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“In here, we have all the time in the world.”
Several times during an episode of American Horror Story, I picture the most ridiculous idea in the world being pitched in the writers’ room, and someone says, “Holy shit. That would make an amazing ending to the season,” and then someone else says, “By George, you’re right. Let’s stick it in the third episode.” Hopefully you had a great Halloween, readers, and that after your sugar crash, you got to watch the show from the most comfortable spot in your house. Because this show is determined to make you uncomfortable.
It was a dark and big, fat stormy night at Briarcliff Manor. To quell any oncoming pandemonium, Sister Jude shows compassion by acquiring a movie projector and a copy of DeMille’s The Sign of the Cross for the patients to watch. A storm is the perfect cover to plan an escape, though, isn’t it?
Jessica Lange was the true Master of Ceremonies in this episode. Rarely do an actor’s choices startle me, but I sat agog each time she opened her mouth. Jude’s motivations are still running Dr. Thredson out, and getting on Dr. Adler’s nerves, but now her paranoia is thrown into upheaval, so her weaknesses are visible. Hidden in the mail that Mary Eunice (now possessed by Satan), she finds a full newspaper from 1949, with the story about Jude’s hit and run accident on the front page. It sets off an episode-long series of violent flashbacks from that night. She gets a phone call from the girl she killed, who says, “You left me there. You never even bothered to get out of the car.” She then finds the girl’s broken eyeglasses. Are we going to see Sister Jude committed into the asylum before it becomes decommissioned? My bet’s on yes.
All this spooky pressure, which almost has to be coming from Mary Eunice, leads to a drinking binge for Sister Jude, and this is when Lange put it in Nth gear. In introducing the film, she walks the aisle with all the aplomb and none of the refinement. Her slightly sweaty hair hangs down to her slightly slurring mouth, and she can’t even blow a whistle properly. But she’s smiling, and she’s happy, and she’s able to drop her emotional baggage for a few fleeting minutes. Alas, her recitation of on-the-nose lyrics from Carousel’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” backfires, and all of her inner turmoil shows itself, before she packs it all away and starts the film, ending on the line, “I’m off to find the Mexican.” Loved every moment of this, obviously.
The Mexican she mentioned is a Spanish lady whose sole purpose is to be visibly frightened by Mary Eunice, and to show this by calling her Satan and the Devil at all times. Credit to Lily Rabe for finally looking like she’s having fun going back and forth between hellcat and zealot. Something as simple as a dark shade of lipstick completely transforms her pale face, and catches chastising from Jude as well, after Mary Eunice tempts her with wine. Mary Eunice forces the Spanish woman to pray with her, during which she stabs the woman in the throat with a pair of scissors, and the most fabulous arterial spray in primetime TV gushes out all over the place. For good measure, she also stabs the woman several times in the chest, and dumps her body out to the woods behind the asylum.
Mary Eunice isn’t just killing people, either. She starts a conversation with Arden by being worried about the creatures when the weather turns to freezing, to which Arden assures her they only need to get them through the winter. (Because they’ll live or die faster?) Things take a turn for the sexy here, as Mary Eunice offers her “rosebud tits” while spreading her legs for Arden, who gets angrily flustered in no time. “Don’t let it go to waste, Doc. I’m…juicy.” (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t invaded by extra-marital twinges just then.) Arden slaps her across the face, and she calls him a pantywaist. This will not be Arden’s most shameful moment tonight. He is close to tears later when telling Jude about this incident, and Jude blames his leering for her loss of innocence. Ever the sane man, Arden is later seen smearing lipstick onto the lips and nipples of a statue of Mary, putting his face up close and calling it a whore. Probably not the character’s audition scene, but it made for a fine piece of surrealism. He then pushes the statue back, and it smashes in slow motion.
Arden keeps a jar on his desk that holds the thing he got from Kit’s neck, unable to figure out how it works or even what it is. He straps Kit down, accusing him of working for foreign, or possibly local, government agents interested in surveillance. It isn’t the first time someone has infiltrated his labs, which could be an entirely separate series. Whatever the black thing is, it’s attracted to Kit somehow, probably through his DNA.
Kit and Grace conspire about escaping. Shelley pleads for them to take her as well. There’s an expository scene where Grace calls Lana out for thwarting last week’s escape attempt, and Kit gets to be the nice guy and say he understands that she’s only doing what she believes is right. Lana gets Dr. Thredson to deliver a note to Wendy outside the asylum, which he agrees to due to it being against Jude’s wishes. The evidence left at Wendy’s makes him think she was killed by Bloody Face, which would make Kit innocent. Lana accepts this with a minimal amount of reaction.
During the actual escape, which takes place during the movie, Lana finds the other three, and lets them know she knows Kit is innocent. Grace doesn’t give a shit, but Kit is more interested in saving time over arguing, so they go, only to be stopped by a patrolling guard. Shelley’s dick-deficient mouth plays hero, and the others leave her behind. This is when everything just starts happening all at once. These three make it outside in the rain, but their celebration is cut short when they find the Mexican woman’s body, and see movement in the trees. Oh, I bet they’re just going to drag this out until…Nope.
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