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Dylan McDermott Talks American Horror Stories And The Twisted Fate Of Dr. Ben Harmon - Exclusive Interview

If you were left scratching your head following the conclusion of the "American Horror Stories" season finale, you aren't alone. Even "American Horror Stories" actor Dylan McDermott isn't quite sure what to make of it. In the seventh and final episode of the anthology spinoff series, titled "Game Over," the plot once again centers around the infamous Murder House, which we last saw in the two-part premiere episode, "Rubber(wo)Man."

In the opening scene, it's immediately clear that "Game Over" is taking a full-blown meta approach. The story centers around a video game developer named Michelle (Mercedes Mason), who is eager to create the ultimate "American Horror Story" experience. Her harshest critic is her "American Horror Story" enthusiast son, Rory (Nicholas Bechtel), who bashes her game demo due to the nonsensical mashup of characters (such as Twisty the Clown and Bloody Face) who appear in the Murder House setting and timeline. This sets her off to seek out the actual Murder House location to soak up the setting and do some research, but during her stay, her presence is resented by the same supposedly fictional entities who occupy the house in show, including the tortured Dr. Ben Harmon, once again played by McDermott.

As if the fine line between fiction and reality wasn't already blurred enough, the episode pulls the rug from under your feet again in the final scene. Just before the end credits roll, we witness the fiery destruction of the Murder House and the supposed conclusion of Scarlett (Sierra McCormick) and Ruby's (Kaia Gerber) twisted love story. But then, the camera pulls back and reveals that Michelle is just showing Rory the finished version of her "Escape from Murder House" video game — which raises the question: Did anything we just witnessed actually happen in the main "American Horror Story" canon? Or was it all part of the game?

Immediately following the final episode's premiere on Hulu, Looper engaged in an exclusive interview with McDermott, and he (sort of) helped us decipher the episode and its mind-bending ending. He also took the time to reflect back on Murder House as well as some of his other past "American Horror Story" characters such as Johnny Morgan from "Asylum" and Bruce from "1984." And if you're curious as to whether we've seen the last of Ben Harmon, well ... read on.

The ending of Game Over

What was your first reaction when you found out they wanted you to reprise your role as Ben Harmon for the third time? 

Oh, anytime I get to play Ben is always interesting. I mean, it's been 10 years. Can you believe it? When I walked back into that house again, I just couldn't believe that it was a decade. All the memories that just washed over me. And there I was again in the same house as the same character. So that was fun. And to step into Ben's shoes again, he was such a tortured guy, so I really wanted to heighten his torture, his smoking and his drinking, and he's just trying to find some kind of relief at the end of the day because it's always so torturous for him. So it was fun to go back and to revisit him because it's like an old friend.

What was your reaction to this particular episode going meta? I've been reading fan reactions, and many people are still processing the episode. Some are questioning whether or not the events actually happened in the show's canon because a lot of it seemed to be occurring in the "Escape from Murder House" video game. What's your take on it?

Yeah, that's certainly the question. Did the house burn down or did it just burn down in the video game? Does that mean that Ben Harmon is still with us or did he finally get transported to someplace else? So it's an interesting question. I guess it leaves it open really to interpretation. But yeah, I mean I certainly couldn't play him being in a video game. I had to play it real because I was just like, how do you even do that? So it was just a blast to be back and just to go back and have my office and have that one therapy scene with Mercedes, I thought it was really fun and interesting. I was a patient suddenly, so I just think it was just a blast.

The fate of Ben Harmon

You're one of the only season one cast members from "Murder House" to appear in this episode. Were you a little bit bummed that Connie Britton, Evan Peters, or Taissa Farmiga didn't show up? Were you secretly hoping that they would work in a cameo for them somehow?

Oh yeah. I mean, I always want to work with them. They're the best. And so, yeah, of course I wanted them to be on the show with me and be in the house. But it certainly was fun that I was there — but I talked about them in the episode, which was good.

Do you think we've seen the last of Ben Harmon? If we learn the house did indeed burn down and he's gone, did you say goodbye to him in your own way? Or do you think he's still out there somewhere?

It's been 10 years now. So I think something tells me we haven't seen the last of Ben.

Well, anything could happen in this universe. We saw a new condo complex get built over the old murder house site. If that's considered canon and Ryan Murphy cooks up "American Horror Story: Murder Condo" or whatever, would you come back?

If Ryan asks me, I always say yes, doesn't matter what it is. So if it's "American Horror Story: Condo," I'm in.

