American Horror Story: Asylum Review: “The Name Game” (Season 2, Episode 10)

Well thank God that blasted mid-season break is finally over so we can get back to American Horror Story: Asylum. Sure, Christmas and New Year’s is always a good time, but in the back of my mind, I was just dying to get back to Briarcliff and see what was going on in those padded walls.

Fans will be happy to know that the episode starts literally seconds from where we left off. Dr. Arden doesn’t tell Kit about Grace’s reappearance, instead hiding her away and leaving Pepper as her alien appointed guardian. Tonight is not Dr. Arden’s night, however, but we’ll get to his disastrous happenings a little later. Sister Mary is helping the Monsignor recover from his attack, but the Angel of Death has revealed to him the true nature of the poor girl. His resolve to resist the devil is shattered when Sister Mary forces herself upon him, breaking his vows of celibacy and steeling his desire to get revenge for what she has done.

Sister Jude isn’t faring too well in the asylum, especially after the nasty shock she was given in this episode. After planting forbidden objects in her room, Sister Mary puts Jude through electroshock therapy and turns the machine up to 11, rendering Jude nearly useless. Luckily, she finds help through Lana and Kit, who put aside their past differences to help the old nun. Jude’s shock leads to one of the strangest moments of the season that fans won’t see coming: a musical number performed by the cast to the song “The Name Game.” It came from beyond left field, bringing with it more than a hint of Glee, but it’s too much weird fun to disparage.

Dr. Thredson is once again roaming the halls of the asylum, and after discovering Grace and her newly born child, he blackmails Kit into revealing the location of the tapes implicating him as Bloody Face. Before he can get the tapes, however, Lana moves them and uses the unborn child she is carrying as leverage to keep herself and Kit from harm. It’s a good plan, but I’m way more interested in Kit’s kid than the Lana/Thredson tension that’s going on.

But back to Dr. Arden, whose misfortunes make up most of The Name Game. His feelings for Mary have always been leaning a bit towards the sexual side, and he gets a big slap in the face when he witnesses her raping the Monsignor. Not only that, but the good doctor draws out all of his creatures in the woods just to kill them, putting an end to his personal experiment. The Monsignor, finally getting his revenge, throws Mary over a balcony and leaves her and the Devil for the Angel of Death. As good as this may be, Dr. Arden can’t take any more and decides to cremate her body. But only after he lies down on top of the corpse and heads into the furnace with her.

Holy crap, now that’s an ending! The amount of death and pure insanity in the latest episode of American Horror Story: Asylum is about on par with what’s expected from a show that’s this insane. Yet for every “bad guy” that saw their end tonight, I still felt a little sad. Dr. Arden’s twisted experiments and Nazi past were integral to the show, and his presence (as well as James Cromwell’s performance) will be sorely missed. Sister Mary’s death is a relief, if only to know that the poor, innocent nun is finally at rest instead of wrestling with the devil for control.

I can’t help but wonder, though: if the Devil was strong enough to control multiple objects with its mind (including people), why couldn’t it protect itself from something like a fall? It’s just a small gripe, but still a curious oversight. As it stands, the cast has been cut by a few names, narrowing the focus to only a few remaining faces and their (hopeful) escape.

With only three episodes left in the season, it’s promising to see American Horror Story: Asylum pushing the story forward full force. Hopefully the relentless pace can be maintained for the remainder of the season.

Be sure to check back next week for our review of the next episode in the series!