American Horror Story Recap: The Queen of Candyland

American Horror Story

Season 2 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
AMERICAN HORROR STORY Continuum -- Episode 212 (Airs Wednesday, January 16, 10:00 pm e/p)

American Horror Story

Season 2 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Byron Cohen/FX

Before we get started here, let me just apologize if I lack pep. I’ve got whatever horrible illness is going around, and I’m NyQuil-ed to the gills. Side note: Did you know that if you turn off the sound to American Horror Story and play Sophie B. Hawkins’s “As I Lay Me Down,” the whole things syncs up perfectly? It’s true.

This wasn’t my favorite episode. It didn’t go full-bore insane, and it was falling all over itself to try to get things wrapped up for the finale, which meant flashing forward, then back, then forward, then back again in a way that would have wearied even the most Bakula of Scotts. Perhaps that’s because we only have one more episode to go and lots of unanswered questions. Like, for instance, “What?”

I got about four seconds into this episode before the first “Oh, come on,” which I think is a new record. What got me was the photograph of Kit sitting gleefully between his two ladies and two babies. God, to be a fly on the wall at that Sears Portrait Studio.

Before the titles, it appears Kit has axe-murdered someone, but afterward we (in the first flashback of many) are in happier times with out our extra-extra-extra-nontraditional family. It’s actually kind of like The Wonder Years, if you’ll remember that Kevin’s parents were alien abductees and a murderer and Wayne was the child of the mean dad’s first wife who lived with them. Or something.

They’re talking about what kind of vegetables to plant in their nontraditional garden, so when Kit comes home and says, “This mache is going to be amazing!” I really think he’s talking about the lettuce, but it’s just his accent, and he’s trying to go to some civil rights event where they can be with people “just like us.” Yes, Boston certainly seems like the city that would welcome a polygamous multiethnic family with open arms.

Alma doesn’t like that Grace is an alien-worshipping axe-murderer, and Grace is worried that she’ll axe-murder again, so I think maybe … don’t keep an axe in the house? Seems logical right? It quickly becomes apparent that the assailant from the opening scene is Alma, who attacks Grace because she’s afraid the aliens will come back. This is the worst episode of HBO’s Real Sex ever.

Back in Briarcliff, Jude is playing board games with Pepper when the monsignor asks for a word with her. “I’m the queen of Candyland,” she slurs, which I like to imagine her shouting during a drunken rout with Sam Shepard.

Monsignor Tim has been appointed cardinal of New York, and he’s releasing her because he doesn’t want her to be subjected to any abuses in the asylum, which is being turned over to the state. Oh, no, not the government. What if they do a bad job running this place?

Then we have a great scene where all of the inmates party with Pepper and Jude in the asylum bakery while this episode continues to flaunt its impressive musical budget with a little “All Along the Watchtower.”

Frances Conroy shuffles in, dressed in Briarcliff blues and not her usual death-bringing burlesque finery. She says she’s an inmate from another institution, but Jude isn’t buying it. I am, though! Wow. Frances is bringing some postmenopausal Caged Heat realness. She hits on Jude and Alma (who is now in Briarcliff, too) and shanks a guy who I’m 90 percent sure is Ben Folds. It seems Jude might be legit crazy now, having lost two whole years, during which Pepper allegedly died in 1966. (Pepper! NO!) 

We flash-forward to 1969, where Lana is being fêted at a bookstore that looks suspiciously well attended. Apparently, she’s Sedaris-ed her memoirs a little, and in a strange little reverie, the dead come back to nitpick her fact-checking. Just shelve it in fiction! Also — does a story of being wrongly imprisoned and repeatedly raped by a serial killer who offed your lesbian lover need embroidering?

Kit shows up and they get coffee, and she can’t stop talking about herself. The literary world! It’s awfully tiresome. When he does get a word in edgewise, he tells her that Alma died suddenly and that Jude is alive, still in Briarcliff. She doesn’t care anymore because she’s a huge media celebrity.

Then, because this episode is willfully trying to confuse me at this point, we’re in the same bookstore in the future, where Johnny is unsuccessfully haggling with the aged proprietress over an autographed copy of Lana’s book. He’s all, “It’s my fate to have this book, rarrrrrrr,” and she’s like, “Ugh just go on Amazon!”

We have ONE episode left in which to kill off everybody else we’ve grown attached to and marvel at how well preserved Dylan McDermott is. Do you think he’s vegan? You guys have a good week, and I’ll see you next time.

American Horror Story Recap: Queen of Candyland