OMG you guys. I’m sorry I’ve been so behind. We had a hurricane, there was a blackout, and I’m still not back on my game. I deserve little-to-no sympathy, as some people’s lives were totally destroyed by this disaster. And here is a mandatory appeal that you consider what you can do to help the Ali Forney Center, whose drop-in center in Manhattan suffered massive damage during the storm.
Ok, now let’s decompress with some nice fictional horror. Except for the parts that really totally happened to people, and some of which kind of still do happen to people every day. Whatever, this is what we want. For some reason.
We open on a screaming Theresa, desperately trying to escape Bloody Face, in the here and now. She tries to drag Adam Levine to safety, because she loves him and she doesn’t realize that he will only ever love me, and she seems to think he can possibly survive having an arm ripped off by an Asylum Monster. Alas, she butterfingers Leo’s limp body and Bloody Face gives him some ventilation holes in his chest.
Back in 1964, someone knocks on the door of a house full of lesbian persons, where Clea DuVall is being comforted after her recent trauma by one of her friends helpfully reminding her that there is a killer of women on the loose. “No no,” we are told in a plot-recap that is briefer and easier to follow than anything I am going to serve up in this post, “that guy got caught and is now being held in the circle of hell to which you condemned the woman you love!”
Clea DuVall hates herself and Halloween, and one of her friends is trying to get in her pants already? No I do not need you to stay over tonight, JEEZ.
So the ladies resolve that surely, in 1960’s America, something can be done to save a wrongly-institutionalized New England lesbian, and we’ll work on it first thing in the morning assuming Bloody Face doesn’t bust in here and kill you in an hour or so.
Marijuana-shower-montage. Were people getting high this much in 1964? Sound off in the comments. And Clea DuVall dies before we get to the opening credits. Roll ‘em.
Those credits, by the way? Fucking amazing.
Meanwhile at the asylum, random room search! Lana’s been hiding paper and writing about her experiences! Lana, repressive institutions typically frown on that sort of thing! Sister Jude makes a crack about the American Civil Lesbians Union, insults Lana’s writing, and makes an unsettling comment about her memory, in a “We’re going to fire so much electricity through your brain that in a couple of months you aren’t even going to remember your name,” sort of way.
So that happens. Being the consummate professional he is, Doctor Arden even lets Sister Jude hold the zapper.
Off to the day room!
Listen to this all day.
Hi Kit! I’m recently widowed, and I hear you’ve also suffered a loss. Will you be my new AHS husband? You will? Amazing. Let’s hang out after you have a consultation with Dr. Zachary Quinto, whose appearance we’ve been anxiously awaiting since the first episode.
Doctor Quinto is here specifically to evaluate Kit’s fitness for trial. He is not part of Briarcliff, which seems weird. Shouldn’t they have psychiatrists? Whatever. The plot demands that he is both an outsider and a legit shrink. He likes to smoke, because it’s the sixties, and he thinks Kit should be free to smoke too. Nice guy! Apparently he drinks scotch while he works, also because the sixties. We have a lot in common. Kit says he’s stahtin’ to remembah, and he thinks Alma isn’t dead, maybe. I sure hope not, because she seemed really nice. But then, in this particular story it might be best to get out while the getting’s good, no?
Sister Mary Eunice and Doctor Arden have an encounter in the woods, and they talk about the Asylum Monsters. Why is she doing this anyway? Is she just one of those incredibly weak-willed people who will go whichever way the psychotic wind blows? You’d think she wouldn’t be able to handle such a HARROWING AND FUCKING INSANE environment in the long term. He gives her a candy apple, in a delightfully Snow White-esque moment. Some people might have seen a snake, but I’m all about the evil queens.
Back in the day room, Lana is attempting to access her new electrical superpowers, and she overhears Kit and Grace talk about maybe trying to escape or at least try to save Kit’s life by getting him an insanity diagnosis.
Dr. Zachary Quinto gets in Sister Jude’s face and is all “Um. You don’t use electroshock to treat homosexuality, you use other things to treat it!”
Sister Jude doesn’t want to hear it, because she has enough medical professionals meddling in her business, and since her experience with doctors consists of being a woman prior to 1960, and working with Doc Arden, fair enough, ya know? Now she has some more people to help, thank-you very much.
