“American Horror Story” recap (1.8): Have a Bloody Good Christmas

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas/the seasonal holiday of your choice, I’d like to start off by thanking everyone who is still reading, watching, and commenting. I know we’ve all felt a little traumatized lately, but this episode finally gives us the sweet, sweet revenge we’ve been waiting for. Also, my apologies to anyone who played the “Christmas spirit” drinking game I suggested on twitter. What can I say; this show brings out my dark side.

So when I first heard that this week’s plot involved a “murderous Santa,” I was quick to make with the scoffing. Then I saw Ian McShane’s glower emerge from the depths of a silent night, and vowed never to be naughty again (I feel A LOT of holiday jokes coming on). First McShane kills a Salvation Army Santa, then dons his blood-spattered suit and breaks into a local home to re-enact the Cindy Lou Who scene with a little girl. And just like in the old story, his heart grows three sizes and he refrains from Grinching everything up. Wait no, he ties her parents up with Christmas lights (nice touch) and threatens to rape them both before shooting them in their heads. His justification for this violence? This family’s Christmas decorations were a bit ostentatious. And a small, evil part of me thinks: “at last, justice.”


Lesson: if you’ve got anything more than a tasteful white light display, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.

After the title sequence (and a merry Christmas to YOU, bloody pig’s head), we return to the Briarcliff common room, where Sister Mary Satan is planning festivities with the macabre aplomb we have come to love. She decorates the asylum Christmas tree with delightful ornaments such as syringes, dentures, and locks of hair taken from the patients themselves. When I saw this scene my writer senses started to tingle with the promise of more wicked humor.


“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas/teeth on every tree.”

Hell-bent on ruining the fun is Sistah Jude, who has scaled the walls of Briarcliff with a razor between her teeth to kill/save Mary Eunice. Before she can do so, Doctor Arden interrupts and has her dragged out by security, and the “commit Sistah Jude” mumbles grow louder.

Meanwhile, it seems that Frank The Guard is suffering some pangs of conscience over his accidental slaughter of Grace last week. He feels the urge to turn himself in and shares those feelings with Doctor Arden because he is Kit’s long lost idiot father, I guess. Sister Satan vows to put a stop to these shenanigans and releases Bad Santa. As it turns out, he’s been in solitary confinement since last Christmas, when he bit one of the guard’s faces off. Satan would like him to do that again, please. As proof of her omniscience, she tells him his own story, which is a sad tale of being gang-raped in jail, which robbed him of his virginity, his self-esteem, and most importantly, his Christmas spirit. (Lest you think I am being callous, that is the ACTUAL DIALOGUE).

Later that night, Mary Satan is grooving to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and smoking what I sincerely hope is a joint, when Arden comes in to give her a Christmas present.


I don’t really have anything to say about this except that it is pretty hot.

To her delight, it’s a pair of ruby earrings, because this was before blood diamonds.


Do you like them? They’re from a Jewess who used to poop them out every day in a concentration camp. I stole them from inside her body.


That is exactly the kind of precious story that makes a gift mean something.

The next day Sistah Jude returns to her wise old Mother Superior and begs to be allowed to return to Briarcliff. I love when this show talks to anyone outside of the asylum, in places with pleasant natural light, and they are so puzzled about why anyone would want to return to that den of misery. It’s like when you are in a really bad relationship and you go to visit your friends; when it’s time to go it’s always “well, this has been nice, but I have to go chain myself back to a rock now so an eagle can peck out my liver for eternity.”

Anyway, Jude makes the case that she must be allowed to return, to fight the growing evil. And what evil would that be, Jude? The Nazi death-camp physician? Your demon-possessed successor? The face-eating Santa? No, Sistah Jude sees that the real danger is the secularization of Christmas, as embodied by this guy:


He does have a very shiny nose (like a poop ruby!)

Just as Sistah Jude’s return to Briarcliff seems certain, albeit in a straightjacket, Doctor Arden shows up to beg her help in defeating Sister Satan.

Arden: I’d do it myself, but I have need of your superior, womanly powers, for which I have so much respect.

Jude: Very well, but you must promise to do exactly as I say at all times.

Arden: I promise.

Jude: No backsies?

Arden: What kind of a war criminal rapist mad scientist poop ruby stealer do you think I am?

Back at Briarcliff, the Monsignor arrives to give Briarcliff a tree-topper. It’s a razor-sharp star hand-crafted by actual ninjas. He is pleased as punch about Sister Satan’s new regime, and even remarks that the “found object” tree decorations remind him of Marcel Duchamp, which I think is actually a pretty wanky “look at me I went to college” line to include.

And now, at last, it’s time to check in with our favorite embattled lesbian. Lana finds Kit in the sick bay and deduces that Mary Satan hasn’t told the police about either of them, meaning that Thredyface is still out there. Lana runs off to call the police and kicks off twelve days of Christmas worth of mayhem packed into the last ten minutes of the episode.

FIRST, Bad Santa tries to kill Frank The Guard with the ninja star tree-topper, but Sister Mary Satan has to finish the job and slits his throat with the straight-razor (which I hope gets a guest star credit on IMDB).

THEN, Satan and Doctor Arden lock Bad Santa in the room with Sistah Jude and place bets as to who will win.


It’s official then: nothing is sacred.

It’s a helluva an actor-showdown and Ian McShane really holds his own, but obviously the gimmick-y guest star isn’t going to beat Jessica Lange, so it’s no real surprise when she stabs him to death with a letter opener.

NEXT, Lana is prevented from calling the police by Thredyface, who has taken advantage of the new lack of a security guard and snuck into the asylum.


This wouldn’t be an issue if SOMEBODY hadn’t stopped choking him before he was actually dead.

He is very angry because he had to destroy all his murder-décor, from the Bloodyface mask to the nipple lamp, to a really tasteful femur coat rack he was working on. But now that he has Lana in his grasp, he can relaunch The Bloodyface Home Collection. Just as all hope seems lost (again) Kit bursts in and DOES SOMETHING USEFUL, and hits Thredyface over the head with a fire extinguisher. To be fair, it was probably an accident and he meant to just spray him with it, but whatever Kit, we’ll take it. Unfortunately, with that act, Kit has exhausted his store of good ideas for the season, and refuses to let Lana kill Thredyface. Instead they lock him up in storage for safekeeping.


“But I heard her exclaim ‘ere she walked out of sight, “I will bury you.”

LASTLY, Thredson is skulking around in the death chute, carting Grace’s body out to feed his monsters, his only real friends, when with a flash of light and a burst of dubstep, the space aliens arrive and abduct her corpse.


AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.

See you soon.

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