American Horror Story: Madness Ends

Posted on January 24, 2013

Our thoughts on this episode – and the second season as a whole – are fractured and contradictory, we’re warning you now. But then, isn’t that to be expected when discussing such a fractured and occasionally contradictory show?

Here’s the thing: this finale episode managed the odd trick of not really giving us what we wanted or expected (closure on the mysteries of Briarcliff, from the devil to the aliens) and instead gave us something else; something we may have needed more than wanted: emotional closure. This season of the show was characterized by some very dark moments and scenes, bordering on torture porn. And sure, last season got dark plenty of times, but the basic feel of the show back then was anchored in a sort of campfest, Grand Guignol style. Ironically, last season, which was set in the present day, felt like an ode to classic horror films of the ’60s and ’70s, while this season, which was set in the ’60s and ’70s, was stylized like a modern horror story, all torture and art direction; jump cuts and crazy camera moves. When it was all over, and our disappointment (more on that in a bit) subsided, we realized that it was, in a way, kinder to the audience to give them this; a rambling, sometimes slow and languorous walk to the end of the line with each of the remaining characters, having watched them all go through hell. We said last week that it was a rare thing to see what happens to characters after the horror of a horror story has been vanquished, but they took that even further with this episode, following every remaining character (but one, of course) to their grave. When it comes to closure, it doesn’t get any more comprehensive than that.

Or does it? Because questions, perhaps unsurprisingly, remain. We think we speak for a rather large portion of the audience when we say, in re: the aliens, “What the FUCK? THAT’S IT?” No explanation for them, really. No resolution. We suppose, if we take the generous route, that they could plausibly be seen as stand-ins for angels, in opposition to so very many devils populating the story. But we’re not sure the show is capable of that kind of symbolism. More likely, they just wanted to add that extra pinch of insanity to the soup and figured aliens made a good counterpart to zombies, demons, and Nazis. Still, it’s asking a lot of an audience to accept that. “See? ALIENS! Psych! No you don’t!” Sure, it’s nice that they played into Kit’s ending, but that left Kit as the least explored and explained of the main characters. It’s safe to say we know Lana and Judy intimately by now, but Kit is just a nice guy with a thick accent and some groovy clothes. Oh, and aliens treat him like the Messiah, for some reason. Also, his eerie kids are … well, nothing but a couple of overachievers, really. Kit’s story was all setup, with no payoff.

And yet, we found ourselves near tears watching the drama play out in Kit’s house. Judy Martin came to her end in a manner most unlikely, given her history: with dignity and a heart full of love. It was a lovely grace moment; an absolution and a comfortable bed for a tortured woman so she finally could let it all go and be relieved of her pain, her battle with Satan having almost completely destroyed her. Almost. Another stunning performance by Miss Jessica.

But this season of AHS wasn’t Judy Martin’s story so much as it was Lana Winters’, and it was telling that she was the only character left standing (literally) when the credits rolled. What we got with Lana was an engrossing depiction of post-traumatic stress and how catastrophic events and torture can echo decades down the line for a person. After Briarcliff, Lana became a sort of lesbian Barbara Walters; highly successful, famous, and respected. But she was also hard, manipulative, and dishonest. Ironically, those last three qualities saved her life. After all, it takes a pretty hard woman to manipulate her son into handing her a gun by lying to him about her feelings. Her last action was a “FUCK YEAH” of a moment, but it was also indicative of how damaged Lana is, half a century after rape, torture, aversion therapy and an attempted coathanger abortion. Being a survivor is admirable, but it changes you in ways you might not like. And of all people, it was Sister Jude back in 1964 who understood this Nietzschian concept the best. Because what is “If you look in the face of evil, evil’s going to look right back at you,” but a folksier way of saying, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you?” Jude knew this, even before all the madness started: You bring your agenda and your ambition into a place like this and you’re going to pay a heavy price for it. Twelve hours later, and we’re still marveling over that final scene, as well as Sarah Paulson’s Emmy-worthy performance.

