Category Archives: American Horror Story

thoughts on american horror story: dark cousin

Previously on AHS: The Origins of Monstrosity

ahsdarkcousin

WHO WE MET

The Kiss of Death

Miles, a patient at Briarcliff, is having a battle royale with the voices in his head (“Somebody’s got to be the hero, so why not you?”), which prompts him to slice his own wrists. His suicide attempt fails and when Sister Eunice comes to check on the hoopla, she sees some ancient Aramaic written on the wall in his blood. She assumes Miles has summoned Shachath (the Angel of Death). Although the thing that inhabits Sister Eunice appears uneasy with the arrival of its “dark cousin”, the Angel is neutral and doesn’t seem like much of a threat.

Several of the ladies had brushes with death, but ultimately Grace was the only one who died. It wasn’t the alien invasion, which ripped out her lady parts, but the bullet shot by Frank the guard. Grace was given just enough time to save Kit before she received her kiss of death and left this season’s horror story.

The Saga of Sister Jude

Missy Stone isn’t dead, which means Sister Jude spent all that time with a heavy soul for no good reason. It seems that after the accident, Missy went home with no more than a few broken bones. I’m assuming that because Sister Jude went right into her new life as a nun she didn’t follow up on the accident; clearly she didn’t even bother to read the obituaries or send flowers to the family for their loss. With that weight lifted, Jude is still saddled with indirectly causing Goodman’s death.

Sister Eunice has framed Sister Jude for the murder, but this little plan only works if Goodman was investigating a crime that we now know Jude never committed. If Sister Eunice did this just to get Jude to commit suicide then she failed twice. Also, if the thing that’s possessing Sister Eunice is satanic, why is it so steadfast on destroying Sister Jude? She’s hardly an innocent and she doesn’t even know that Eunice is possessed…so what’s the major reason for getting rid of her?

Lana’s Escape

Poor, poor Lana. Somehow she went from being Thredson’s mommy stand-in to being whatever the heck role he has her playing this week. It’s unclear how/why Thredson went from seeing Lana as “mommy” to “patient” so quickly. This whole thing made me as confused as he is deranged. Now I’m all for Thredson being crazy, but I can’t tell if his lack of consistent insanity is a brilliant storytelling technique, or an unnecessary way for the writers to include rape scenes and other things that further torture Lana and do nothing to move the story forward.

Alas, Lana doesn’t wait around for Thredson to kill her and has a great escape. I cheered, and then I felt foolish for thinking it would ever be that easy with so many episodes left in the season. Instead of running into the night and never having to go back to dark basements and insane asylums again, Lana runs right into the arms of a hardcore he-man woman hater. She really should have been tipped off by his blasé attitude to her getting in the car, but in all the excitement, I can see how she was just happy to be somewhere safe. The driver shoots himself in the head, the car crashes and Lana wakes up at Briarcliff. Poor, poor Lana thought she was safe, but now she’s back in hell and the devil (aka Sister Eunice) will probably have Thredson on the way in the first few scenes of the next episode.

Other Bits

  • “Don’t look so frightened, OK, I don’t want to hurt you. I want this to be as painless for you as possible, so I will give you a choice; I can either cut your throat or I can strangled you, I don’t believe in guns.” – More great delivery by Zachary Quinto
  • Why did we need to see the guy from Save the Last Dance kick Sister Jude out of the band? We already knew she was at a low point in her life, did they really need to add that in there?
  • Until Kit was attacked, I’d forgotten about Arden’s monsters in the forest.
  • Speaking Kit, he’s going back to jail…right? Even if it’s proven that he’s not Bloody Face, he still killed his lawyer.
  • I’ve decided to bet on who makes it to the final episode of the season: Kit
  • On a note unrelated to this specific episode [SPOILER ALERT] Dylan McDermott is returning to the American Horror Story universe as the modern day Bloody Face. This could be amah-zing.
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thoughts on american horror story: the origins of monstrosity

Previously on AHS: I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)

WHO WE MET

The Origin of Bloody Flace

It always comes back to the parents, or lack thereof, when we look at the origins of psychos. This makes Thredson’s journey to becoming a murderer pretty standard (abandoned and lacking basic emotional connections), but I found it kind of cool that he really is a psychiatrist and didn’t just pose as one at Briarcliff. He’s like a special kind of crazy!

