This week's episode of American Horror Story: Asylum featured the theme from Candyman. NEED I SAY MORE? That music immediately put this episode into the "A" grade category right there. It's no secret that this series has been heavy on references, homages, and straight-up rip-offs all along, but initially that was to its detriment in my opinion. I remember being like, "Nice horror mixtape, Ryan Murphy, too bad nothing is original enough for future generations to pay homage to." But as we all know Season 1 sorted itself out into something much more original, and that spirit of originality positively courses through this season. Sure, we're still dealing with a pastiche of elements, but Asylum has felt so singular and refreshing that even its co-opting of Phillip Glass' famous Candyman score felt wholly new. "Spilt Milk" also marked this season's second outing from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who oversaw the similarly stunning "I am Anne Frank pt. 2" and last season's "Birth." No really, several times throughout this episode my jaw-dropped at just how fantastic everything looked, those swooping camera movements, the clever angles (like that overhead shot that made the asylum's driveway look like devil horns). How is this show ON TELEVISION? What a treat this episode was! Oh and plus some major sh*t went down. MAJOR. Not bad for an antepenultimate episode.
Let's talk about it!
So first Bloody Face Jr. got real high and invited over a lactating hooker.
Typical psychopathic stoner-with-munchies type stuff. I'm the same way with Taco Bell cheese nachos.
Meanwhile in the '60s, Dr. Thredson was pretending to be Oprah or whatever by reuniting Kit with Grace and the baby. But ALSO like Oprah, he wanted to be the only diva in the room so he had Pepper sent to the bathtub room. (Turns out Pepper doesn't actually have super powers, it's up to the aliens to slap scalpels out of peoples' hands and at the moment the aliens were probably taking a bathroom break or watching The Wire and couldn't intervene here.) Just kidding about those Oprah jokes though, because with all the unsolicited advice on raising that baby, Dr. Thredson was really just being more like Dr. Spock. Because Star Trek. (Someone has already thought of this joke haven't they? Sorrybye)
So yeah, at this point Kit's very strong paternal feelings subsided for a second so that he could ask Grace about the time she got shot to death and went up in a UFO and came back 9 months pregnant. Grace said something about time working differently "up there" but the reality was that the aliens jammed a full grown baby UP IN HER BUSINESS.
I mean, yeah. Then Grace tried to claim that the aliens were super chill, but I'm sorry, chill beings don't jam watermelon-sized egg sacs into French women, you know?
Also, even though Kit was super stoked to have Grace back and he loved her all kinds, he was still curious about what happened to the OTHER lady that he loved so much before he loved Grace so much: his wife!
Grace had some bad news for him, based on something she saw while floating around naked in a dark ocean of goo.
If the naked butt on this floating lady was any indication, Kit's ex wife was D-E-D DEAD.
At this point the Monsignor came in with a band of baby snatchers and took the baby away!
It seemed that ever since the Monsignor had murdered Sister Eunice, he'd gotten to be way more of a dick than usual? (Did the demon go in him? The Angel of Death geisha claimed she was taking "both" of Eunice's souls, but did she make a mistake?) I'm just saying, the Monsignor was extra-mean and terrible in this episode. Anyway, Kit was not very excited about this turn of events.
In more positive news, ol Judy's last-minute plea for Mother Superior to free Lana from the asylum ended up paying off big time!
Not only did Mother Superior arrange for Lana's freedom, she also hooked her up with a huge folder FULL of scoops! All the scoops Lana had ever dreamed of, in one manila folder! As it turned out, Mother Superior did not love Briarcliff very much and wanted it annihilated completely. Mother Superior was one superior motha!
I liked the part when Lana promised Judy she'd come back for her. Call me a soft touch, but Lana's ability to forgive & forget is one of the most touching aspects of this whole plotline. I mean, fortunately this would be a hypothetical situation (so far) but if anybody ever tricked ME into getting electroshock therapy, I'm not sure I'd get over it so soon. Like, MAYBE I'd eventually come around, but whoever did it to me better be prepared to have bleach thrown on their jeans AT LEAST.
So then the Candyman theme kicked in (which is THE BEST and that movie is THE BEST ALSO) and we got this amazing split-screen scene in which Lana (in plainclothes) had to slip by Dr. Thredson on the stairway. At first Kit saw that she had the recorded confession in her purse and he momentarily considered ratting her out in exchange for visitation rights with his baby, but instead he distracted Thredson and helped Lana escape. Such a good scene, and the splitscreen meant it had TWICE the tension. Sorry to keep bringing this up, but this show is frequently the most dazzling thing on television, filmmaking wise. Do they give Oscars for TV? Maybe they should. Think about it, Mr. Oscar. R.I.P. Life of Pi.
This moment was the best and was instantly legendary: Dr. Thredson realized that Lana had just walked out the building and when he ran out to see her, this is what he saw:
AHAHAHA LANA YOU GO. When you think about it, flipping the bird is easily one of the silliest gestures we can perform, but sometimes it's really just perfect. This was one of those times.
But even though Lana was freshly busted out of Briarcliff and with a full bucket of scoops at her disposal, she wasted no time in hopping in the shower, visiting a salon, and then hiding out in Dr. Thredson's living room with a loaded gun.
I mean *I* might've taken a few weeks off just to kind of recover a bit but THAT'S why I'm not getting all the scoops, I guess.
Look at that shadow! Anyway, at this point Dr. Thredson was clearly trying to distract Lana before the police arrived, so he told her about all the times he sexually violated her dead ex-gf.