A rustic, sad-looking couple come to Briarcliff about their son, and Sister J assures them that she knows what to do with a chronic masturbator. What? In barges Dr. Zachary Quinto pretending like he’s all on the staff or whatever. No one in this place has any boundaries!
Sidebar: I fucking love watching the weird power struggles that define Sister Jude’s existence. She’s the Demon Queen of the asylum, but has virtually no ability to overturn any of the non-institutionalized males with whom she has contact. Must be frustrating. At least she gets to cane people.
So our concerned parents start describing some typical teenage moodiness...and typical teenage bipolar disorder...and typical teenage livestock butchering and heart-eating. And then we meet him and he’s all:
Sister Jude knows what this boy needs. It’s time for a good old-fashioned exorcism. AND SHE’S EXACTLY RIGHT BUT MAYBE DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE GUYS.
So Lana and Grace have some kind of weird hot bath treatment (which you would think Sister Jude would be opposed to because all that steamy water is bound to queer up the blood) and Lana tries to foment an escape plan with her but Kit can’t come, because he’s a murderer. And she’s still sad that her girlfriend put her in this nasty place, because she missed the opening teaser.
Shelly tries to sex the doctor, and he is totally grossed out. “Whores get nothing!” She tells her life story and we’re all “is she suffering from a sexual disorder or is she suffering from being a sexually aware human being in the lady-hating mid-20th century?” The conversation goes from “Fuckmefuckmefuckme” to “all I want is five minutes outside OMG please I’ve been locked up in this place for months” pretty quickly, and Doctor Arden’s response to all of these tactics is “You’re a gross whore and I hate you.”
So the Monsignor is a young priest, and he has called in an old priest to preside over the evening’s festivities. Dr. Zachary Quinto continues to be very “UM” about the proceedings, and is even more so when he’s informed that the church requires a licensed physician to be present during exorcisms, and for whatever reason he’s their man. “You see, we have a doctor, but he is clearly evil and the last thing we want is for him to be in the room with a demon. So.” The old priest, who is wheelchair-bound, is delighted that Dr. Zachary Quinto is a non-believer. “Ups my game!” Naturally, we love this guy. Get out, old priest! Whatever it takes to defeat this place, you don’t have it!
Somehow Lana is still scribbling notes on magazines in the day room. Where does she keep getting pencils? Grace, while inexplicably smoking a dangerous weapon despite being an institutionalized psychotic (seriously, smoking was protected by the Constitution until 1990) tries to get her to tell her the location of the secret tunnel she used to sneak in here before the electricity fairies take the knowledge away. Kit snatches Lana’s note, and she’s like “You’re a murderer!” and he’s like “They can’t find these on you,” and she’s all “...”.
So everyone gets sent to bed early so they can’t disrupt the exorcism.
They strap the possessed kid down and Old Priest tells Sister Jude to get thee to where the parents be, because this is no place for a woman! Snap. And the kid is just gibbering away in demonic latin and every time I hear this scene I think he’s telling Sister Jude to “shut your vag,” but I’m sure that’s just me.
Doctor Arden is clearly an educated man, and he obviously wants to woo a woman of substance. We’ve seen how much he likes the nuns and hates the whores. Finally, we’re really going to get to know this guy. Whoops. His lady friend is a literal sex worker, and why have you set the table for dinner if you’ve only booked me for an hour and a half? …
The Lady of the Evening likes talkin’ dirty about big cocks and Doctor Arden does not go for that sort of thing at all, which we know thanks to Shelly. He then launches into creepy fancy dinner conversation about Chaupin, and the Lady clearly suspects that she might be in a Lot Of Fucking Trouble, but she’s been on dates with weird guys before, and she knows how to take care of herself, right? She gently tells him she doesn’t drink alcohol on dates, and she calls him Stan. Stan? I love this girl. I hope she makes it. “And I don’t kiss, not on the mouth.” Finally, someone on this show understands boundaries.