He chose Lana to be his replacement mommy because she met the age requirement (33 years old) and he saw something special in her. Unfortunately, Lana gets caught trying to escape, which blasts Thredson back to reality, and he prepares to kill her. What followed next was one of the creepier scenes from this season, with Lana again re-convincing Thredson that she’s his mother and him nursing like a baby. She’s relatively safe, for now. Whether she makes it to the end of the season should be fun to see, especially since we know the AHS writers have no problem killing major characters.

Arden’s Tuberculosis Experiments

Knowing that Dr. Arden’s TB experiments are done in the name of medical discovery makes him the least scary of the “bad guys” this season. Sure, he’s a former Nazi. Yes, he does horrible things to Briarcliff patients. But he’s trying to create an immune booster and these people are simply the collateral damage human volunteers. In his mind all of this “human waste” is being used for the greater good. How admirable.

We learn that the Monsignor didn’t know what was happening, which really means he knew something bad was going on but since he didn’t see it he could pretend it wasn’t all that gruesome. I couldn’t quite tell if Arden has something else on the Monsignor or if this was his big secret, but either way, he gets to continue his experiments at Briarcliff.

Sister Eunice kills Mr. Goodman and with that, Arden’s tracks are covered. Unless there is more we don’t know, I view Arden, as well as the Monsignor, as the most expendable at this point. In the context of this season they are merely bad people and not quite evil or even supernatural.

Little Jenny Reynolds

A little girl who kills people is abandoned by her mother at Briarcliff. Sister Eunice helps her escape. She kills again. The other minor stories this season (e.g., the possessed farm boy and “Anne Frank”) have been part of the larger story, but I don’t see how this was. I’m not complaining; the last thing this story needs is another mystery to figure out. However, I have to ask: what was the point of Jenny Reynolds? Did this story have some relevance that I missed? Is the tall, bearded-man in the brown jacket real or was he merely a figment Jenny makes up as an alibi for killing her friends and family?

Other Bits

  • “You can scream all you want. Obviously the basement is soundproof.” Something about Zachary Quinto’s emphasis on ‘obviously’ here really made this line for me.
  • This episode made me crave croque monsieur.
  • Tossing in a psych study (the Harlow studies) was a nice touch, but what else happened to Arden at that orphanage.
  • I can’t tell if they’re saying Hans Grouper or Hans Gruber, so I’m going to just call him Hans from now on.
  • I really wish they would have started the movie-style flashbacks in the first episodes. Waiting until now is just distracting.
  • Sister Eunice’s brief red lingerie rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” was creepy and hot, simultaneously.
  • Given all that we know, Arden and Thredson are both just as likely to be the Bloody Face in 2012.
  • Can Kit please get more than a phone call next week?!
  • Speaking of next week, the preview for ‘Dark Cousin’ looks amazing.
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thoughts on american horror story: i am anne frank (part 2)

Previously on AHS: I Am Anne Frank (Part 1.)

WHO WE MET

I am (NOT) Anne Frank

“Anne Frank” is really Charlotte Brown, a mother who handled her post-partum psychosis by making herself believe she was the real Anne Frank. She saw a play, tattooed herself and the “Anne Frank” persona was born; so much for a fun twist on history. However, in her diligent (and obsessive) research on all things Nazi-related, she inadvertently stumbled upon a photo of Adolph Hitler with a young Dr. Arden in the background. Before she’s deemed crazy and lobotomized, Sister Jude goes to Mr. Goodman with her evidence in the hopes that he can confirm Arden is really Hans Gruber. Goodman notes that it’s entirely possible since Operation Paperclip brought Nazi scientists to the U.S. and gave them new identities. It all sounds about right and melds with what we’ve seen Arden do thus far. In X-Files, this operation helped create a human-alien hybrid. If that’s the case here, it definitely helps connect things neatly to Kit’s story.

