TV: An end to the horror on “Asylum”

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
American Horror Story airs on FX
Rating: 5/5

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I only question everything I know when I have to think about the plot of American Horror Story. Were things real? Were they fake? Questions that tell me that Ryan Murphy has created an excellent psychological thriller that truly boggles the mind and keeps the audience’s interest throughout the entire season. Well done, sir, well done indeed.

If you have not watched the finale yet, then stop reading and go watch it for yourself and pay attention! Then come back and read my review.

Going back to the beginning of the season, Johnny (Dylan McDermott) was there the entire time Leo (Adam Levine) and Teresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) broke into Briarcliff. He was the one who cut off Leo’s arm. Quite less climatic than my original ideas of some eternal monster trapped within that room, but I guess this works.

In the present, a much older Lana (Sarah Paulson) prepares for an interview before her Kennedy Center honor, for her career sparked even more after the book. Ambition was her motivation – remember that kids – and she went on to have a very successful career in television.

A “Briarcliff Exposed” video was released in which Lana narrates the horror of the patients at Briarcliff; this is how she succeeds in finally shutting the place down. Lana mentions that when she finally went back to Briarcliff, Jude (Jessica Lange) had already gone.

Let’s all take a break with a nice glass of water, which is what Johnny hands Lana as she breaks from her interview! Yep. We’ll get to this later.

Lana visits Kit (Evan Peters) at his house. Right off the bat, Lana tells him she found a file on Betty Drake, who had been released to Kit in 1970, and she knows that Betty is Jude (Jessica Lange).

What ensues is probably the best part about the entire finale…

After Alma died, Kit visited Jude and tried to rekindle the life that he knew was still there. For the sake of his children, he needed to forgive someone so he could put Briarcliff behind him.

Jude had psychotic breaks, but they end after the children took her for a walk in the woods. Wait, what? The alien spawn freak me out. Explanations, I need! Anyway, Jude becomes normal again and is now a part of the family.

I lied. This next scene was the absolute best.

Before she goes, Jude gives advice to both the children. To the daughter, she reminds her to never let a man tell her who she is or that she is less than he is. To the son, she tells him to never take a job just for the money but to find something he loves. If that wasn’t enough, the children also call her “nana.

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I cannot handle the adorableness, beauty, inspiration, love and sadness that is all tied together in this one scene. For this scene alone, Lange should win every award for everything.

The Dark Angel (Frances Conroy) comes, for Jude is finally ready. But I’m not! Never have I ever witnessed a more full circle story than Jude’s and never have I ever seen it portrayed as wonderful as Lange acted it.

After closing Briarcliff, Lana pursues Cardinal Howard (Joseph Fiennes). Her questions about Arden’s experiments and the missing patients become connected to his suicide. I’m glad he went down with Briarcliff, but I’m more so happy his storyline has ended.

Commenting on Howard’s guilty conscience, Lana states that “Lies are like scars on your soul; they destroy you.” She then comes clean about her 40-year-old lie; on camera, she confesses that the baby lived.

Kit develops pancreatic cancer. Funny thing though, he vanishes… because of the aliens.

The alien plot was never fully explained. Though I do find it quite frustrating, I do enjoy the idea of leaving an idea unexplained so that it can be open to different judgment and discussion – Murphy’s intention all along.

Back in the present, the interviewers all leave, but Johnny stays. Lana knows who he is and what his purpose is! Goodness, she is brilliant.

I never thought I would say that a scene involving Dylan McDermott would be thrilling, but this scene was.

Lana’s calm mood was frightening and Johnny’s anger seemed believable. While pointing a gun at her head, Johnny confesses that he wants to be like Thredson; he wants to make his father proud. Lana tells him he won’t be like his father, for he is not a monster like Thredson.

Johnny breaks down, and Lana claims that his woes are her fault. She then shoots him in the head! Ironic, huh. I never expected both of them to come out alive from this scene, but I was not expecting it to end like that.

Flashback to 1964 – yep, this is happening folks – and we see Lana asking Sister Jude about Bloody Face. Jude tells her to be wary of a life of “a woman with a dream of her own.” She says Jude does not know what she is capable of.

American-Horror-Story-Asylum-Episode-13-Video-Preview-Season-FinaleWe end the season like the original previews ended: with a close-up on Jessica Lange’s face. Jude then remarks the final words of the season, “If you look in the face of evil, evil’s going to look right back.”

Lana then walks out the front doors, and “Dominique” plays as the camera fades out on Briarcliff.

Two theories are prevalent in my mind. One, Jude simply foreshadowed the entire season – the evil being Lana’s face-off with Thredson and Johnny – or two, Lana actually made up the entire thing to write a book – a popular thought on Tumblr.

Personally, I like to think the whole thing wasn’t made up, but who knows, Ryan Murphy certainly enjoys boggling the minds of his viewers. Job well done on that note.

Though I’m terribly sad the season is over, I am happy that my mind can rest for awhile – though probably not because I have no idea what the ending meant.

American Horror Story: Asylum has ended. Check back here for the latest news on the third season of AHS.

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