But did it feel like a horror story to you, at the end? When you expand way past the borders of a story, deciding to follow almost every character to their death, years after the main events happened, haven’t you just abandoned genre completely? If a romantic comedy spent its last half hour following the characters into old age and death, wouldn’t it stop being a romantic comedy? If Die Hard’s third act showed Bruce Willis shuffling off into old age and irrelevancy, wouldn’t it stop feeling like an action movie? Because you can pretty much guarantee wringing a few sniffles out of your audience and having your better actors give a great performance if you just hand out death scenes to everyone. Was it a cheat for Murphy to take it this far or was it a bold, genre-bending kind of a move? We are sure of two things:

  1. This was a much more ambitious season than the first one. It may have had some issues throughout, but that’s nothing new. In the end, we find ourselves impressed with the boldness of the effort and give the team high marks on hitting their goal. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot more thought-provoking and engrossing than the very good first season.
  2. Lana Winters’ wardrobe is FUCKING FABULOUS. Did you see her serving up Jacqueline Susann realness in that playground? We died.

 

[Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • ScarlettHarlot

    As a lifelong fan of “All That Jazz,” specifically Jessica Lange’s performance in it, I loved the resolution for her character. Even the way the scene in AHS was lit reminded me of the lighting in “All That Jazz.”
    I don’t know if it was an intential nod toward that role, but I enjoyed the paralell (Spoilers): 

    In “All That Jazz,” Joe Gideon is a flawed, addicted, ambitious performer, who spends the entire film flirting with the Angel of Death, played by Lange. At one point they touch briefly, causing him to have an heart attack It’s only at the end of the film. Only when he finally feels ready to go, he embraces and accepts her, he dies and his body is wheeled away down the tunnel, and he is relieved. 

    Also, anyone who hasn’t seen that movie needs to.

    • formerlyAnon

       ditto re: the universal necessity to see “All That Jazz.” It manages to be a period piece that connects as well as any recent release. Plus Fosse choreography and too many dancers worth mentioning to mention, here, where this comment is not relevant to to the main discussion.

      • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

         I’ll take ATJ over Chicago for all eternity.

        • formerlyAnon

           Hands down.

    • MilaXX

      Not sure you can spoil a 30 year old movie, but 
      I share your All that Jazz love.

    • MissAmynae

      Yes, yes, yes. Bye Bye my life bye bye!

      • formerlyAnon

         ”It’s showtime, folks!”

        For decades now, remembering Joe’s morning prep has been a lifeline on those days I feel that I just. can’t.

        • MissAmynae

          oh, must revisit tonight after PR!

  • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

    My main problem (Although your points are all totally on base) is why did they feel the need to insert the benevolent aliens into this whole mishmash?  Wouldn’t it have been more coherent and purely thematic if they had stuck to the Angels/Devils/Catholic Church construct?  Save the aliens for another season.

    • Sobaika

      Agreed. The major issue this season was the whiplash from all the plot elements, removing the aliens would have made it much more linear without changing the overall story to begin with.

      • PaulaBerman

        Would it have been better if the aliens were explicitly angels instead? 

    • Vodeeodoe

      I didn’t mind the aliens as much as the things in the forest. They were kind of glossed over. At first I thought they were the aliens, but the whole eating human flesh thing…just wasn’t explained well. I read a review that pointed out how most of the season seemed to be about repression, loss of freedom, bullying and how all of the characters experience each of these things, so the aliens were far out storywise, but it worked for that line of thought. Personally, I think Kit will be coming back to Earth at some point.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

    The end left me wondering – how much of what we saw at Briarcliff was real, and how much might be more of Lana’s lies?

    • Sobaika

      I think it was real, that last scene was just an interview Lana being showed out of Briarcliff when she first tried to get an interview, the significance of the dialogue only relevant at the very end of the season.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      This is a very intriguing idea.  After all, they did present her emotional, on-camera reunion with Sister Jude as very real… until she revealed that it never happened.  And she did admit that she was a colossal liar in the name of ratings and book sales.

