American Horror Story: Asylum Review: “Continuum” (Season 2, Episode 12)

So remember how last week’s episode of American Horror Story: Asylum seemed to end with a dull roar, leaving a lot of questions unanswered? That feeling of puttering out continues on through Continuum, as the show jumps through the years faster than we can keep up. Despite the time traveling issues, it’s nice to finally see something that was missing from the first season: a sense of closure.

Everybody except for Jude has found their way out of Briarcliff, but life isn’t necessarily happier. Kit is living in a polygamous relationship with Alma and Grace, raising their two children as an odd little family. Before long, Grace and Alma clash over their attitudes towards the aliens (who still remain unexplained), with Grace hoping for a return and Alma looking to forget. While Grace tries to elicit a return from the aliens, Alma snaps and murders her with an axe. Quite a fitting end for an axe murderer, eh?

Alma is sent to Briarcliff, which is in even worse shape than it was when our heroes found their way out. Since the institute was donated to the state, overflowing criminals have been removed to the asylum, making the place even crazier than it already was. Briarcliff is overcrowded, filthy, claustrophobic, and more perfect than it has ever been. But let’s get the quick little lesson in time travel over with before we get to Jude: Alma is incarcerated in 1967. We pick up with Jude in 1968, and we’re gonna meet Lana in 1969.

So in the wonderful year of 1968, Jude has sunk deeper into her own insanity, going by the name Betty Drake as part of the cover up of her faked death years before. Pepper is her right hand girl, and she rules over the other patients with a more gentle, yet still all-seeing fist. Her influence begins to fade, however, when a new inmate closely resembling the Angel of Death becomes her roommate, wresting power from Jude and making her uneasy. The Monsignor returns to let Jude know that he has been appointed the Cardinal of New York, and he is doing everything in his power to get her released.

After months of being traumatized by the new inmate, Jude is sat down and told that everything she believes is a lie. Pepper has been dead for years and the Monsignor became Cardinal two years earlier and hasn’t seen her since. It’s another interesting situation, but who/what is lying to us? Is the show trying to pull one more “WTF?” moment on us, or has Jude finally sunk into her madness completely?

Lana is finding the most success with her freedom, having published a best-selling novel chronicling her time with Bloody Face. She’s still haunted by memories of her lover and Thredson, but apparently not enough to stop being a colossal diva. Kit meets her at one of her signings and tells her Alma’s story, leading to her eventual sudden death within the walls of Briarcliff. Lana’s conviction to shut down the asylum has been replaced with a lust for fame, and even Kit’s pleas do nothing to change her mind.

We’re finally given a few brief moments with Lana’s little crackhead Johnny, who tracks down a signed copy of her book and details his plans for his mother: find her, reveal his existence, and then shoot her in the face. Not too glorious, but fitting for a maniac. His lack of screen time is absolutely killing me, because we’ve spent enough time on the heroes we’re used to. Sure Lana, Kit and Jude are great, but let’s hear more about Johnny for just a few minutes. If they can justify spending an excruciating amount of time on Violet last season, then Johnny can get at least a montage.

For a lead in to the (hopefully) amazing finale, Continuum is all over the place, giving some closure to the stories we’ve followed all season on American Horror Story: Asylum, but still leaving a ton of questions open with only a mere forty minutes left to explain them. Despite the madness presented in the ending of the first season, it looks like this finale is facing a sophomore slump, unless Ryan Murphy and company can pull a few more mind blowing moments from their sleeves.