American Horror Story: Asylum begins to time jump ahead as we get a view on the fall-out from Briarcliff.
Let’s bitch it out…Well, I must say that AHS has certainly transitioned into something that I would have never expected when the season began. Last week the show suffered from awkward pacing issues as it strove to streamline and clean-up its various storylines. This week, by breaking down the narrative into four chunks – each with its own time period – the show is significantly more successful at balancing its disparate storylines into a cohesive whole.
We begin with Kit (Evan Peters), Alma (Britne Oldford) and Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) living a polygamist lifestyle with their two alien babies (Side Note: as though Kit didn’t already have a controversial enough family!) Of the three 1960s-set storylines, this is my least favourite, though that’s hardly surprising since I was never a huge fan of either the Alma or alien stuff. Eventually Alma kills Grace to keep her from calling the aliens back and in section two we see that Alma’s sent off to Briarcliff after it is sold to the State and used as an overflow facility for convicts.
I’m still unclear whether we’ll get more than that when it comes to the aliens stuff. There’s a suggestion by Grace that the aliens will come back not just for the children, but for Kit because he is “so open”, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see his story end in a burst of bright, white light next week. Not that Grace will get the chance to see it after falling victim to foul play again (this means that Brocheré gets the dubious honour of dying a second bloody time on the same show). The fact that Grace dies by axe, the same weapon she worried about using violently on Alma and her weapon of choice from her own murdering days, is certainly ironic (or is it just Alanis Morissette ironic?)
The second section focuses on the downfall of Jude (Jessica Lange), now renamed Betty Grace and self-proclaimed Queen of Candyland. Her regal status catches the unwanted attention of a new butch lesbian who looks like the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy), which naturally causes some confusion. Although it;’s clear to we viewers that this is not the Angel calling Jude to her death, Jude understandably has difficulty distinguishing the new heavyweight. It’s merely the start of her delusions, though, as she grows steadily more confused as her portion of the episode continues, including messing up people, date and even living status. For example, we learn that Pepper (Naomi Grossman) died two years earlier, shortly after the Monsignor (Joseph Fiennes) sold Briarcliff and was named Cardinal of New York, but Jude believes she saw both only a few minutes/days ago. It’s all quite sad.
Although there’s very little unexpected in Jude’s section, it’s still depressing to see how unraveled she has become. I know that I’ve been hoping that all that will take for her recovery is to escape the increasingly awful conditions at the prison, but she’s still there in 1969 when Kit visits Alma (first in the decrepit common room, and then after she dies). He tries using Jude to activate Lana’s (Sarah Paulson) resolve to shut Briarcliff down, but she’s too busy being a complete famewh*re to give a crap. I did like the use of Thredson (Zachary Quinto) and Wendy (Clea DuVall – more appropriately used this week) as Lana’s Greek Chorus of a conscience. Having two angry dead people verbally assault you at your own trashy book reading would be terrifying, though. Nearly as bad as having them show up to verbally assault you in your Murder House from S1.
I do love how cinematic these last few episodes have felt. There’s some gorgeous camera work and framing at work here. Tonight’s best example: the off-kilter dutch angles during the coffee chat between Kit and Lana. A skewed camera angle signifies that something is wrong or “off-kilter”. Lana’s behaviour is clearly indicative of that. My favourite example of how far she’s strayed: when she giddily describes selling the movie rights to her atrociously overwritten true fiction novel, Maniac: One Woman’s Story of Survival. Blech. Oh puh-lese.
It’s almost enough to make you want Bloody Face Jr (Dylan McDermott) to track her down and shoot her in the face. Almost. I love that the show spent so much time building up our sympathies for Lana during her time as an abused patient, and now that she’s come full circle back to the ambitious moron reporter she was in the premiere, that sympathy has evaporated again. It’s quite the arc. Still…given my penchant for hating McDermott and his rat-tail, I’ll still cheer when mother and spawn meet up in next week’s finale for the final confrontation.
- I’ve never played Candyland, but I can only assume that it is appropriate for killers, degenerates and molesters. Am I wrong?
- The Flying Nun is based on Jude’s life? Sure, I’ll believe that. The strict reinforcement of gender roles heard in voice over as Kit recognizes her sounds an awful lot like the old Sister Jude
- In case you were wondering, Lee Emerson (an unseen Ian McShane) killed seven nuns after he escaped Briarcliff. I like Lana’s dumb second book title – based on his crimes – better than her first, though: Santa and The Seven Nuns
- True crime is Lana’s “canvas” and she compares herself to Capote. Bitch please!
- Lol that Wendy became “the roommate” in Maniac so that she didn’t distract from the central theme. That’s cold
- Finally, this effing TAB is warm and there are no almonds. I can’t review under these conditions!