    • SassieCassy

      a lot of people are wondering about this and i just feel like there are too many holes

      so if lana never made it into the asylum, what was her book if not an expose? who was mcdermott if not her son via rape? what about this alien shite? alot of stuff happened independently of her book.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        I think the idea is that some of it is real, but perhaps a lot of it is either made up or embellished.  That would explain why a lot of threads are either left dangling and unresolved or confusing.  Of course, this could just be letting them off the hook!

        • SassieCassy

          that sounds like a really convenient excuse from the writers

    • MaryAtRealityTea

      I think Kit’s compliance proved that most of it was real. He was a witness to almost everything – including the Thresden confession, etc. – and he never accused her of lying about the actual events of Briarcliff. In fact he was annoyed that she minimized them in favor of the Thresden story. 

  • A. W.

    I loved that we got closure. I’m okay with not knowing what the aliens are all about. It’s nice to have a mysterious element left over.

  • Hell Yes, I Would!

    I watched this morning and was waiting patiently for your recap. It was amazing. The end was all WTF but at the same time it made TOTAL sense. Gotta give Ryan Murphy credit. Loved it.

  • http://twitter.com/TheRealSandraOh Sandra Oh

    I didn’t expect to be so moved with the finale.  I gave up on this seasons awhile back but watched anyway because I had to be part of the water cooler crowd the next morning.  But last night was so damn good I couldn’t get it out my head.  If Sarah doesn’t get award recognition for this, then it’s a travesty.  

    • PaulaBerman

      Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, and Lily Rabe all deserve Emmy noms. What an amazing cast this show has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1245406754 Tracey Magyar

    I did like the finale and the final scene was awesome. I would have liked more resolution on some of the themes that they just seemed to throw into the show and then not mention again. Aliens, the good Dr. making Zombies, and the Dr. being a Nazi? What was the point of all these themes? And where did Pepper go, damn it!

    • Perfect Liar

      She dead.

    • MilaXX

      It was mentioned last week that Pepper died.

      • SassieCassy

        yeah but didnt she have super alien powers? it was really random.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       I think the point of the Dr. was literally failure. All his expirements? Monstrous. The love of his life? Satan. And though he was qualified to dispose of her body, that was all he could do. Destroy. Never create.

  • Leah Polhemus

    I was excited about the addition of Tim Minear as a writer in this season and I definitely saw his influence, especially in this last episode, which he penned.  I always loved his writing in the Whedon-verse.  His episodes were always very beautifully written and the stories were told very well.  I think this season was so much more about the characters and what they went through rather than just being about a whole bunch of crazy things happening, like last season was.  Sure, there were some holes, most notably Kit’s story, which I agree was all set-up and no pay-off, but overall this story arc was written and told pretty well compared with last season and really anything else Murphy has done.  

  • MilaXX

    I actually made it to the end this season, so that already put it ahead of last season in my book. This week’s episode felt more like an epilogue. Oddly enough, I was okay with the Kit/alien thing but I hated seeing the wings come out when it was already apparent that Jude was seeing the angel of death.  LOVE the scene with Lana/Jude about looking into the face of evil. Both ladies truly brought it. 
    I think I’ve just come to expect that anything from Ryan Murphy is going to have a bit of cinematic ADD and I’m not going to over think it if I like it.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

      The Angel of Death made several appearances this season and she always spread her wings when she was taking someone, not just with Jude.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    I felt the aliens were fine, and they weren’t over-explained, but were more of a MacGuffin. Without them, nothing in the season would have happened. I realize I could be reaching, but based on the episides, here’s my interpretation of the aliens: 

    As Grace said, Kit had an open mind. Aliens were looking for a subject, an enlightened human. They see Kit, who was loving, progressive man (interracial marriage in the ’60′s). They observed him, but wanted to protect him. 
    After the harrassment by local jerks, the aliens take Kit out of danger. They want to ensure he breeds, (because he’s a more emotionally advanced human, and also so they can continue to study) so they keep Alma but return him to earth for further observation, loaded with a tracking chip. 

