American Horror Story: The Name Game

Posted on January 03, 2013

Alrighty, then! Housekeeping time! Hey, remember all the whining about how they threw too many things at the wall for this season, what with the devil, the Nazi, the serial killer, the zombie mutants, and the aliens? Let’s wipe most of them out in one episode and just leave the serial killer and the aliens to hash it out for the finale. We suppose it’s somehow possible for the devil to make a return, one-time-only engagement at Briarcliff, but the Angel of Death (with Wing-Snapping Action!) said she was taking “both” of them after Mary Eunice did her Monsignor-aided free-fall off the third floor landing.

But here’s where they’re going to sweeten the deal for you. They’ll wipe out the Nazi, the devil and the zombie mutants all in one episode, but in exchange, they’ll throw in a jaw-dropping musical number that keeps going on and on, getting more outrageous with each second. Jessica Lange, come on down here to collect your next Emmy, hon. Might as well get it over with now.

What a fun episode; a strong and memorable return after the holiday hiatus, and one that was fairly tightly scripted, all things considered (like that this is American Horror Story). Of course “fun” is an odd word to use for an episode that included the most horrifying depiction of electroshock therapy we’ve ever seen, but the show seems to have gotten its bearings going into the final episodes. There’s a clarity of storytelling here that’s not entirely due to the broad housekeeping that went on this week. Sure, you could argue that they threw too much crap at the wall this season and then abruptly tore the wall down when they decided what the show was really going to be all about (aliens and serial killers, apparently), but Judy’s tale was an engrossing one and her entire struggle with demons both inner and outer set the stage for her complete turnaround in character and the possibility that her remorse may just get Lana rescued from the hell that is Briarcliff.

Of course we’re being ridiculously optimistic on that front. One thing did occur to us this episode: that Dylan McDermott’s modern-day Bloody Face may not, in fact, be Lana’s child, but Grace’s. It would make more sense, since Kit’s been falsely identified as the killer and BF Jr. did mention that BF was his father. If this is the case, then it throws Lana’s fate into serious question and all but seals Kit’s fate as the guy who took the fall. Personally, we’d love to see Lana – who got a real fist pump moment this episode with “I’m goddamned plucky.” – get the hell (pun intended) out of there. And we’d love it even more if she got out because Judy, with the last shattered pieces of her mind working, made sure to tell someone in power to help her.

However, with Arden and Sister Mary Satan reduced to piles of ash, it remains to be seen who’s going to fill the void at Briarcliff. The most likely candidate is Thredson himself, which certainly makes Lana’s chances look pretty grim. Then there’s the Monsignor, who seems in his own way to be as shattered as Judy is. His usefulness to the story seems to be a bit lessened at this point, as does Judy’s, but there’s still three episodes left and we can’t imagine they’re going to be nothing but Thredson vs. The Aliens or whatever. Still, we are once again at the moment where we say “I have no friggin idea what’s supposed to happen next” and we will once again point out what a rarity that is for most television shows.

Don’t even get us started on Super-Pepper, now with extra added smartness. Who knows what the hell she’ll manage to do. We half expect ninja moves coming from her before this story’s all over. Possibly flying.

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  • um, hate to sound like the plot police, but when we met BF, Jr., he said that he learned his lastname was really Thredson and he stated that made him the son of BF.  Therefore, something happens b/w Sister Jude’s and Mrs. Channing Tatum that absolves Kit for the killings. That doesn’t guarantee that Lana gets her tell-all and Kit is freed though.

    •  ^ This. I personally think Kit’s doomed and the truth about BF will be revealed sometime later. But who knows with this show…

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Aw, that’s too bad.  I was loving the possibility of that twist.  Then again, this show is one giant twist.  It’s like an M. Knight Shyamalan ending every 20 minutes or so.

    • Leonardo Alves

      Also, BF Jr. mentions his father being medically trained, something that Kit never was…

    •  Unless Threadson adopts Grace’s baby and raises him. Then they can explain it away using complicated semantics and a convenient retcon.

  • Hilarious recap and accurate as always.  I’m just itching to see what they come up with for Season 3…

  • AuntieAnonny

    Obviously the devil transferred to the fetus.

    • Sobaika

      They’re not getting away from the Devil Child theme anytime soon, are they.

  • merciblahblah

    Once the musical number hit last night, I couldn’t WAIT for the recap. Best episode of the season, if only for that scene alone. Jessica Lange, I super duper giant puffy heart you.

    • That was AMAZING. I am not a musical person, at all, but that was just jaw-dropping, fizzy joy. 

