Ten Dark Things We Learned From American Horror Story Asylum, Episode Six – The Origins Of Monstrosity (Spoilers)

Where does this evil come from? Could she have been born that way? -Jenny’s mother

 

Yep, Ryan Murphy was right, that probably was “the darkest episode yet.” Glad Sister Mary Eunice was around to lighten the mood a little. We found out all kinds of horrible things, so speaking of the most entertaining demon-possessed nun in television history so far, let’s kick things off with this…

…and don’t tell me what to say, and don’t tell me what to do…

1. We learned that Sister Mary Eunice, who sure was having a great time throughout the episode (the only character that wasn’t wretched, unless you count Dr. Thredson’s extreme mood swings, if you include a few happy, delusional moments he had in the episode) looooooves  spreading evil outside Briarcliff as well as within. Despite Jenny’s mother’s desperate query to Sister Jude quoted in the header above, I’m pretty sure that sociopathic little girl was born twisted. She scared the shit out of me, and usually little spooky kids don’t creep me out that much (unless something supernatural is involved. We didn’t get much deep back story other than the fact that she had never cried, but what was she, eight?  Cute plaid dress, Bad Seed  pigtails, Fun Time coloring book, emotionless eyes and flat voice, already keeping trophies… and her brother and sister were fine. Notice I used the past tense? That’s because (thanks to Sister Mary Eunice’s encouragement), by the end of the episode it was revealed Jenny had slit both her sibling’s throats …and stabbed her mother with the giant butcher knife from the kitchen at Briarcliff. Take a wild guess as to who gave her the knife. Sister knows budding evil when she sees it, and I’m pretty sure Jenny was born that way, with “the gift of authentic impulse,” as Sister described it warmly to her. She wasn’t raised by a wire monkey mother.  I’ve studied enough abnormal psychology and true crime cases to know of some killers who, after they were caught and convicted, confessed to either a journalistic or researcher and said various versions of whatever’s wrong with me, I was born with it. Nothing happened, it was just already in me.  Jenny also taught us that in some cases, monstrosity is born, not made.

Administrator: I should warn you… the sight of her is quite shocking.
Monsignor Timothy: We’re all God’s creatures.

 

2. RIP, Shelley.

At least she got to spend her last days in a private room with clean sheets. I was thinking, huh, wonder what this new development going to be?  when we saw an establishing shot of Monsignor Timothy and the man who had reached out to him for last rites walking across some sort of upscale lobby we’d never seen before. [side note: What was that place? A hospital? A hotel? It looked much more sterile and nicer than Briarcliff, anyway]. The other man– let’s call him the administrator– said they weren’t able to identify her . Oh no. Once he mentioned TB to Timothy, I knew who was waiting for her last rites.  She looked so much worse than we saw her last week (the fact that the guy who escorted him up was really eager to give Timothy privacy, and couldn’t really look at his patient, still didn’t prepare us)  that I was very worried he wouldn’t be able to identify Shelley, especially since she was point the point of speech, but Timothy did.  He looked genuinely upset and hurt when he recognized her. There was nothing left of the vivacious young woman we met early on, who told us she was only there because her husband decked her and had her committed to Briarcliff after he caught her cheating (in a threesome with two sailors, granted, but that doesn’t excuse him having her locked away and discarded), who pointed out that men loved sex too and no-one called them  whores, the girl with the lusty grin who we first met in the premiere when she sprang up and gleefully told Sister Jude, “You could shave me bald as a cueball and I’d still be the hottest tamale in this joint!” after Sister had shaved off a chunk of her hair. Though we didn’t see it, the Monsignor put her out of her misery as quickly and as painlessly as he could, weeping quietly (it looked to like he strangled her with his rosary), then made the sign of the cross. Speaking of that rosary…

3. In what was maybe my favorite transition in the episode, we next saw him entering Dr. Arden’s quarters,  looking as genuinely pissed as we’ve seen him so far when he saw Dr. Arden looking out at the view and happily humming, then Monsignor winged  that same rosary at Dr. Arden’s record player (sound of needle being scratched off– vvvvvvvuuuup!)  and called him on his shit. When he saw what Dr. Nazi had done to Spivey (who got caught beating off watching Sister Mary Eunice bathing languidly while humming Jesus Loves Me;  Dr. Nazi didn’t buy Spivey’s story that she’d invited him to watch her “flash her pussy” through that peephole, but we sure did), and didn’t buy Nazi’s rationale, he announced he was turning him in. Dr. Nazi then announced that Timothy had just as much to lose if everything ‘came to light’, and so we learned  Dr. Arden has indeed been blackmailing him. I guess they didn’t do a full reveal/flashback about why yet, but it’s obviously something the Catholic church would not approve of. So that leaves out altar boys, since judging from recent media reports, the Vatican seems to have an open-door policy on that. I’m guessing he’s a sex addict.


