'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: 'The Origins of Monstrosity'
After this week's episode of American Horror Story: Asylum, one thing is certain - I'm thankful for the amazing cast and crew of this show. This past week's Thanksgiving Eve episode, "The Origins of Monstrosity," maintained the established momentum following the "I Am Anne Frank" episodes - and certainly did not disappoint.
The episode starts off with a present day mysterious, anonymous 911 call. Two officers are dispatched to Briarcliff, where they're shocked to discover several bodies hanging from the ceiling.
Backtrack a bit: We're introduced to a woman by the name of Mrs. Reynolds, who enters Briarcliff with her daughter Jenny, explaining to Sister Jude that her daughter is a handful and she thinks something is seriously wrong with her. Mrs. Reynolds tells Sister Jude that one day she sent Jenny and her friend out in the woods to gather leaves to make a wreath. Jenny returned, telling her mother that somebody had stabbed her friend, describing the killer as a man with a hat and brown coat who threatened to get her too if she tried to call for help. Two days after the incident Mrs. Reynolds finds strands of hair, pressumably from Jenny's friend, in Jenny's jacket pocket - which leads her to believe that her daughter was responsible for the brutal stabbing. Sister Jude tells Mrs. Reynolds that she's tried for years to open a children's ward at Briarcliff, but was never able to, leaving the woman to "turn to prayer" instead. Before Mrs. Reynolds leaves, she urges Sister Jude to speak with her daughter.
Lana awakes from a nap surrounded by pictures of Wendy as well as the delicious aroma of a home cooked meal. For a few moments this is bliss, especially as she imagines Wendy's scent on her sheets. When Lana snaps back to reality, she panics, realizing she is still in Dr. Thredson's basement of horrors. Thredson tells her she can scream all she wants, but nobody will hear her. He continues to share a meal with Lana, opening up to her about how he's never met his mother because he grew up in an orphanage. Lana tells him she's appreciative that he made her food and that she understands how it feels to be abandoned, since she's dealt with that at Briarcliff. Thredson opens up saying "He always knew he was different," which led him to study psychology. He tells her a story about medical school - the moment he realized he was missing his mother's touch. We flash to a scene where Thredson cuddles up to a cadaver, feeling disgusted, leading him to crave "someone more lively." This leads us to see his first attack on a female victim in the street, who he later tortures - alive. He tells Lana he just desired "warm blood," which freaks her out. Thredson assures her she doesn't need to worry: "Now that you’re here, all of that work is behind me. Mommy.”
Sam Goodman calls Sister Jude, explaining to her that her Anne Frank patient was right about Hans Gruber, who we know as Dr. Arden. Goodman says he has obtained the original documents from the Red Cross, but needs Arden's fingerprint to verify the results. He tells Sister Jude to bring the prints as soon as she can to the motel. When Sister Jude turns around, she notices Jenny is in her office, explaining her mother left her at Briarcliff.
Monsigner Timothy is called into the hospital to perform last rights for a patient, who is currently suffering from a monstrocity of issues, including TB. As he gets closer to the woman, he realizes the patient is Shelley. In a flashback, we see the first time Father Timothy and Dr. Arden meet, as the Catholic Church purchased Briarcliff to turn it into an asylum. When Arden finished up with his TB patients, Timothy assisted him wheeling a corpse to the basement to be disposed - aka, burned. During their talk, Arden explains he's been working on an immune booster, but needs human trials. Arden said he would use patients who serve no purpose, since volunteers were hard to come by, but needed help. Hint hint, Monsigner.
In the present, we see Timothy in utter shock in regards to Shelley's condition. With ailments aside, Timothy evoked fear that one of Arden's patients made it out, especially in this condition. Moments later, Timothy chokes Shelley to death with rosary beads. After his encounter with Shelley, Timothy storms into Arden's office, insisting that Sister Jude was right about him the entire time. Timothy continues a rant, calling Arden "A monster!" Arden calmly tells Timothy that the patients at Briarcliff are wastes and that these patients are new people now, "thanks to him." Timothy argues that he needs to expose this, but Arden calmly tells him that they are "both in this together."