    He gets taken to Briarcliff because he’s blamed for what the aliens did. This brings Lana to the asylum, and to Thredson.
    Grace, another open-minded individual that Kit is invested in, is threatened with sterilization (she can’t breed with their subject) then shot, which upsets their subject, so the aliens resurrect her with his kid. 
    He’s threatened again (on purpose to prove Arden’s theory), they come back and return with Super-Preggo Grace & Pepper 2.0. 
    The kids are special in that their existence was facilitated by the aliens, who presumably altered them in some way, making them more empathetic, and possibly gifted in other ways, as they altered Pepper. The kids use their special mind gift to heal Jude’s psychic wounds. 
    Kit nears death, only this time not at the hands of external forces, but his own body, so the aliens take him for good, I like to think to their ship to fix him, as they fixed Grace. 
    The kids stay on earth for observation. They take careers where they can help people physically and also contribute to social change. The daughter becomes a neurosurgeon – science based, helping to fix people’s brains. The son becomes a law professor – a philisophy based position, where he can educate people and improve their minds.

    • Sobaika

      It’s one thing for you to spell it out separately like that, but in the context of the show there was a much greater amount of time spent on the Catholic/religious aspect. The aliens popped in and out as needed, and it was only through Grace (who was a bit of a loony) and her insistence that Kit was special in the penultimate episode that their motives are explored. Removing them from the story would have changed nothing from the overall narrative and their presence was ultimately a bit distracting. Everything else (Arden & Nazis, Monsignor, etc.) can be tied back to the good vs. evil and the nature of ambition question.

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Oh, I completely agree with you that there was more emphasis on the Catholic elements, and that the aliens were very intermittent. Not only were the Catholic aspects were given much, much, more time, they also benefitted from having the amazing Lily Rabe in those story lines. Grace and Alma weren’t as dynamic or fun as Sister Mary Satan. (Seriously, the show was so different after her death – she was the life of the party, and I missed her presence.)

        There were times during the season that I felt like the writers forgot about the aliens, and I kept thinking there would be some sort of confrontation with them – they kill Thredson for threatening Kit or something along those lines. 

        Looking back on the season, though, I still feel the aliens are relevant because no aliens->no disappearing Alma->no Kit at Briarcliff->no Lana reporting on Kit->no Thredson meeting Lana. Do you think it would have helped if the season had been longer? If the alien story line had been more fleshed out and had as much screen time? Or do you think they were intrinsically distracting, and one element too many in a season that already had so much going on? 

        • Sobaika

          Imagine if in the first episode, Kit’s friends kidnap Alma, Kit is blamed for it and the Bloody Face murders, ends up in Briarcliff anyway. The season would remain virtually the same. That’s the source of my distaste, there was truly no need for them. Maybe hasten Grace’s pregnancy? Hasty allusions to preternaturally gifted children? Not enough of a payoff in my opinion. It’s disappointing because an alien storyline could sustain an entire season on its own and now its been used up.

          Given the numerous elements, they were inherently distracting but if given more time (or more consistent pacing) the aliens could perhaps link back to the main themes – Kit is the only truly good and selfless character in the entire series, the aliens could be presented as some sort of scientific alternative to God, or something. It’s still clunky but it’s possible, but it just wasn’t done well.

          • ScarlettHarlot

            That makes total sense. They could have saved the aliens for another season. With not using time on the aliens, it might have helped pacing for several things I felt were rushed that could have been handled better with extra time. Arden’s death seemed too abrupt, (especially since I wanted him publicly exposed while he was alive!) the Monsignor’s takedown by Lana could have been more than a fleeting scene and exposition, and as I mentioned before, Sister Mary Eunice could have stuck around a little longer.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

       Not really a MacGuffin (was anybody looking for them but us), but more like a deus ex machina. Except instead of resolving everything, they only fixed/helped the specific things/people they cared about. Inexplicably. And Lady Death was a different sort of help, I suppose.