4. Speaking of Dr. Arden’s research, as has been theorized here and on quite a few other horror sites, he was trying to create a “immune-boosting vaccine” –sort of– to make sure the human race could survive after WW3 (or so he says; I suspect he’s a power freak with a God-complex and sure as hell doesn’t mind inflicting pain, but he doesn’t admit to that)  after the devastation of the nuclear holocaust that he assumes will immediately kick off.  “I am not a monster! I am a visionary!” he angrily responds to Timothy’s allegations.  Sure, whatever. “Witness the next stage of human evolution.” He cut Shelley’s legs off to punish her for not wanting to have sex with him, then (worse) for laughing at his tiny junk, and he sure  as hell knew he wasn’t doing her any favors conducting experiments on her. No-one else is buying it, especially not Timothy …but he’s being blackmailed.

“You’re smarter than they are. Don’t you ever forget it.”

 

5. We learned Dr. Nazi is not the only one doing some blackmailing. This time, Dr. Gruper (the exact spelling according to closed-captions) is catching instead of pitching!  Sister Mary Eunice, who pretended to be Sister Jude on the phone (doing her voice perfectly), then paid a little visit to Sam Goodman. “Did Sister Jude send you?” “She doesn’t know I’m here”, and got a less-than-friendly look on her face right before the cutaway to commercial. When Sister Jude visits him to deliver Dr. Ardren’s fingerprint and finds the door not only unlocked but slightly ajar, Guess who she finds on the bathroom floor in a pool of his own blood.  However, with his dying breaths, he manages to gasp to Sister Jude Arden didn’t do this… it was a nun.

THEN…

Sister Mary Eunice grabbed all the evidence, and paid “Hans” a visit.  By the way, when she pointedly calls him by his real first name, he seriously loses his shit, but only makes himself look worse when his defensive reaction degenerates into racial slurs. When he asks her if that’s all of it, Sister Mary Eunice smiles sweetly (for a demon) and cheerfully tells him no, not everything, she kept some evidence in case he tried to “double cross” her.  Showing a rare, momentary lack of delusion and narcissism, Dr. Nazi asks her why she’s protecting him and what she wants. “You’re not in love with me. I’m no fool. I know I’m too old …too ugly.”  This is when we find out Sister Eunice definitely has a master plan (besides giving murderous sociopathic little girls a giant weapon and making sure she gives them a push in the right, or  what the devil would consider “right”— direction). When she tells Dr. Arden the two of them would make the start of a new era as long as he entrusted his soul to her, Dr. Nazi’s eyes showed a flicker of real uncertainty and even some fear for the first time since we met him. Good.  Even though it scares us too…

…No monster starts off that way. He was somebody’s precious baby, crying for his mommy.

 

6. Kit is onto Dr. Thredson. He used his one phone call to call him, and knows he fucked him over, and grows furious because he was confused about his story, but now isn’t any longer, because he knows (after Grace told him as he was being dragged out of Briarcliff). Alma is alive. Or at least that, as far as we know, he didn’t kill her. Dr. Thredson was calmly condescending at first, but unravels when Kit calls him a liar, then ends up yelling back at Kit just as loud when he calls him a bastard, and slams down the phone, ending the call. What the hell is Kit going to do now?

7.  Ah yes, we learned a lot about Dr. Thredson. Some of which we wish we sort of didn’t (that ‘breast feeding’ was at least as creepy as the aversion-conversion therapy he gave Lana in Briarcliff)! His birth mother, who he says he never knew, abandoned him to an orphanage (as Lana puts it) where they gave him food, water, very basic education, and learning the difference between right and wrong with the help ‘of a leather strap.’  He stresses how much he misses a mother’s touch, especially skin-to-skin contact. Warm skin. If you’re wondering about the Harlow study with the wire-monkey mothers and want to read more, here’s a good place to start, but I’m warning you it’s a heart-breaker. The two classes in college I took that covered it are enough info for me, and I remember everyone– sorority girls, frat-guys that I usually tried to sit as far away from as possible because they were such douchebags–just kind of trudging sadly out of the lecture hall afterwards (especially the one that showed slides).

