Review

Review

TV Recap: 'American Horror Story: Asylum' Episode 213 - 'Madness Ends'

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american horror story asylumAmerican Horror Story: Asylum Episode 213
“Madness Ends”
Written By: Tim Minear
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Original Airdate: 23 January 2013

In This Episode...

The majority of this season finale is set in the current day. Lana, in her 60s, is being interviewed on the eve of becoming a Kennedy Center honoree. She is married to a stage actress, Marion, and the two live a sophisticated socialite life. Lana refuses to discuss her ordeal with Thredson, not wanting to give one more minute of publicity to the maniac, so instead, they start with Lana’s exposure of Briarcliff.

It is the 1970s. Lana and her two-man camera crew sneak into the asylum the same way she did years ago: through the tunnels. Inside, the conditions are beyond atrocious. Inmates are not looked after - they are left to their own devices. Many are naked, covered with bruises and sores, rolling in their own filth. They are poorly medicated, unsupervised, and are slaves to their own insanity. When Lana finally finds an orderly, he simply says there are too many of them to take care of. Lana has a fantasy ending to the story, where she finds Jude locked away in solitary and rescues her. In reality, she was too late. In her investigation, she discovers one inmate named Betty Drake who was checked out by Kit Walker.

Lana pays Kit a visit. He is happy to see her, but refuses to speak on camera. Lana agrees, and Kit shares his part in the story. After Alma died, he began visiting Jude at least once a week. He could still see a bit of life in her yet, but knew she would die there if he didn’t rescue her. Briarcliff was beyond capacity, so no one thought to ask any questions if someone wanted to take an inmate off their hands. He brought Jude to his home, knowing that the only way to put Briarcliff behind him was to find forgiveness. He helped her through her detox and tried to nurse her back to health. The kids took a liking to her, and she had good days and bad. It had to get worse before it could get better though. One day, Jude was chasing Thomas around the house, screaming and swatting at him with a broom. She was confused, thinking she was still presiding over Briarcliff. Kit tells the kids to go outside. Instead, they each calmly take Jude by the hand and walk her outside. The three of them walk off into the forest. Kit doesn’t know what happened out there, but when they returned, Jude was changed. She was full of life and joy. The kids adored her and called her Nana. She was part of the family. They had six good months together before Jude finally accepted the Angel of Death’s kiss. Eventually we find out that Kit married again, a woman he met at the commune. The kids loved her almost more than Kit did. Lana danced at their wedding. She would later be godmother to both kids. Julia grew up to be a top neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, while Thomas was a law professor at Harvard. In the early 1980s, Kit developed pancreatic cancer. One day, as death neared, he disappeared. There were no clues and no note, but the audience knows the aliens took him away.

After she shut down Briarcliff, Lana’s next investigation was he most controversial. She had evidence that, during his time there, Dr. Arden was conducting human experiments. She had his files, and police were finding human remains on the property. She accused now-Cardinal Howard of knowing about it, covering it up, and essentially of being accessory to murder. Howard committed suicide shortly after Lana confronted him, an act many blamed Lana for.

It is here that Lana decides she needs to come clean about a lie she has told for 40 years: that the child she had from Thredson didn’t die during childbirth. She couldn’t raise him, couldn’t love him, but gave him away in hopes that someone else would. This admission was likely brought on because Johnny had sneaked onto the crew, and she recognized something in him. In the mid-1970s, Lana started to feel remorse about abandoning him, and sought him out. She had no plan, but when she saw him on the playground, he was being bullied by an older kid. Lana scares the bully away, and there is a moment of tenderness between them. Lana tells Johnny that the other kid was the one being an ass. He hurries away, but later we find out that he knew, the moment she touched his cheek, that this was his mom.

The interview over, the crew packs up and leaves. Lana pours two drinks, and offers one to an unseen visitor: Johnny. She knew it was him the moment she saw him there. She is not surprised - she always knew this day would come. He admits that that day on the playground, he knew she was his mother and hoped she would come back for him. She never did. But her very public role meant he didn’t have to do much research to find out who she was and what her story was. He found the tape that Lana made, forcing Thredson to confess while she threatened an abortion, on eBay, and it was then that he began to love his father, who he thought had love in his voice for him, and hate his mother. Lana is calm, while Johnny is seething with rage. He has been dreaming of this moment for a long time, and sits close, pressing a gun to Lana’s forehead. He wants to make his father proud. Lana touches him tenderly, telling him softly that he could never be like his father; he is not a monster. There isn’t just Bloody Face in him; there is Lana in there as well. He cries, says he has hurt people. “It’s not your fault baby,” she says softly. This what he needs. He lets down his guard, and she takes the gun from him. Without a second of hesitation, she shoots him in the head, just like she did to his father.

Dig It or Bury It?

This was a fantastic hour of television. It was a brilliant way to end the season, and masterfully done. The act which showed Jude’s story, and Kit’s rescue of her, was simple and poignant, without being sappy. The way all the loose ends were knitted together made for a very cohesive ending. My only complaint was that last scene, which took us back to 1964, and Lana’s first meeting with Jude. It just felt forced. I think ending it with Lana looking over her son’s body, the way she did over his father’s, would have been more effective.

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