    • Perfect Liar

       But what was the point of Jude seeing the alien during the storm?

  • notterriblybitter

    Over all, I enjoyed the show but I feel a little cheated by the last few episodes. It started as a show about actual demons but turned into a show about personal demons. A show about personal demons isn’t a bad thing but I was looking forward to an epic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil at the end, which would leave some dead and some alive, some damned and some redeemed, and Briarcliff a smouldering heap of ruins. 

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      Well, it was: but not due to epic battle, more due to corruption and neglect. That which never should have been built was ulimately abandoned. Aren’t our personal demons sometimes the worst of all?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

    I think the show did well not to go too deep into the alien thing. Would you have wanted it to end up like “Signs,” where you see the things and then it’s just not scary anymore? I like the mystery that lingers around the subject. I was, however, hoping for a little more on Kit. His wife said briefly that the aliens clung to him because he was so “open.” I would’ve liked to know why.

    • Perfect Liar

       We did see the alien, in the Nor’easter episode.

  • http://twitter.com/chylde chylde

    I think the whole season was just Lana’s book, and none of it happened. The aliens and the Nazi shit, red herrings. 

    • MaryAtRealityTea

      Why would the Cardinal kill himself if none of this happened? I mean obviously there was proof of his death and he was afraid of something related to Dr. Arden and Briarcliff. 

  • Inspector_Gidget

    I can’t believe the aliens were a complete waste of time!  They threw away the premise of an entire season as filler material with no resolution.

    But it was a unique finale, I’ll give them that.  I’m all in favor of flawed but groundbreaking shows over “CSI: Boise” or “Real Housewives of Terre Haute.”

    Does make me wonder what the hell they can come up with next season that won’t be a retread, though.  They turned in a helluva lot of horror chits with this season.

    • Sobaika

      There have been a few clues thrown that next season will be about – *potential mini spoiler* – voodoo.

      • SassieCassy

        me likey

        i also heard ryan murphy say that the daughter from last season will be back

      • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

        Oh lord….can Jessica Lange do a Cajun accent?  Because her Massachusetts accents sucked beans.

        • Inspector_Gidget

          Ooh, they should look at Grace Zabriskie from Wild at Heart.  She was scary as shit as a Cajun assassin!  ”Sank you, Mista Reindeer!”

          • Qitkat

            Grace Zabriskie is an awesome actress. Have not seen Wild at Heart. But loved her in Big Love.

    • ScarlettHarlot

       ”CSI: Boise” or “Real Housewives of Terre Haute.” – Shhhh! Don’t put those ideas out there into the universe, someone might make them happen!

  • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

    To mention two other examples of similar endings to epic stories: Six Feet Under and The World According to Garp (the book, don’t remember about the movie). Did those have genres? Or were they just good stories? I think transcending genre is definitely a goal for Murphy: he sets up familiar tropes, but he does unfamiliar things with them.

    • Qitkat

      Six Feet Under was one of my favorite series ever. The ending was perfection.

      • PaulaBerman

        One of the best series finales ever ever ever.

        • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

          The Garp one, too, he spent the end of the book just giving everyone final closure, one after the other. I remember crying in my dorm room.

        • kathryn_dc

          OMG I am still haunted by it. I loved it but it was upsetting to see characters I loved die, one after the other. Kind of brutal!

  • AuntieAnonny

    It was like Atonement, kinda. Right? I liked it.

    I wonder it was meant to be like “science (aliens) and proof (Lana going back with a camera crew) trumps religion/government”? I’m over-thinking it, right? Probably.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GZETLYE67HA4WXILJ72I7UCCJY Jennifer

    Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, but I cried through the entire episode. I thought it was pretty amazing and while I was watching it, I kept thinking about how it was exactly what it needed to be.

