'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: The Future Is Coming - Rolling Stone
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‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ Recap: The Future Is Coming

Kit, Alma and Grace try to make a life after Briarcliff

American Horror StoryAmerican Horror Story

Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters in 'American Horror Story'

Prashant Gupta/FX

We’re coming into the home stretch, and Ryan Murphy is putting the pedal to the metal! Full throttle! God, I wish I knew anything about baseball or cars to flesh out those idioms, but you know what I mean. Forget it, everyone. It’s Alien Town! 

The episode opens on 1967, three years after the release of Kit, Grace and Alma. They are all living together with their respective babies in some kind of polygamist situation. We see a blood-drenched Kit stagger to the Lazy Boy clutching an ax, having obviously just slaughtered someone. A baby’s voice calls out, “Daddy?” And I knew immediately that Ryan Murphy himself wrote this episode.

But before we hear the wet squelch of an ax being pulled out of Grace’s torso, she and Alma look after their two cutie-pies and seem. . . pretty much okay with the setup. Well, Grace seems okay with the setup, inasmuch as it gives her plenty of time to obsessively draw the aliens over and over again. Alma is perturbed, understandably. Just what every woman dreams of when she gets married: to be kidnapped by extraterrestrials and impregnated, only to be brought back to life and forced to live with an insane sister-wife. Or maybe I’m just trying to rationalize what happens next. I hate to even drop the bomb this early, as so much of the episode is a slow, interesting exploration of Kit, Alma and Grace’s life together as the only people who know about the existence of aliens. It was a refreshing change to spent some real time exploring one storyline, examining how Grace’s positive view of her abduction horrifies Alma. Actually, Alma starts out as whatever the female version of a mensch is, demanding Kit spend more time with Grace, but there’s only so much alien talk one former abductee can take. “Of course they’ll come back. For Kit!” Grace says, beaming. Combine the growing fear of re-abduction with regular ol’ interracial polygamy hate from the townspeople, and I sort of get why Alma snaps and axes Grace. It comes out of absolutely nowhere, but I get it.

But enough about that: where in God’s name is Jessica Lange? Sister Jude continues to be locked up in Briarcliff, having been renamed Betty Drake. Monsignor Timothy, who has been made Cardinal of New York, visits her to tell her that Briarcliff has been purchased by the state as an overflow facility for the criminally deranged, and man, are there a lot of them! They just start streaming in! The Monsignor swears to get Jude out, but I don’t even understand why she’s still in. Is it because she knows too much? I guess that makes some sense, except the man already faked her death to cover up his own failings. Meanwhile, the Angel of Death is among Briarcliff’s new residents – or at least a menacing, fabulous, chain-smoking bitch who looks exactly like her is. The Angel of Death glowers and preens and shivs a guy in the common room while Jude cowers in terror.

After fending off the Angel’s sexual advancements, Jude finds herself seated across from Dr. Miranda Crump, where she learns some interesting things about her situation. The Monsignor left roughly two and a half years ago, meaning Jude has lost years of time. Pepper died soon after. She has been repeatedly attacking her roommates, no matter who they put her with. Maybe Sister Jude really is insane. Oh, and not even the state thinks it’s medically significant that Pepper suddenly gained “normal” intelligence and speech? Forget it, me. It’s Insane Asylum Town.

Now it’s 1969 and Lana is promoting her book, Maniac, which deals with her abduction by Bloody Face. As she read a passage to an eager bookstore audience, Dr. Thredson and Wendy appear to challenge her about the details of her story. Apparently Lana sprinkled in a few details to make things more interesting, claiming Bloody Face brought home another woman to abuse and, um, pretending Wendy was just her roommate. Do either of these falsehoods make sense? If Thredson actually did bring home another woman, that woman would now be famous as well. Wasn’t Lana exposed as a lesbian following her initial police report? Wasn’t that why her two lesbian friends scurried away from the press when they arrived to take pictures of Lana at Wendy’s tomb? After searching desperately for her partner’s body, I don’t think Lana would flip on Wendy so hard, but whatever.

The point we’re supposed to take away from this sequence is that Lana is now a fame-hungry dirtbag, even when Kit stops by the reading for a visit. As they reminisce of old times/nightmares over coffee (while fans wait in the bookstore, apparently? Lol!), Kit catches Grace up on his life. After Alma killed Grace, she was herself imprisoned in Briarcliff. I guess that means Kit called the police and ratted her out, seeing as how Grace was not legally alive when she was killed. Didn’t the police think that was odd when they investigated the murder? Wouldn’t such a bizarre discrepancy have lead them back to Briarcliff and to the mismanagement of Monsignor Timothy himself? Guess not! Either way, Kit still visited Alma before she died of a sudden heart attack, which is how he learned Sister Jude is still alive, albeit extremely confused about what’s real and what’s a plot line from The Flying Nun. “They don’t know, but I don’t need the hat. I can fly without it,” she tells Kit. “One of these days, I’m going to fly my ass right out of there.” While Lana is shocked to find out that Jude is alive, she’s too busy writing a book on Lee Emerson and the stunted male psyche to, you know, actually drive back to Briarcliff again. And frankly, I don’t blame her! The police in that town (not to mention the state prison system) are either beyond incompetent or straight-up evil, and the thought of trying to go through them to have Briarcliff shut down seems impossible. Though I have to ask, how did Lana write her book without exposing the insane goings-on at Briarcliff? That’s where she met Bloody Face in the first place, after which he was reinstated by Sister Mary Eunice. That wasn’t enough to have the authorities interested in the place? Apparently not, as Kit tells Lana the responsibility is on her to reveal the truth.

Meanwhile, back in the modern day, Johnny has finally managed to track down a copy of Maniac, which he plans to bring to his elderly mother and reveal his identity as her supposedly dead son. Good plan, Johnny! Really top-notch stuff. The show has a lot to cram in next week, and I’m excited to see what they’ll have to do to pull it off. Do the aliens come for Kit? Why haven’t they come for him already? The aliens are going to fix Alma again, aren’t they? Are the babies actually in any way special or significant? Did the demon really not leap from Sister Mary Eunice to someone else’s body when she died, even though that’s how the demon got inside her in the first place? And finally, the most important unanswered question of all: what, I mean what, is that thing that ripped off Adam Levine’s arm lo these many weeks ago? It just straight ripped it off! I’m ready to have my mind and socks blown off by the truth.

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