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Why Tate's Rubber Suit In American Horror Story Makes No Sense

There are a great many images that immediately conjure recognition in fans of "American Horror Story." Dr. Arden's raspers. Lady Gaga as the Countess. The grubby, maniacal visage of Twisty the Clown. But no image seems to be more synonymous with "AHS" than that of the famed "Rubber Man." That is, of course, the image of Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) wearing the rubber bondage suit while he (or his ghost, more precisely) commits so many heinous acts. Several of these acts he commits before we even know that it's Tate wearing it, let alone know of the suit's complete origins. The Harmon family simply discovers the suit in the attic in the first episode, after which Ben (Dylan McDermott) takes it to the curb and chucks it.

We later learn in a flashback that the original suit was purchased by Patrick (Teddy Sears) in an attempt to keep Chad (Zachary Quinto) around when they owned the house some years earlier. It's the first time Tate dons the suit, after which he drowns Chad in an apple-bobbing tub. And though Tate is not the only character in "American Horror Story" canon to wear the suit, he is probably most closely identified with it. Throughout the series, Tate attacks and kills people and does so much else while wearing it. But plot-wise, this presents a problem.

Tate shouldn't be able to walk to the curb to get the rubber suit

One of the rules of "Murder House" is that if you've died there, you cannot leave the house. The problem this presents is that if Tate can't leave, how does he manage to get to the curb to fish the rubber suit out of the trash? The one exception to this "Murder House" rule comes on Halloween night, when Tate, Chad, Patrick, and all the other tortured spirits are able to venture out and be among the living for a single night. This might provide an explanation. Perhaps Tate grabbed the suit on Halloween. But while Ben and Vivien (Connie Britton) are at the hospital on Halloween night, they tell the doctor that Vivien is eight weeks along in her pregnancy. Vivien discovers she is pregnant in the first episode, meaning eight weeks have passed between Episodes 1 and 4, by which time the rubber suit would have surely been buried in a landfill somewhere.

And yet, scratching a bit further underneath the surface, we find that maybe the house's powers extend as far as the curb. In an interview conducted with Entertainment Weekly not long after the airing of Episode 4, creator and co-producer Ryan Murphy implied as much. During the episode, after Addie (Jamie Brewer) is hit by a car, she is dragged by her panicking and desperate mother Constance (Jessica Lange) onto the curb of the Harmon property. Addie, however, does not make it. When asked during the interview if we will see her ghost, Murphy replied "No, I think she was dead before she got to the spot," suggesting that the curb was close enough. Murphy reestablished this four years later in another EW interview for "Hotel." 

Murder House is pretty inconsistent with its rules

Maybe, then, Tate was in fact able to grab the suit out of the trash can the very same night Ben chucked it. But if there is confusion, then maybe it's because "Murder House" often gets sloppy with its rules. For example, when we first meet Moira (Frances Conroy) in Episode 1, she is approaching Vivien outside in the yard as Vivien hangs laundry. Moira is dead, having been murdered by Constance inside the house. This supports the idea that the house's powers extend across the property. Spirits can dwell on the porch, the driveway, the curb, and so on. And yet, when Violet (Taissa Farmiga) discovers that she is dead (and indeed has been for a few episodes now) she runs out of one of the house's doors only to find herself directly delivered into another one. This would mean that ghosts cannot exit the house, even onto the surrounding property. "Murder House" is also not the only season of "American Horror Story" to break with the rules established in the anthology series' lore, much to the frustration of fans.

As for the rubber suit, it will no doubt remain a symbol of "American Horror Story." Not only did it find its way into Season 8 (via The Hollywood Reporter), it was also adopted by Scarlett (Sierra McCormick) in the spin-off "American Horror Stories," meaning that future "AHS" alums may very well have the opportunity to wiggle themselves into the suit. "It's very unique, there's nothing else like it," McCormick told E! News. "It is essentially, like, putting a giant condom on your body that's fit to your exact body. It's very strange."