Ten Really Dark Things We Learned From American Horror Story Episode Seven, “Dark Cousins” (Spoilers!)

She likes it here. We like it.

 

1. Sister Mary Eunice— the meek one who begged Sister Jude to use a bigger cane on her as she cried hysterically— is still in there somewhere. When Conroy’s Angel of Death confronted her, she said she knew what Sister Mary Demon was (“cousin… like me, but fallen”) and that someone inside her had been calling her, singing  to her, for help, Old School Sister Mary Eunice broke free for a moment and weeping, begged the Angel to release her.  “O Heavenly Host… will you release me? Can you release me?”  When the demon came back to take over (“Shut up, you stupid SOW!”) that Dark Angel backed off, but told her, “We’ll meet again”.  [Side note: every time Frances Conroy‘s Dark Angel unfurled her expansive, beautiful black wings (FWOOOOP) I actually gasped, the sight was so cool and breathtaking. ]

2. In one of many clever twists and reveals of the night, we discover Sister Jude did not, in fact, kill the little girl fifteen years ago in the hit-and-run. We did NOT see that coming (even though in the minutes leading up to the reveal, Missy’s mother seemed pretty cheerful for someone who’d lost a child, especially to an unsolved homicide). Mary Eunice knew Sister Jude didn’t kill her, but she knew Sister Jude thought  she did, which was enough to start torturing her (more on that later) and playing on her guilt. Notice that in Jude’s memories, and even in the newspaper headlines, no-one ever said the girl had been killed; just the victim of a hit-and-run, but it NEVER occurred to us that she might have survived. Missy having survived was a relief, since Sister Jude was clearly planning to confess to her parents and then take her own life (probably with that straight razor). “We get to live with our daughter. The monster who left her there, has to live with himself,” Missy’s mother told her at the end of the scene.  Sister Jude seemed a little more freaked out than relieved, but that’s understandable.

Shall I kiss you, and make this all go away?

 

3. However, we also learned that there’s still plenty of tragedy left in Sister Jude’s past.  For instance, we find that she tried to kill herself before. Her awful shitbird of a fiancée… well, let’s hear it in Sister Judy Martin’s own words:

When Casey left me the night before the wedding, when I told him he’d given me syphilis and  I’d never be able to have children…  I forgave him …and he called me a liar and a whore. All I ever wanted was my own family, my own children to teach and love…

Yes, THE NIGHT BEFORE THEIR WEDDING,  just to put the icing on the goddamn cake.  If I’d been in her shoes at that moment, I might have looked into alcoholism too, if not a suicide attempt.

Poor thing. Maybe we should call Briarcliff. At least they could give her a bed for the night.

 

4.  Sister Mary Eunice is still going out of her way to mind-fuck Sister Jude at every opportunity. Not only does she send fatal shards of the broken mirror into Mr. Goodman’s neck (though it doesn’t kill him right away, and looks very painful), she writes “Murderer” in blood on the TV and tapes up the Search for Missing Girl Continues headline to the TV over it for Jude to discover. Then (after a flashback)  she calls Sister Jude. “This is your conscience speaking… That man dead on the floor, he was investigating you. ” She then tells sister Jude she left her a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon and “something else” for her, which turns out to be a straight razor. For a minute we see her slicing or wrists open (vertically) with the razor, then lying on the floor in a vast pool of her own blood …then we see Sister Jude was (phew) just picturing herself going through with it.

“I hope this clarifies the chain of command, Arthur.” Most satisfying line of the night!

5. I love your work… Bloody Face,  the Jeb-demon told Dr. Thredson during the exorcism. Since that same demon then jumped into Sister Mary Eunice, she knows Dr. Thredson is Bloody Face, just to make sure Lana is really screwed. OK, let’s back up a bit.

I’m going to crawl out of my own skin if I have to lay on that bed again.

 

6. When we first saw Lana this episode (SIGH), Dr. Thredson had gone from crying with happiness and curling up to ‘breast-feed’ with his new Mommy surrogate and moved on to raping her.  Lana had gone limp and it was clear her mind was floating away;  she already looked dead behind the eyes. It was no surprise the Angel of Death showed up, since they’d established she had to be summoned by someone ready to die. We still don’t know (or I  don’t) who wrote the ancient Aramaic symbol (her spoken name was given in the closed captions as “Shachath”) on the wall in blood to summon her in the first place —Miles said he didn’t.  Dr. Thredson said it was time to end it.

