Um, okay. Hello. That was a GREAT EPISODE, am I right? Yes I am right, no need to answer that question, it was extremely rhetorical. No really, "The Coat Hanger" was just about as good an episode of TV as you can get without being a series finale or a standalone episode featuring Vincent D'Onofrio pinned under a subway train. (Homicide reference, deal w/it.) It seems like every week I enthuse about yet another element that makes American Horror Story one of the most forward-thinking and best shows on television, but this week's events brought to mind yet another great thing about it: This show is basically surprise-proof. When so many current serials base entire seasons around the reveal of a single secret, AHS is so multi-faceted and all-encompassing that the big reveals barely even matter. Think about Season 1: Did it matter that we'd all guessed early on that Violet was a ghost? No, it didn't. Surprise or not, the reveal was still emotional and satisfying, not to mention we were plenty distracted by all the other ghost drama. And now in Season 2 we've had a series of reveals up to and including one that you guys called weeks ago: The modern day bloody face is not only Dr. Thredson's son, but he's played by Dylan McDermott! I did not recognize his voice from the 911 call a few weeks back, but you guys did, and even after you pointed it out, I still felt surprised and pleased by this week's reveal that he is indeed our resident slasher. So yeah, it's a huge compliment to Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for devising such a twisty, ridiculous show that the mysteries are just plain beside the point. The main surprise continues to simply just be this show's trashy audacity, and "The Coat Hanger" found new and gross (and wonderful) ways to keep us gasping. Let's talk about it!
We began in the office of a therapist/hypnotist played by national treasure Brooke Smith, perhaps forever known as the girl in the well from Silence of the Lambs, but more importantly the star of the sincerely excellent and prescient movie Series 7: The Contenders (seriously, seek it out). And look who her new patient was!
Hipster Dylan McDermott! Nice to see you, fella! We could tell by his faux mullet that he was not right in the head, but especially when he started reminiscing about skinning animals as a child. It wasn't long before he was more or less just straight-up admitting that he's a serial killer.
And not only a serial killer, but Bloody Face! His father was Dr. Thredson (who apparently would become widely known as a killer after the events of 1964). So, yeah, this episode didn't even mess around with creating a mystery about who his mother was either:
Poor Lana! I guess that's what all the vomiting was about in the previous episode. (Again, you guys called this one.) For a demon-possessed nun, Sister Mary Eunice seemed pretty stoked about Lana's pregnancy, but that probably had to do with the fact that she could sense the baby would be a serial killer. Needless to say, Lana was looking into other options.
Yup, per the episode's title, the coat hanger would come into play but for arguably its second most popular use.
Yeah, this was one of the crazier things about this episode: It straight-up skipped to a pretty major thing. Last week left off with Sister Jude stabbing that evil Santa ostensibly to death with a letter opener, but this week she woke up restrained to a bed in the mental ward!
You'd be forgiven if you worried you'd accidentally skipped an episode, but not so: Through a series of incredibly far-fetched events, the entire asylum had conspired to frame Judy for that one security guard's murder.
In flashbacks we saw all the asylum heavies (even Mother Superior) testify against Sister Jude to some dude sitting behind a desk. They all agreed that Sister Jude had gone on a rampage and had killed the security guard (when actually Sister Eunice had) and then unfairly stabbed Santa dude in the neck for no reason. Obviously certain of these people were straight-up lying, but the grossest person was the Monsignor who seemed weirdly sympathetic toward Santa dude and took every word he said at face value. He even allowed Santa dude to come in and kiss Sister Jude on the forehead!
Haha, Ian McShane is the best. His character is totally loathsome, but let's be real, he's kind of hilarious.
But anyway, back to how awful the Monsignor is: While he was busy sniffing some of Sister Jude's sexy underwear, Sister Eunice came in and immediately got up on his jock, future Pope-wise:
So yeah, I don't mean to shock you guys, but I'm thinking the Monsignor is kind of corrupt? I don't know. Maybe what he's doing is par for the course in certain diocese. But yeah, he's a bad Monsignor in my book.
Meanwhile Lana paid Dr. Thredson a visit in the weird supply closet jail she'd set up. (By the way, can we talk about how easy it is for these inmates to come and go from their cells? Those doors don't lock? In this episode, at least twice, Lana—a woman who legit escaped from this joint only weeks earlier—pretended to lie down in bed and then immediately got up and walked the hallway with a weapon in hand. Going out on a limb here once again: Briarcliff does not have the best security.)
Anyway, Lana and Kit decided that they needed Dr. Thredson to ADMIT to his crimes so that Kit could be fully exonerated. And Lana knew just the way: She'd tell him she was pregnant and then hold the child's life hostage by the tip of an unfurled coat hanger.
And he did so! Thredson wanted that baby alive so badly (maybe he had a sense that it would grow up to resemble Dylan McDermott?) that he immediately owned up to his lady-skinning shenanigans. (Notably he did not discuss Alma, the crime for which Kit was originally nabbed, but whatever). The confession was recorded!