In the kitchen, Sister Mary Eunice and Jenny are preparing food. Sister Mary insists she knows that Jenny killed her friend, because she's the devil and "knows everything." Mary continues to tell Jenny that the girl deserved it and she didn't even like her. It's obvious that Mary's thoughts and frustrations stem from her past, which is depicted through a flashback. A shy, innocent Mary arrives at a pool party with the cool kids from school as a "guest of honor." Due to her "guest of honor" status, the host of the party insists Mary dives off the diving board first. The group all agrees to disrobe together, but when it comes time to do so, Mary was the only one who did it. She stood motionless in her birthday suit in front of the whole party, as everyone continued to laugh at her. Moral of the story: Mary advises Jenny that she needs to know hot to defend herself (as she swiftly swings the cutting knife around.)
Sister Jude gets a visit from Timothy, who says it's obvious Briarcliff has become a burden for her. He contacted a collegue in Pittsburgh, where he has recommended Sister Jude to take the lead there. Sister Jude insists she's lost her way and needs a new beginning. She debates with Timothy that Arden is the real issue here, but it's too late. He tells her to pack her things. As she packs, Sister Mary comes in, informing her that Jenny's mother came in to pick her up. Sister Jude tells Sister Mary about her new position in Pittsburgh and the two embrace.
Thredson receives a call from Kit, who tells him he's in jail. Kit explains the situation - how he said what he said to get out of it, like Thredson suggested - but Thredson is not having any of it. He instead criticizes Kit, scolding him to "take responsibility" for what he's done. Kit hangs up on him. An enraged Thredson rushes back downstairs while Lana attempts to break free of her ankle chains. Although her plan seemed promising, she wasn't able to finish, so she hops back into bed. When Thredson comes down he knows something is up with Lana: she's sweating, has an accelerated heartbeat and seems anxious. He pulls the covers off of her and realizes she tried to escape. He proclaims he knew Lana was going to abandon him, just like his mother. He starts to tie her up and puts on the Bloody Face mask.
Before Thredson has the chance to do anything to Lana, we see a flashback of Kit's original arrest for the murder of his wife, Alma. Journalists were gathered everywhere to get a quote from him, including Lana and Thredson. It was during that outing that Lana said that the stories lacked "a mother's touch." As Thredson goes to attack Lana, she calls him "baby," causing him to break down and lean into her chest.
At Briarcliff, Sister Mary is wearing Sister Jude's red lingerie, listening to the radio. She's interrupted while singing and dancing to answer the phone. She picks up the call from Sam Goodman, posing as Sister Jude.
Sister Jude walks into Arden's office with alcohol, making it seem like some sort of peace offering. She suggests they toast to his "impressive single mindedness," but later changes it to him and "God's will." The two have a drink together and Sister Jude finally gets the fingerprint she wants.
Sister Mary goes to see Sam Goodman at his hotel room but continues to say that Sister Jude has no idea she's here. Sister Jude rushes over after her drink with Arden to confirm that he's in fact what everyone says he is. After knocking several times without a response, the door cracks open a bit. Sister Jude walks in to find Mr. Goodman lying on the bathroom floor with a shard of glass in his neck, muttering "a nun" and "one of yours."
Sister Mary shows Arden all the information about him which she recovered from Mr. Goodman's apartment. Sister Jude's plan is now foiled and the duo knows she was trying to expose his past. Mary insists she's taken care of everything. When she lightly pokes him on the arm, he jumps, and says to never call him by the name of "Hans Gruber." Mary claims this is not all of the evidence because she's hidden some in case Arden tries to cross her. Arden, confused, asks Mary why she's defending him. She remains silent and shoots him a gaze, but Arden shuts her down saying she's not in love with him because he's "too old and ugly." She insists he has nothing to worry about; it's a "new era" and it will all work out, leaving him with a peck on the cheek.
We later learn that Jenny stabbed her mother in the back with a knife, killing her. When the detectives ask her for a description, she gives the same response she did for her friend: "a man with a hat and brown coat." It turns out that Sister Mary's advice is paying off this episode.
We're brought back to Briarcliff in the present day, where officers are searching to identify the bodies hanging from the ceiling. Two officers are pulled to a room where Leo (Adam Levine), one half of the newlywed couple, lies. The officers then hear a cell phone going off and scramble to find it. Once they arrive in the room, we see that Teresa (Jenna Dewan) is alive, but we don't know for how long. There's another Bloody Face hovering over her as she's strapped to a table. Bloody Face part deux?
What did you think of last week's episode?