  • http://twitter.com/CesaMitchel22 Chelsea

     ”Lana Winters’ wardrobe is FUCKING FABULOUS. Did you see her serving up Jacqueline Susann realness in that playground? We died.”

    Amen.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    I disagree that we don’t know Kit. To me, he’s a mirror of Lana. The two main inmates were each lost their respective wife/girlfriend, were unjustly committed to Briarcliff, got tortured, and endured abuse at the hands of authority figures (Thredson, Arden, Jude, Mary Eunice & Monsignor) but responded very differently:
    Kit moved on, he always looked forward.  He lived with 2 women he’d thought were dead, loved both women despite their axe-iness, raised kids with alien origins, didn’t give up on love and married again, and adopted his former tormentor, the brain-fried Jude, into his family. He even forgave Lana, who had ruined his big chance of escaping through the tunnel. He didn’t let Briarcliff define his life. In the end, he was a happy person surrounded by friends and family who loved him because he insisted on moving on. Lana could never really move on. She couldn’t get over her son being a product of Thredson. She dwelled on the past through her embellished books and attention-seeking reporting, and forgave no one, even telling Kit that Jude deserved what she got. She was osbessed with the darkness of humanity, and was never really able to escape her Briarcliff/Bloody Face period of her life, repeating her past killing of Thredson when she killed her son.

    Kit’s kids grew into well-adjusted adults, Lana’s son into a crack-smoking psychopath. Kit’s children were also the result of a traumatic series of events, but they thrived because he loved them regardless. He didn’t care where they came from, they were his. 

    • SassieCassy

      your right, there are alot of parallels between them hmmmm. i still feel like we spent a lot more time with lana and jude though. down to the final scene it was their story.

    • MaryAtRealityTea

      That’s a great analysis. And it never occurred to me. Thanks. 

      • ScarlettHarlot

        Thanks!

    • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

      I don’t have the same judgements about Lana that you and a lot of people commenting have.  After everything she endured she not only survived but she was wildly successful!  She ends up rich and famous with a beautiful opera singer wife.  She shut down Briarcliff, shamed Cardinal Howard into suicide and rekindled her friendship with Kit, even becoming the godmother to his children.

      Johnny was a brutal serial killer and who was conceived by rape and torture.  Before she kills him she said “It’s not your fault, it’s mine.”  I think she was sorry to have unleashed the son of Bloody Face on the world and regretted not going through with the abortion when she had the chance.  In the end she had to rectify this mistake in the most cold blooded way possible.  I cheered for her when she shot Thredson and I cheered again when she shot BF Jr.  To me Lana was the moral center of the show and I’m happy that she was the last one standing in the end.

    • PaulaBerman

      I think you are right that Lana could not move on, but I also think that her suffering was greater than Kit’s. She was raped, impregnated, had a botched abortion, knew her lover had her committed and then was tortured, mutilated, and murdered, she was subjected to sexual aversion therapy, and committed murder herself. What horror did she not suffer? Considering her traumas, she was amazingly self-aware. She didn’t let her wounds stop her from succeeding in life. However, her past came back to haunt her, literally, in the form of her son, so she had that one last demon to slay. I think it was reflective of the fact that one can never truly be free of such invasive torture and degradation. It also may be operating on a symbolic level: Lana was ahead of her time, an open lesbian, a feminist, an ambitious career woman on her own. The world (well, the AHS world) did everything it could to destroy her. It failed.But in the end, she blamed herself for that demon, even though it was totally not her fault, not any of it. Being ambitious and career oriented is not a crime! One wonders if she was ever really happy after Briarcliffe. Even though her ending was supposed to be was a FUCK YEAH moment, for me it was so horribly sad.

  • TSkot

    Really was hoping for some more insight into Dylan McDermott’s character…  Was he not adopted?  Was that a school with the playground or an orphanage?  Was the visit by his mother enough to send him into madness?  What else happened to him?

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed the finale – indeed the entire series – immensely.  

  • Qitkat

    I’ve enjoyed reading your recaps, but am really happy I did not stare into this abyss.

