Going From Violet Harmon to Zoe Benson Was The Best Progression For Taissa Farmiga on ‘American Horror Story’

American Horror Story is built around its unique anthology structure. While it’s been done before, AHS is one of the most high-profile anthologies in a while. Horror usually doesn’t get the accolades it might deserve sometimes, but Ryan Murphy’s show is different, winning Emmys and Golden Globes alike. And Taissa Farmiga’s characters are some of the most liked and well-remembered. While they’re very different from each other, they also are perfect for Farmiga and American Horror Story as a whole. 

Violet Harmon talking to Madison Montgomery in 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse.'
Violet Harmon talking to Madison Montgomery in ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ | FX

Fan-favorite Taissa Farmiga had two big roles on ‘American Horror Story’

Farmiga was in the very first season of American Horror Story when she was roughly 17. Violet Harmon, her character, is the semi-rebellious, kind-of-emo daughter that moves into the Murder House with the rest of her family. They’re all falling apart, and the house picks on each of them. She falls in love with Tate Langdon, and she has a pretty heartbreaking end, which is typical for American Horror Story

In Season 3, Farmiga came back as Zoe Benson. Zoe comes from a family of witches, however, no one told her that until she killed her boyfriend. Zoe is pretty passive at first and hasn’t really come into her own yet. But by the end of the season, she’s confident and not afraid to hex anyone. 

Zoe is, of course, much more mature than Violet because Farmiga was also older. And it worked in Farmiga’s favor as well, as these are two of fans’ favorite characters in the series. 

Playing Violet again was nervewracking for Farmiga, as it was one of her first big roles

But, fast-forward to 2018, and Season 8’s American Horror Story: Apocalypse brought those two characters together. And that progression from Violet to Zoe was put on full display as Farmiga had to go to two different parts in her career and development to access them. 

She told TV Guide in 2018 that she was nervous to play Violet again after seven years away. “It was kind of frightening going back having to play someone who’s stuck in that time,” she said. “And then we filmed it and all of the sudden it was like, ‘Oh, right. I know Violet. She never left me.’”

She said that, despite Zoe being the more confident one, it “doesn’t even compare” what it felt like going back to play Violet. “Violet is just so special, just in the way that she was me before I figured out who I was in my real human life,” Farmiga said. “I got to play Violet and understand her before I understood who I was as a person.”

The two characters’ love lives are also completely different

Going forward, if Farmiga were to take on another leading role in the series, it’d be cool to see her in something vastly different. But even so, Violet and Zoe are worlds apart, maturity-wise, and relationship-wise. 

Zoe, of course, can’t really have much of a love life because she can’t get physical with anyone without killing them. And then when Franken-Kyle comes into the picture, it’s an uphill battle since he has to relearn to talk and move. They do, still, find love with each other, but have to deal with Madison’s spot within their relationship. 

With Violet, it’s very straightforward. She fell for Tate, however, Tate was a rapist and murderer who was controlled by the evil of the house. When she found out he fathered a child with her mother, Violet vowed to never forgive him (as one should). However, Madison helps Violet see that all the evil in him left when Michael, the Antichrist, was born. 

When talking to Decider in 2018, Farmiga said it was a tough spot to be in, if you were a fan of their romance, because there are a lot of morality issues. You could say, “Tate is fine because he wasn’t in his right headspace when he committed those crimes.” Or you could be on the side of, “No, Tate isn’t fine because he still committed those crimes.”

“It’s hard because when you see two people who are so connected and so in love you wanna root for the positive, you wanna root for love,” she said. But in the end, for Farmiga, “forgiveness is the only thing you can really fall back on.”