Peace is so close, Sister…

 

7.  Lana realized she wasn’t ready to die yet, and attacked Dr. T with all she had—the hypodermic, the chain around her ankle, fists, feet, gravity, and miraculously made it own of his basement alive. But we horror fans know that the first time you escape from a maniac’s captivity and run like hell, the car that you flag down or stops for you is not going to contain a friend. Rather than have the man whose car she leaps into be working with Bloody Face and take her right back to him (as we at Horror Boom were expecting), he blew his brains out, the car crashed, and Lana ended up in Briarcliff, seriously banged up …under Sister Mary Eunice’s care. Absolutely did not see that coming – any of it.

8. We learned that Dr. Arden has it in him to actually cure a sick patient (the traditional way, too, not his own fucked-up version of what he sees as a cure). I thought Grace was going to bleed out and die, since the infirmary at Briarcliff seems rudimentary at best, (not to mention any visit from the Dark Angel is a big hint), but even though it was for his own selfish reasons (he didn’t sterilize her, but no-one’s going to believe that, and he says she’s going to live, “if only to set the record straight”), he actually treats her (in a tradition way) and it works.  The last thing I expected was to see her sitting in the kitchen, looking and sounding healthy and like her regular self again. The surprises kept coming, though…

I’m here to help… if that’s what you want.

 

9. Escape from police custody seemed pretty easy for Kit once he set his mind to it, but of course, it didn’t work out for long. He made the (well-meaning) mistake to return to Briarcliff for Grace. Unfortunately for everyone, he went in through the death chute, where a very ravenous, energetic Rasper (remember, as the winter gets colder, they’ve been getting hungrier and less shy about staying back in the woods, keeping to themselves) slipped (or lunged) in behind him, unnoticed. It looked like the really aggressive, fast one that sent Lana, Kit, and Grace sprinting back into Briarcliff the evening of their very brief escape in Episode Three, “Nor’Easter”.

10. Speaking of brief, Grace and Kit were re-united. Grace happened to be in the kitchen when Kit snuck in, and told her he was taking her out of there.  Their faces light up —nice to see any likeable (human) characters look truly happy this episode– and they embrace. “I couldn’t let you die here, Grace,” he tells her, and hand in hand, the happy couple head for the exit. Well, this is great  news!Finally, what a relief, to know there’s hope for escape, and for Grace to back up his story that Alma is alive! Glad something is working out for someone on this show! What happens next, happens fast. The returning nun working the kitchen promptly runs into them on the way out, and immediately screams for help …a split second before the rasper jumps her, tears her throat out with his teeth and hurls her across the room.  Kit thinks fast, grabs some deadly weapon I couldn’t make out, stabs it into the rasper hard enough that its weird innards spill to the floor, Frank bursts in and sees this (including Kit with a weapon and a dead nun) then raises his gun to shoot—a split second before Grace leaps in front and catches the bullet meant for him. As Grace lies on the floor gasping, the Angel of Death comes for her, and this time, gives her that kiss to escape from Briarcliff for good.

Dark Angel: Are you ready for me?
Grace: Yes…  I’m free.

 