  • MaryAtRealityTea

    I really liked seeing the characters to the end, but I’m a person who is always wondering what happened and why and leaves a movie/a book – whatever – with these questions. That said, the alien thing was um… really strangely dumb. Kit’s character was poised to be enormously interesting, but unfortunately with so many big characters he was lost in the shuffle. I wish we would have had a little more follow through with that. 

    Lana’s story and Jude’s were of course amazing. I loved how they ended it with the very first day they met. They are two people, very similar, whose lives took drastically different pasts. And interestingly their successes could have been reversed. What if Jude escape and Lana had stayed at Briarcliff to rot.

    I was also confused by son – that needed A LOT more back story to me. What was his upbringing like? Was he abused, neglected, forced into the system? I mean how did he become so screwed up. Was it just because of his heritage and the awareness of his patronage? 

    Sarah and Jessica – and Zachary too – all deserve Emmy noms. And they all need to return to next season’s cast in some capacity. Kit too is a fantastic actor. Whatever Ryan Murphy et al.’s flaws in story construction, their casting and directing choices are magnificent. 

    • ScarlettHarlot

      I think with Lana’s son, what’s interesting is he never would have known their connection if she hadn’t been snooping and interfered at the playground, and it led to his demise. Sort of like how her snooping at Briarcliff led to Wendy’s demise. Disappointing, since it seemed that Lana understood that her actions affected other people, when she said her reckless ambition put Wendy in danger, during her moment of reflection at Wendy’s mausoleum. 

  • Robin Krug

    I wondered if leaving the kids’ storylines open (and even supplying the info about their careers) might be a hint about next season. Because really, something must be recycled next season, and it might as well be alien hybrids among us. (Even better: the dreaded merman from Cabin in the Woods.)

  • jeeplibby02

    The “closure” for the aliens is that “they are still out there,” and they have healing powers and give good brain.  I’m fine with that.

  • PaulaBerman

    American Horror Story is a triumph of willing suspension of disbelief. I am a hard critic of shows that are dishonest with their narratives and who give evasive answers to the major questions they pose (X-Files, LOST, I’m looking at you). But there is something about AHS that allows me to accept the inconsistencies, the lack of explanation, the camp, the excess, and the occasional cheesiness. Maybe it’s the world class acting. Maybe it’s the visual smorgasbord of awesome, from the set design to the costumes to the stylized gore. Maybe it touches so many of my deepest fears so poignantly. I don’t know. All I know is, I am a huge fan. I barely cared that the aliens were never explained. Maybe it’s better to never explain than to explain poorly (X-Files, LOST, yadda yadda). Loved this season and love this show, more uncritically than I normally do.

    • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

      I fully agree with you. I could quibble about a few flaws here and there but I can’t really complain because this show had it all!  A Satanic nun, a drunken nun, slutty nuns, The Singing Nun, The Flying Nun, a passive-aggressive ambitious Monsignor, a Nazi mad scientist, three serial killers, two axe murderers, a nymphomaniac, flesh eating mutants, alien abductions, faux Anne Frank, a Nazi hunter, a pinhead turned into a Super Genius Pinhead by aliens, The Angel of Death and its main heroes were a progressive minded Bostonian working stiff, an intrepid lesbian reporter and a ex-sadistic nun.

      And with only 13 episodes they threw all that crap in and not only did it work, but it was oddly moving.  God I’m going to miss this show so much!

  • alula_auburn

    I honestly kept almost forgetting about the aliens–so on the one hand, the lack of payoff doesn’t bother me, but on the other, that I kept mentally fastforwarding though that aspect of the ploy says something.  

    I was genuinely afraid the children were going to walk off with Jude into the woods and they would all just disappear (get beamed back up).  The way there was almost a fade-out felt that way to me, and the idea of Kit losing his kids too–especially in the course of rescuing Jude–would have broken me.

    On the other hand, that long sequence of Dylan McDermott MENACINGLY EATING A SANDWICH around the midpoint cracked me up.  For every gorgeous setpiece/shot like Judy’s death, this show does one that baffles me.

