American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 212
Written By: Ryan Murphy
Directed By: Craig Zisk
Original Airdate: 16 January 2013
In This Episode...
It is the end of 1967. Kit, Alma, and Grace are living a happy polygamist lifestyle with their two kids, Thomas (from Grace) and Julia (from Alma). Alma is worried about Grace. She is obsessing over the aliens, drawing them constantly, and expecting their return for the kids. Grace, meanwhile, is worried because Alma wants to forget about their abduction, but she is fearful and wants to stay shuttered in the house. Grace wants to embrace the aliens as the future, and has had enough time being shuttered inside. This leads to a fight between the women. Alma slaps Grace but is immediately apologetic; Grace storms off. Later that night, Kit wakes and finds Grace in the living room, drawing. He sits with her for a moment - then suddenly an axe lands in her back. Alma is attacking her. Kit separates the women. Grace is dead, and Alma is curled up in the fetal position, crying because she said that Grace was luring the aliens back.
1968 begins, and Jude is still in Briarcliff, but she seems to be doing well. Pepper is now her best friend and she rules the roost - in a much kinder way than she used to. The monsignor has been appointed cardinal of New York and comes to say goodbye to her. The church has donated Briarcliff to the state, who will use it for overflow from correction facilities. He promises to get her out before that happens. Well, he doesn’t, and pretty soon criminals and the criminally insane are all milling about in one disgusting stew. If you thought Briarcliff was bad before, the new management makes it look like it had been a luxury spa. Jude recognizes one of the new inmates: the Angel of Death. While she still has the old fashioned black hair, she is without wings, just a regular inmate who is in for murdering the elderly to collect their social security. She is used to being the queen bee, so she extends a very kind offer to Jude: we can rule together, or I will crush you. Jude thinks she is here to kill her and wants nothing to do with her. Unfortunately, they are roommates now. One night, Jude dreams that the Angel of Death was trying to give her the kiss-off. She fights back violently, and guards come in, pulling the women apart. It is not the Angel of Death who is there; it is some other random convict. Jude is brought to see the new warden, Miranda Crump, in a straightjacket. Crump is stern but fair. She is worried about Jude, having started fights with five roommates in two months. She doesn’t want to send Jude back to solitary. Jude asks if the monsignor has left word. Crump is confused, but finally realizes that Jude herself has lost track of time. Monsignor Howard left over two and a half years ago.
It is 1969, and Lana is doing a book reading and signing for “Maniac: One Woman’s Tale of Survival.” The audience is 100% women; many obviously idolize her. But Lana has changed a few details of the book to make it more sellable and tries to bury the guilt of doing so. She changed Wendy from her lover to her platonic roommate, and she wrote that Thredson brought “a new toy” for them to play with (another woman, whose death he would blame on her.) The signing begins, and a surprise visitor attends: Kit. They go for coffee, and she apologizes half-heartedly for not remaining in touch. He wants to know why she hasn’t done what she promised: shut down Briarcliff. Clearly Lana has been too busy enjoying the spotlight to remember “the little people.” She had heard about Alma and Grace, but was surprised to find Alma had been committed to Briarcliff when the state took it over. Kit continues his side of the story for her: how the asylum was so overcrowded you could scarcely walk through the halls and there was not enough staff to keep control. One patient pulled out his catheter and shook pee all over the common room; another couple was rutting like animals in the corner. Kit visited Alma regularly, and though she wanted to see the children, she didn’t want them to be exposed to that place. But then Alma died. No explanation; the nurse said her heart just gave out one day. Lana is sorry to hear that, but it doesn’t change her feelings about Briarcliff. Kit almost has her when he tells her that Jude is still stuck in there. Lana doesn’t believe him, swearing she saw Jude’s death certificate. Kit, however, saw Jude. Briarcliff renamed her Betty Drake so she could remain hidden there. By the time Kit saw her, she was far, far gone, speaking jibberish about how The Flying Nun was based off her life, but she didn’t need a hat to fly. She did not recognize Kit. Lana feels bad, but the moment is fleeting. She coldly tells him that Jude made her bed there, and leaves to finish her book signing.
Dig It or Bury It?
I love that the story doesn’t just end with Briarcliff. It continues on, to show how the fucked up shit at Briarcliff went on to fuck up more lives on the outside. It makes for a fuller, more complete story; something that lends itself to this new idea that each season of AHS is a self-contained mini-series.
I can’t help but wonder if Johnny has it wrong, that he is not Bloody Face’s son, but Kit’s son. The assumption has always been that he Bloody Face’s son - even by Johnny himself - so wouldn’t it be a big “ha-ha” to the audience if he was Kit’s kid?
In the final moments of the episode, we check in with Johnny Bloody Face. He visits a used bookstore that is going out of business because he found out that they had a signed copy of Lana Winters’s book and he desperately wants to buy it. The clerk refuses, saying it is not for sale. The book belonged to her mother, who credits it for giving her the strength to leave her abusive husband. Johnny just wants to see the signature, and he marvels at it. She still refuses to sell, so he makes him an offer she can’t refuse: the baby that Lana had by rape did not die at birth, because he was that child. He wanted to take the book and show it to her when he finally meets his mother, shoving in her face the lies she wrote about him, and then shooting her in the face. The clerk turns the book over.
Lana is sticking with the whole true crime genre, and her next book will be on Lee Emerson. After his escape from Briarcliff, he went on to kill seven nuns. She wants to call the book “Lee Emerson and the Seven Nuns.” Sick.
Next week is the season finale, so I guess then we will get confirmation of whose kid Johnny really is.