American Horror Story Episode 210
“The Name Game”
Written By: Jessica Sharzer
Directed By: Michael Lehmann
Original Airdate: 2 January 2013
In This Episode...
Sister Mary Eunice conducts a midnight search of the women’s living quarters. Inside Jude’s room she finds a cucumber and accuses her of “diddling herself” with it. As punishment, she assists Dr. Arden in giving Jude a heaping dose of electro-shock therapy. This leaves Jude in a haze, barely able to speak or remember her name, and with severely impaired motor skills. She does, however, manage to put on “The Name Game” on the jukebox Sister Mary Eunice bought for the common room, and she dives into a brightly-colored song-and-dance number with Jude singing and the other inmates backing her up.
The monsignor did not die on the cross. The Angel of Death visited him and told him he had work to do. That work was to free Sister Mary Eunice of the demon inside her. While Sister Mary Eunice is changing the dressings on the monsignor’s hands, he attempts to exorcise her. She laughs, pushes him away easily, and mocks him. She then starts teasing him with dirty limericks, takes off her habit, and rapes the monsignor - who was a virgin. Arden walks in on them mid-thrust.
Arden later goes out to the woods with a wheelbarrow full of chum to feed his mutants. Sister Mary Eunice joins him, completely unfazed at being caught, and asks Arden to lobotomize Jude. He refuses because Sister Mary Eunice wanted it too much. He pulls out a pistol and shoots each of his mutants dead, declaring his experiment finished. She dismisses this as a temper tantrum on Arden’s part. As if to show her he is serious, he turns the gun on himself, but chickens out and drops to the frozen ground, weeping. She declares he is being pitiful; he begs her to take pity on him. Sister Mary Eunice leaves him.
The monsignor has a private moment with Jude in the bakery. She is scarcely able to knead bread, but at least it gives her a goal. He apologizes to her and admits he believes Sister Mary Eunice is possessed, but she is too strong; he can’t exorcise her and he doesn’t know what to do. Jude finally speaks, two garbled words: “Kill her.”
Sister Mary Eunice finds the monsignor in the office, and teases him again. He is stronger in his determination against her, and the nun taunts him with all the ways he could kill her... but she knows he won’t. He knows that Sister Mary Eunice’s purity is still alive somewhere, and the demon allows her to reveal herself. She weeps and apologizes to the monsignor, saying she is tired of fighting. She embraces him, and he pushes her over the banister. She falls three stories and lands with a thud. The Angel of Death kisses her, promising to “take both of them.”
Arden and the monsignor stand over Sister Mary Eunice’s corpse, dressed in a white gown, clutching a rosary, and ready to be prepared for burial. Against the monsignor’s wishes, Arden believes that she must be cremated, to get the devil out of her cells. The monsignor relents begrudgingly, and Arden insists on cremating her alone. We soon discover that this is not because he wants one more go at the corpse (is it wrong that my mind instantly goes there?) but because he climbs on top of her, throws the lever, and rides into the furnace with Sister Mary Eunice.
Lana is pleased to see Kit in the common room, but he brings dark news: Thredson has escaped. Lana doesn’t believe it, but sure enough, Thredson strolls into the common room. Sister Mary Eunice has put him on the payroll. She was the one who released him. Thredson promises their therapy will begin tomorrow, and tells Lana that his baby was the only thing that was keeping her alive.
Thredson sneaks into Arden’s office, looking for some sodium pentothal with which to coerce the location of the incriminating confession tape out of Kit. Instead he finds something much better: Pepper delivering Grace’s baby. When Kit is brought to Thredson in a straightjacket for his therapy, Thredson takes him to see Grace and meet his son. This is the leverage he needs to loosen Kit’s lips. However, when he goes to the hydrotherapy room, the tape has been replaced with a children’s book. Lana appears and tells him that she is the only one who knows where the tape is hidden, and she will take it to the police if Thredson harms Kit.
And finally, towards the end of the episode, Jude begins to regain her speech. However, she can do little more than repeat the names of the inmates who filter in and out of her line of sight. Mother Superior comes to see her, hearing that she had been asking for her. Jude rambles about her daydreams of running off to Rome with the monsignor and getting married in the Vatican, but when she sees Lana, she becomes solemnly lucid and tells Mother Superior that she wrongfully admitted Lana to the asylum and begs her to help.
Dig It or Bury It?
This episode didn’t sit right with me. Largely, my problems were with Arden. He goes out to feed his mutants, kills them, and then collapses into tears when he can’t kill himself. But I don’t think it was the suicide attempt that broke him - it was Sister Mary Eunice. And it just felt... wrong. Out of character. Here was a man who oversaw the murder of thousands of Jews in the concentration camps; a man who has made a career out of unspeakable human experiments. And a woman brings him down? A woman with whom he did not have a very close relationship with? It just felt wrong.
Similarly out of place was the “Name Game” musical piece. Not because a musical fantasy sequence is so out of place for this show - I can accept that - but because it was random, it was lengthy, and it was something the show hadn’t done before and likely wouldn’t do again. It kind of felt like creator Ryan Murphy couldn’t get Jessica Lange for a guest spot on Glee, so he brought Glee to American Horror Story.
I have to assume that all of Arden’s experiments won’t allow him to die so easily. His storyline was never really finished. And it looks like we are flashing forward to the present: Thredson’s son has gotten himself a hooker. No good can come of that.