    • PaulaBerman

       I too was watching that thinking, “Wonder what TLo will say about THAT crazy awesomeness?” Stuff like that is why I love the show. There is simply nothing else like it on TV.

  • Sobaika

    I was really pleasantly surprised by this episode. Maybe because it was the first fresh TV I’ve seen in a while (come back from winter break, the rest of you!) or that they really are trying to cleaning house, but it was a really refreshing episode.

  • krelnick

    Special, super-duper Emmy to the make-up crew.  I looked up Pepper on IMDB and she’s a hottie.

    • Dude, for real!! I thought Pepper actually looked like that! I just went and looked her up because of your comment and my mind is totally blown!

      • krelnick

        I was originally very uncomfortable with the character since I thought they had gotten an actual microcephalic to play the role.  Now I’m in awe of the make-up department.

        • Me too! I’m so relieved! 

  • Monday1900

    I still can’t watch this show but a friend made me speed watch Scandal over the holidays and I was wishing for the TLo treatment on that one. 

  • littlemissstrange

    You know Ryan Murphy has been just dying to throw a musical number into this show…. I thought it was cute and bizarre but it went on a little too long.

    Best moment of the episode: Zachary Quinto walking towards Lana and Kit, smoking a cigarette while that badass music plays. The boy is serial killer perfection.

    • aritae

      I completely agree about Thredson walking in.  He did this neat little trick where he shifted his eyes to Kit and Lana before he turned his head to look straight at them and the effect was so reptilian and horrifying and amazing all at once.

      • littlemissstrange

         And hot. You forgot hot.

  • kathryn_dc

    A few times this episode I thought, “Wow, they are actually going to do this!”  (Loss of virtue, free fall of devil nun, ride into crematorium)

  • Inspector_Gidget

    Santa Swearengen is still on the loose as well.  Who knows how he fits into the last few episodes.  Maybe he’ll keep Judy’s head in a box and talk to her on occasion.

  • Not too upset by Arden’s early exit, but kinda crushed by Mary Eunice’s exit. Loved Lily Rabe in the role, so here’s hoping Murphy picks her up again next season.

    In our review, we like the musical number, too. Everyone in agreement about the New Orleans/witch angle for next season (thanks to the helpful hint in the jukebox)?

  • Inspector_Gidget

    I’m a little bummed that Sister Jude got her brains scrambled so early.  I was looking forward to seeing her kick some crazy-staff butt from within the asylum, but all she managed was to break a 45 in half.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    I dunno, I think the aliens are going to take Kit, his wife, girlfriend & 2 alien-assisted babies back to their world.
    This was hands-down, my favorite episode, the musical fit in really well and might’ve been the one delightful moment before the main characters start getting systematically wiped out. 

  • DocPooh

    One of the truly horrific scenes for me (and I’m not religious) was Sister Mary Eunice’s rape of the Monsignor.  Too involved to explain why or how, but it was quite psychologically disturbing to me, even more so than any of the other scenes of sexual violence this season!

    • GTrain

      yeah that scene was pretty horrifying to me too. i’m personally glad to see the Sister-Satan thing end. At first it was clever, and the actress was excellent, but after a while i was like ok, i get it, she’s eeeevil.

  • Markatha

    Jessica Lange should not only get another Emmy but also a special award just for awesomeness!!
    She probably had Frances Farmer & Patsy Cline flashbacks during this episode.  (“Frances” & “Sweet Dreams” both great films).
    I played a Jitterbugging Soldier in a bar scene in “Frances” with Ms. Lange back in the day. 
    She was Awesome then & and even more so now.
    I really enjoy this crazy ass show!.

  • ccm800

    Ryan Murphy turns in a workshop as a realized show and everyone yells hurray. No.

  • If I know one thing about a tv series it is this: Actors who appear in the title sequence will last till the finale. So I guess the aliens create a clone of Arden, and Sister Eunice’s twin appears… or they appear in flashbacks… but they WILL re-appear. 

  • warnerave

    i really enjoyed the NAME GAME part haha!!

  • MK03

    Boy, Ryan Murphy got really jealous over Zou Bisou Bisou, didn’t he? 

  • My begrudging crush on Evan Peters became slightly less so at seeing him dance and boogie looking all happy and whatnot.  Fun seems like the wrong word, but…was that a fun episode or what?!

  • I love how they had a bunch of scary red herrings running through the show. It does kind of break the fourth wall; you can’t stop thinking about the creators. But, I don’t know. I like when the director deliberately screws with you and laughs at you for ever following certain storylines.

  • sssss s

    Sooo, I am super bugged by this. Was that Stephen King in a cameo as one of the patients during the dance scene? I have watched and paused it a dozen times and feel sure that is him.