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Why is Tate the Rubber Man?

Tate Langdon, one of the main characters in American Horror Story: Murder House, is revealed to be the mysterious Rubber Man who fathers Vivien’s demon twin boys. This shocking twist leads viewers to ask: Why is Tate the Rubber Man? There are a few key reasons:

Tate’s Dark Past

As we learn over the course of the season, Tate has a very disturbing history. Prior to the events of Murder House, Tate went on a school shooting rampage, killing 15 students. This establishes that Tate is capable of truly evil acts. The Rubber Man costume allows Tate to hide his identity and gives him an outlet for his violent and sexual urges.

Tate’s Obsession with Violence

Even before the shooting, Tate had morbid hobbies like building pipe bombs and reading about serial killers. He was fascinated by darkness and violence from a young age. Wearing the fetishistic Rubber Man suit allows Tate to safely explore these dangerous interests. The anonymous rubber costume liberates his dark side.

Tate’s Unrequited Love for Violet

Tate quickly becomes infatuated with Violet Harmon when the Harmons move into the Murder House. However, Violet rejects Tate after learning about his past crimes. The Rubber Man costume lets Tate channel his sexual frustration over unrequited love into violent outlets. He can take what he wants without consequences.

Tate’s Demonic Side

As a ghost trapped in the Murder House, Tate is not fully human. He represents the evil that becomes trapped within the house and cannot escape. The demonic forces in the house likely influenced Tate and used him as their agent to rape Vivien while in disguise. The house demonically corrupted Tate and the Rubber Man costume.

When Was Tate First Introduced as Rubber Man?

Tate Langdon is first introduced to viewers as a seemingly normal teenage boy who becomes infatuated with Violet Harmon. In the pilot episode, he is shown cutting his wrists and wearing latex gloves, hinting at his dark side. But it is not until Episode 6 that we see Tate wearing the full Rubber Man suit.

In a flashback, Tate dons the fetish suit and enters the nursery where Vivien is sleeping. Viewers realize he is the Rubber Man who raped Vivien and fathered one of her twin boys. Tate’s activities as Rubber Man are kept mysterious until halfway through the season when his true identity is finally revealed.

Clues that Tate was Rubber Man

Observant viewers could have spotted some subtle clues that Tate was secretly the Rubber Man:

Tate’s Disappearing Act

Whenever the Rubber Man appeared, Tate was nowhere to be found. His convenient absences lined up with the monster’s appearances.

Tate’s Knowledge of the Costume

Tate seemed to know exactly where the Rubber Man suit was hidden in the attic and was very familiar with wearing it.

Tate’s “Sleepwalking”

Tate claimed he was sleepwalking and had zero memory of the nights when he dawned the fetish gear and raped Vivien. But could this have been an intentional coverup for his blackouts as Rubber Man?

Tate’s Motives

As an obsessed, spurned lover, Tate had motives to want to impregnate Violet with his own evil child or gain twisted revenge after her rejection. His passions aligned with the Rubber Man’s violations.

The Full Reveal

After the initial hint in Episode 6, the show waited until Episode 12 to fully confirm that Tate is Rubber Man. In this episode, Tate finally confesses to Dr. Harmon that he did indeed rape Vivien while wearing the rubber suit. He reveals he wanted to give Vivien an innocent child to replace the one she lost.

Tate expresses remorse and claims he did not commit the act out of malice. However, his good intentions do not justify the heinous rape. This revelation cements Tate as a complex and disturbed character hiding his monstrosity behind a mask of innocence.

Tate’s Other Crimes as Rubber Man

Once Tate was confirmed as Rubber Man, it became clear he committed other deviant acts while clad in fetish latex:

Murdering the Home Invaders

In Episode 2, Rubber Man brutally murders the home invaders, Fiona and Dallas, who break into the house and threaten Vivien. We later learn Tate committed these killings to “protect” the Harmons.

Conceiving Michael Langdon

Not only does Tate father one of Vivien’s sons, Michael Langdon, while disguised as Rubber Man, but Michael grows up to be the Antichrist who brings the apocalypse in a later season.

Killing Chad and Patrick

Tate murders his friend’s previous housemates, gay couple Chad and Patrick, while wearing his Rubber Man suit. He is also responsible for staging their apparent murder-suicide.

Appearing to Violet

Tate, as Rubber Man, haunts and frightens Violet on several occasions, popping up at the foot of her bed while she sleeps to torment her.

Why Was the Rubber Suit in the Murder House?

An important question surrounding the Rubber Man mystery is: Why was the S&M suit in the Murder House to begin with? The show eventually reveals that the suit belonged to Chad Warwick, who lived in the house with his boyfriend Patrick.

Chad purchased the suit to spice up their sex life. Tate discovered the suit among their belongings in the attic and became obsessed with wearing it himself. So the fetish gear was already present, allowing Tate easy access to use it for his crimes once the Warwicks were out of the picture and he could take ownership.

The Symbolic Meaning of Rubber Man

Beyond the sensationalist aspects of Tate’s Rubber Man persona, it carries some deeper symbolic meaning:

Suppressed Identity

The anonymous, identity-cloaking suit represents how Tate hides his true disturbed nature underneath a facade of normality, much like the Murder House hides evil underneath a pleasant exterior.

Sexual Deviancy

The BDSM rubber gear links to the theme of secret, deviant sexuality being repressed under society’s surface. Tate can only express his taboo desires while anonymously costumed.

Loss of Humanity

While wearing the inhuman outfit, Tate loses his humanity and becomes a vessel for evil impulses from the house. The costume allows him to escape morals and inhibitions.

Demon Possession

Some viewers interpret Rubber Man as a demonic entity who takes possession of Tate, rather than Tate choosing the evil acts himself. In this view, the suit transforms Tate into an avatar for dark forces.

Trapped Soul

Tate is literally trapped as a ghost in the Murder House, forced to continually reenact his crimes. The Rubber Man costume could symbolize how he is an imprisoned, tormented soul unable to escape his past.


Tate Langdon taking on the perverse alter ego of Rubber Man is one of American Horror Story’s most disturbing plot twists. Upon closer examination, this revelation completes Tate’s characterization as a complex, damaged figure hiding monstrous tendencies behind a harmless exterior.

The show also utilizes the fetish suit to explore many rich themes about identity, sexuality, human nature, and demonic influence. Rubber Man may initially seem like exploitative shock value, but ends up being vitally important to understanding Tate as a character and the dark mysteries of Murder House as a setting. The answer to why Tate becomes Rubber Man is key to unlocking the season’s deeper meaning.