The ending also hints that some of the spirits moved on, or they're no longer confined to the house. If Ben did gain that freedom and he's out there somewhere, where do you think he would have gone?

He would probably open a small office somewhere, maybe in Brentwood, trying to help or not help people along the way.

This year is the 10-year anniversary of the series. Have you been watching all the seasons, even the ones you don't star in?

I have over time. I haven't watched all of them, certainly, but I do watch what I can because I enjoy seeing all the actors take on new characters and that's always fun for me to see because it's such a great troupe of actors.

American Horror Story: Disco?

Out of all the seasons you didn't star in, is there one you wish you were part of?

Yeah. I always wanted to be part of every season. I just I love the world of "American Horror Story." I mean, it's so twisted and crazy. I was in "American Horror Story: 1984" and played Bruce, who was an insane character. So what I love about it is that you get to really spread your wings and create characters. And it's just so much fun to be that insane.

Speaking of Bruce, I also want to bring up Johnny Morgan from "American Horror Story: Asylum." If they do another season of "American Horror Stories," would you like to explore those other characters again? Maybe they could do a flashback episode with Johnny Morgan or maybe we can see more of Bruce.

Oh, hell yeah. I'd love to see Johnny again. Johnny was, whoa, that was a great character. That was so much fun to play. I really got into him. So yeah, the answer is always yes. Whatever it is in terms of that world — and Ryan knows this about me — I love it. I love playing these people.

This show has explored so many themes and eras. We've seen the '80s, we've seen the future apocalypse, we've explored witch covens, asylums, freak shows. If Ryan picked your brain and asked you, "Hey, what should we do next?" What theme would you like to see "American Horror Story" do next?

I love the '70s, personally. So if there was some kind of theme of the '70s, I think I'd be down for that. Maybe "American Horror Story: Disco."

There are so many mascots in the "American Horror Story" universe. You've come face to face with some of them, such as Bloody Face and Rubber Man. Who do you think is the scariest?

Man, Bloody Face was pretty scary. Rubber Man was cool. I miss getting into that suit. That was pretty cool. But yeah, some crazy characters. Geez, I don't even know who's the craziest. There's so many crazy characters. But Bloody Face was pretty darn scary.

The beach is the perfect eternal afterlife

One of the rules in the "American Horror Story" universe is if you die in Murder House, you're trapped there forever. If you die on the campgrounds in "1984," you're stuck there forever. If you had to pick a place where you'd spend all eternity, where would it be? And I'm not talking about a place in the "AHS" universe, but anywhere you want.

Oh, wow. That's a deep question. Yeah. Where would I be if I was going to be trapped in a space? Well, I love the beach, so I think I'd be on a beach somewhere. Because then I could swim every day and hang out and exercise and eat good food.

That's pretty funny. I asked Matt Bomer the same question and he said the same exact thing. You both said the beach.

No way. [Laughs] Why not? Sounds pretty good.

In Hollywood, you always hear stories about strange occurrences that happened on the sets of so many past horror movies, especially ones that deal with haunted houses and the supernatural. A good example would be the "Poltergeist" curse. Did anything weird or strange ever happen on set while you were working on any of the seasons of "American Horror Story"?

Boy, it feels like every day something would happen on the set, because we're dealing with such a dark subject most of the time. So it always felt like I was at least aware of what you're stirring up, if you will. And so I was just always sensitive to anything that was going on. But certainly, I think when Violet was already dead and all the flies. They had a fly wrangler who would come in and they were trained flies. I don't even know how you could train a fly. But the flies were just all over the set. And to me that was the most deeply disturbing of all my time — these flies and the fact that she was already dead.

Laughing up a storm with Connie Britton

What's your favorite or funniest "American Horror Story" on-set blooper memory? Even though the show is so dark, there must be some fun that occurs on set. Are there any lighthearted moments that you can share with us?

Certainly, Connie [Britton] and I would just laugh the whole time. We just laughed. I mean, we just thought the whole thing was just so funny. So I miss that. I miss Connie and I miss being on set with her and laughing.

There have been so many talented actors involved in all 10 seasons of the show, including this new "American Horror Stories" spinoff. If you did come back for another full season, is there an actor you didn't get much time with that you'd love to work with more?

Oh God, so many. I mean certainly Kathy Bates, obviously Sarah [Paulson], Jessica [Lange] again. I mean, it's like every single actress on the show is phenomenal. Angela Bassett. There's just one after another, I think they're all so talented.

"American Horror Stories" is streaming exclusively on Hulu.