Breaking Habits

Unfortunately, Charlotte Brown’s episode made Sister Jude completely doubt her ability to do the job. When she finds out that Lana is missing, she realizes she’s finished at Briarcliff. Frank, the security guard, only adds to her misery by tossing in his two cents; no matter what Sister Jude does, she will always be a woman and therefore she won’t have their respect. In a moment of serious backsliding, she folds up her habit, slips into something more comfortable, heads to the nearest bar and leaves with the first guy to buy her drink. In the morning, she steal his lighter and sneaks out before he can wake up. Not sure what direction they have in mind for all of this, but it’s safe to assume Goodman will let her know that Arden was indeed a Nazi. It’s unclear if anyone knows she quit her post, so perhaps, she can resume work like nothing happened.

Grace’s Alien Encounter

Although Kit is pardoned from his sterilization appointment, Grace is still scheduled and locked in solitary. Similar to Kit in the first episode, Grace is visited by aliens and taken to some white room (the spaceship perhaps?) where she meets Alma. This is proof that Alma is alive and Kit’s account of the events was strange but true. Alma is pregnant and relatively calm, but that’s all we know about her current state. When Kit sees Grace in the commons room, she’s bloodied in a way that makes it seem like she was sterilized. We’ll have to wait until next week to learn if she made it to her procedure or if all of that was the result of her own alien impregnation.

The Bloody Face Reveal

If you have no idea who Bloody Face is, now is the time to stop reading. [SPOILER ALERT] We learn that Thredson is Bloody Face. He got Kit to confess to the crimes, not so that he’d have peace of mind as a doctor and be able to keep Kit from the electric chair, but so he’d have someone to take the fall for the murders. That part of this plot was perfection. As creepy as I found him after his therapy session with Lana last week, I genuinely believed he had Kit’s best interest in mind. Lana, who was also foolish enough to foil her own escape a few weeks just so Kit wouldn’t be on the loose, let Thredson take her to his home. She tries to call her friend, Thredson stops her. She gets excited about letting everyone know about how horrible Briarcliff truly is, Thredson lets her know she’ll be telling “his story”. She tries to run, Thredson catches her in his workshop, which is where he makes all of his lovely human furniture.

With the floor literally (and figuratively) pulled out from under her, Lana wakes up chained to the floor, Saw-style,  in Thredson’s basement. She sees Wendy and Thredson tells her that she needs to kiss Wendy’s frozen body, to continue the therapy of course. Even without the Bloody Face mask this scene would have been disturbing enough, but then he tells her not to worry about Wendy biting, since he’s taken out all of her teeth. I’d like to believe that Lana makes it out of this, outside of Kit, she’s had it the worst in this horror story. However, Thredson only promised that she’d write his story and win a Pulitzer, and she doesn’t have to be kept alive for any of that to happen.

Other Bits

  • Aliens. Religion. Nazis. Serial killers. This season certainly has a lot going on, but will it be neatly tied up in the end or will all the parts result in multiple, yet equally terrifying, horror stories?
  • “I don’t work here anymore Frank. As a matter of fact, I never did, you can tell her I said that.” Because Thredson’s house was over-the-top creepy, they really could have done without this line, especially if they wanted the big reveal to have more of a punch.
  • I almost feel like the way Shelley monstrous looks after all of Arden’s experiments is subtle commentary, almost wagging a finger at women who are promiscuous. I’d say I’m over-thinking it, but then I remember that Murphy has kind of done this before (e.g., The Carver and Kimber on Nip/Tuck).
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thoughts on american horror story: i am anne frank (part 1)

Previously on AHS: Tricks and Treats and Nor’easter

WHO WE MET

  • The New Girl: “Anne Frank” (played by Franka Potente, Run Lola Run, the Bourne film series)
  • The Abbess: Mother Superior (played by Barbara Tarbuck, General Hospital)
  • The Law: Detective Byers (played by Matthew John Armstrong, Heroes, American Dreams) and Detective Connors (played by Joel McKinnon Miller, Big Love)
  • The Silent Aide: Daniel (played by Casey Wyman)

Anne Frank and ‘Hans Gruber’

What if Anne Frank didn’t die in Auschwitz and instead kept the fact that she was still alive in 1964 a secret so that the power of her diaries and story lived on? I like the concept, especially since it also adds another layer to the darkness that is Dr. Arden.

