'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: 'The Coat Hanger'
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Asylum was all about turning tables, (no, not Adele’s “Turning Tables,”) but instead a shift of power in Briarcliff. In this episode Lana gives Dr. Thredson a dose of his own medicine, karma finally catches up with Jude, two characters are set to become mothers and someone’s life is hanging on the line.
American Horror Story: Asylum will take a three week hiatus, returning on Wednesday, January 2th, leaving us with plenty of time to speculate and make sense of what took place in this week’s episode, “The Coat Hanger.”
Mr. Johnny Morgan sits with his hypnotist, talking about his horrific “impulses.” Johnny recalls his first trigger that started when he skinned a cat: “Killing them [dead animals] was just as good, even better.” He then moved on to skinning living things, which later included women. The man continues on to say that his urges haven’t stopped; in fact, they’re now harder to ignore. Johnny, a confused foster kid growing up, ended up retracing his ancestry while in prison and learned that his father was Dr. Oliver Thredson – yes, that Dr. Thredson. Johnny is following in his father’s sadistic legacy: He moved into Thredson’s home, continued in his father’s footsteps (R.I.P. Teresa?) and explains his desire to go to medical school. His hypnotist reminds him it’s “Never too late to turn yourself in.” Johnny pushes these comments off: “You see my name isn’t Morgan, it’s Thredson. I’m the son of Bloody Face.” Johnny then kills her, too.
A nun takes Lana to see Sister Mary. Once Lana arrives in her office, she recognizes Mary’s bluntly changed demeanor: “Your Jude impression is spot on.” Sister Mary laughs this off, knowing she has more leverage on Lana – papers confirming Lana’s pregnant. Sister Mary offers the mother-to-be some lovely tidbits: She praises Lana’s newly changed “sexual perversion” and offers a twisted story about her Aunt Celeste, who cured unwanted pregnancies with “Drano Margaritas.” (A simple congratulations wouldn’t do?) None of the tidbits help Lana, who has no say in this pregnancy. Sister Mary assures her that once the baby is born she’ll ship the bundle to a foster home. (How nice.) Lana asks to be excused and faints on her way out when she sees the paperwork for herself.
In another area of Briarcliff, Sister Jude wakes up with Monsignor Timothy perched by her bed. He informs her that she killed a man during her “unhinged, paranoid” state. Earlier in the week, we see Dr. Arden, Lee, Sister Mary, a nun and Monsignor speaking to officials about Frank’s murder. They all point the finger to Jude, alerting officials of her “conspiracy theories” to keep themselves safe: Lee claims Jude killed Frank and tried to kill him, too. Dr. Arden insists Jude went on a rampage. Monsignor proclaims Sister Jude was showing signs of insanity, especially after she accused Arden of being a Nazi. The nun says Jude came to her accusing Sister Mary of being the Devil. Lastly, Sister Mary claims Jude smelt of liquor and cigarettes when she came in. Monsignor walks out on Sister Jude: “You did this to yourself.”
During her shift at the bakery, Lana sees a rack of clothing in the hall. When nobody is around, Lana snatches a hanger and takes it back to her room with her. When everyone is placed in confinement for the night, Lana takes this opportunity to take out her new prized possession – a coat hanger.
Later, Lana makes her way downstairs to find Kit, telling him they have to kill Thredson. He rejects this proposition, saying that they instead have to get him to confess. Lana enters the closet where Thredson is stashed away in, threatening him that if he makes any unnecessary noise whatsoever she’ll “Bash his face in.” (Looks like motherhood is agreeing with you, Lana.) She dangles her paperwork over Thredson’s face, informing him that he’s going to be a father. Thredson, beaming with joy, gets immediately shut down by Lana who informs him she’s getting “rid of the monster inside of him.” She takes off her pants in front of him and whips out the hanger, explaining she has to get creative in order to miscarry the baby. When Thredson pleads for her to stop, she does, but insists he has to tell the truth about everything from here on out. Lana begins interrogating him about the women he’s killed. Why Donna Burton? After seeing her at the library, he killed her because her skin was “fuzzy, like a peach” and he wanted to feel it. So he skinned her. Allison Rydell? She was a secretary at his dentist’s office who he always liked. “I put her to sleep first but she kept talking to me. I was so confused.” And Lana’s love, Wendy? “She never loved you,” said Thredson, “She locked you away.” This pained Lana to hear, but she felt better once she realized Kit got Thredson’s confessions on tape. Lana thought she beat him at his own cruel game. After she got what she wanted from Thredson, she detailed the gruesome details of her abortion – by coat hanger – for him to hear. “It wasn’t that bad, actually.” As Lana and Kit are about to leave, Lana insists she’ll be back to kill him. “I always wanted to know what it was like inside the mind of a killer,” she boasts. “Now I know.” Lana and Kit leave Thredson in the closet and make their way back. Kit places the recording under a bathtub. When he gets back up, he realizes Arden is in the room. He insists he would like to speak with Kit.
