American Horror Story
Vulture’s Walking Dead recapper, Starlee Kine, will be filling in for Julieanne Smolinski this week.
As we begin, Sister Jude’s sitting behind the wheel of a car. It’s not the “young-but-somehow-still-old” version of her from the flashbacks with the little girl but her sixties self. She’s here to sic a concentration camp survivor-turned-Nazi hunter on Dr. Arden. He tells her about something called Operation Paper Clip, which immediately made me thinking of that little icon that used to come with Microsoft Word that would ask you if you needed help formatting your letter. Which is to say, an adorable name for such a horrible idea — the U.S. government giving new identities to the best and brightest Nazi scientists so they could come work for us. Ryan Murphy manages to sex up an explanation of SS blood type tattoos when Sister Jude’s asked if she’s ever seen Arden without a shirt on, and we’re off and running.
Onto Anne Franka pointing a gun to the back of Dr. Arden’s head. She tells him she’s waited her whole life to pull that trigger; and so of course what’s 30 more seconds so she can make sure to complete that sentence. By that time, the security guard guy has arrived and he’s pointing his gun at the back of her head and it’s like if you were to mate Reservoir Dogs with Inglourious Basterds this is the scene that would pop out.
Anne Franka is sent to her room, her wrists tied to the bed. Sister Jude tells her they don’t have much time and wants to know what she saw in the lab. AF tells her about monster Chloë Sevigny but Sister Jude had already looked, and found nothing. That’s because Sister Mary Eunice has carried her all the way over to a local elementary school instead of feeding her to the creatures just outside the tunnel, I’m guessing so that we could watch a creepier scene. The Devil is considerate like that. A little girl finds Chloë Sevigny clawing her way up the school steps, her bra and underwear intact. I bet that kid will totally end up as dressing up as sexy acid-faced corpse for Halloween when she’s in college.
A dude shows up at the asylum. He claims to be Anne Franka’s husband. He tells Sister Jude his wife is delusional. They saw a particularly good production of Anne Frank a few months ago and it was enough to make her ignore her colicky baby and disappear for hours only to return with art supplies. Because you can’t have enough watercolor kits when it comes to assembling your Nazi collages. A lot of this is conveyed to us like a scratchy Super 8 movie or old-school TV show, which I guess is the show’s version of running to the art supply store.
Sister Jude is disappointed to hear all of this. She had her heart set on her colleague being a Nazi. It does suck when that happens. Luckily, she still has Kit and Grace’s sterilizations to brighten up her day. Those two. They do their talking through the concrete walls thing again, only with about 20 percent more undergraduate film thesis thrown in. She calls Sister Jude the Devil and then Lily Rabe shows up and is all “Speaking of!” and she lets only Kit out of his cell.
Dr. Thredson tells Lana that he’s getting her out of there that night, just as soon as he tape records Kit’s confession about killing Alma. Sister Jude calls off the investigation on Dr. Arden and he overhears and tells her she’s finished at Briarcliff. She later does a monologue for the guard about a squirrel she killed when she was a child by forgetting to feed it. The guard says, “Wait, you get to have two accidental murder backstories? Don’t you worry about this one being less effective in light of the one about the little girl?” Just kidding. He actually says “Emmy Clip! Emmy Clip! Emmy Emmy Emmy!” Then Jessica Lange puts on her makeup and high heels and goes to the bar to pick up an age-appropriate bedtime companion.
Grace gets visited by the aliens and abducted. They coat her face with slime and strap her to a surgical table. This plot makes me sleepy. The genre feels off. Sci-fi isn’t the same as horror, just like Martin Starr’s character sort of says on Party Down. Plus, its aesthetic is too familiar. Bright light. White background. Justin Long selling computers. We get it. Oh and also, there’s Alma, alive, naked, pregnant and being really nice to Grace considering the one person they both have in common. She tells Grace not to fight it, it’ll only make it worse. And then the aliens slice Grace’s belly open and stick an iPod mini inside.
Anne Franka is returned to her hospital by her husband because this time she tried to kill her baby. This show is so methed out that a graphic lobotomy scene is one of the calmer moments of this episode. It changes the movie channel in her brain so that instead of Sophie’s Choice she’s now watching Stepford Wives. She’s so content now with her baby and husband that she can’t even remove all the newspaper clippings of Holocaust survivors from her bulletin board. She got most of them but then there’s a few still stuck up there. Oh and yeah, there’s also a newspaper photo of the young Dr. Arden, in his Nazi uniform.
Dr. Thredson sneaks Lana out. It’s weirdly easy. She just gets in his car. Ok. Whatever we have to do to move this plot along to the good stuff. He tells the guard who almost pulls him back into the asylum that never worked at Briarcliff and that’s when I knew at least what was going to happen next. That’s sort of late, right? Some of you figured it out earlier. You’re all going to win Pulitzer Prizes for exposing the truth about a fictional character.
Lana is taken to Dr. Thredson’s house, which is very Don and Megan Draper, Urban Outfitters edition. He tells her that he can’t afford to let her go home or call anyone until the next day, when they go public with what they know. He offers her some wine and some giant aspirin tablets that he calls mints. She begins to catch on that something’s not right. All of us have figured it out now.
Poor Lana. She was just tired of writing about molasses cake! The doctor appears and Zachary Quinto is playing sadistic killer exactly like he played it in Heroes when he was on that. He still wants to help cure Lana of her lesbianism and his new plan is that she has to kiss her lover, who’s lying dead and thawing out on the floor. Well, actually he specifies her lips and then her says don’t worry about her teeth because he took those out and he pulls out that stitched together, bloody mask from the Adam Levine scenes. And it’s scary but also a little confusing because first of all, who worries about teeth when kissing, a corpse or otherwise? Like you can tell that Dr. Thredson just wanted to show off his mask. Although I’m not sure why because really it’s not his best work, not compared to those lampshades made of human skin in his living room. Why is he so good at making lampshades but not masks? Did he make the mask first and then the shades but then he added the teeth once he was done? Years from now, when scientists and doctors are studying American Horror Story: Asylum I hope they answer these questions first.