When “Anne” shows up at the Asylum, her identity is a mystery, but we do know she’s not scared of starting bar fights. After seeing Arden and recognizing him as Hans Gruber, one of the doctors from her time in Auschwitz, she reveals that she is Anne Frank. She tells Sister Jude that was rescued by an American solider who later died in the Korean War. Her story is slightly validated when the prostitute who escaped from Arden two weeks ago notes that among the pictures she found, there was also Nazi paraphernalia. Sister Jude takes all of her suspicions to Monsignor Howard who essentially tells her to go away. Based on the warning call, we learn that at the very least Howard knows about Dr. Arden’s past, but at the very worst, he knows about everything, including the highly unethical and immoral experiments Arden is conducting.

Anne and Arden have their last meeting of the episode in that creepy lab. Unlike Shelley, Anne has a little “assistance”, which she uses to shoot Arden in the leg. Please let Anne put Shelley out of her misery and follow that up by shooting Arden straight through the eyes.

Grace’s Past

Grace lies to Kit and tells him that she was framed her for the murder of her parents. The real story is that her father was molesting her, and she killed him, along with her stepmother. So she’s guilty of murder, but the morality of her crime is a grey area…if she’s telling the truth. Because she lied to Kit, and was only honest after getting caught, I’m forced to doubt her every word. Maybe she’s the real Bloody Face or even helping Arden find out more about Kit. I don’t know, but I’m (mostly) sure I no longer trust her.

Kit and the Doctors

Dr. Thredson isn’t convinced that Kit is insane or guilty. Yet somehow, he does believe that Kit killed Alma, along with Donna Burton (the librarian) and Allison Rydell (the secretary). If the societal pressures of hiding his interracial marriage are the justification for killing those women, fine, but that still makes him guilty of murder. On top of those almost literal mind games, he’s dealing with Dr. Arden, who is obsessed with finding the spider bot and figuring out what government agency sent Kit. Neither doctor is entirely sane, and dealing with them is a great way to make Kit crazy. Because I still believe he’s innocent (yes, this also means I believe in the aliens), I find it unfortunate that he’s about to confess his crimes to Sister Jude. The only bright side will be if she finally realizes he didn’t kill anyone, but both have pretty much the whole place now working against them, so it’s unlikely that would do any good.

Lana and Thredson

Lana agrees to aversion therapy so that Dr. Thredson can say she’s “cured” and she can finally be released. She’s shown pictures of naked women, which includes her girlfriend, and given doses of apomorphine. The combination is designed to make her grow disgusted with any sexual feelings towards women. Thredson goes on to bring in Daniel, a patient volunteer, and instructs Lana to partake in dual-masturbation. Huge shock, this all fails to have any effect. Unless we’re talking the effect it had on raising Thredson’s creep-factor. Significant impact there! Although Lana wasn’t converted to heterosexuality, Thredson still believes she has no reason to be at Briarcliff and he promises that next week, he’ll take her away with him. Somehow aiding her escape is preferred over simply finding some way to deem her clinically sane. I’m sure Thredson, ever the consummate professional, will make sure this plan works without fail.

Other bits

  •  Either Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuk were huge fans of Big Love, or Matt Ross (Charles Montgomery), Chloë Sevigny (Shelley) and now Joel Miller (Detective Connors) have Chrisi Karvonides to thank for their roles.
  • What is with this show and twin boys??
  • The scene where Thredson described how/why Kit killed Alma was VERY tough to watch.
  • This has been the second mention/allusion to the serpent and the apple. I’ll now spend the rest of the season waiting for it to happen again.
  • I can’t see Grace without thinking about Brittany Murphy in Don’t Say a Word.
  • Hans Gruber is a very original name for a villain.
  • “Self doubt is a sure sign of sanity.” – Grace
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thoughts on american horror story: tricks and treats

Previously on AHS: Welcome to Briarcliff

(Different seasons, different characters, different storyline. But it’s still worth noting that last year’s 2-part Halloween episode was significantly scarier than ‘Tricks and Treats’)