  • When the Angel of Death said she’d see Sister Mary Eunice again, she wasn’t kidding. Ryan Murphy confirmed Frances Conroy will return (yay!)  Read more in his EW.com exclusive interview, which went live right after the episode aired, here (with lots of other juicy information).
  • So they let people who are unmedicated enough to hear voices in their head (“they get real loud sometimes,” Miles says) work in the kitchen with every single sharp object imaginable, including a meat-slicing saw with no safety mechanism?  I’m still on the lookout for the name of the actor who played poor Miles, by the way.
  • After Dr. Thredson raped her Lana for God knows how long, he has the nerve to ask, “You decent?” before coming down later to talk to her.  Yeah, sure wouldn’t to intrude and, you know, invade her privacy or anything.
  • Frank the guard? Still decent. He did his best to comfort the miserable Miles. As far as the sad ending (I actually got a little choked up) the order on Kit, according to Frank, was “to shoot on sight.” He had to move fast, and there was a dead nun and a dead rasper there, what was he supposed to think? He didn’t have time. I’m sure he’s not going to be able to easily brush off killing an innocent –OK, relatively  innocent bystander, who had just made a miraculous recovery from the brink of death, either.
  • When the nuns in the infirmary find Grace on her cot with what looks like more blood outside her body than in, one nun/nurse asks the other, “Should we call Dr. Arden?” She responds, “That  butcher? He’s the one that did this to her!” in an alarmed hush. Looks like despite that miracle cure, Dr. Arden isn’t fooling many of the nuns on staff. They don’t know the half of the “butcher” part, but they know he’s the last doctor to trust a life to… especially a woman’s life.
  • In the guest star department, that was Bob from That “70s Show” (minus his 70s ‘fro and leisure suits, of course) as Kit’s wrong place, wrong time court-appointed defense lawyer. Handsome Sean Patrick Flannery, who only looked to us about 5 years older than he did in Cruel Intentions  (1999) played Terry, Judy Martin’s band-mate who came to tell her regretfully they’d finally had to replace her. Insane woman-hating driver who picked up Lana?  William Mapother, who most viewers probably recognized from Lost, but we obsessive Ju-On  fans remember him as Matthew from the 2004 Ghost House-produced version of The Grudge  (he was scary in that, too).
 “Legend has it that once you were committed to Briarcliff, you never got out.” –from the first five minutes of the Season Premiere

 

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Ten Things We Learned From American Horror Story Asylum, Episode 3 – ‘Nor’easter’ (SPOILERS!)

Warning about Spoiler Warnings for this weekly feature: I’m now just going to start putting a spoiler warning in the title of the post.  I think that’ll keep me from getting me yelled at. Besides, I know regular readers of Horror Boom 1. are intelligent and 2. have my back.  OK, on with the mostly horrifying things we learned – even I let out a shocked “HOAH!” loud enough to wake my husband at that last brutal reveal. Now THAT was I call a goddamned episode of American Horror Story last night!  Let’s do this!

Kit:  Run, RUN! RUN! Don’t look back, just RUN! Go GO GO! Into the tunnel! GO!

1. The last act of Episode Three, ‘Nor’Easter’ reminded us what genre of show we’re watching, that’s for sure. HORROR, and proud of it. We now know what The Raspers in the woods look like and the show runners were smart to keep behind-the-scenes pics/footage out of the media, since they’re even more horrifying than we pictured. How horrifying are the Raspers? Enough to send three patients more desperate to escape than anything in the world sprinting back full-tilt into what is probably the most wretched, shitty, frightening asylum in the TV universe, one that includes a chief administrator with deep-seated issues who will beat the shit out of you for even a slight infraction if she feels like it, and a head doctor who is a sadistic, soul-less monster who makes the aforementioned chief administrator look like Mother Teresa.


2. Speaking of the above doctor, and things we’ve learned, WE GET IT, RYAN MURPHY AND CO., DR. ARDEN HAS A MADONNA-WHORE COMPLEX!  We pretty much figured that out by the end of episode two; having a call girl dress up like a nun and take her make-up off, then turn back into a misogynistic pervert (among other hints). However, shortly after obtaining a tube of lipstick (“Ravish-Me Red”)  he really started to unravel, and smeared it onto the cheeks and lips of a pristine, white angelic statue of the Virgin Mary, then grew furious and shoved it off the pedestal it rested on so hard that it smashed to smithereens before he practically screamed “WHORE!”.  If any viewers have not been clued in to his issues by that little vignette (I doubt it), they’re not smart enough to watch the show. Please return to exploring the other, really monstrous facets of his character, such as…

3.  A man who is very likely a war criminal. I’m guessing of Nazi origin, whose birth name was probably something along the lines of Klaus Von Ardenshvitz, with a sick nickname like “The Mad Butcher of (insert name of concentration camp here)”. When he was jabbing Kit’s neck with some of the longest needles I’ve even seen (how much torture can that poor kid take?) we learned that Dr. Arden assumed the bizarre metal chip that scuttles around like a rectangular robotic beetle–Dr. A even stored it in a jar like a live specimen– was some sort of tracking device. He has apparently decided Kit is some sort of spy; he questioned him about who he was with and who sent him–Russians? East Germans? The CIA? The Jews?  

