Recently, on the “AHS” subreddit, user Strange-Slice2581 asked fans a question many have been asking themselves since Season 1: “Was Tate bad to begin with or did the house change him?”
Nearly 60% of the 461 voters felt Peters’ character was simply “born bad,” but a formidable 185 voters felt the house itself was to blame for his turn to the dark side. The latter faction can presumably be chalked-up to a scene in “Apocalypse,” wherein — upon returning to The Murder House to gather information on Michael Langdon’s upbringing — Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) explains to a still forlorn Violet that Tate “wasn’t the real evil” in the home, and that “the house used him as a vessel to create something way, way worse.” Montgomery suggests that “any evil inside Tate left with Michael.” For those fans who didn’t see Season 8, but are still willing to give the rapist and murderer the benefit of the doubt, there’s also the fact that in Season 1 alone, the house appears to cast a trance over both Ben (Dylan McDermott) and the father of new family who moves in at the end. Finally, there’s the fact that it’s sometimes just extremely hard for people to let go of their love for a favorite character.
Madison’s seemingly credible theory notwithstanding, as user BrianTheReckless pointed out, “(Tate) definitely had the capacity for murder already. After all there were several others who lived in the house and never did anything to hurt anyone.” It’s a valid point, and one echoed by other fans in the thread. “He was bad already,” one user writes, “but the house amplified it.”
Others believe there’s one more mitigating factor in Tate’s narrative — his mother, Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange).