American Horror Story: Asylum – Continuum Review

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This week’s American Horror Story was another roller coaster, but ultimately an effective set-up for a potentially grand finale.

The episode begins with a glimpse into the lives of Kit, Alma, and Grace a few years after their escape from the asylum. Living in a strange polygamist situation with their two children, at first it seems like they’re one big happy family. But Grace is obsessive about the aliens, and Alma will do anything to escape her memories of the abduction. The dissention between the two sister wives leads to Alma murdering Grace with an ax, and landing herself in Briarcliff.

Jude, now referred to as Betty Drake since her faked death, is still at Briarcliff. The Monseigneur tells her that he’s been named Cardinal, and that he plans to coordinate her release before the asylum is turned over to the state. The dark angel returns to the asylum, but as an aggressive patient and Jude’s new roommate. After a fight between the two (or is it between Jude and another girl?) Jude lands in the office of the new head of the asylum. And it seems that she is now legitimately crazy…the doctor tells Jude that she’s gone through five roommates, that Pepper passed away, and that over two years had passed since Monseigneur Timothy left.

Lana Winters wrote “Maniac: One Woman’s Story of Survival” in which she exaggerates her time with Threadson, and greatly downplays her relationship with Wendy. She’s become somewhat of a diva, having become a minor celebrity. Kit comes to one of her signings, and reminds her of her promises to expose the evils at Briarcliff. He reveals that Alma died inside the asylum, but that Jude, in fact, is still alive.

Fast forward to present day, Lana and Threadson’s son tracks down a copy of “Maniac” and tells a bookshop owner of his plan to find and kill his mother.

The entire storyline with Kit, Grace, and Alma felt strange and unnecessarily drawn out. And the emphasis on the alien abduction is such a distraction from the heart of this show, which is the asylum, and the question of sanity. Maybe the aliens will play into that theme in the finale, but so far that whole arc has been handled poorly. Everything with Lana Winters was brilliant, and Sarah Paulson turning prima donna on us was great to watch. Bringing her and Kit back together was a great move, as the two of them always seemed the voices of reason in Briarcliff. And the unrest I felt going through the confusion along with Sister Jude (the angel of death? the pace of time?) was a truly impressive feat of both the writing and, as always, Jessica Lange. There are still a lot of loose ends to tie up next week, loose ends that tie back to the first few episodes when Adam Levine’s character gets his arm ripped off. And I can’t wait to see how things fall into place. Grade: B

By: Meghan Coan


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