So far, American Horror Story: Asylum has been chugging along at a pretty consistent rate. There’s been a surprise here, a twist there, and just enough mystery to string audiences along with the brilliant characters. Last week’s episode, the first part of the I Am Anne Frank run, hinted at a few nice developments, but never really changed what the show was going for.
But holy cow, did part two step up and knock it out of the park. This is an absolute game changer of an episode, providing so many left turns that it’s impossible to tell just where American Horror Story: Asylum will go from here. Pretty much every question that we’ve had so far has either been answered, leaving more questions then we began with, or just made to be more intriguing. There wasn’t a dull moment to be had, and a few stunning performances made this one of the best (if not the best) episode the series has ever aired.
WARNING: Full spoilers ahead
Even though the beginning of I Am Anne Frank Pt. 2 makes it seem like Mrs. Frank will be taken care of quickly, she ends up having a huge role throughout the episode. Her husband comes to claim her, hoping that some time back home with their baby will help her remember who she really is. That quickly fails, and Frank (?) finds herself back in Briarcliff with a pissed off and limping Dr. Arden on her case. Pleading for him to do what’s best for his wife, the loving hubby allows Arden to perform a lobotomy on his wife. This is intermixed in a stunning montage that we’ll get to in a second.
After Frank is reinstated in the asylum, Sister Jude begins to have her doubts about Arden’s Nazi past, eventually disregarding it as a lie and believing that Frank really is just a crazy woman. When word reaches Jude that Lana had escaped the asylum (with aid from Dr. Thredson, but she doesn’t know that yet), she realizes that her career is done for. Lana’s plan to expose the asylum for what it truly is will be her downfall, and so before she can be cast into the fire for her sins, she leaves Briarcliff and goes back to her old ways. Her first night back in a bar, smoking, drinking and being promiscuous is what provides the other half of the lobotomy montage, and it is beautiful. The transformation hinted at that both characters will be going through are perfectly juxtaposed, creating a moment that is just one standout of many from the episode.
Lana’s escape isn’t quite as happy of a moment as we expected, and neither is Kit’s reprieve from his castration. Although Sister Jude gives him a second chance, Grace isn’t quite so lucky, remaining in solitary confinement until her procedure. While she’s waiting, she gets a visit from certain otherworldly creatures, and while she’s being…ahh…probed, Grace has a run in with a certain fine woman from Kit’s past. Just as Kit discovers that she has had the procedure, he is hauled away by the police after making a full confession to Dr. Thredson for the murders committed by Bloody Face.
Let’s take a step back to explain that last statement. As part of Kit’s therapy, Dr. Thredson believes that if Kit hears himself admitting to the murders, he will be ale to make a decision on whether or not he did actually do the deed. So the recorded “confession” isn’t quite what it seems to be. Dr. Thredson’s ulterior motive is completely sinister, but it’s the twist at the end of the episode that gives American Horror Story: Asylum the kick in the pants it needed to jump into full gear.
To put it bluntly, the real Bloody Face is revealed. In case you can’t tell by now who the real murderer is, I won’t spoil it for you. But the reveal is slowly built as layers and layers of clues are presented, rather than bashing the audience with a final shot that gives it away in a cheap manner. The effort put into I Am Anne Frank Pt. 2 pays off magnificently with one of the most chilling and spectacular endings the show has ever had.
And to think we’re only five episodes into the season. There is still over half of a season left, and there is no way of knowing what direction American Horror Story: Asylum will continue on in from here. As of now, we’ve lost Kit, Lana, Dr. Thredson and Sister Jude from the asylum, so will we be seeing life outside of those padded walls? Or will they all somehow find their way back into everybody’s favorite mental institution? Dr. Arden’s Nazi background could just be the incentive necessary to push everybody back through those doors.
Zachary Quinto and Jessica Lange give award worthy performances, as usual, but it would be a shame if either of their characters weren’t heard from again after the latest episode. The direction for tonight deserves a huge nod, as Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (who directed the episode Home Invasion for the first season) crafted one of the best episodes of any series this side of Breaking Bad. Beautiful shots are used to build tension, and Anne Frank’s flashbacks to before her psychotic breakdown, shot in tarnished film style, are absolutely haunting. American Horror Story: Asylum is beginning to make its patients (along with its viewers) question what is reality and what is all just a madman’s dreams. The doubt that comes along with every episode makes the series sing.
In case you couldn’t tell by now, I Am Anne Frank Pt. 2 is the best episode of the season thus far, and probably the greatest the series has ever created. Fans owe it to themselves to catch up on this season just to watch this episode, because it is a landmark episode for the series. Despite using a slower pace to build the story in previous episodes, American Horror Story: Asylum relentlessly charged forwards towards an unexpected ending that will go down in the show’s history as being the best episode in the series thus far.