WHO WE MET

  • The Head Doctor: Dr. Oliver Thredson (played by Zachary Quinto, Heroes, American Horror Story, Star Trek, etc.)
  • The Possessed Farm Boy: Jed Potter (played by Devon Graye, Dexter)
  • The Priest: Father Malachi (played by John Aylward, ER)
  • The Hit-and-Run Victim: Missy Stone (played by Chelsey Valentine)

Jed’s Exorcism

The Potter family comes to Briarcliff because they are concerned about their son, Jed. After finding Jed in the barn, covered in the blood of their best cow he’d ripped open and killed, they decide he’s possessed. This theory is further confirmed by the strange language Jed is muttering. Your standard possession symptoms. Dr. Thredson thinks the boy can be cured with medicine and other by-the-book methods, while Father Malachi gets his exorcism on and tries to free Jed from whatever demon or being has a hold on him. Sister Jude is kicked out of the room because of her affliction (aka she’s not a man), but is later brought back in when Malachi fails to get the job done. Nothing seems to work and Jed taunts Sister Jude, reminding her of the “53 dicks” she’s had in her mouth. She snaps, strangles him and it’s not until the boy dies that the ‘possessor’ leaves his body…and seemingly enters Sister Mary.

The Escapees

Lana is given electric shock therapy to erase her memories, but it’s not entirely effective and she is able to keep notes on the things she can still remember. She also recalls the secret tunnel in the basement and decides it’s a means for escaping. She brings Grace in on the plan, but doesn’t give her all the details since she doesn’t want Grace to bring Kit along with them. It’s kind of funny that Lana is so sure Kit is guilty when she’s innocent and still locked away at Briarcliff. A glitch with the exorcism messes up the electricity and all the doors open, giving the three an opportunity to escape. Lana sacrifices her own chance at freedom to make sure Kit stays locked up and yells for the guards when he and Grace try to make a run for it, which was quite the asshole move on her part. Because I’m convinced of Kit’s innocence, it only made me dislike her character. Lana is rewarded for being a traitor by not receiving a whipping from Sister Jude. Instead, she watches as Kit takes the lashes for himself and Grace. Chivalry at its finest.

The “Good” Doctor

Dr. Arden is so twisted, and I love it! He turns down Shelley’s advances because she’s a dirty whore in his eyes. This is understandable, given her general attitude of always being down for some sexual action and the time this show is set in. But as we soon learn, Arden’s dislike of whores goes just a little bit deeper than that. He invites a prostitute over for a romantic candlelight dinner, which she ruins by being forward in a way that turns him off. He requests that she put on a nun’s habit, remove her skanky makeup and prepare for whatever he has plans, which I’m assuming is hours of respectable, strictly missionary-style lovemaking. Unfortunately, she sees his BDSM photos, which show women who are bruised, battered, beaten and possibly dead. He catches her, she bites him and flees into the night. Knowing what we know about Arden now, it makes sense now why he’s so nice to naive little Sister Mary.

Sister Jude’s Past

Last week’s red lingerie was just a taste of what Sister Jude has going on beneath the surface. It seems that before she gave her mind, body and soul to the Lord, she was singing in nightclubs and giving it up to any soldier that would look her way. Also, she once pulled a DUI and hit a little girl, Missy Stone. We don’t know if she was tried for that crime and we can’t be sure if that was the event that sent her life in a more chaste direction, but it should be fun to see the rest of her secrets unravel. It’s hard figuring out who the “bad guy” is in all of this, and the more we learn about Sister Jude, the more I’m thinking it’s not her. I believe she’s the way she is to somehow fix all the mistakes she feels she made before and not because she’s the real Bloody Face.

Other Observations

  • “I’m a school teacher, they won’t understand.” Something about Wendy‘s last words before being stabbed by Bloody Face just felt weird to me. I just can’t put my finger on exactly why they seemed off.
  • Dr. Arden and Sister Mary Eunice’s little exchange with the candied apple reminded me of Eve and the serpent. Given the religious themes of this season, it’s possible there’s some symbolism there.
  • Sister Jude’s comment that Kit is a “James Dean copycat” is pretty spot-on.
  • Leo is definitely dead, but will Teresa escape Bloody Face? Also, who the hell is Bloody Face?!
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