Not Everything Tate Langdon Did Was His Fault, But He’s Not Blameless in ‘American Horror Story’

If you are even the least bit aware of current television, odds are you’ve heard of American Horror Story. Being that it’s an anthology series, the horror show switches up characters and plots each season, sometimes going to a period in the past and even checking in on the future. All seasons are connected within the same universe and included themes of aliens, ghosts (of course), vampires, witches, and serial killers (often)

While everyone has their favorite season, there is nothing like the first. Murder House centered on the Harmon family. They have their hidden skeletons, but are corrupted even further by the evil that dwells within the house. One of those ghostly entities is Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), the 17-year-old ghost of a ‘90s killer, who falls in love with their daughter, Violet. Season 8 revisited the Harmons and the house and gave Tate a redemption arc of sorts. But is he blameless in his crimes?

Taissa Farmiga (Violet), creator Ryan Murphy, and Evan Peters (Tate) pose at the after-party for FX's "American Horror Story: Murder House' premiere.
Taissa Farmiga, creator Ryan Murphy, and Evan Peters pose at the after-party for FX’s “American Horror Story” Season 1 premiere, 2011 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tate committed horrible crimes before and after his death

Before he died, Tate killed several students at his high school during a school shooting in the ‘90s. He lived in the Murder House since he was a child, befriending ghosts like Nora Montgomery. Because he shot up the school, the SWAT team came to his house and killed him on his bed. 

Flashforward to 2011 and Tate sexually assaulted Vivien in a black latex suit, posing as her husband, Ben. He also killed the gay couple who lived there before the Harmons and terrorized one of Violet’s bullies. 

Tate always drew fans in, mostly for Evan Peters, but also Tate’s tortured soul aspect he brings to the character. But as Taissa Farmiga (Violet) pointed out in an interview with Decider on Oct. 18, 2018, Violet and Tate are difficult to root for. “It’s [sic] 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. 

‘Apocalypse’ confirmed that the Murder House made him do those horrible things

It seems like nothing he did is forgivable, but when it comes to the circumstances surrounding Tate, things are a little more grey. Farmiga touched on this with Decider too. “Their love has been tainted by the darkness in the house and the evil that surrounds the house, the evil that overcomes Tate and encouraged him and persuaded him to do these horrid acts,” Farmiga told Decider. “I feel like forgiveness is the only thing you can really fall back on in the end.”

American Horror Story: Apocalypse confirmed that Tate was under the immense influence of the house. Murder House showed how men were negatively affected by the dark forces in the house, and Madison Montgomery shed light that Satan specifically paired Tate and Vivien up so they could create the Anti-Christ: Michael Langdon. This truth essentially repaired Violet and Tate’s relationship, post-Murder House

But does that absolve Tate from his actions?

However, does the evil in the house redeem Tate and what he’s done? Farmiga told TV Guide her take. “I try to see the good in people. But just because someone is in a circumstance that is influenced by outside evil or outside darkness and they’re led to do these actions, I don’t think you can completely wipe the slate clean and fully take away the responsibility from that person,” she said. 

She goes on to say that Tate was “ruined by the house,” but he was still the person who hurt and killed others. She says that for Violet’s sanity, the fact that the two of them are stuck in a house together for the rest of eternity makes their circumstance a bit difference. Even though Mallory undid their reunion when she reset the past, Farmiga thinks that forgiveness is necessary for them. But when it comes to totally absolving Tate of his transgressions, that’s not possible. 

So, was Tate Langdon really evil? No. However, he was a troubled kid with a selfish mom and a dependency issue. The house might have fueled his hate-filled actions, but Tate was ultimately the person to carry out those evil deeds.