This week’s episode of American Horror Story jumps around in time while continuing the stories of the surviving characters. Sister Jude’s struggles to escape Briarcliff are made more difficult by an inmate who looks an awful lot like the Angel of Death, Lana’s book on her experiences with Bloodyface is a huge bestseller, and Kit’s relationships with Grace and Alma are resolved.
We open the episode with a creepy intro. Kit, clad in whitey-tighties, sits covered in blood and holding an ax while one of his children call to him from the other room. We see that prior to that he’s enjoying the pleasures (and challenges) of a polygamous relationship with Grace and Alma, sharing a home with the two women and their children. Despite some insecurities, it’s interesting to see that everyone’s OK with it. But hey, it was the free love generation! The trouble in paradise arises in the form of a conflicting view by the two women about the aliens. Grace seems to think of them as gods, that they’ve blessed all of their lives. Alma, on the other hand, tries and fails to repress these memories that have traumatized her. Unfortunately, her terror at the memories become so severe, she murders Grace with an ax, which leads to the opening scene of the episode.
Next, the episode transitions to Judy’s story line. We learn that she and Pepper have become close, and that she’s assumed a fake name -Betty Drake. She’s told by Howard that he’s being promoted to Cardinal and that he plans to release her as Briarcliff is turned over to the state. Things seem to be coming well until a new inmate resembling Shacath shows up and things take a bizarre turn. Judy experiences hallucinations, leading to a loss of a whole two and a half years, and the news that Pepper has died. These new developments become too much for her and she breaks down, leading the doctors to up her medication.
After this, we follow Lana, who’s book about the crimes, MANIAC, is a huge hit. The problem is, she’s altered the story in several ways to make it more marketable. It’s no longer true, but the fame has corrupted her and aside from some guilty visions, she maintains the lie. At a signing in a bookstore, she runs into Kit ,who reminds her of her original plan to shut down Briarcliff. He tells her about Alma and Grace, that Alma’s been committed, that Judy’s still there, and asks her to help him finish what she started. Still, she is unmoved.
The episode closes in the present day with Johnny acquiring a copy of MANIAC and stating his intentions for Lana, his mother.
I don’t know, guys. I’m kind of on the fence about this episode. It was all setup, and all necessary setup, however it felt a little drawn out, like the writers *really* want to get thirteen episodes out of each season at all costs. I enjoyed the way Kit’s story developed and how Lana transformed from a journalist seeking truth to someone corrupted by fame. I also enjoyed the dreamy atmosphere of Judy’s story and Dylan McDermott makes his murderous Johnny an irresistible antihero. All that said, the most exciting thing about last night’s episode, for me, was the promo for the season finale. I have a feeling that, like last season, the final episode will tie everything together nicely.