'American Horror Story': Woah, babies
New life abounds and Bloody Face meets his maker in unsettling 'Spilt Milk'
By Kenny Herzog Jan 9, 2013 10:04PM
Last week, there was hell to pay for a couple of Briarcliff's biggest sinners. Both Sister Mary Eunice aka Beelzebub and Dr. Arden aka Nazi Nutcase Hans Gruper met their demise (the latter in rather melodramatically, if poetically justified, fashion). The institution's big guns and crazy nuns were being picked off one by one, while a smattering of the innocents—Lana and Kit in particular—appeared headed toward some kind of vindication.
Sadly, as tonight's "Asylum" episode illustrates bittersweetly, no one who's come and gone through Briarcliff has fully retained whatever purity they may have possessed. As the title suggests, there's an abundance of "Spilt Milk" to either cry over or reconcile, whether it's Monsignor Timothy's loss of "virtue," Jude's transgressions toward her former charges, Lana's ill-fated decision to investigate the facility or Dr. Thredson's underestimation of Lana's grit.
So without further, "Well, that was a largely queasy but sporadically thrilling 44 minutes of entertainment," here are the five invaluable insights we extracted while getting our fill of "Spilt Milk."
THEY SURE KNOW HOW TO DODGE A NIPPLE
There hasn't been this much bare flesh on basic cable since Andrew Zimmern started chowing down on feral-animal hide. We've already analyzed the show's tush fetish, but after "Spilt Milk," the real question is how they avoid flashing more intimate anatomical passages. The answer, apparently, is two-fold: utilizing tricky camera-panning and cutaway shots while Dylan McDermott suckles an escort's breast, in addition to suggesting that, in space, naked women resemble float around resembling Marilyn Manson in his transgender phase after being inseminated by aliens. Maybe it's just us, but the sight of a drooling, freshly breast-fed McDermott is far more provocative than the odd areola. Alas, network censors are a particular lot, and ya gotta give "AHS" creatives their due for pushing up (pun intended) against boob-tube (yep, again) boundaries.
NO DEVIL'S GONNA HOLD MONSIGNOR DOWN
Nor any journalist for that matter. Timothy's been an obvious coward throughout this season, and that lack of conviction has been—in his mind—a necessary evil if it meant the fast track to Rome and Papal glory. By the conclusion of "Spilt Milk," Monsignor Timmy had cruelly banished Jude to a sub-human solitary chute and forged her death certificate, manipulated Lana into believing Jude had committed suicide (thus thwarting a police investigation into Briarcliff) and wheeled and bartered with Kit over his and Grace's freedom, as monstrous shadows cast a sinister darkness on them both (sorry Kit, you just dealt with the devil's usurper). Chances are, Timothy harbors slim regrets over his unholy tryst with Satan and tossed Mary Eunice over that balcony with no shortage of lust. And whether he's now been actually possessed or simply sees a clear path to power, Monsignor's making his move, even if it requires further corrupting of an already perverted soul.
SPACESHIPS ARE JUST FLEDGLING FERTILITY CLINICS
Well, Kit, here's the good news, according to the gospel of conspicuously reincarnated Grace: The little green men are "not like us, they're not cruel." Then there's the bummer of Alma dying in the midst of her E.T. impregnation because, "They're not perfect, they make mistakes." The recurring theme of women's fight for control over their bodies played itself out again in "Spilt Milk." Aside from Kit the Kit-Grace-Alma saga as "Rosemary's Baby"-esque allegory—told from a uniquely paternal perspective—Lana seesawed between regaining control of her womanhood ("no more death," she determined while on the abortionist's table) and succumbing to maternal instincts in the delivery room. As we discover, Alama is apparently alive, well and with child, and it appears as if Kit is Adam in these aliens' Garden of Eden on Earth. He, Grace and Alama are all just vessels, part of something bigger, and it's something they either have to accept and embrace or let shatter them like the "shards of glass" Grace describes. Either that, or Kit is not progeny but proxy, and the whole story is a feminist upending of every "Demon Seed"/"Alien" uterine nightmare. Heavy.
IF IT'S NOT ONE THING, IT'S YOUR MOTHER
It's no revelation that McDermott's present-day Bloody Face has some unresolved angst over his relationship with Mama Lana and her role in papa Oliver's demise. And it was real sweet and all of Mother Superior Claudia (Barbara Tarbuck) to bust Lana out of the nuthouse, thus jeopardizing her own status in the church. But much like Jude, her rescue efforts were a wee bit scant an effort and a smidge too tardy. So much damage had already been done, and right under Claudia's nose. Where was she to look over and protect her Sisters as Briarcliff lapsed into dictatorial chaos under the nakedly ambitious Timothy? And something tells us Dr. Arden wasn't raised by a saint. No wonder it's up to traumatized Lana and Grace to try and set a better example despite the horrors that preceded parenthood.
MAN, IT FELT GOOD TO SEE THREDSON DROP
The issue of violence in television, and in particular casual gun use, has deservedly come under renewed scrutiny of late. But Dr. Thredson was a bad, bad man, and a lot of really terrible things happened to Lana and his myriad victims. It's hard to even say if he's more fortunate for having survived (although she does choose life on more than one occasion in "Spilt Milk," itself an interesting point of view dangled for audiences to mull), but no one who's been watching "Asylum" would argue that Oliver needed to breathe a moment longer than he did. Especially once he pulled the old, "Let me tell you how cushy my remaining days will be in a psych ward while you wrestle with the fact that you couldn't truly kill or contain me" spiel. It's been a bleak 11 episodes thus far with very few untainted rewards, but watching Bloody Face at last get put down for good offered one hell of a well-earned euphoric sigh. That is, until the incredibly depressing last few minutes. Again, small victories.
"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX. And don't forget to check back here every Wednesday after each episode for the five things we learned that week (two episodes left!), and feel free to share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below.