American Horror Story: Asylum
Episode 4: “Anne Frank, Part One”
Things at Briarcliff Manor may possibly be starting to make some form of sense. A lot of people out there have been questioning the direction of this season due to the inclusion of science fiction elements such as the aliens rather than straight-up horror tropes like we saw last season. Flashbacks were used to show us Grace’s idealized version of the past only for the demon-possessed Sister Mary Eunice to call BS and allow us to see the real version of events. I am curious to know whether or not this was simply a story telling method or whether its a clue to something deeper going on with the season as a whole. What if the true “horror story” of the season is really insanity? The narrative so far has made it a point to show that each of the featured inmates is being held at Briarcliff unjustly, but what if that’s only their (insane) perception? What if the aliens are just a red-herring only seen by the mentally ill (or the drunk and possibly mentally ill in the case of Sister Jude)?
Anyways enough of that and onto what we learned this week.
Anne Frank & Dr. Arden
A new patient (inmate?) is brought to Briarcliff after starting a bar fight over some anti-Semitic remarks claiming to be Anne Frank. While in the common room she lays eyes on Dr. Arden and realizes he used to be a SS Doctor during the Holocaust. Anne tells her story to Sister Jude who seemingly becomes more and more convinced, though most likely due to her intense dislike of Dr. Arden. When two detectives come to question Arden about his recent “lady of the evening” encounter they happen to mention she told police his apartment contained Nazi memorabilia which confirms Anne’s story in Sister Jude’s eyes. Sister Jude tries to take her case to the Monsignor but he shoots her down and threatens her job only to turn around and tell Arden that “they” are on to them. Anne Frank steals a gun from one of the detectives and confronts Arden leading to him being shot in the leg and Anne discovering Shelley. Shelley (now legless after last week) has been experimented upon just as Anne said Arden had been doing to the girls in the concentration camp. Shelley almost looks to be mutating into something else which might possibly be one of the creatures living outside the asylum. Will Shelley turn into one of the creatures? Is the Monsignor completely aware of who Dr. Arden is and what’s going on at Briarcliff? Who is the Monsignor really?
Grace & Kit
Grace comes clean to Kit about why she is in Briarcliff. She tells him that her stepmother was cheating on her father and killed them in a jealous rage only for her stepsister to blame her for the murders. This leads to Grace & Kit having the shortest sex ever in the asylum kitchen before being caught and taken to Sister Jude. Sister Jude decides to have them both sterilized (ouch!) and separated from one another. Sister Mary Eunice is given the job of taking Kit to his cell but opts for the scenic route and shows Kit a series of files about what Grace actually did to end up in Briarcliff. Her father had been raping her for years and when her stepmother refused to help her she murdered them both then her stepsister told with her. At least the end of her story was true. Meanwhile Kit has been meeting with Dr. Thredson who believes that Kit made up the alien story because he can’t admit to himself what he really did. Some of the things Thredson says resonate with Kit which combined with Grace’s lies leads him to end the episode asking Sister Jude to help him find God and forgiveness.
Dr. Thredson & Lana
Thredson does not feel Lana belongs in Briarcliff but the only way out is for her to be cured of her lesbianism so he convinces her to allow his help while he is there to give it. He attempts conversion therapy that consists of inducing Lana to vomit while looking at pictures of women and later touching herself while touching a male patient’s “tumescence”. When this fails Thredson sees her error and decides that he’s taking Lana with him when he leaves on Friday even though he’s not sure how yet. Throughout the episode Lana is also shown doing what she can to keep her mind strong including a daydream of herself in the future receiving an award for revealing the horrible truth about Briarcliff Manor. Is this a sign that Lana’s sanity is beginning to slip? What is Dr. Thredson’s interest in Lana really all about? Why Lana and not someone like Shelley or the chronic masterbator?
Sister Jude somehow managed to show a softer side in the episode, although much of that may be due to her hatred of Dr. Arden. When confronted by the Monsignor about her recent drunken episode Sister Jude confessed to the Reverend Mother who forgave her and simply thought of it as a test by God. The Reverend Mother also encouraged Sister Jude to continue on her quest against Dr. Arden despite the wishes of the Monsignor. The creepiest line of the episode is owned by Sister Jude, who after Sister Mary Eunice picked the canes to beat Kit and Grace with, basically said that whatever has gotten into Sister Mary Eunice lately is a good thing. I wonder how she’ll feel about that when she realizes that its the devil in there.
Rating: 8/10. The episode was much better paced than last weeks frenetic storm but I still don’t like the reliance on the weekly “special guest patient”.