When I tell unaware people about American Horror Story, it’s about the bizarro storytelling style, and the amped up climaxes appearing around every corner. But there’s no way to explain the feeling I have when a plot twist is revealed, and seconds later, I rewind the show to see what I missed due to being lost in thought over how this newly discovered information fits contextually within the growth of the affected character. Why would I do this to myself? I watch this show to see Jessica Lange personify pathos without having to otherwise actually care about any of the characters as human beings. And yet…
Specifically, I refer to tonight’s left field reveal that Jude isn’t really a murderer. Her recent guilt-ridden relapses are for naught. I mean, she did still hit a girl with her car without reporting it, but Missy didn’t die! Continuing last week’s discovery of Sam Goodman’s dying body, Jude notices Kentucky’s bourbon and accident-related newspaper clippings Mary Eunice left around the room. Flashback to the swinging ‘40s.
Not cool, daddio! Jude gets kicked out of her band for missing a gig on top of all her other recent shenanigans. Her bandmate messenger, whom she tries to hit on before being denied due to having vomit breath, tells her a detective wants to talk to her about the hit and run. Panicked guilt then drives her to a life in the church, quite literally and drunkenly. She wakes up to nuns surrounding her crashed vehicle, asking after her health. She is saved, ladies and gentlemen!
Presently, Mary Eunice calls and says she knows all about the accident, and that Jude had better stay away from Briarcliff. With little else to live for, Jude goes to a diner, imagines slitting her arm open in the bathroom in a most crimson fashion, and then has a renouncing of faith while conversing with an Angel of Death, which to outsiders looked like a haggard old woman practicing a poor man’s Shakespeare. How amazed I would be inside a Waffle House, given the opportunity to watch the degradation of a human mind in real time. But before she really lets that Angel, who we’ll discuss soon, take her, she must do something first, like visit Missy’s parents.
Initially posing as a Sunday School-teaching nun, Jude collapses into a clouded confession of how the accident guided her to God’s graces. And then Missy walks through the door, knocking Jude’s brain’s socks off, as she whimpers, “I’m so confused.” She wasn’t alone. I never considered the girl living through it all, so of course she did. The aloof mother says the monster who did it has to live with himself (pronoun fun), but I believe the father has found, in Jude, the target of a few emotional demons plaguing him. I’m interested to see if this pans out.
I’ve missed you, Frances Conroy, and your pale, black-clothed Death Angel was welcome at first, but then I grew tired of your wings expanding, and your constant appearances. She was (possibly) summoned by an insane black guy who shoves his wrists against the blades of a bread slicer (because the voices in his head convinced him it would make him a hero) and wrote – I kid you not – ancient Aramaic on the walls; I assume it was the angel’s name. I don’t know why this would make him a hero though. I keep a list of the eccentricities that AHS hasn’t brought out yet, and now I can cross “Aramaic” off of that list.
Essentially, she just appears to characters on the brink of death, asking if they’re ready. If they are, a wing expansion and a death kiss. Most aren’t though. Grace is, though she’s resuscitated by nearby nuns. Grace is as pale as Morticia Addams’ waistline, and it’s assumed Arden is responsible. I mean, “all of her girl parts have been scooped out,” Mary Eunice says while blithely accusing Arden of it. His insulted demand for respect includes slapping her across the face. “You touch me again, you will die.” He tries, and gets his ass telekinetically thrown into a wall. “I hope this clarifies the chain of command.” More on Grace later, because I want to quote Mary Eunice some more.
The current and fallen angels meet in the suicidal man’s room. She calls Mary Eunice the titular dark cousin, and that the human in Mary Eunice sings to her. Lily Rabe kills it with a short schizo moment where she tells her human side, “Shut up, you stupid sow,” before staring ahead and vacantly saying, “She likes it here. We like it here. We have work left to do.” There was the slightest bit of warning when the other angel tells her they will meet again. I hope it’s at a Hell in a Cell. This scene ended a pretty average twelve minutes of AHS, which then gave way to Lana’s ridiculous comedy of errors.
It isn’t so ridiculous that we first witness her being raped by Thredson. But it slowly gets there when, after she refuses the Death Angel’s help, Thredson appears at the top of the basement stairs and asks, “Lana? Are you decent?” They’ve reached an impasse. He can’t help her and she can’t help him, so he’ll either cut her throat or strangle her. “I don’t believe in guns.” Ha! He then produces a needle and decides she’ll be knocked out anyway. Before he can use it, she knocks him over the head with the framed picture of Wendy. (Why hadn’t she done this while he was grunting atop her?) She chokes him out with the chain, and uses his keys to unlock her shackles. Before she can escape, he comes to and grabs her on the stairs, where she kicks him backwards, and he crashes to the floor, soon unconscious. Wow, so she escaped! This is a pretty novel idea, AHS writers. Where’s she gonna go?