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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