She tries to engage his sense of lust again, apparently not realizing that this particular physician just isn’t wired that way. Out here in the audience we’re beginning to suspect that Doctor Arden loves the female anatomy, but maybe not the outside parts as much as the inside parts, and maybe not all of them held together and functioning? He actually sticks his damn carving knife into the table and it makes a THUD.
And then, you see, things get weird.
Doctor Arden proceeds to carve the roast, and he languidly describes how frightening it must be for a sex-working person to be out there while there’s a serial killer on the loose skinning and decapitating women and AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH HOLY SHIT JUST RUN AWAY!
You know the writers aren’t lying down on the job when we’re relieved to get back to the EXORCISM because that last scene was JUST TOO INTENSE. And we’re here just in time for the demon to start doing the “I talk shit in your face about things I couldn’t possibly know” portion of the evening’s entertainment, and Dr. Zachary Quinto is beginning to have some concerns, we assume. We don’t really focus on Doctor Quinto because demon-boy starts whipping out the telekinesis, and he flings a bible across the room, and then also he flings the old priest across the room. Sad face.
Monsignor springs into action, he grabs Sister Jude (Yes!), and lets us know that Old Priest might have to receive the last rights (This episode is taking away all of my friends!), he sticks her in front of demon-boy’s room and instructs her to watch over him and speak ONLY to God. Well? If she is just supposed to pray, couldn’t she just have kept praying in the lobby? Why would you put her in front of the demon?
So Sister Jude doesn’t let fifteen seconds go by before she rushes in there and demon boy lets her know that he has her number but good. “It drives you crazy, doesn’t it? To be the smartest person in the room with no real pooooowwweeerrr because of that smelly clam between your legs?” Which I totally said earlier, in a far more tasteful fashion. And then he gives us some exposition, including that Sister Jude has had fifty-three cocks in her mouth!
And a flashback! SisterJude, a crimson-clad lounge singer ~ so we know it’s Sister Jude because she’s still being played by Jessica Lange, so like, it’s not THAT long ago...
But wait, there’s more! Not only was Sister Jude a very generous-with-her-patriotic-affection lounge singer (you support the troops your way, Sister Jude and I will do it ours!), she was also a committed drunk driver who totally mowed down a little girl and then sped off into the night. What that girl was doing riding her bike while cabaret lushes were trying to zigzag their way home in the middle of the night is anyone’s guess. Maybe she was bringing cookies to her wendigo grandmother.
SO Sister Jude starts beating the shit out of demon boy as he screams MURDERER MURDERER and FINALLY the Monsignor and Doctor Quinto come back into the room and as the Monsignor is dragging her out demon boy positively tickles us as he hurls “it’s YOU she thinks of when she touches herself at night!” Funny how Old Priest promised that the demon lies, when the demon has done nothing but tell the truth, right?
Monsignor is like “It ain’t no thang, I can do this. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST-” and all the crazyhouse lights go out!
Zachary Quinto thinks there is room in this scene for him, and I love him but there is just NOT, and he’s all trying to inject demon-boy with the drugs of science, when CLEARLY he needs the Drugs of the Lord. Got any wine and frankincense in your bag, doc?
So the power is out, and it’s that sort of REALLY UNHELPFUL institution blackout where all the doors open!
Lana is all “Let’s go! You’re my girlfriend now!” and before they can even have a conversation about whether they’re cat people or dog people, and whether they’d rather move to Boston or Northampton, Kit shows up and totally clitblocks Lana. He’s all “I’m not a murderah,” and she’s all “I won’t let you escape so you can kill again,” and just like that it’s a total hetero party as Grace runs off with Kit because for some crazy reason (probably because she is actually a crazy person? We’re really taking for granted that everyone who we happen to be following in this asylum is wrongly imprisoned, and her accent is different every time she opens her mouth I’m JUST SAYING) she thinks they can find “the way out” by themselves.
So Lana starts screaming her head off! “THE KILLER IS ESCAPING HELP ME WAAAAHHH!” You’d think in the carnage of a mental institution breakout this would be pretty small potatoes, but it gets the attention of the asylum storm troopers, and Grace gives her a bad breakup look as Kit has his brains scrambled by batons.
