“American Horror Story: Asylum” recap: Briarcliff 2013: Where are they now? (2.13)


Hello and also goodbye horror fans! This recap is going to be short because, honestly, I have so little to say. All of you who have read my recaps this season (thank you and bless you, you have made the experience so much fun) know that my feelings about this show have never been exclusively positive. But when I got upset about the rapes and the tortures and the unresolved plotlines and the rapes, I reminded myself that it’s horror. I mean, it’s right there in the title, so I tried to tailor my expectations accordingly. But last night contained no horror at all, only 45 minutes of denouement. It was like the “where are they now” bits at the end of movies, delivered with the urgency and momentum of the feather from Forrest Gump.

So put on “Pomp and Circumstance” and let’s catch up with Briarcliff alumnae.

Or you could just stare at this man’s moustache! Equally valid use of your time!

Briarcliff, the creepy, crumbling ruin we’d all grown to love, took a definite downturn when ownership was transferred from the Catholic Church to Rob Zombie. By the time Lana got around to shutting it down, it was all feces-smeared walls and the director yelling at the extras, “You’re not crazying enough! Crazy harder!”

A totally valid and constructive depiction of mental illness.

After its closure, the asylum found a new life as a sanctuary for the descendants, impersonators, and fans of serial killers. Goodbye forever, Briarcliff.

Sistah Jude was finally rescued by Kit Walker, who needed some help raising his children after the deaths of his wives. Her life at Kit’s commune was blissful but brief; she was in the middle of another promising musical number when she was struck down by a deadly nosebleed. Was the nosebleed otherworldly in origin? We don’t know because the writers don’t know. Before passing, she tells Kit’s daughter to be a brave, strong goddess-warrior and tells Kit’s son that she’ll be watching him from heaven to make sure he never masturbates. Then she finally stops teasing the Angel of Death and plants a long overdue lady kiss. 

“Girl, I have such a wing boner for you right now.”

And what about last week, when the angel was a scary butch inmate of Briarcliff? Well, they only had thirteen episodes; there just wasn’t time to resolve everything.

Kit’s children, by the way, grew up to be frightfully normal. I mean sure they did a little healing of the sick in the early days, but then they just became a regular law professor and neurosurgeon. Thanks a lot, aliens.

As for Kit himself, he remarried and his life was a full-time musical until Ryan Murphy gave him cancer. Just when it seemed the end was nigh, the magical, plot-twisting aliens put in a final appearance and whisked him and his golden sperm off to space/heaven. Oh, did you think the aliens would be explained this week? Their role in Briarcliff or their interest in Kit or just…anything about them? Well think of it like this: sometimes when you go into surgery there just isn’t time for your surgeon to tie off every severed blood vessel, so he’ll just sew you up and send you on your way. Because your surgeon is Ryan Murphy.

Last but not least, Lana Winters became a television journalist, married a hot lady, and generally earned enough success to support her Streisand-sized ego. 

We are meant to understand, though, that the trauma of Briarcliff and Bloodyface turned her as cold as her name. I think we can all wrap our minds around her changing, but not all the change being crammed into the last two episodes of the season. It feels like the beginning of Order of the Phoenix when Harry is suddenly a moody teenager. Yes, she is the “final girl,” the one whose survival we have cheered for all season, but when Bloodyface Jr. finally confronts her, it’s hard to muster much support.

She uses the whole “mommy” routine to get Johnny to put down his gun, and then kills him as casually as can be, thus destroying the show’s last and least impressive villain. So the madness ends with a bang which is really a whimper.


As a brief coda, the show returns to Lana’s first visit to Briarcliff, which now includes the ridiculously overemphasized line “when you look into the face of evil, evil will look right back at you.”

“If you give a mouse a cookie, you better be prepared to clean up chocolate chip turds.”

Just when you think the show is going to end on a line so clichéd it would get you thrown out of a good screenwriting class, the faint tune of “Dominique” strikes up. It is up there with the writers’ twisted interpretation of Strong Female Characters as the scariest thing about this show.

So, unless next season’s theme is “A Musical Journey Through the Life of Sappho,” I bid you all a very fond farewell.

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