American Horror Story Recap: Bad Santa


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American Horror Story
Episode Title
Unholy Night
Editor’s Rating

Merry early Christmas, you godless pinheads. After last week's relatively tame episode, we're back to the kind of snappy, rapey dialogue that makes me simultaneously want to giggle and cry. You know, like when you hear someone has died and you start laughing uncontrollably. That's me, every time somebody on this show says something about breast milk, Auschwitz, or crucifix rape.

When we begin it's 1962, and a sixties Santa is promising a sixties child a sixties coonskin cap. Remember how simple childhood used to be? I don't, I'm young, and I very logically like expensive things that beep instead of wearing dead things on my head. But then, an indignant Ian McShane shows up. He thinks Santa is a cruel deception. In fact, he's so adamant that children be dealt with honestly that he caps Santa in the head! Man, these Brooklyn parents. (Before we move on, and we will, I promise, is there anything scarier than those Salvation Army Santas? I went to my Key Food recently and instead of a bell, the guy had a clarinet. I know! Jazz.)

Santa Swearengen breaks into a house wearing the bloodied suit, because of course. A little girl wakes up, noticing that he has no beard and that it's not even Christmas, and starts asking him questions in an eggnog-thick Boston accent. Apparently he hates precocious children, because he ties up her parents. Cue obligatory creepily juxtaposed carols in the background while he threatens to rape the father with what I'm pretty sure was one of James Bond's lines about how the other Santa "only comes once a year." No worries though! He kills them both, and that's our cold open.

But, rejoice! It's also Christmas in Briarcliff. Which means Sister Mary Eunice is trimming the tree with inmate dentures and human hair. Just like that John Travolta–Olivia Newton John video. Even James Cromwell is like, "Weird." Frank, meanwhile, is full of the spirit of the season (guilt! Ha ha, little Catholic joke for you). He's feeling bad about shooting Grace and tells Arden that he wants to get the police involved in Briarcliff's shenanigans at long last.

Sister Jude has come back to slay the devil in Miss Mary Eunice, who immediately starts telekinetically flinging around her LPs with no regard for their eventual collector's value. They're interrupted by Arden, who has Jude removed. In flashback, we see that Jude was not as kind to Lee (that's Old Saint Cocksucker), and kept him in leg irons one holiday, which compelled him to eat an orderly's face. I've been to that office Christmas party.

So naturally, Sister Mary Eunice visits him with a new Santa suit in hand, and says that he only ended up murdering eighteen people because before his rampage, he was wrongly imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. Remember the part in Les Miserables when Jean Valjean rapes and eats the face of a Bostonian father? 2460-whaaaaaaaaaaat?

And because work gift exchanges are always orchestrated by SS-types and the possessed, Arden gives Sister Eunice a little present. And yep! You guessed it: It's Nazi gold. He gave them to her hoping that she'd reject them and show a glimmer of her old spiritual purity. Also, he stole them from the intestines of a Jewish woman in a concentration camp. He went to Jared, ladies!

In the infirmary, Lana is still barfing. Maybe Briarcliff's chef forgot the nutmeg. But, unshackled at last, she pops out of bed. 

Arden goes to visit Sister Jude, where she's railing against claymation. I know, that dentist elf is creepy. Anyhow, he admits that Sister Mary Eunice is probably possessed. "I don't believe in God, but I do believe in evil," he says. "I've seen it. Up close and personal." Or, really, any movie with a Celine Dion theme song, I guess. They head back to the asylum, the Monsignor is comparing Sister Mary Gaga's syringe-and-teeth tannenbaum to Marcel Duchamp. I can't tell if he's humoring her, but either way, he has a bright future teaching at Oberlin.

Santa Swearengen attacks Frank, who whups his ass and hauls him off to solitary, where Mary Eunice slits poor Frank's throat. Here, Ian McShane gives us the most amazing, GIF-ready "Whoa, bitch is crazy!" face I have ever seen. Mary Eunice and Arden lock poor Sister Jude in a room with Deadwood Krampus.

Kit After Dentist is drugged up in the infirmary, hallucinating a more pleasant Christmas, when Lana sneaks in to tell him that Thredson is the real killer. She's just about to call for help when the man himself shows up. He scrubbed his house of all his old Bloodyface paraphernalia and plans to revamp Bloodyface in the new year with a new suit made of lesbian journalist skin. Most of us just join a gym, but whatever works for you, I guess.

"There is no god, but there is a Santa Claus," he says, which was the wrong thing to say to one of those Christ-back-in-Christmas types. She promptly stabs him in the neck, which is a bummer, because I was kind of hoping for a multi-episode arc. There were at least one or two characters he didn't threaten to rape. When we leave them, Lana and Kit are building a blanket fort to house Thredson, who is the only one who can prove they're both innocent/not crazy.

Ha ha, this whole SHOW is nazi gold, am I right? Happy holidays, and see you guys next week for part two.

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