'American Horror Story': Killing them awfully
A major revelation and staggering falls from grace round out "I Am Anne Frank, Part 2"
By Kenny Herzog Nov 14, 2012 10:00PM
Last week on cable's most unsettling and unpredictable hour of television, aka "American Horror Story: Asylum," an inmate alleging to be Anne Frank dropped in, accusing Dr. Arden of a war-criminal past and shaking Sister Jude's faith to the core. Or in other words, just another day at Briarcliff, home for deranged and possessed miscreants—not to mention morally ambiguous disciplinarians—of all stripes.
This week, a number of character's motives and fates came intro gruesome focus, while others' destinies were tossed into further uncertainty. "Asylum" continues to assert itself as a bleaker and more weighty affair than its "AHS" predecessor, so without any additional delay, here are the five indispensable lessons we learned while cowering under our fleece throw blankets and watching "I Am Anne Frank, Part 2":
YOU'VE GOT TO HANS IT TO DR. ARDEN
The wily bastard managed to keep his secret identity as a sadistic Nazi torturer under wraps. For now. Early on, Sister Jude thinks she's got Dr. Arden's number, even hiring the services of a Holocaust survivor (hello, Tio!) to verify his past as Hans Gruper. But it all falls apart when the Anne Frank's husband arrives to out her as Kassie, a housewife and mother who's come apart at the seams and developed a morbid obsession with the famous diarist. He even permits Dr. Arden to lobotomize her, thinking him merciful for demurring charges after Kassie shot him in the leg. But thanks to a "Shining"-esque closeup of an SS stock photo on Kassie's wall, we discover that she may have found the bogeyman after all, even if her own sense of identity had been obscured.
ALMA'S SORT-OF, MAYBE ALIVE, POSSIBLY AN ALIEN
There's a chorus of growing impatience rising around the science-fiction fringes of "Asylum." "Anne Frank, Part 2" may assuage the skeptics, or it could merely compound their doubts about whether all this alien business is headed anywhere meaningful. But hey, who doesn't like watching people covered in alien goo get sliced and prodded under stinging fluorescent lights, are we right? This time, Grace got beamed up to Air Force WTF, where Kit's supposedly slain wife, Alama, was there to greet her. And wait, was Alma pregnant? And was Grace just having an empathetic fever dream as a means of feeling connected to Kit and restoring his trust? And haven't we learned that she's capable of psychotic breaks and manipulative survival tactics? Is this all just the work of wily Satan? Do we even care? Feel free to answer these slightly rhetorical questions at your leisure.
DR. THREDSON NEVER WORKED THERE
However, he has busied himself setting up a workshop at home where he turns the skinned and mutilated bodies of kidnapped women into lampshades, candy bowls and other such modern decor. Most of us felt increasingly suspicious of the kindly head-shrinker's intentions after that kinky aversion/conversion nonsense, and the majority of his insights sounded like grad-school cliches purred without conviction. But not too many viewers could have guessed that Dr. Thredson was in fact Bloody Face and "rescued" Lana from Briarcliff so he could get her alone, watch her make out with the frozen body of her dead lover and be subjected to ritualized humiliation and presumed assault. Lana may yet escape to tell Bloody Face's tale, as he portends earlier in their climactic scene. In fact, her account may be what inspires a legion of perverse admirers, including the weirdos who killed Adam Levine and his lady some 48 years later. But what about that other Bloody Face who killed those imitators? Copycat, or "Saw"-like disciple scenario? Yet more unanswerable questions to consider.
CHLOE SEVIGNY REALLY GOT THE SHORT END OF THE STICK
Unless spending consecutive episodes as a discarded double amputee who's been surgically and chemically altered to resemble a scorched, disfigured slug is her idea of fun. Which, given her audacious roles over the years, may well be true. This week, Shelley was the recipient of a mixed blessing, thanks to Satan/Sister Mary Eunice (whom we suspect will flash more than a sinister grin in coming episodes), who removed her from the premises before Sister Jude scoured Dr. Arden's lab for evidence of wrongdoing. Only catch is that she left her the bottom of a stairwell outside an elementary school, where a truly unfortunate child, and eventually his teacher and classmates, witnessed her decrepit body lurching toward the light. This could turn out to be Arden's undoing, which was possibly in the devil's plans all along. It's just hard to understand why the embodiment of undiscriminating evil would be doling out comeuppance so judiciously.
SISTER JUDE'S STILL GOT IT
No wonder our conflicted Briarcliff administrator clings so desperately to the cloth and its most severe methods of indoctrination. One night outside the habit and she's already shacking up with some slimy middle-aged businessman after slugging down more booze than she's sniffed in 15 years. Wayward Jude finally recognized that her "goose was cooked" in light of poorly handling the Anne Frank mess and Dr. Arden's potent threats at her tenuous authority. Our guess is that motel fling with Mr. Pudgycheeks was a one-night stand with her past life, as if to somehow erase the time between her drunken hit-and-run and current state of spiritual crisis. (Or, alternatively, to shame herself into acceptance of her past.) Maybe she can even find redemption by helping save Lana. Well, that, and discontinuing her policy of violent degradation to affect more Jesuit behavioral standards. Hey Jude, don't make it bad, put down the whips and sterilization orders and make it better.