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American Horror Story: Asylum Review: “I Am Anne Frank (Part 1)” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Although falling into the "insane Nazi doctor" cliche that riddles plenty of horror films, American Horror Story: Asylum can still rely on its sense of style and strong cast to carry the plot through to perfection.

Even though it remains as compelling as always, American Horror Story: Asylum is still revealing secrets at a snail’s pace. This works to the show’s favor, allowing the creators to keep their cards close to their chest while slowly reeling fans in with a payoff that will make every second of waiting worth it. Luckily, the latest episode and first of two parts, I Am Anne Frank, makes sure to give up a few more clues to ensure that we’re still paying attention. If you weren’t already, tonight’s episode will have you glued to the screen.

A new inmate (Franka Potente) is brought into Briarcliff, and she starts to cause quite a ruckus with the other inmates, and for good reason. In case the episode title didn’t give it away enough, she reveals herself to be Anne Frank, who has been thought dead for almost twenty years. If you don’t know the story of Anne Frank, then firstly, shame on you, but more importantly, know she was the author of The Diary of Anne Frank. What a coincidence, right?

The appearance of Anne Frank (or an imposter) brings about an even more interesting revelation: Dr. Arden may have been a Nazi doctor during the Holocaust. While describing her history to Sister Jude, Frank mentions watching Dr. Arden (known as Dr. Gruper in the past) take and experiment on women imprisoned in Auschwitz. This could be corroborated by the Nazi memorabilia found in his home by the hooker he attacked a few episodes. But his denials and her seeming insanity are clashing and creating too much confusion to be sure for the time being.

Kit and Grace begin bonding in a more…ehm….romantic fashion, and once they’re caught doing the deed, they’re sentenced to sterilization. In isolate, Grace reveals her reason for being in the asylum to Kit, and it’s definitely more shocking than expected. Dr. Thredson is nearing the end of his tenure at the asylum, but he plans on taking Lana with him and finding a way to get Kit out without leaving him to rot on death row. Through his meetings with the good doctor, Kit comes to realize that maybe he really is Bloody Face, and the murders were a release of suppressed anger at keeping his forbidden marriage a secret. That’s a mouthful for saying Kit got mad and went crazy.

But the scene that takes the cake for this episode is the aversion/conversion therapy that Dr. Thredson puts Lana through. Everything about it is graphic and utterly wrong, but the performances from Zachary Quinto and Sarah Paulson are so convincing and perfect that it’s impossible to look away. Although therapy doesn’t end as well as it should, Dr. Thredson promises that he won’t leave the asylum without Lana.

Kit, who has been wondering whether or not he’s the killer he’s been told he is, goes to Sister Jude to ask for forgiveness for what he’s done. An interesting turn of events to say the least, since Sister Jude has thus far served as the antagonist of the season. Dr. Arden finally confronts Anne Frank about her allegations, and while fighting she stumbles upon a disfigured Shelley, who isn’t in good condition at all. Perhaps the experiments performed on her are the same ones that were used to create the creatures outside? Or even more tantalizing, they were the ones performed in the concentration camps?

For all the clues that are reveled in the first part of the I Am Anne Frank episode series, even more questions were asked and left unanswered. Although falling into the “insane Nazi doctor” cliche that riddles plenty of horror films, American Horror Story: Asylum can still rely on its sense of style and strong cast to carry the plot through to perfection. Everybody on board deserves a huge heaping of praise for their performances, if only for being able to keep a straight face in the midst of all the madness happening around them. But for those waiting to figure out what’s really going on at the asylum, only time will reveal the truth.

About the author

Christian Law

An avid gamer, moviegoer and music lover, he can be found giving his opinion on entertainment to anybody who will listen, and especially to those who won't. Otherwise, he's busy writing film and music reviews over at the Speakeasy Online Magazine.