Meanwhile, back in the exorcism chambers, demon boy is quivering and gasping and BOOM, he sits upright and coughs something gross across the room...right to where the women are. YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO LET THE WOMEN IN THE ROOM, DAMMIT OLD PRIEST WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BE SO WEAK?
Doctor Quinto declares the boy dead.
And down goes Sister Mary Eunice.
So we cut back to Doctor Arden’s love nest, where oh fuck, this episode isn’t over. There’s still some SERIOUS American Sex Horror Story to tell, and Doctor Arden’s date is busily removing her makeup, because ew, that whorish makeup, right? And...she’s putting on a nun’s habit. Ok, that’s cool. Apropos of nothing she just opens up a box that she sees on the shelf in front of her, almost like she knows that there’s going to be pictures of dismembered women in there.
Knowing full well you can’t leave whores alone for too long, Doctor Arden busts back in there and sees that Sister Hookerpants has found out his awful secret. He’s Bloody Face! Maybe! Honestly, with all the shit going on in Massachusetts in 1964 there could be any number of people OR THINGS butchering women in the night but no matter what he is clearly not a nice guy!
I apologize for the length (that’s what I said) but I really, for serious need to go into all-out transcription mode right now. Are you here? I’m here. We’re all here together. Let’s join hands.
“I told you not to touch anything.” Enter, desperate attempt to escape: “You don’t have to pay me I just have to get the money-ack” GRAB. “You’re not going anywhere, sister. Now, pick those up, and go lie on the bed.” GIRL DON’T YOU LIE DOWN ON THAT BED.
Finally, in a moment of breakthrough self-preservation, Sister Hookerpants attempts to bolt from the room while she’s picking up THE PICTURES OF BOUND AND THEN DISMEMBERED WOMEN, AS IF THAT ISN’T THE MOMENT WHEN CRAZY DOCTOR IS WATCHING HER MOST CLOSELY. Whatever, she tried, we’re still with her 100%, she’s our gal. We’re all going to get through this together.
“I told you...to lie on the bed.” NO GIRL DON’T. DON’T LIE ON THE BED. HE’S GONNA TIE YOU UP AND THEN THE KNIVES.
So NOW this motherfucker is hot to trot. He undoes the rest of his shirt, drops trou, and reveals the greatest horror of all...
“Did you take off your panties like I asked you?” (Really, you asked? We’re being polite now? Just wait, this guy will surprise you every fucking time.)
“Show me your mossy bank.”
WHY YOU SAY IT LIKE THAT!
So, she shows him her mossy bank. And he’s all “SLOWLY,” like SHE is the grotesque sex monster in the room.
And Doctor Arden starts getting in all close, like maybe this is just normal sexy fun-time...but our girl knows better, and BITE. She sinks her pearly whites deep into some creepy evil doctor shoulder muscle, kicks his ass in the nuts, and runs THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!
Meanwhile...Sister Jude tells demon-boy’s parents that Briarcliff screwed the pooch big time, and the powers of Hell are fucking their kid’s soul and using molten lava for lube, and they react appropriately with the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.
And Doctor Arden just goes to work the next day like it’s no big deal, and hey look, it’s Sister Mary Eunice in the infirmary. She passed out go boom. I hope she’s well rested.
Doctor Arden fucking pulls her nightie down a bit so her legs aren’t showing. Which is exactly what he says when she wakes up and catches him kinda touching her. Except...he was really trying to...protect her modesty?
Ew. Oh gross. He loves nuns and he hates whores so he kills whores but he makes them dress like nuns because he’s full of sexual confusion maybe?
Doctor Arden attempts to tell Sister Mary Demonface that seeing her in a nightie is both distracting and just fine because he’s a doctor/psychopath and then he lets her get some rest. And let’s give the crucifix a little telekinetic jiggle because fuck ambiguity and SCENE.
Upstairs, Lana is hanging out waiting for her caning, and Sister Jude has a treat for her! No caning for you Lana! Instead, you get to watch Kit and Grace get caned, and also choose which pleasure stick they get beaten with. We see some butts.
Kit, ever the gentleman, insists that Grace is innocent, and Sister Jude is totally cool giving ALL the lashes to Kit. But it’s a total cop out because we only get to see six of ‘em before the episode ends.
Show me your mossy bank in the comments.