American Horror Story: Asylum Recap: Episode 8

12.6.2012

By Mark Peikert

Santa Claus comes to Briarcliff, and Sister Jessica Lange is on his naughty list

After last week’s stellar entry, “Unholy Night,” the eighth episode of American Horror Story: Asylum, was something of a letdown. This time around, there were no major game changers and not much in the way of advancing the plot. But in terms of setting up some divine retribution, it was tops.

Her name might as well be “Poor Lana,” because that’s all I can think every time I see her. Poor Lana is throwing up in the infirmary, wondering if Sister Lily Rabe has called the cops about Bloody Face Quinto yet. (Can anyone say morning sickness? We know from Connie Britton’s pregnancy in season 1 that the writers of this franchise don’t really get the whole nine months thing.) She spies Kit in the next bed, and realizes that if Sister Lily Rabe hasn’t told anyone about the wanted serial killer at Briarcliff, then odds are no one knows her story either. Intent on reaching anyone in the outside world, she tries to call the police—but is stopped by Bloody Face Quinto himself.

Him? He’s been busy ever since Lana made him give her his intimacy and then ditched him. Going Mommie Dearest on the dirt and dried blood in his home. Burning bones. The usual good housecleaning. He even burned his Bloody Face mask, which means Lana can help him start a new one. With her flesh.

Quick as a flash, Kit bangs him over the head with a fire extinguisher. Lana, who one must admit learns from her mistakes, is all for killing him immediately, but Kit points out that Bloody Face Quinto is all that stands between him and the electric chair. So they leave him tied up in a storage closet. “I will bury you,” Lana snarls at him.

Grace is still dead, though security guard Frank, the one who shot her, keeps hallucinating her glaring at him. No matter. He’s so unnerved by accidentally killing her that he poses a threat to Nazi Dr. Cromwell and Sister Lily Rabe. So Sister Lily Rabe—after decorating the Christmas tree with the inmates’ bottles, dentures, and locks of hair—slashes his throat.

She has the perfect scapegoat—two, actually. Sister Jessica Lange had earlier arrived at Briarcliff to hold the razor blade that Sister Lily Rabe meant for her suicide against the possessed nun’s throat. Add that to the mass-murdering Santa we met in a prologue—he killed 18 people one Christmas night—who Sister Lily Rabe frees from solitary, and case closed! Just to be sure, she locks Sister Jessica Lange in the office with Santa (played by Ian McShane, who, by the way, was quite the hottie back in the day), where he punches and canes her until the inevitable attempted rape. Before he can deliver a “big ticket item from Santa’s sack” she jams a letter opener into his neck.

This will no doubt put a crimp in the plans of Nazi Dr. Cromwell and Sister Lily Rabe, who conspired together to lure Sister Jessica Lange back to Briarcliff. Nazi Dr. Cromwell has his doubts about Sister Lily Rabe, however, particularly after he gave her some ruby earrings he filched from the feces of a dead woman in the concentration camp. She swallowed them every day, and every day retrieved them from the latrine; eventually, she died of internal bleeding. “Hard on her intestines,” he explains. Does this deter Sister Lily Rabe? Not one bit! She shrugs off the story and puts the gems on then and there.

Next week? Sister Jessica Lange finds herself on the receiving end of electroshock therapy. Lana has a very good reason why Bloody Face Quinto shouldn’t kill her. And an adorably scruffy Dylan McDermott finally arrives, sitting on his shrink’s couch and talking about feeling good while doing bad things.

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