Sister Mary finds Monsignor in her office, examining Jude’s red lingerie from her box of belongings. Sister Mary insists she was just as shocked when she found it. (Yeah, right.) “I wonder who she was fancying when she wore it,” said Mary. She continues to assure Monsignor that although she “Can’t fill the shoes of Sister Jude,” she’s here to serve him, believing he has the ability to save souls – all the way to Rome.
In her confined room, Jude is struggling to break free as two nuns are restricting her. Jude takes a shot at one nun, who responds by slapping her in the face, passively stating that if she could she’d call Frank in, but can’t “Because he’s dead.” Monsignor walks in, releasing the nuns from their duties, but states he will leave if she’s not up for visitors. Monsignor brings Lee in Jude’s room, causing Jude to become furious: “What’s he doing here?” Lee walks to Jude’s bedside, claiming he forgives her for everything. We flash back to the past, where roles are reversed and Lee is the one strapped down in bed. Lee, held down, asks Jude: “Where’s your forgiveness?” Jude insists she doesn’t need to forgive him. Back in the present, Lee kisses Jude on the forehead and walks out. Monsignor believes this is true redemption. (Not so fast…)
Arden welcomes Kit to his office by offering him a drink. Kit, unimpressed with Arden’s fake way of playing nice, asks: “What are you doing?” Arden insists he’s trying to be nice because he has now witnessed what Kit has – an alien experience. He informs Kit of his last experience, claiming the aliens took Grace’s corpse as he was about to dispose of it. Arden inquires about Kit’s involvement with the women before they were taken, testing his theory. Kit confirms he had sex with both women, proving that Arden’s beliefs were true. Arden asks for permission (Oh, the irony) to kill Kit and bring him back to life, to see if he could attract the extraterrestrial creatures here. He’s convinced that they will come once they realize Kit’s in trouble. Kit accepts Arden’s offer because he wants to see Alma again and proceeds to drink.
We find Lana in the bakery, who hands in her coat at the end of her shift. She waits until everyone vacates the premises to sneak back in to steal a steak knife. Just when she thinks she’s made it out, a male worker finds her: “You’re nothing but trouble lady. Give me the knife and we’ll call it a night.” So much for Lana’s attack on Thredson. Lana is then escorted to her room, telling a nun she just needs to lie down for a bit. Lana pulls out her handy dandy coat hanger, stabbing the pillow continuously to sharpen the rod. Lana sneaks out of her room to find that Thredson is no longer in the closet. Lana frantically heads back to her room, but gets stopped by Sister Mary, who reassures Lana her attempt to kill her baby was “unsuccessful.” She pulls Lana close to her and whispers in her ear that she’s having a baby boy.
Monsignor walks in on Lee praying in church. Lee expresses to Monsignor that he wants to be saved, since he’s already living in hell. Monsignor talks about how he’s inspired by Lee’s changed habits, insisting he’d love to make this kind of difference all over the world. Monsignor, blinded by Lee’s sob stories, wants to believe he’s made a change. He unshackles Lee and baptizes him in the church. “I feel like a new man,” said Lee, as he grabs Monsignor’s head and shoves it underwater. (So much for that.)
In the Common Room, everyone is in utter shock when they see a disastrous-looking Sister Jude making her way in. Jude immediately walks straight to Lana, joining her at the empty table. Lana: “What did they do to you?” Jude replies: “Nothing I didn’t do to you.” Jude shares a cigarette with Lana, confessing she’s so incredibly sorry for what she did to her. “It was criminal,” said Lana. Jude insists she will make it up to Lana by getting her out of here. “You don’t trust me,” asked Jude. Lana: “No.” Jude then walks over to the record player, smashes the record and sits back down with Lana.
Kit and Arden are downstairs in the dungeon, preparing for their experiment. Kit’s nerves are getting the best of him, especially after seeing the needles for the first time. Arden provides Kit with a play-by-play of what he’ll do. Reassured, Kit lays on the table, reciting a prayer. Arden stabs Kit in the chest. After a few minutes of wheezing, Kit lies motionless. The lights begin to flicker and Arden is directed to a room amplifying light. When he opens the door he’s shocked to see Pepper and Grace. Grace, lying on the floor, is full term and close to giving birth.
A member of the staff walks into the church to find the Monsignor stapled up to the cross. The man screams and goes to seek help. As the man walks out, The Angel of Death Walks in. Monsignor pleads for the woman to help him. The Angel of Death responds, reassuring the Monsignor “I’m here.”
What did you think of last night’s episode? Do you think Johnny Morgan is really Dr. Thredson’s son? Who do you think will survive? Sound off your scenarios in the comments section below!