“American Horror Story: Asylum” recap: “NO WIRE HANGERS!” (2.9)


Welcome back! I thought the show would be on break this week since they aired their Christmas last week, which just goes to show what a fool I am for trying to impose logic on a Ryan Murphy joint.

This week’s AHS opens in the present day, in the office of a psychiatrist played by the lovely and woefully undercast Brooke Smith. And if ever, oh ever, you could give away a character’s fate merely by your casting choice, this is it. They second I saw her, attempting to treat a scruffy Dylan McDermott, I knew that this poor head shrinker was doomed. 

“You really just need me for the day? Because I’m free all week if you need me as a mutant or a space alien or…no?”

She starts to get that feeling herself about fifteen seconds into the intake appointment, when “Johnny” (a name that should come with a warning label) confesses to being the son of Bloodyface. So all of you who predicted this may now reward yourselves with a treat of your choosing (I’d go with a liquor drink but that’s just me). It turns out Bloodyface Jr. is a chip off the old chopping block and is facing some serious inadequacy issues, worrying that he isn’t the same caliber of psychopath as Daddy. There’s a brief cut of him eviscerating Jenna Dewan Tatum, which only serves to remind me of the degree to which this show has squandered its ability to be shocking.

“And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon/the cat’s been skinned and the spoon is for brains.”

Back in the ’60s, Lana saunters into Sister Satan’s office, and it’s instantly clear there’s something different about her. No longer do her eyes flutter with panic; now they have the patient energy of a tiger pacing its cage, waiting for the day its owners let their guards down. Also her hair looks fucking good.  Could this newfound ferocity be the result of her capture of Thredyface? Lana thinks so, but Sister Satan is here to correct that impression, and informs her that she is with child. So let’s have a round of applause for the “Lana is pregnant” theorizers. She’d really prefer not to give birth to her rapist’s baby, but since she is being held hostage by an unfortunate combination of a devout Catholic and a demon with a vested interest in the birth of a future serial killer, a legal abortion doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards.

What’s black and white and red all over and not going to give you an abortion?

Next up, we find Sistah Jude strapped to a bed and being blamed for the murder of Frank The Guard.  Her witness? Bad Santa, who I’m glad is still here, since Ian McShane takes too much gleeful pleasure in this role to be confined to a single episode. Jude’s detractors line up with a litany of damning evidence and succeed in having her committed to Briarcliff and stripped of her clerical standing.  Also, this means I get to give myself a pat on the back (three parts whiskey, one part honey) for getting at least one prediction right this season.  As he testifies, Bad Santa claims to be seeking forgiveness for his past crimes although, as he puts it, thanks to him there are “eighteen more people in heaven.”

“You’re welcome, dead people.”

Why is he doing this? Well, in the words of Sherlock, “because he’s a psychopath and psychopaths get bored.”  When the Monsignor hears of his desire to repent, his eyes light up like a high school girl hearing “makeover” and he takes Bad Santa under his wing.

Meanwhile in the asylum bakery the patients are, as usual, totally unsupervised.  Lana spies a rack of coats being wheeled in — because a bakery is a place where you keep coats sometimes — and looks hungrily at the hangers. She then goes to Kit’s room where he is pretending to be sedated and begs him for permission to kill Thredyface. Kit refuses until they can get a confession out of him, which gives Lana an idea. She goes to the Room of Requirement, where Thredyface is still bound and gagged, and tells him of her pregnancy. She then threatens to abort the baby with her pilfered coat hanger right in front of him unless he comes clean about the Bloodyface murders. He obliges her and Kit records the whole thing (of course he has a tape recorder, this is the Room of Requirement). Oliver is furious to find out he’s been had, and Lana takes great pleasure in telling him that she aborted his evil spawn last night. We see her poking around internally and I guess I was wrong about this show having lost the ability to shock me.

“On three, everybody say ‘Thank you, Planned Parenthood.’”

Now that she has his taped confession, she promises to come back and slit his throat with the chilling line, “I always wanted to know what it was like inside the mind of a killer. Now I know.”

Kit, meanwhile runs off to hide the evidence. The crucial evidence on which his life depends. So naturally he chooses to store this delicate audio tape in the hydrotherapy room. 


He is espied by Doctor Arden, who has a theory (bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies) that the aliens abducted Grace’s body because it was filled with Kit’s man-seed, just as Alma’s was when she was taken. So wait. The aliens, vastly more technologically advanced than we, have chosen as the male specimen for their experiments a man who hides his only chance at freedom under a bathtub? Perhaps the aliens are too advanced and want to knock themselves down an evolutionary peg or two. Whatever the reason, Arden thinks the aliens will be keen to protect their investment in Kit, so he suggests bringing him to the verge of death to force them to show up. Of course our little cherub agrees without hesitation.

Also in the world of childlike naïveté, the Monsignor is busy baptizing Bad Santa in what looks like Bette and Tina’s birthing tank. High on the prospect of having reformed such a terrible sinner, the Monsignor is completely taken by surprise when Bad Santa starts to drown him.

“I guess I should have gone with the bird bath baptismal after all.”

That evening Lana is thwarted in her attempt to steal a knife from the bakery—by a guard who pats her on the head and chuckles about those funny ‘ol psychopaths—but no matter, because she is getting more mileage out of that coat hanger than many a lesbian could with a whole Swiss Army Knife.  But when she arrives to finally take her sweet revenge on the man who ruined her life, he is gone.  Which only goes to prove that you should never procrastinate when it comes to vengeance.  She searches the halls frantically but only finds Sister Satan, who takes her precious coat hanger and informs her that is she is actually still pregnant.

Lana goes to the common room and starts puffing away on a cigarette, Surgeon General be damned, when the artist formerly known as Sistah Jude walks up and asks to bum a smoke. She apologizes to Lana for what she did to her, and as a gesture of good faith smashes the “Dominique” record into a million pieces, to which Lana and I both say “Well, hot damn.” And just like that, an alliance is formed that is sure to bring down Briarcliff.  

I can already hear the power chords.

Since Lana and Jude are busy making friends, there is no one to stop Kit from letting Doc Arden stick a needle in his chest. While he goes into cardiac arrest, the space aliens show back up (guys, what if Briarcliff IS the spaceship?). Grace is there, alive and immensely pregnant, which is weird because didn’t the aliens scrape out all her lady parts a couple of weeks ago? She’s being attended to by Pepper, who is more articulate than we’ve ever seen her and apparently also into midwifery now.

Ugh and now she’ll probably never shut up about the importance of natural birth.

Finally, it seems that Bad Santa has crucified the Monsignor which: props for originality and sticking with the theme. If this were America’s Next Top Serial Killer, you would totally win this week.

Be sure to check out afterelton.com for what I’m sure is a vastly more detailed description of this scene.

Apparently his agony is enough to earn him a visit from the angel of death, despite his overall arrogance/pointlessness/douchebagelry.

I’m pretty sure the show is taking a break next week for Christmas, so I will see you when it returns. Until then, remember not to postpone joy or vengeance.

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