There was a priest, the dirty beast, whose name was Alexander. His mighty dick was inches thick. He called it Salamander.
I don’t make yearly resolutions, because there are many other months for me to renege on decisions I’ve sworn to. But a constant resolution I’ve taken up is, “Never be surprised by American Horror Story’s next move. Always expect everything.” Someone will turn into a giant grasshopper. Someone will speak a word with the power to turn everyone’s hair purple. John Lennon was once a Briarcliff patient. These are things I am ready for. These are things I can foresee. Of course, I didn’t grasp the ending until after I’d already felt the impulsive shame of being emotionally effected by anything that happens in this series. I also didn’t see the jukebox coming.
Before offering any sincerity, I ask you to consider something. In this episode, a guilt-ridden and repentant monsignor, one who’s essentially just been raped by a sexy nun possessed by Satan, is sitting across from a heavily sedated former nun who’d recently suffered electroshock therapy, and the monsignor is using his hands, injured from a crucifixion he survived, to show the nun how to knead bread with the heel of her palm. Seriously, similar sentences could probably be made about many TV characters when taking in their entire fictional history, but I only had to leave the events of this episode to mention the crucifixion. AHS is to story what professional wrestling is to sports. I love it.
I do not love that two of my favorite TV characters are now dead, and I couldn’t care less about the resuscitated one. Mary Eunice, I had such visions of you hanging out of a fiery pulpit, charging an army of blinded drones to world domination. And Arden…well, I just wanted you to yell at a lot more things and people, honestly.
I never carefully considered what Arden’s end game would be, but I certainly thought he’d have one. He is a broken man by the end of the episode, constantly demeaned and insulted by Mary Eunice, or at least the devil controlling her. He sees her riding another man to orgasm, and she refuses to pity him for being in love with her. Perhaps she underestimated how strong a former Nazi’s resolve is.
She finds him his wheelbarrow of mutant “food,” and is surprised when he pulls a gun and fatally shoots each through the head, declaring his experiments now over. He raises the gun threateningly to his own eye, but it wasn’t expected for him to go through with it. I think he's just playing Mary Eunice’s hand, and deflated when she made no move to stop him. When she half-jokingly talks about giving Jude a transorbital lobotomy, he is obviously pained when he replies, “No, because you wished it.” So when she dies, we don’t see him physically break down with emotion; we only get to see its aftermath.
He subtly demands Monsignor Howard allow him to cremate her body, and I very much assumed we were in for a Pet Sematary/Frankenstein twist, with Arden physically destroyed by one of his own creations, instead of emotionally crippled by the one person whose downfall he had little to do with. As the crematorium scene began, I still felt he’d be overwhelmed by emotion, scooping her up back to his lab. He climbed atop her, and I thought it would end at a farewell kiss. Then the switch was flipped, and they both rolled into the flames, where Arden’s screams echoed over the cut to black, and a strong of curse words flew from my mouth.
Monsignor Howard, on the advice of the Angel of Death, attempts to drive the devil out of Mary Eunice in the feeblest manner possible, softly holding a rosary against her head while praying. She uses her demonic powers to hold him to the bed – Telepathic straps! – physically seducing him as he stumbles over his vows to Christ. I could have done without the unpredictable “Joseph Fiennes losing his virginity before climaxing soon after” moment. With his seed now in her, Mary Eunice knows everything about Howard, including him strangling the Shelley Monster. He apologizes to an incoherent Jude before deciding he must kill Mary Eunice.
Sadly, this scene was weak, especially for such a monumental event. Mary Eunice antagonizes Howard, naughtily flirting with him and tossing out scenarios for how he’ll try and kill her, and Howard manages to bring the “real” Mary Eunice out from beneath Satan’s influence. In that moment, he sort of sticks his injured hands under her arms and tosses her off of the third floor landing, where she falls completely horizontal, smashing into the ground with nary a broken bone or spot of bloodshed. The Angel of Death then kisses them both into the afterlife. This is not how the devil dies, people, especially not at the bandaged hands of someone whose ridiculous accent fluctuates more than gas prices.