AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “The Coat Hanger”

     December 12, 2012


Well, we’ve reached the mid-season finale of FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum and what a bloody and cliff-hangery way to end 2012! Not only did we get some carryover from guest star Ian McShane (who was phenomenal last week), but Frances Conroy also featured in tonight’s story. But those weren’t the biggest surprises as we were left with a shocking cliff-hanger that will have to wait until 2013 for a resolution.

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall. Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s episode,”The Coat Hanger.”

dylan-mcdermott-american-horror-story-asylum[You have entered spoiler territory.  Turn back now or commit yourself to the insanity.]

Tonight’s episode kicked off in the present day with Dylan McDermott guest starring as John Morgan who (tada!) happens to be the son of Bloody Face. Meanwhile back at the asylum, Lana finds out she’s carrying the original Bloody Face’s baby and uses that fact to elicit a confession from Dr. Thredson. The nefarious forces of Sister Mary Eunice, Dr. Arden, Monsignor Timothy Howard, Lee Emerson (McShane) and even Mother Superior all testify against Sister Jude, which lands her at Briarcliff for life. In other news, Dr. Arden is attempting to lure the aliens back for another visit by nearly killing Kit; their return comes with unexpected surprises.

Let’s stick with McDermott to start things off. The episode opens with his character revealing to a therapist specializing in obsessions and compulsions that he is, in fact, the son of the original serial killer, Bloody Face. We see clips of “John Morgan” attempting to skin Teresa (Dewan-Tatum) with limited success, as he lacks his father’s medical training. Not surprisingly, Dr. Gardner doesn’t last too long in his presence either, as we see her bloodied remains in the office when another patient comes to visit. How are you guys feeling about this contemporary storyline? I’m pretty much over it unless they manage to link this character to McDermott’s season one character of Ben Harmon.

As for our asylum patients, they welcome back a familiar face in Sister Jude, now simply, “Jude.” On last week’s episode, she fought for her life against the deranged Santa Claus, Lee Emerson, and was presumed to have killed him in her defense. Apparently that wasn’t the case, as a bandaged and repentant Emerson confessed to a a review board that he saw Sister Jude kill Frank the guard (Fredric Lehne) and then go on a rampage. Jude was bound to end up back at the asylum and the only way this was going to happen was if she was incarcerated there. It looks like she’s at least attempting to patch things up with the former patients especially Lana. Jude went a long way in restoring her character by smashing up that dreadful “Dominique” record. +1 to her.

american-horror-story-asylum-coat-hangeSpeaking of Lana, poor Sarah Paulson…she has the craziest of arcs in this entire season and it must be an absolute trial to perform week after week. This week, she gets the cringe-worthy scene of applying the episode title’s coat hanger in an attempt to self-abort the baby she’s carrying. Of all the stuff they’ve on this show, this scene might have been the hardest to watch. Although Lana manages to use her pregnancy to get Thredson to confess (which Kit records on the biggest tape recorder ever made), she also discovers that Thredson has been set free and that the baby continues to live despite her best efforts. Central to both of those plot points is Sister Mary Eunice, who might want to see the child brought into the world for her own nefarious purposes (especially if there proves to be a link to season one, which also revolved around births, deaths and everything in between). Lily Rabe continues to shine as the possessed nun, but don’t take a drink from her, as it might be a Drano margarita.

Another distrustful drinker is Dr. Arden, who gets awfully chummy with Kit now that he knows the young man is the key to to bringing the aliens back. (Occasionally, as I write these reviews, I stop and ask, “What the fuck is happening?” This is one of those times.) Apparently there’s a connection between Kit sexing up Alma before she was abducted and a similar situation with Grace. So Arden postulates that the aliens are experimenting and observing Kit. Any threat to his life would be a threat to their experiment, so he concludes that bring Kit near death would bring the aliens running. Good-natured Kit agrees to this with little reservation, not because he’ll get to see Alma again like he says, but because the episode was running short on time. After a quick stab in the chest with a heart-stopping salt solution, the aliens start up their strobe lights and Zimmer horns. But they don’t pick-up Kit, they make a delivery instead. Arden finds a surprisingly eloquent Pepper (Naomi Grossman) caring for a very pregnant (and very alive) Grace. What the hell?

american-horror-story-asylum-coat-hanger-evan-peters-james-cromwellThe last surprise for the year of American Horror Story: Asylum comes when the Monsignor is attempting to baptize Emerson. Having done so successfully, Emerson appears to drown the Monsignor in the baptismal pool and then crucifies him. The Monsignor is alive, but for how long, since the last image we see is of the Angel of Death (Conroy) approaching the cross.

Not the strongest episode of the season, but it presented enough cliffhangers to keep my interest into the new year. How are you all holding up so far?

Rating: 7/10 Coat Hangers

Quotes and Musings:

  • Nice to see McShane back, even if he’s not quite as deranged as he was in the last episode.
  • Dr. Gardner: “What do your thoughts tell you?” Morgan/Bloody Face: “They also tell me to hurt women and skin them, like the cats.”
  • Morgan/Bloody Face: “I made a mess.”
  • Sister Mary Eunice: “My aunt used to make up Drano margaritas. It’s what she gave my slutty cousin Molly who got preggers by Billy Porter.”
  • Emerson to Jude: “I forgive you.”
  • Thredson: “Her skin was fuzzy like a peach; I wanted to feel it.”
  • Lana: “It started as a trickle, but ended as a bloody mess.”
  • Kit to Arden: “You want to kill me?” Arden: “No, I want to almost kill you.”
  • Sister Mary Eunice: “It’s a boy.”
  • Kit to Arden: “I don’t mind tellin’ ya, I’m scared.” Arden: “I admit to feeling slightly apprehensive myself.”
  • Arden: “This is going to hurt.”
  • Pepper: “The baby’s full term; it won’t be long. We’ll need a room. I’ll look after her.”