Sister Jude finally starts calling bullshit on Dr. Arden …but is it too late?

4. We also learned a lesson that poor Shelley learned far too late:  if Dr. Arden wants to have sex with you, just humor him, no matter how revolting, vile, and unfuckable he is, it’s still better than the alternative. And whatever you do, no matter how tempting it is,and how much he deserves to be made to feel like a pathetic excuse for a man, don’t laugh at or make fun of his penis size (or lack thereof). I was positive she was not going to live to see the end of the episode after that, but instead, he reminded her (and us) that you don’t have to die to go to hell.

Now we know why having Chloë Sevigny pose this way was foreshadowing… look at the legs. EEEEEEEK!

5.  The Raspers are apparently named that because of the sounds they make. We probably suspected this before, but after I watched the episode, I re-watched with closed captions, and they read [RASPY BREATHING] when we saw one of them lurking in the woods when Sister Mary Eunice fed them. Their dinner was that poor Hispanic woman who not only got stabbed to death with scissors, but was also only referred to as “That Mexican” by the staff. Speaking of that meal…

6. The demon in Sister Mary Eunice (that kind of has a cool ring to it, doesn’t it? Could be a great 60s-70s movie title: The Demon In Sister Mary Eunice) even seemed to make a choice to keep her/its distance from The Raspers.  She didn’t have her usual devilish smile,  plus she looked to be keeping an eye out –and I doubt it was because she cared if Sister Jude or another hospital staff member saw her.  After she unceremoniously dumped their fresh dinner out of her wheelbarrow and onto the ground for them, we noticed she didn’t turn her back on them – she took several steps backwards before a cutaway.

7. Sister Jude and alcohol do not mix well. Here’s my transcript of the entirety of her amazing monologue which had its hilarious moments but also showed she has a heart, and is a woman capable of feeling sadness and guilt. It started when she walked unsteadily into the makeshift movie theater completely hammered and blowing her whistle, which already sounded a tad off…

Sister Jude:  Take your seats. Take your seats! No more dilly-dally.  SIT DOWN.  SIDDOWN(brief exchange with guard about ‘missing Mexican’)
Welcome, one and all to Briarcliff Manor’s inaugural movie night! Heh. Whether this evening marks the start of a beloved tra—tradition, or just another bitter disappointment,  is entirely up to you! (Pulls out notes). Now! Settle in, relax, and return with me now to Ancient Rome as we  present the 1932 Cecile B. DeMille classic, “The Signs of the Cross”, starring Miss Claudette Colbert as the empress Pop-pia or…Pohpia, and as the Emperor Nero, the incomparable Mr. Charles Laughton, who I understand is an enormous whoopsie. (Thunder scares inmates)   No no, no! None of that! None of that. Chin up! Chin up high. Hey! (giggles, actually looks happy).  Don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end …of the storm… is a golden sky and a bright silver song of a lark… walk on though the wind  …walk on through the rain (clasp’s Pepper’s face and beams at her) …though your dreams may be tossed and blown, walk on! Walk on, with hope… in your heart… (voice breaks) and you’ll never walk alone… you’ll never …walk… (Lana and Dr. Thredson exchange concerned looks) ...but she was alone.  A tiny little fragile thing out, out in the world …in the gloaming… (continuing to unravel and losing her battle to fight back tears)  …and the storm that came was not rain and not wind, it was something… altogether else… (Even louder thunder-clap.  Sister Jude gasps and manages to pull herself back together)  LIGHTS!  I’m off to find the Mexican. (strides out)

Dr. Thredson: What the hell was that?
Lana: She’s bats, or haven’t you noticed?

That was a flawless, well-written monologue, and unsurprisingly, Jessica Lange absolutely nailed it. I needed to watch it half a dozen times to get it all down and transcribe it, and I loved watching it every time.

8. Sister Jude took her vows shortly after the hit-and-run,  and the date on the newspaper with the girl’s photo and the headline that indicated she had been “Missing Six Days” was June 28, 1949. So now we know the hit-and-run happened on or about June 26th …and that Sister Jude has been a nun for fifteen years.

