TV: The “continuum” of excellence on ‘American Horror Story’

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX
Rating: 5/5

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I never thought I would be able to say that a show Ryan Murphy created is as good as its first season, but I am saying it over and over about American Horror Story. The camera angles perfectly fit the idea of the show so well that even I notice it; the acting is always superb and chilling; and a show that is supposed to be a thriller is actually suspenseful. Well done.

In 1967, we see an adorable family picture of Kit (Evan Peters), Alma (Britne Oldford) Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) and the two children. We then see a bloodied Kit holding an axe while his kid calls for him in another room. I’m sorry, what!!!!!! Didn’t I tell you it was a suspenseful show?

Rewind a bit to when Kit wasn’t a supposed killer. Alma says Grace is obsessed with the aliens because she is not happy now, so Alma wants Kit to spend more time with her. However, Grace counters saying she is only fearful of the memories of when she killed her family.

While Grace and Kit are having sex, Alma listens until a white light fills the room. Oh no, here we go again. Wrong, my friends; it is not the aliens this time. However, Alma had that thought as well; she is fearful of their return, which Grace suggests will happen because they want Kit and the children.

Alma and Grace constantly argue about Kit and the aliens. I’m glad the writers didn’t forgo these issues. They are both in love with Kit and jealousy is simply natural; however, the more interesting aspect was how involved Grace became in not forgetting the aliens and how drastic of a difference that was to Alma’s attempt to move on. It’s always frustrating when writers glance over a topic that truly should have been dealt with in depth; congrats Ryan!

Unfortunately, Alma cannot take it; so, while Grace and Kit are discussing the future, she buries an axe in Grace’s back – bringing us back to the opening scene as Kit removes the axe.

In 1968, Jude (Jessica Lange) and Pepper (Naomi Grossman) have become close companions. Since Judy Martin is technically dead, Jude’s official patient name is Betty Drake.

The Monsignor (Joseph Fiennes) visits to tell Jude that he has been appointed Cardinal and is leaving and that Briarcliff is now state property. He assures her that he will get her out before he goes. LIAR! I never liked him; his character was devoid of depth and never went anywhere.

While in the kitchen, Jude sees the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) but not because she is close to death but because the Angel is a patient now. Hang on, this gets even crazier. Naturally, Jude is terrified because she thinks the Angel is there to kiss her, which is quite ironic because the patient is set out on having Jude be, well, hers.

Lying in her bed, Jude is confronted by the Angel – in her usual form this time – trying to kiss her, so she fights her off. However, when orderlies come to separate the ruckus, Jude is pulled off of not the Angel but some random patient! Just wait till you read the next part…

Jude awakens in a doctor’s office (previously her own) and discovers that the Monsignor was appointed Cardinal two and a half years ago and that Pepper died around then as well.

Yep, Jude has officially lost her mind, and I think it is one of the most interesting plot arcs a character has ever gone through on a show. Jude has literally gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, and it was such a thrilling ride to watch.

In 1969, Lana (Sarah Paulson) has a successful book about her experiences: “Maniac: One Woman’s Story of Survival.” At a book signing, she reads a passage detailing how Thredson (Zachary Quinto) once brought a girl home as their new toy. In her imagination, Thredson appears and states that it never actually happened – though he did intend to do it – and that she simply included it to sell more books. Wendy (Clea DuVall) also appears saying that Lana only described her as her roommate and kept their life in the shadows.

And in this moment, Lana is no longer my favorite character. I understand she wants to get out there and actually have a better life with the time she has but to me this is unacceptable. Luckily, Kit shares my sentiments, for he shows up to the aforementioned signing to talk.

Lana is obsessed with her stardom and only focuses on herself while Kit is frustrated at the fact that she never used her skills to shut Briarcliff down like she promised Jude she would. Yet, now Lana urges that Jude was initially a part of Briarcliff and deserves her fate. EXCUSE ME. I can’t even handle this nonsense.

Since she killed Grace, Alma was sent to Briarcliff but eventually died after her heart just stopped beating. The only good that came of Alma’s sentence stems from the visits Kit made to Briarcliff, which revealed that Jude is still alive but utterly psychotic. Please save her! I would love to have one of my favorite characters be rescued by the sexiest character. Fantastic.

In the present, Johnny (Dylan McDermott) enters a bookstore in order to find a signed copy of Lana’s book. The worker will not sell because of personal attachments to it, so Johnny persuades her and ultimately gets the book.

I cannot believe that I even thought this but Dylan McDermott was not awful in this scene; there, I said it! Somehow, the attitude he always attempted to portray finally worked, and he actually seemed like a psycho with a vendetta – that vendetta being to kill his mother who claimed he had actually died in birth.

So much important and shocking information was given in tonight’s episode that I could not even process all of it immediately. Each section of the episode is so monumental to next week’s series finale, which I assume to be just as jam-packed.

My one true hope for the finale: those aliens are explained in full depth and slowly because I still have so many questions. Actually, my mind is blown, and I question everything.


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