We then jump to Briarcliff: 1968, where Sistah Jude once again rules with an iron fist. And by that I mean, she RULES at playing Candyland. Yes, Jude is now Queen of the Crazies, although, with Pepper as her right hand, she is doing a pretty good job. The Monsignor has kept her squirreled away all these years under the name Betty Drake, mostly for his own amusement. Now, however, he has finally been promoted to Cardinal of New York, so he promises to set her free. “The cruelty ends here,” according to him.
“Well there’s actually one more episode, but then I promise: no more cruelty.”
With the departure of Timothy, Briarcliff is sold to the state, and a rough crowd of inmates floods in. Like literally, they all just rush into the bakery like they’re invading Normandy, led by the Angel of Death, who is presently moonlighting as a butch serial killer. She shows up in Jude’s room and starts coming onto her HARD. Like, 70s lesbian prison movie hard and not in a hot way.
Even for the Lord, this is hella mysterious.
Whether she’s trying to plant a regular smooch or the kiss of death on her lips, Jude isn’t having it. She’s fighting her off when orderlies burst through the door and pull her off…a completely different woman. Jude is carted to the office of Dr. Crump (presumably before developing the dance that made her famous), who informs her that two and a half years have passed since The Monsignor became the Cardinal. Pepper is dead and the Angel of Death has disappeared. Neither Jude nor I is sure what to believe, which I actually appreciate, but there are a few clues. The Candyland scene takes place in 1968, because the television is reporting on Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Dr. Crump asserts that Pepper died in 1966, when the state took over. So either Jude hallucinated everything about that scene (and the Angel of Death) or the Monsignor is stepping up his psychological warfare to a new level.
And why might he choose to do this? Why would he want to drive an already damaged woman in his custody over the brink of insanity? Maybe because the one person looking for her, who could use her as a credible witness, just got super famous.
That’s right, here in 1969, Lana has the career she never knew she always wanted. We catch up with her giving a book-reading at No-man’s, Boston’s premiere lesbian bookstore, to an audience of attractive women. It’s basically a pre-internet AfterEllen.
“She slipped out of her robe and into my — shit wrong book.”
Success, though, has changed our plucky heroine. For one thing, she has exaggerated some of her experiences is Chez Bloodyface (because “baby needs colostrum” wasn’t horrifying enough), and for another, she has relegated Wendy to “roommate” status. It’s clear that even though we can see into her lovely brown eyes, her “fuck the world” sunglasses are still on — OVER HER SOUL. Normally I would be forgiving, given what she has gone through, but then she is cruel to her hot assistant and I am reminded forcibly of my own (brief) stint in that job, so now everyone is traumatized. Anyway, Kit sneaks into the reading, with a haircut and outfit that allows him to pass unnoticed among lesbians in the same way that Justin Beiber could effortlessly blend into any dyke night in the world.
They go out for coffee and Kit humbly tells of how one of his wives killed the other one (with her own murder ax, no less), which Lana freely compares to being forced to be in the bottom left spot on Celebrity Squares. Kit goes on to tell us that Alma died in Briarcliff (of a mysterious heart-stoppage that reminds me a lot of what Dr. Arden did to Kit). When he went to pick up her “body” he ran into Sistah Jude, who is now convinced that The Flying Nun is based on her life. If I ever go crazy, I hope I think Buffy The Vampire Slayer is based on mine.
Kit begs Lana to return to Briarcliff to rescue Jude and shut the place down, but Lana isn’t about to go back.
Kit: That’s awfully hard.
Lana: I’m as hard as I have to be.
Lana’s assistant: So, if you guys are done quoting gay porn at each other, there are still some lesbians who need their books signed.
Kit gives up and we return to the present day, where the Son of Bloodyface has returned to the bookstore for the very last copy. It turns out that one way Lana got at the “essence of truth” was by saying that he died at birth. Now, as revenge, he’s going to take the book to his estranged mother and confront her with every single typo in it, after which her murder will come as a blessed relief.
“I swear it makes total sense if you just do a little bit of meth.”
See you next week, when we discover if Jude can be freed, if Lana can be redeemed, and if Kit can remember how to bring Alma back to life.