Sister Jude: Movie night is at an end!
Patient: But the movie ain’t over yet.
Sister Jude: Yeah, everybody dies. Satisfied?

 

9. When we got a look at the giant thing in the hall that made Sister Jude scream and then pass out, it was obvious that unlike The Raspers, it was never human and that it might be an alien; we catch a glimpse of some long insect-like limb unfolding when we got a brief partial view. I try to write these before I read recaps, reviews, and EW.com’s post-show interviews with Ryan Murphy, but I had to check on this, and Murphy has confirmed yes, that was the alien that Sister Jude ran into. When Demon-Sister Mary wakes her, she says, “Oh my God, they’ve seen it too.”


10. And finally, we learned something most horror fans already knew: Don’t ever try to liven up your honeymoon by having sex in an abandoned mental institution that you know is supposed to be haunted and  housed a notorious serial killer. You will end up being killed. Bad idea. Actually, they were screwed when they went in there in the first place, but they were really pushing it. Jesus, what went wrong with your life where the biggest turn-on is having sex on an electroshock table in a “death chute” where you just read 42,000 people have died? There’s kinky, and then there’s just idiotic (not to mention bad karma).  Three of the Bloody Faces were guys wearing masks, Bloody Face #1  was knocked over by Leo (still trying to protect his new wife, even with one arm), then stabbed a dozen times by his bride, with that icepick-like, sharp tool used to give trans-orbital lobotomies, no less.
Just when it looked like they might make it out alive, two other “Bloody Faces” named Cooper and Devon showed up, and Devon shot both the honeymooners dead. Cooper was upset at “taking things too far”, but Devon, who appeared to be hopped up on speed, loved it and tried to justify it to Cooper by saying that was what they got “for stabbing Joey”. Then they noticed Leo’s arm had been ripped off. Uh-oh.  Now who the hell could have… practically before the sentence is out of Cooper’s mouth, the real Bloody Face (or not, he didn’t attack them yet, but the two guys looked pretty scared) shows up. We don’t know yet if the guys were out of their minds, out of their minds on meth, part of a cult, pulling a really ill-advised prank, if it was some it was some kind of freaky initiation, or some combination of all of the above. Anyway, it probably could have been avoided if the two had just taken a photo or two and left. Or never gone inside at all. Bad idea even if you’re NOT in a horror movie/series.

Sister Mary Eunice: I can’t imagine what you’re so afraid of! Get on your knees and we’ll pray it all away…

Stray Thoughts:

  • I’d buy a lipstick in a shade called “Ravish-Me Red.” Some cosmetics company should do a tie-in. They did it with True Blood  last season( though all the colors were goth and overpriced, so I didn’t pick any up).
  • I think if I had to have a choice between Dr. Arden and the Demon, I’d pick the Demon. The Demon is scary as hell, and murderous, but at least the demon has a sense of humor and you’ll probably get a quick death. Also, it hasn’t tried to rape anybody yet.
  • I love Sister Jude’s phone greeting: “Briarcliff Manor!”
  • My current theory on Dr. Arden and The Raspers  (that could be a band name. Hey, Dr. Arden and The Raspers are doing a show at The Crocodile next month. Yeah, the cover charge is 15 bucks,  you think they could put us on the guest list? ) is: Dr. Arden was indeed a Nazi and is now a war criminal due to the ungodly experiments, unusually cruel and sick, that he performed on prisoners. He’s been conducting horrible, blood-curdling medical experiments on patients at Briarcliff, probably going back to when it was a tuberculosis hospital, maybe giving them diseases like syphilis or gangrene. I think his goal (“we just have to get them through the winter”, he told Demon-Sister Mary) is to construct some kind of super-human “master race,” impervious to illness, that is very hard to kill (they did look pretty tough and chased Kit, Grace, and Lana at a very high speed).  And Shelley is his next victim, she’ll end up one of the raspers, will be way past saving, and she’ll end up killing a main character and eating them, or a main character will kill her because 1. they don’t recognize her or 2. they do recognize her and give her a mercy killing.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if they “rasp” because they survived tuberculosis and/or had their tongues or vocal chords cut out. Jesus, how did my brain come up with all of that sick shit as my theory? Guess I’ve been watching too many horror movies…