(Was this Clea Duvall's favorite day of filming or what? It must be every established actress' dream to play a nude corpse being violated by a psychopath. It can't ALL be But I'm a Cheerleader, girl! I hope you got your full day rate!)
Oh, and if that wasn't disturbing enough, we also got present-day flashbacks involving Bloody Face Jr. suckling on tig ol' bitties and also attacking the owner of said tig ol' bitties. Bad times all around.
So yeah, then the cops arrived and Dr. Thredson started boasting that he would probably not get in that much trouble for being Bloody Face, he'd just get to go chill in Briarcliff like Kit had done. But that idea was NOT acceptable to Lana.
She shot his head off! It was AMAZING. I know, I know, violence in entertainment and all that. But we can make an exception for this dude right? If anyone on TV deserved to have their brains splattered all over a 60's modern wet bar, it was him. BYE MANIAC.
In what I'm hoping was a big shout-out to Phantasm, Lana paid her respects to her ex-gf's grave in a super stark-looking mortuary. I half-expected the Tall Man to jump out and throw a metallic orb at her, but Lana was walking with such conviction that I'm sure she would've HANDLED IT AND HIM. And then outside her car was swarmed by paparazzi and like a true BAMF she rolled down her window and told them to all read her book. BOOM.
So this made me laugh: Apparently just as notable as surviving an unjust incarceration in the world's worst asylum was being a lesbian. Haha, never forget that among all of this season's biggest nightmare scenarios, right up there at the top was just being a woman or a gay in the '60s. Ugh, the '60s. So anyway, yeah, here was the Monsignor reading all of his bad press.
Despite Lana's series of small victories, Judy wasn't having the best time. Sure, she and the Monsignor had bonded over their plan to murder Sister Eunice, but those Kumbaya-esque times were over and the Monsignor was back to being THE WORST. Fortunately before he had her dragged off and thrown into solitary confinement, she told him off REAL GOOD. Testify, Judy!
Oh, and Kit was released. I'd forgotten that the entire reason he was in the asylum was because people thought he was Bloody Face. But now they knew Dr. Thredson had been him all along, so his release was as simple as that. Well, not THAT simple, seeing as he still needed to get Grace and his baby back. Fortunately he had a pretty clever plan!
Yeah, in exchange for not corroborating Lana's story, Kit got the Monsignor to allow a convicted axe murderer to go free. Technically she had been killed and therefore was off-the-grid, paperwork wise. But still. Typical Monsignor decision.
So then there they were, America's most adorable pair of occasionally murderous alien abductees, moving back into Kit's home ready to live out their happily ever afters.
But that's when Kit realized SOMEBODY WAS IN HIS BEDROOM.
It was his ex-wife! NOT dead and NOT butt-naked. Plus with a baby! Oh, those crafty aliens. So yeah, Kit was no longer a handsome widower looking to settle down with his new baby mama. He was now an unintentional bigamist poised to raise a whole new generation of genetically modified mini-Kits! (Or mini-Bloody Faces? Haha just sayin'!)
Meanwhile Lana was pretty much ready to back-alley abort her potentially unholy spawn, but a last minute montage of all the carnage she'd experienced at Briarcliff made her change her mind about it.
And you know what? I bought it. It didn't seem TOO crazy to believe she'd change her mind about keeping Thredson's baby. Like I said, she had a capacity for random acts of empathy that nicely complemented her occasional bouts of badassery. ("I am tough, but I am no cookie.")
I loved the brief glimpses into Lana's notes that she supplied to detectives, but it bummed me out to see that she didn't know Shelly's last name. Poor Shelly! Not even in death would she be fully respected.
Pepper's mugshot was amazing, obviously.
True to her word (but after admittedly taking her sweet time), Lana returned to Briarcliff with a court order demanding to see Judy. Unfortunately the Monsignor was still being a total dick and seemed to relish delivering some bad news:
He claimed she was DEAD!
And a fake flashback seemed to confirm it! But we are wise to this show's ways and after Lana departed (crestfallen) we tracked over to some weird, grimy nook of the asylum where Judy was being held:
Aw, poor Judy. Very upsetting! Stay strong, girl.
Time continued to leap forward, and the episode ended shortly after Lana gave birth. After making it clear that she didn't want to see the child at all and it should be given to the adoptive parents straight away, Lana was chagrined to learn that the baby wouldn't drink formula and would she please breastfeed it? She reluctantly agreed to, in the most dramatic way possible:
Haha, classic Lana.
So the episode began and ended with breastfeeding imagery and has now narrowed its plotlines down to Judy's plight and also the present-day Bloody Face scenario. In my opinion this show really wants us to believe that Dylan McDermott is the offspring of Lana and Thredson, but is that TOO obvious? And isn't it sort of outrageous to suggest that breastfeeding or lackthereof could turn someone into a psychopath? Personally I'm hoping that it's all misdirection and it's actually one of the Kit's alien babies that ends up being Bloody Face, thus tying those two plotlines together. I'm not sure how that would work, exactly, but I guess I'm crossing my fingers for a twist.
Even if we don't get a significant twist, though, I am really enjoying how well this show has been wrapping up its disparate plotlines. Very satisfying so far! At the beginning of this season it was very reasonable to fear that Asylum had bitten off more than it could chew, but over the past few episodes it's scored touchdown after touchdown (football reference). TWO episodes to go! Very excited, you guys. Love this show so much.
... Do you have any good Bloody Face theories?
... Hold on, did they leave Pepper in the asylum??
... Is the demon inside the Monsignor or is he just a dick?
... Isn't Candyman so good?