'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: 'Unholy Night'

December 13th, 2012 10:56am EST

AMERICAN HORROR STORY Unholy Night ‘Tis the season… for some holiday horror on American Horror Story: Asylum.

In this week’s episode we embark upon a Santa outside of a supermarket, who promises a young boy that he will get the cap he wants for Christmas. A man lurking hears this conversation and makes his way to Santa, giving him a piece of his mind for telling the boy he'll get that hat. The St. Nick impersonator tells the pessimist to cut the him some slack; a phrase the man doesn't take too kindly. The mystifying man shoots the supermarket Santa multiple times in the parking lot. (So much for Happy Holidays?)

Lee, the mysterious man with a seemingly deep hatred for Christmas, takes the Santa suit from the man and finds his way to a house nearby. A young girl makes her way downstairs to find Lee, dressed as Santa, in her living room. The girl seems perplexed - this "Santa" has blood on his chest, no beard and came through the window instead of the chimney. The girl listens to Lee and goes to get her parents, proclaiming Santa is downstairs in their living room. Lee ties up the parents with lights and begins to give the couple a hard time for decorating their house for Christmas. Since Lee's in the “holiday spirit,” he proclaims he will let them decide who he kills first. Before the two have a chance to respond, he kills them both at the same time.

Back at Briarcliff, Sister Mary is showing her holiday spirit by putting up a Christmas tree in the Common Room. She lines up the residents, collecting something from everyone to decorate the tree with: hair, bows, fake teeth - oh my! (All this time I thought that shiny bells made for the best ornaments.)

Frank is in Arden's dungeon, reciting a prayer for Grace. He preaches to her corpse that he's going to make things right. As he turns to leave, Arden stops him in his tracks. Frank begs Arden to call the police to tell them what's happening here, but Arden keeps him quiet. What's stopping him? Arden shuts him up: "You shot and killed an unarmed woman."

Jude returns to her old office to take Sister Mary off guard, surprising her with a scalpel to her neck. Jude insists she's using Sister Mary as a way to make her look innocent: "I'll send you back to the hell that made you." As Dr. Arden walks in, Sister Mary tells him to call the authorities because they have a trespasser. Once that problem is resolved, Sister Mary and Arden hold hands for a second, until he alerts her of their new problem: Frank. When Arden informs her that Frank wants to confess, Sister Mary assures him she has it under control.

Flash back to 1963: Sister Jude tells everyone that photographers from the local media are coming to see them. We discover that Lee is in Briarcliff because the "Santa killer," murdered 18 people from 5 families in one night. When he asks Sister Jude to unlock his handcuffs (in honor of the holidays), she says no, but assures him he'll be front and center and "under control" in the picture. When he's given the opportunity to strike, Lee bites off an inmate's face. (So much for under control, Jude.)

Back in the present day, Sister Mary enters the room with Lee, tempting him to put on the Santa costume. Sister Mary explains she knows he went to jail for shoplifting bread. She also knows that he's not a fan of the holiday season because he was held down and raped by five men who took his virginity in jail around Christmas. So what does Sister Mary do? She gives him all the tools he needs to get back on track, starting with an assignment. "Do you want to be the victim or the victor?" says Sister Mary.

Arden walks in on Sister Mary smoking a cigarette by the fire in her new office. He brought her a present - ruby earrings that once belonged to a woman from the camp. Arden said the woman complained about everything under the sun, especially her stomach. He followed her one day to discover out that she swallowed those earrings every single day, causing her stomach issues. Arden tells Sister Mary he hoped someday he would find someone who “would deserve them.” Sister Mary puts the earrings on, boasting about how beautiful they look on her. Arden is shocked by her reaction, hoping that the earrings would cause a "glimmer of horror" for her. Sister Mary makes it clear to him: if he’s against her, even God can't help him.

Jude pleads with a nun to get her back into Briarcliff: “God has a plan for me to be a soldier in his army.” When she tells Jude she’ll do what she can, she gets a call that Jude has a visitor. When Jude walks out, she’s surprised to see Dr. Arden. He tells her the two got off on the wrong foot because of their “strong personalities.” Arden tells Jude she was right about Sister Mary, but came here without her knowing. Jude notices that Dr. Arden is afraid of Sister Mary and tells him to go to hell. Arden pleads, insisting he doesn’t believe in God but believes in angels and begs for Jude to help him. Jude, seemingly convinced, says she’ll do it – for Sister Mary, not for Arden.

It’s Christmas time at Briarcliff. The Monsignor walks around, greeting the inmates. He even brought a star for Sister Mary to place on the tree. The Monsignor explains the Christmas tree is what they’ve been missing here at Briarcliff. On the other side of the room, we see Lee dressed up in his novelty Santa suit. Arden and Monsignor talk, insisting they should put they’re differences aside. When Monsignor calls Sister Mary a treasure, Arden agrees. When Frank places the star on top of the tree, Lee attacks him. Frank hits him back, foiling Sister Mary’s plan of taking Frank down. Lee’s attempt falls unsuccessful and he’s taken back to solitary. After he’s put away, Sister Mary comes in and slits Frank’s neck with a scalpel. Lee watches this scenario play out, laughing, bringing a smile to Sister Mary’s face.

Kit dreams up a scene: He arrives in his house with a Christmas tree for him, Alma and their unborn child. Seconds later, Grace appears in Alma’s place. Kit dances and kisses her instead. Kit wakes up from his dream with Lana over his bedside. Lana slowly realizes nobody knows the two are in Briarcliff. Lana insists they have to get out of this place, explaining Dr. Thredson murdered all those people, not Kit. She explains to him that Thredson got on his case to get him to confess to those crimes so he wouldn’t take the fall.

Lana wanders around and eventually finds a phone in Briarcliff. As she begins to place the call, Dr. Thredson appears, telling her he’s in mourning since she left. Thredson confesses he cleaned up everything so there’s no remaining evidence to go off of in his house. When Lana calls him insane, Thredson grabs her and covers her mouth, informing her this is the start of an all new Bloody Face. Kit makes it to Lana in time, slamming the door into Thredson, causing him to pass out. Lana insists they have to kill Thredson, but Kit disagrees, pleading with Lana that he’s the only thing standing in the way of him and the electric chair. Lana later tells a tied up Thredson: “One day I’ll bury you.”

Arden goes to retrieve Sister Mary for Jude, who’s in her old office awaiting their face to face meeting. When she hears the door open, she’s surprised to see Lee instead of Sister Mary, who’s outside with Arden. The two lock the door, leaving Jude alone with the deranged killer. Arden tells Sister Mary he hopes this act proves his loyalty to her. We hear Jude pleading for help, screaming for Arden to open the door. Arden instead leaves the scene, insisting he has “more pressing matters to take care of.” Inside, Lee throws Jude against a wall, leaving her helpless. We flashback to the days when Jude used to whip him in this room. Instead, the roles have now reversed, allowing Lee the opportunity to get Jude back. He pushes up in her face, but Jude grabs the scalpel and stabs him.

Dr. Arden heads downstairs to tend to his pressing matters, which include preparing to burn Grace’s corpse. As he’s pushing the cart down the long path, Arden has his first extraterrestrial experience. When he finally finds the strength to get back up after this eerie situation, he’s stunned to see that Grace’s corpse is gone.

What did you think of this episode of American Horror Story: Asylum?

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Photo Credits: Fox Broadcasting Company

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