But just when Kit was riding high with this temporary victory, he had an interesting run-in with Dr. Arden:
As it turned out, Dr. Arden had become a full believer in the existence of aliens, and always a mad scientist at heart, he decided he wanted to conjure them by harming Kit. (Which, oh yeah, they did tend to show up whenever Kit was in danger.) Kit, for his part, was surprisingly down.
To be clear, he was agreeing to let Dr. Arden "almost murder" him. So, you know. A reasonable favor.
Meanwhile over in the baptismal pool, the bad Santa dude was having a full-blown conversion to Christianity. Or, at least, that's what the Monsignor THOUGHT.
I am not going to lie, but I really enjoyed watching the Monsignor get almost-drowned here. Very satisfying!
At this point Lana decided that she'd gotten what she needed from Thredson, so the only thing left was to kill him with the same coat hanger she'd used on her own uterus. Because did I mention she gave herself a coat hanger abortion in this episode? No? Is that a notable thing on television these days? Anyway, yeah. This was the first televised coat hanger abortion since that one very special episode of Seventh Heaven. (Oh, Lucy!)
But anyway, she went back to kill him with the coat hanger and he was GONE!
Lana then started rampaging up and down the hallways trying to finger the culprit and she settled on the most reasonable one: Sister Eunice must've helped Thredson escape!
But that's when the demon nun got up in Lana's face and told her that she is bad at coat hanger abortion and her baby was still alive.
Oh, and she also said that it would be a boy, just in case you were wondering if the Dylan McDermott connection was still in question. Speaking of whom!
A new patient came in to become hypnotized into not eating a bucket of fried chicken in one sitting, but instead discovered that her therapist had been extremely murdered by an aging hipster.
Look, this might be a tangent, but don't you find it kind of sad when a child follows so closely in their father's footsteps? Like, cool way to spend your life being a copycat. If someday my son tells me he wants to photorecap teen supernatural soaps I'm going to slap the laptop right out of his hands.
Anyway, then my favorite moment of the entire episode happened: Judy the Tramp (formerly Sister Jude) made her first appearance in the common room and immediately set about apologizing to Lana for destroying her life in untold ways.
It was actually sort of amusing how Lana could barely even work up the righteous anger to put Judy in her place. Instead she just sort of smoked a cigarette while pining away for another coat hanger. But that's when Judy started making promises, promises that were so thrilling I got goosebumps (not to mention a sense for what the final battle of the season will be).
YES! Sister Jude's redemption arc begins! Imagine this lady at full strength finally putting all the villains in their places. Guys this season's endgame just got insanely compelling. I also loved how Judy proved that she meant business:
Yup, she destroyed that annoying French record! (Which, of course, was originally HER choice of music.) So yeah, hypocrisy or not, it was seriously excellent seeing this former monster go all repentant and militant against her new circumstances. Chills.
Then Kit took his shirt off and let Dr. Arden stab him in the heart with a syringe.
AND THEN HE DIED! Aw poor fella. He'll def be back, but did it worry anybody else that Dr. Arden ended the episode without remembering to revive him with injection #2? Get your head in the game, Dr. Arden. Save our dreamboat!
Oh, but here's why Dr. Arden was distracted: His theory was correct! The second Kit died, the alien strobe light started blinking and suddenly the asylum had visitors.
Well, returnees, more like.
PEPPER CAME BACK! And she brought a medical miracle with her!
GRACE! YOU PREGNANT, GIRL! So yeah, just to recap, the aliens abducted Grace's dead body and brought her back to life and put a baby in her. All because Kit effed her in the kitchen that one time. (Aliens got a major crush on Kit, which, fair enough.) But also apparently the night of the Nor'eastern, the aliens had abducted Pepper! And they turned her into a well-spoken (!) midwife to pregnant undead axe murderers with French accents. Holy moly, what an awesome way to tie together these plotlines. I love this show so much. PEPPER IS BACK.
So the evil Santa dude did not completely drown the Monsignor. No, he also dressed him up in a Jesus diaper and nailed him to a cross. But after a janitor failed to help him down, the Monsignor was forced to ask for help from the only other visitor in the room:
GET HIM GIRL! Spread those wings and touch or kiss him all over! Hate the Monsignor so much.
[SPOILER: The scenes from next week revealed that he lives. Oh well. That just means there's more opportunity for him to be murdered again.]
Yeah, as you can probably surmise, I sincerely loved this episode of television. Things are happening, and they're happening in even more surprising and satisfying ways than I dared dream.
WELCOME BACK PEPPER!!
... Is it worth sleeping with Kit if it means you will be abducted by aliens?
... With whom do you most want to Judy tussle?
... Do you like Dylan McDermott's look in this episode?
... What exactly is in Grace's tummy?