    • Soren Lundi

      I’m pretty sure it was a donut, which is even funnier.

  • PrunellaV

    I was impressed at “old” Lana’s makeup. She looked not like an older woman, but like an older woman who’d had cosmetic surgery.

    • Chantelle James

      Oh yes! I’ve been watching Face Off (a skills-based competition show without extraneous drama – like the old Project Runway) and through it I have a much better appreciation for the makeups on tv.

      Sarah Paulson sold the older Lana with the way she moved: a little bent over, moving slowly, tapping on furniture. Perfection.

      Shoutouts also go to the costume designer and stylist, who nailed the clothing, hair, and makeup for each era in which we saw Lana. She really did look like she’d just stepped out of each of those times. 

  • ladybane

    There is just something about Sarah Paulson that makes her look exquisite in retro clothing. Something about her wide, sculpted face and bold dark eyes just works so well with so many “overly done” styles – I first fell in love with her in the twee (yet awesome!) ‘Down with Love’ where she rocked all those dorky hats and matching coats and dresses and paisleys and false eyelashes.

  • http://twitter.com/DarrenNesbitt Darren Nesbitt

    Lana Banana’s coat ,sunglasses and gloves on that playground WERQ!

  • dharmabum8

    I think you maybe underestimate the writing this season. I absolutely think the aliens were meant to be the ultimate mindfuck in a season of mindfucks. We were taken on an emotional roller coaster this season where we are at turns almost forced to empathize, albeit briefly, with Nazis and serial killers who we were hoping would meet terrible ends and confront some unlikeable ugly truths about our main heroine. The aliens which at first were scary turned out to be a force of good, really, and the story of Kit’s family reminded us in rewards of blind faith and forgiveness which stood as a nice contrast to Lana and son’s story about the painful price of blind ambition and vengeance.

  • Jack Ratterree

    They did really good old-age make-up! Lana looked actually years older.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5UQHEKG5EDX4T6NMARUC565TPQ Amy

    OMG thank you for giving a shout out to Sarah Paulson’s retro look. That was the best part of the finale! That and her ability to embody this tough Yoko Ono/Barbara Walters/Professor of Women’s Studies vibe. She nearly stole it from Lange!

    It was sweet and heartfelt and screwed up and utterly confusing. Props to the adorable kids who had to put up with 2 psycho mommies and a psycho nun. I figured they would achieve non-cliche greatness as well. Perhaps leave the commune and become prophets or the next Dalai Lama?

    My only question…aside from all the important ones TLo mentioned…does anyone else thing the whole angel of death thing was sort of a friendly gesture to Catholicism or religion in general? Considering this season offered  a scathing look at Catholicism and the writer’s commentary on grievances with the church, I felt the angel of death offered peace and dignity. What better way to enter death than on the individual’s own terms and with a peaceful kiss?  And angels are religious figures! It’s a longshot…but I was curious.

  • George Mortimer

    The one thing that annoyed me about this season was the amount of HUGE plot holes. Events (some big, some minor) would happen that would completely contradict things that happened earlier. They really need to work on their storyboarding for next season! However, one thing we can all agree on is how fucking fabulous Lana looked in the playground scene. Jaw-dropping!

  • http://profiles.google.com/h.e.waddell Heather Waddell

    Did anyone else notice the ways Lana was mirroring Sister Jude in that interview? It was tiny things like the hair, and her inflection/word choice, but I found it really powerful. I felt like it implied that even though she didn’t go back until it was too late, she looked up to Judy and was influenced by her. Sarah Paulson deserves an Emmy just for that scene.

  • Vodeeodoe

    Lastly, Lana and Kit’s outfits – and Thredson’s Midcentury Modern (upstairs) home – yumfest!!!

  • paintedfish

    Did anyone else expect Johnny (Bloody Face) to tell Lana that the day on the playground, he was the bully and not the kid who was picked on?