American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 204
“I am Anne Frank”
Written By: Jessica Sharzer
Directed By: Michael Uppendahl
Original Airdate: 7 November 2012
In This Episode...
A new inmate comes to Briarcliff tonight. She is picked up by cops after some guy in a bar made an anti-semitic remark and she stabbed him with a beer bottle. Dr. Arden comes into the common room, and the woman recognizes him as a war criminal and tries to attack him. Brought in to Sister Jude’s office, the woman explains herself. She claims she is Anne Frank, that she didn’t die in Bergen-Belsen. She was too sick to tell her name when the camps were liberated. She was a pickpocket before she met a soldier from New Jersey. They were married and she moved with him to the United States. But he was called back to service and killed in Korea. It was around this time that she discovered her diary had been published and she was more useful to the cause dead, as a martyr.
Anne sees Dr. Arden in the common room and goes ballistic. Sister Jude sits her down and Anne tells her story. Before Bergen-Belsen, Anne was taken to Auschwitz. Dr. Arden was known as Hans Gruber then (don’t worry - I address this below.) He came across as kind, giving out sweets to the girls and promising to help them. He would flip a coin to decide who he would “help.” The girls who returned from his “clinic” were extremely ill and refused to speak of what happened to them.
Sister Jude believes this to the ramblings of a lunatic, until a couple detectives show up at Briarcliff to speak to Arden. The prostitute he roughed up went to the police, and one of the details she shared with them was that Arden had Nazi memorabilia in his home. However, the detectives are not there from vice; they are from homicide. It seems the cops are starting to think that Kit doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to skin and decapitate those women. But hearing about the Nazi memorabilia gives Sister Jude a crisis of conscience. She goes to the Monsignor with her concerns but he is more interested in chastising her about falling off the wagon. After Jude leaves, Monsignor calls Arden: “They are on to you. Take care of the housekeeping.”
Furious, Arden drags Anne into his lab, promising to show her what really goes on there. But she had lifted a pistol off one of the detectives, and now threatens him with it. Anne hears a thump from an adjoining room, and after shooting Arden in the leg, takes the key and opens it up. Inside she finds Shelly, wriggling on the floor, legless, with seeping boils covering her skin. “Kill me,” she begs.
Dr. Thredson doesn’t believe that Lana belongs in Briarcliff. He thinks if he can “cure” her lesbianism, he can get her released. Lana refuses at first, but then fantasizes about escaping and writing an award-winning expose on Briarcliff, so she decides to do whatever it takes. Dr. Thredson puts her through aversion/conversion therapy, which includes pumping her full of medicine that induces nausea and vomiting while looking at cheesecake photos (one of which is of Wendy); and then masturbating while looking at - then fondling - a man’s genitals. Try as she might, Lana simply “can’t get it up,” as it were, and continues to vomit as she touches the volunteer’s junk. Dr. Thredson doesn’t believe it is working; Lana wants to keep trying so she can get out. He comes to her later and tells her that he doesn’t believe this - or any - therapy can “help” Lana, but believes that she doesn’t belong here. He swears to bring her with him when he leaves in a week. In the meantime, he gives her Wendy’s photo to hold on to.
One of the guards walks into the bakery and finds Kit and Grace fucking on the prep table (how horribly unsanitary.) They are brought to Sister Jude, who believes caning is useless with them - she needs to sterilize them. For the time being, they are locked up in solitary. But after a visit with Dr. Thredson - who believes that Kit is neither crazy nor evil, just torn up with guilt - Kit starts to think that maybe he did kill those women, and was acting out of the shame society made him feel for marrying a black woman. He goes to Jude, tearfully begging for forgiveness. She is happy to help.
Dig It or Bury It?
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Nazis are the perfect villains. The fucked-up Dr. Frankenstein Nazis are real-life monsters. Everything is more horrifying when they come into the picture. I was surprised that bringing “Anne Frank” into the story wasn’t as hokey as it could have been. I don’t necessarily believe that she is Anne Frank; she could just as easily be a Holocaust survivor who doesn’t know who she is, or can’t cope with being herself. But the whole story she tells is quite believable.
Someone help me out here... because I thought Anne Frank called Dr. Arden “Hans Gruber.” But I thought, “No, that can’t be. That’s the bad guy from Die Hard.” I had to have misheard. Of all the German names in the world, the writers couldn’t come up with one that wasn’t already one of the biggest movie baddies of the last 30 years?
We get Grace’s story tonight. She tells Kit that her stepsister Patsy, and her lover Ray conspired to kill her father and stepmother so that they could take over the family farm and would blame the murders on Grace. But this is not the whole truth. After Sister Eunice shows Kit Grace’s files, Grace finally admits the truth. She did kill her father and her stepmother. He had been raping her her entire life, and her stepmother pretty much said to suck it up and not tell anyone. According to flashbacks, Patsy walked in on Grace slaughtering her father, but no word on Patsy’s fate is mentioned. Kit is not disgusted by this; he admires Grace’s strength.
Not a single moment spent in the present makes this best episode of the season, as far as I’m concerned.
Sister Jude turns in Dr. Arden on suspicions of being a war criminal. So she does have a moral center!