American Horror Story Recap: When I Think About Jews, I Touch Myself


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American Horror Story
Episode Title
I Am Anne Frank, Part 1
Editor’s Rating

Howdy, mutants! Welcome back. You'll excuse me if I have some trouble looking you in the eye after what we went through this week.

This is the first cold open of the season that doesn't involve Adam Levine being stabbed, which is a little sad, but I guess we'll all get over it. Especially since Franka Potente has joined us, because this season's cast was plucked directly from the "employee picks" shelf of a video store circa 1998. She's the asylum's newest inmate, brought in after attacking some businessmen in a bar for casually using Jew as a verb. Poor Roger Sterling, right? Just a little period drama crossover humor for you, there.

In Briarcliff, Grace, Lana, Shelly, and Kit are back, having successfully escaped the mutants but not the asylum. We get a little backstory from Grace, who tells Kit that she's a horse-loving sexually abused French ax murderess. This is apparently appealing to him because they have have flour-y sex in the bakery. Two inmates having sex while making bread: finally, the right words to describe the smell of a Subway sandwich shop.

"Are you purposely trying to make a murder baby?" is something Sister Jude says, and that I did not make up. There's your new tagline, eHarmony. I'd like to point out that Evan Peters is really leaning into his Cinematic Boston Accent this week. It's like Mark Wahlberg with a touch of Analyze This–era De Niro and I'm fine with it.

Elsewhere, Dr. Thredson is trying to help Lana lick her lesbianism by making her throw up while she looks at slides of pinup girls. She's actually been starting to go a little bonkers, reciting Frost and imagining herself making awards speeches, because let us not forget, Briarcliff is essentially Sarah Lawrence.

The meta thing about the "aversion" scenes that follow are that none of us will ever enjoy sex again after watching them. Oh, boy. I don't know a whole lot about behavioral therapy, but I guess it involves giving the oldest brother in Hanson a handy next to a bucket of your own sick. ("If I had a nickel!"—Natasha Lyonne.)

Okay, about our newest inmate. Remember the title of this episode? Not a tasteful metaphor, apparently! Today we pole-vault over the boundaries of good taste: Franka Potente is apparently Anne Frank and accuses Dr. Arden of being present at Auschwitz.

Two detectives on the Bloody Face case come by to talk to him and Sister Jude about that mossy bank hooker he knocked around. She told them she saw some of his SS flair when she was rifling through his murder pictures. Sister Jude is beginning to think this Anne Frank stuff might hold water and runs to tell the monsignor, who apparently knew about this all along and advises him to cover his tracks a little better.

He tries to mess up Franka, but she gets the drop on him, having stolen a gun from the detectives earlier. When we leave them, she's wounded him and stumbled on Chloë Sevigny in a closet, who is covered in blisters begging to be mercy-killed. Pretty standard stuff for anybody who's touched Vincent Gallo's penis.

It was looking for a little while like Zachary Quinto was going to bear the heavy burden of being the Sane Character this season. This, as we all know, is a job best left to Connie Britton. (I miss her a lot.) On the one hand, I could really use a Viv or a Violet to emotionally anchor me here, but on the other, this season is definitely about being completely off the reservation without so much as a flirtatious wink to plausibility.

So, as reasonable as Dr. Thredson briefly seemed, his brand of wank-and-puke therapy is starting to make me think he's just as kooky as the rest of the cast. (He's also doing some intense eye stuff behind those Apollo 13 glasses, which are working for him hard, by the by.) He's nice enough though, promising to break Lana out when he leaves and trying to help Michael Shannon Junior work through the fact that he maybe killed his wife. Helping lesbians masturbate and skirting the death penalty? This is exactly the kind of stuff Ted Nugent is trying to warn us about.

James Cromwell once again gets the choicest lines of the episode ("Through which orifice?" "I was never in Auschwitz. I'M FROM SCOTTSDALE!"), but I'm going to give the MVP award to the young actor who played him in Franka Potente's flashbacks. I imagine this guy's life went a little something like this: "Every day someone tells me I look exactly like a young James Cromwell. But to what end?" Well, congratulations, That Guy, hope you were well-compensated for your time as a vaguely remembered death camp torturer.

Okay! See you next week, chronic masturbators.  

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