Would you care to see what your benevolence has produced?

 

8. We then learned that Dr. Thredson had a revelation when he was going to medical school. In gross (REALLY gross) anatomy class, they wheeled in a 33-year old woman’s corpse  (about the same age as his mother when he abandoned her)  into the ‘operating theater’ for students. He came back later when he could have some privacy to get up close and personal with the cadaver, but knew he needed someone a little more lively… “warm living skin” as he put it. Then he calls Lana …Mommy.

9. In quite possibly the best, most clever reveal in the episode, we learn out where Dr. Thredson saw Lana before—AND why he chose her to “tell his story”. Zach Quinto, Sarah Paulson, and Ryan Murphy all cryptically said after last week’s reveal that we’d find out they’d “been in the same room” before he met her in Briarcliff. She was there to cover the story about Bloody Face being apprehended and taken to Briarcliff for psychiatric evaluation. Remember how she was there in that slo-mo scene in the premiere when they brought Kit Walker out of a car and up the steps of Briarcliff in shackles? Thredson (who we learned last week had good reason to be there: his agenda of covering his ass by framing someone) eavesdropped on Lana—the only female there— talking with her fellow journalists . When a sexist male reporter asks why she’s there covering the crime beat, Lana asks him if he thinks Upton Sinclair waits to be assigned a story. Unfortunately for her, Thredson overhears the following…

Lana: I’m making this my story.
Sarcastic Douche: Oh, a woman’s touch, huh?
Lana: Yes, exactly. That’s what’s been missing from this story. You think this mook’s just a monster, but no monster starts off that way. He was somebody’s precious baby, crying for his mommy.

Precious baby crying for his mommy…  a woman’s touch… that particularly resonated with Bloody Face. Survival checklist when dealing with Oliver Thredson: Don’t make him feel abandoned. Don’t call him a liar or a bastard.  Don’t get in his way. Don’t remind him of his mother, or any mother, except as a complete last resort to avoid being skinned alive.  But what about present day Bloody Face?

Sticking your arm through a metal  slot to take a photo of the inside of Bloody Face’s cell because your new wife offered to blow you if you did it: Bad Idea, or Big Mistake?

10. Aaaand we learned that the wrap-around story is back, making slightly less sense—but definitely ratcheting up the action. It starts with the cops showing up after a 911 call from a cold, flat voice that sounded very Dr. Thredson-esque (but turned out to be an actor we’d heard would be returning from Season One new role, but the same actor) and told them they needed to send a car to Briarcliff. “I’ve been a busy boy,” he says, and informs them “they were imposters”.  One of the cops on the scene realizes something has dripped onto his forehead from above (never a good sign), wipes it away to see the wet stuff is red, looks up, and curses a blue streak. The three Bloody Face “imposters” are still in costume, but suspended from the very high ceiling of what used to be Briarcliff. Not hung by their neck, mind you, but sort of wrapped in wire, or ropes in poses that I’m sure many will compare to the poor guard in Silence of The Lambs,  but evoked Hellraiser  a little more to us at Horror Boom.

You’ll know my name when you see them…

 

We close with cops searching the building and finding Leo with his arm ripped off. When a mobile phone rings, they follow the sound into the cell with the slot that Leo stuck his arm into to try to take a photo after his classy bride offered to blow him if he did it, and the cell phone is still in his hand… ringing.  When a frustrated cop answers, the voice cameo is back, and they also realize Leo’s bride is missing. The last thing we see is Theresa, wounded but not dead yet, strapped to Dr. Arden’s table—with a pretty authentic-looking Bloody Face looming over her. So, though we’re left with more questions than answers, we DO learn that Leo is dead, and that pretty soon, Theresa is going to probably wish that she was.

