We waited for this! All season, the writers of American Horror Story delivered us multiple plot threads, including elements as far out as alien abduction and demonic possession, as well as gritty, realistic elements such as the maltreatment of patients at the hands of corrupt orderlies of a mental institute. We waited to see how it would all tie together. Then an odd thing happened. In episode eleven, the story seemed to dramatically wind down, providing resolutions for some characters, while leaving only three plot threats unresolved. I admittedly wasn’t sure where things would go for the final two episodes. Needless to say, I was psyched for the conclusion of this season. Season one, after all, had wrapped things up so nicely. I couldn’t wait to see more of Dylan McDermott as Zachary Quinto’s damaged offspring. More specifically, how things would play out between him and his mother, Lana. Then there was Sister Jude, still trapped in the walls of Briarcliff, heavily medicated and a shell of her former self. And Kit, who I always felt bad for. He was definitely the character that all the misery is bestowed upon, and all of it is undeserved. I wanted justice for him so badly.
So, does the finale deliver on the promise of earlier episodes? Read on to see.
First of all, the approach it takes is very interesting. Rather than let the events unfold, which would’ve taken at least another few episodes, they are revealed via a tell-all interview with an aged Lana in 2012. The stage is set perfectly as she tells her tale, Johnny Morgan got himself a part as a member of the camera crew and he gets to hear what his mother has to say firsthand.
In Lana’s flashback we see that she goes back to Briarcliff to shoot footage of the horrible conditions that the inmates live under. In the flashback, she rescues Sister Jude, but we are immediately shown that the rescue never transpired, that Jude’s room was empty when Lana and her crew arrived.
The next flashback shows her visit with Kit, after she shut down Briarcliff. It is revealed here that he rescued Sister Jude and brought her home with his kids. It’s difficult at first until the children take her to the woods where she is healed, presumably by the aliens. She dies peacefully a few months later, after finally sharing a kiss with Shacath. I really liked this resolution. I liked Kit’s benevolence toward Jude despite the horrors that she’d inflicted upon him as an inmate. The conclusion for Kit and his family is melancholic and touching. The alien forces become a true benign force, almost holy, as Kit and Jude’s stories come to a close. We learn that later, after his kids are older, Kit contracts cancer, but rather than die, he’s spirited away by the extraterrestrials.
Lana reveals that Cardinal Howard committed suicide after she confronted him, and comes clean about the fact that her son is still alive. She even describes the time that she went to see him at the orphanage. After the interview is the confrontation between her and Johnny. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but let’s just say that she was expecting him, and that I thought it ended nicely.
The epilogue, where Jude and Lana leave Briarcliff together closes things on a somber, strange, and wonderful note.
Now, some viewers may be put off by the fact that there were a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, what, exactly where the aliens? What were their motivations? Were they at all connected with Shacath? I, for one, like the mysteries that the writers chose to leave us with. Opting not to be as cryptic as a David Lynch movie, the show left a fair balance between secrets revealed and elements shrouded in mystery. Early on, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the episode being a series of flashbacks, but by the end I was sold. A satisfying conclusion to a great season!