each other and are just living in the same place because we have to. In the “Rubber Man” episode, she sees Moira as her true self — the older Moira (Frances Conroy). In the “Black Dahlia,” the only reason she sees her as young Moira is because she is doing one of her seductive dances to Ben. That’s the main reason I don’t like Moira: she keeps trying to take Hayden’s man.
One of the things you discover about Hayden in “Rubber Man” is that she really understands the house and what kind of powers the ghosts have there as well as the setbacks: You can show yourself to people and sometimes no matter how hard you try you’re completely helpless and you can’t do a thing. Moira changing her form makes total sense to Hayden because she knows how much power this house can give you if you want it and know how to use it. That’s what she’s trying to teach Nora in “Rubber Man.”
THR: How will Hayden use Nora for her benefit?
Mara: Hayden’s gone to the dark side and Nora really does miss her baby. Hayden knows if she can keep Nora focused and not on her loss but instead focus her energy on getting a new baby to make Nora happy again. Nora isn’t out to get everybody, while Hayden will do what ever it takes. Not all the ghosts will do that. Hayden has enlisted all of the ghosts equally.
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
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Robert De Niro