 Sister Jude (from the Season Premiere): All monsters are human.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Is it just me, or does Joseph Fienne’s English accent sort of come and go? I’ve gotten used to Grace’s French accent slipping slightly sometimes, but I’ll forgive it if it isn’t intentionally written in.
  • Sister Mary Eunice has the devil inside, but her entertainment factor went through the roof  throughout this episode (guess they needed some comic relief in this very dark episode where  several characters we are rooting for got very, very bad news indeed. The scene of her singing along with Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”, (hit this link to hear it) while twirling around in Sister Jude’s “trashy red lingerie” (and Sister Jude’s former quarters) and hurling her rosary off her neck and at the cross sexily was fucking gold,  every second.
  • Plus, the horror fan in me LOVED Sister Demon’s B-story with dead-eyed little Jenny. Those  two sure hit it off, unfortunately for her family. I wasn’t shocked she’d killed again, but I sure as hell didn’t expect her ENTIRE FAMILY to be the victims. Of course, she was telling the same story to the cops (as calmly as if she was ordering lunch), and I think that’ll be the last of her, because they bought it.
  • Warning: BIG cranky rant ahead. Skip the block of text if you want to don’t want to read it.  NOW can certain ‘horror fans’ or writers who have no business recapping a horror story stop referring to the mutants/raspers as zombies? Jesus H. Christ! I know you fellow horror nerdists are with me on this. I get pissed when I hear people call 28 Days Later  and [REC]  and [REC2]  “zombie movies”. Especially [REC2],  where the whole point is the reveal, during the FIRST ACT of the movie, that it’s a demonic possession that’s contagious. This is beyond stupid. Were the raspers dead at one point? Did they then rise from the dead to eat the brains of the living, who then turn into zombies?  I’m going to have to change the subject now, I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it. It’s one thing with viewers, it’s another for TV reviewers who are being paid to write a weekly review and/or recap.  All I managed to communicate back was a reply directed at the author, asking, “What about them makes you think they’re zombies?” Zilch, zero, no reply, I’m sure they’re too lazy busy to read it, but if everything you see that looks messed up is either a zombie or an alien,  at the very least you shouldn’t be assigned to cover anything more complicated than The Walking Dead. If that. COME ON! Really? Zombies? That the best you got? Sheesh.
  • Frances Conroy is back next week, with a black dye job and what looks like wings. YEAH!  All Murphy will say (for now) is that she plays “the ultimate angel”, and judging from the preview, I think she’ll be the one to get the cruelly ousted Sister Jude back to Briarcliff. I hope to hell someone does!
  • God, like things aren’t hellish enough for Lana, she has at least a good fifteen seconds where she wakes up in her own bed, including bed sheets and a pillow that smells like home and maybe even her soul mate Wendy, with her own nightstand, and you can almost hear her thinking, Oh, here I am in our bed… what a horrible nightmare. Thank God it was just a drea —  then she hears Dr. Thredson’s voice, sees that it’s her bed NOT her bedroom, instead she’s in a tiled basement with a shackle around her ankle, realizes she’s still in hell and lets out a prolonged, anguished scream of grief and horror.  It’s supposed to get WAY worse in episodes 8 and 9?  That  alarms me.
  • So… what exactly was in those croque-monsuier sandwiches? The crunching and chewing sound seemed deliberately amplified to the point where I was waiting for Dr. T to tell her after she finished, “Oh, about where I put Wendy? Well, we just put part of her someone no-one would find it, that’s for su—” (Lana pukes everywhere)
  • Please, no more surrogate breast-feeding with Lana and Bloody-Face. We get why it was needed as far as exposition and character. I’m also glad she talked him out of killing her by being smart enough to know exactly what the freak needed to hear from her (he was weeping when he was preparing to skin her, before and after the flashback). I don’t like the whole “adult baby” way this is going, for one thing, but there’s other reasons why …that… just… NO.

    Frances Conroy will be back for Episode 7 next week! She sure as hell isn’t playing Moira this season…

I just found the synopsis it for next week’s episode, “Dark Cousins,”  and Frances Conroy is credited as “Dark Angel”. Synopsis: Sister Mary Eunice is terrified to discover a dark angel has descended on Briarcliff.  Kit makes a bold move to be reunited with Grace.  Another synopsis I read said pretty much the same thing, but worded it: Sister Mary senses an evil presence at Briarcliff.  Does that mean there’s something that scares Sister Mary Eunice because it’s a threat to her evil …or something even scarier than what jumped into Sister Mary Eunice? We sure as hell can’t wait to find out!

See the preview below, looks like we’ll get more of Grace, who is looking the worse for wear (plus, Dr. Arden giving her an injection does not bode well for her health) and see Sister Mary Eunice shows Dr. Nazi who’s boss!

 

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