[RECAP] AMERICAN HORROR STORY - I AM ANNE FRANK PART II
Personally, I would really like to know what kind of things go on inside Ryan Murphy’s head. I mean, for one person to go from Nip/Tuck to Glee to American Horror Story, something complicated is definitely going on up there. To be honest, I didn’t watch the first season of American Horror Story when it first aired because I thought it looked stupid/terrifying. However, once my roommates started watching it, I did, too, and I was hooked. I blew through the first season and eagerly anticipated season 2. That it would take place as a totally separate entity from season 1, with some of the same actors playing different characters in a different city in a different time, intrigued me; I had never seen something like that be done on TV before. Now well into season 2, American Horror Story: Asylum has definitely lived up to its name. Not only are half the characters crazy, I’ve started to doubt my own sanity for continuing to watch.
“I Am Anne Frank, Part II”
Each week, I convince myself there’s no possible way American Horror Story: Asylum could be any more disturbing. And then the next episode airs. Last night was no exception. In reading the synopsis, I saw that Bloody Face would be revealed, and within the first five minutes I made my guess. Said character instantly became a million times creepier. Even the seemingly innocent things he did led to my hyperanalysis of his actions, and I further convinced myself that my guess was spot on. And I was. Yet, in true Ryan Murphy Season 2 fashion, that was just one of the many, MANY storylines that were extended in this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Asylum.
Picking up where last week left off, the woman claiming to be Anne Frank is still aiming a gun at Dr. Arden. Sister Mary walks in on them, and Anne appeals to her to go find the “monster” (horribly mutilated Chloë Sevigny) he has locked up in his office. Being both possessed and under some Stockholm Syndrome-y type spell of Dr. Arden’s, Sister Mary obediently disposes of Shelley in what we assume to be the zombie-infested woods outside the asylum and cleans up his office. (Sidenote: I may be behind on this, but I’m betting her character is named after Mary Shelley, seeing as she’s turned into some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster creation). We later find out that Sister Mary has not disposed of Shelley in the woods around the asylum. No, she left her at the bottom of some stairs at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL for the kids to find at recess. How’s that for some quality childhood trauma? The last we see of Shelley is a lot of children and one teacher screaming in horror at what they’ve discovered.
Back at Briarcliff, after being detained by security, Anne Frank’s husband shows up, revealing she’s just a housewife suffering from postpartum depression (and delusions, apparently). Their home life is played out through a series of creepy, 50s-TV-style “home videos,” that look like someone has placed hidden cameras throughout their home. It was an interesting style, but I found it more distracting than anything. Her husband claims she’ll be fine, and he takes her home (cue my panic at the baby’s impending death), only to return a few days later, desperate for Dr. Arden’s help. Or is it Hans Gruber?
Dr. Arden decides a lobotomy is in order, and in a scene I watched through my fingers, he inserts a particularly sharp instrument through her eye, as her despairing
husband observes (what?!). Later we see Anne/Charlotte at home, happily holding her baby and taking down all the Nazi newspaper clippings she had so painstakingly pored over on her wall. While all seems well, I’m interested to see where Murphy plans on taking her character next, because I don’t think all is well at all.
As we’ve seen in previous episodes, Sister Jude had started to believe Anne Frank’s story. She began to doubt Dr. Arden and even herself, and this week she went so far as to launch a private investigation against him. So clearly, once it comes to light that Anne/Charlotte actually has made everything up (or has she?), Sister Jude loses all faith in everything, and we see her at a bar, drinking, waking up next to a stranger, and sneaking out of his room the next morning. I think we all knew this was coming, as she’s been slipping more and more. It will be interesting to see in what capacity she returns to Briarcliff and what the Monseigneur has to say about her recent indiscretions.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the asylum, Kit and Grace await their sterilization procedures – their punishment for getting it on in the bakery if you recall. Talking to each other through their cell walls, they have a fairly sweet moment considering the position they are both in. Minutes later, Sister Mary comes to get Kit, Sister Jude has changed her mind about him – but not about Grace. So cue the…aliens? Yep, as Kit is being taken out of solitary, Grace is left there and greeted by none other than a pregnant Alma and some other extraterrestrial beings. I’m still unclear where Ryan Murphy is going with this plotline, but I’m starting to tire of his “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to writing second seasons.
So back to Bloody Face. Since I was certain it was Dr. Thredson from the beginning of this episode, I was mentally imploring Lana not to escape with him. I think if it were up to her, she would gladly choose Briarcliff over the new prison in which she finds herself. After helping her flee the asylum, he brings her back to his house, and from there, the creep factor rapidly escalates.
The doctor stops Lana from using the phone (red flag #1), convincing her that he has put himself at risk by helping her. Tomorrow they will go to the police, and she’ll write her Pulitzer Prize-winning piece about her horrific experience. Right then, Lana starts to notice her surroundings, including some particularly disturbing furniture. She examines the table lamp next to her, which has an odd pattern on the shade. Dr. Thredson then offers her a mint out of an oddly-shaped bowl. This is about when I started involuntarily gagging, seeing as the lamp was made of SKIN and the bowl was made from a human SKULL.
(maybe this is a shoutout to any remaining Heroes fans, as his character, Sylar, would routinely remove the skull caps of his victims).
The wine he’s given her having gone to her head, Lana excuses herself to go to the restroom. Instead, she finds a dead end hallway of locked doors. The one door that does open once again triggered my gag reflex – she enters a creepy room full of tools with pieces of skin along the walls hung out to dry. Dr. Thredson confronts her there, and she tries to justify the situation, calmly asking if he makes his own furniture, as she is realizing what she’s been trying to ignore this whole time. He answers, “Lamps mainly. I make the shades myself.” Minor detail he leaves out, they’re made of HUMAN SKIN. As he pulls a lever, and Lana falls through a trap door into a secret room below.
In the cellar is a torture/murder room that is reminiscent of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo meets Saw. Lana is shackled to the floor, and near her lies her girlfriend, Wendy, who has been frozen. Dr. Thredson reveals he kept her on ice so he could continue Lana’s sick and twisted aversion therapy. He tells her they will start by having Lana kiss Wendy, but she shouldn’t worry about being bitten, because he pulled all her teeth and has attached them to his Bloody Face mask, which he then puts on as Lana screams and the cameras cut away.
Finally, we find Kit and Grace in the common room, Grace clearly having just gone through her procedure. As he’s trying to help her, Kit is pulled away and arrested for the murders of Alma and the other women. The police claim they have his confession on tape, and now we see that in manipulating Kit to record his confession to the Bloody Face murders, Dr. Thredson has tied up all loose ends at Briarcliff.
While discovering who Bloody Face is was definitely a big reveal, according to The Huffington Post, we haven’t even begun to delve beneath the surface. Apparently there are some serious Freudian issues going on, which we they will start to unveil in next week’s episode, entitled “The Origins of Monstrosity,” which I’m sure will, once again, prove me wrong that the show has gotten as fucked up as it could possibly get.