American Horror Story/Asylum: Episode Seven

Hosting eleven for Thanksgiving dinner  last week precluded  me from commenting about episode six though God knows there was a lot to discuss.   All I can say is “Baby needs colostrum” now joins “show me your mossy banks” in the pantheon of exceedingly strange AHS phrases that have peppered the dialog this season.   I have no doubt there will be more to come.

Tonight’s episode, “Dark Cousin”, focused on that age-old literary struggle, good versus evil.

A new character named Miles is fighting schizophrenic voices as he helps prepare sandwiches in the Briarcliff.   A nun is using a meat slicer to hack off some bologna when one of the voices tells Miles to grab it by the wrists.   The next scene, he’s on a stretcher,  there’s blood everywhere and on the wall, scribed in the crimson stuff is a word.  It looks like it’s spelling out “one” in funky lettering but when Sister Satan enters the room, she informs us that its ancient Aramaic.  She then she asks our Bleeding Buddy on the gurney if he summoned “her’.

‘What? Huh??”, inquires the dazed self-induced hemophiliac.

He’s wheeled away and placed in a room as a panicked Sister Satan runs amuck, obviously bothered by the fact that  “one” is now at Briarcliff.

The next scene we find a restrained Miles telling the guard he doesn’t want to be at Briarcliff any longer.  In fact, he no longer wants to be in this world any longer.  When the guard leaves, a woman in black  appears at the foot of his bed.   At first, I thought it was actress May Steenburgen  She looked familiar.  It was Frances Conroy, who played  Moira the maid last season.   The older milk eyed version.

She reminds Miles that he in fact, summoned her and then asks if she can basically kiss him and make it all better.    She puckers up and when she does, she sprouts black wings that while large in terms of span, look awfully paltry feather-wise.    They were sparse;  like something you’d find in a discount costume shop.   She obviously has killer kisses.   Miles dies.  Just then, she realizes that someone is at the cell door.

It’s Sister Satan.

She walks in; they recognize each other.  Black Angel Cheap Wings calls her “Cousin” and soon realizes that as angels go, she’s the fallen one.

Lucifer.

And she knows that he/she is inhabiting the young nuns body.   For a second, Sister Mary Eunice comes screaming through possessor.    Sister Satan  reclaims her host, and sends Black Angel Cheap Wings away saying she’s already done what she came to Briarcliff to do.

I’m assuming this is the Angel of Death, sans the large scythe and cloak and hood.

She also pays a visit to Lana after Threadson rapes her.  Incest on top of serial murder???????  What a cad!!    But Lana tells her ‘no’.

A little back story;  we learned last week that he felt Lana was his ideal mother figure.    But it seems that even homicidal maniacs have a conscious and a disdain for their own Oedipal issues.   He decides his indiscretion was reason enough to waste Lana, but a struggle ensues, she bops Threadson over the head with the photo of Wendy, her lover and manages to break free.  She runs out of Threadson murderous pied à terre and on to the highway where wouldn’t you know, she flags down one a driver, which happens to be one of THEE angriest misogynist on the planet.

He hates women; holds them responsible for every pain and misery he has and pulls out of gun and shoots himself as his ’61 Plymouth goes out of control and careens into a tree.   Black Angel Cheap Wings makes an appearance in the backseat and once again offers Lana a homecoming, but declines once again.  The next thing we know, Lana is back in Briarcliff and under Sister Satan’s care.

She tells the horned one that Threadson is Bloody Face and that his tastefully decorated home has a basement of horrors.  Sister Satan remembers conveying this while possessing the body of the Farm Boy ( yet another serial masterbater that we met in Episode Two).  He told Threadson who was in attendance that he appreciated his handiwork.

Sister Satan believes Lana, then sedates her, assuring her that she’s safe.  No one knows she’s at Briarcliff.

We also learn that Kit/Tate escaped from prison.  He’s on his way back to Briarcliff to get Grace who was abducted by aliens and Kit’s wife a few weeks ago.  Remember?   The performed an ersatz hysterectomy on her.

Sister Satan tells Dr. Arden that he  botched the sterilization that Sister Jude ordered after she caught Grace and Kit screwing around.   Arden denies it all and resents the way Sister Satan is addressing him.   He’s about to hit her and she goes all Reagan McNeal on her and like a scene out of the The Exorcist, telekinetically bitch slaps him and like Fathers Merrin and Karras from the movie, flings him half way across the room.

A classic coup’d tat deftly handled.  And Arden knows all too well there’s been a transfer of power.

The story line with Sister Jude is getting interesting.   She’s been reassigned and his leaving Briarcliff, but has to handle a few things first.  Like getting the Nazi Hunter she enlisted a few episodes ago to properly deal with Arden, who we all know was a doctor within the Third Reich.   But Sister Satan killed him with a piece of mirror.   A large shard right to the jugular!

Jude finds him in a bloody mess in his bathroom.    She calls an ambulance but stops short when she senses he had died.   And he does.   Black Angel Cheap Wings appears out of nowhere kisses him (this has got to be the proverbial kiss of death).   Last week, he lived long enough to tell Jude that one of her nun’s was the perp.

Jude looks up and taped on the TV screen is a news article from 1949…a story about the little girl she hit while on a drunken bender.   There’s a few flashbacks and we see Jude in her civies sitting in the sadly appointed living room of a typical New England couple.   They are Missy’s parents, we soon learn.  Missy is/was the little girl in the blue coat that was out playing in the road late one night; the hit and run that changed everything.

Well,  in walks an adult Missy in a nurse’s uniform.

She survived????

Huh??   How did Sister Satan not know this???    Maybe because Old Scratch can only get in our heads and root around to get at our biggest fears and guilt trips.    Therefore, if Jude thought Missy Blue Coat Front Bumper Fodder was in fact dead, so would Sister Satan.  She’d play off that.

Earlier, Jude imagined slitting her wrists in the Tastee Freeze bathroom.   She walked out and encountered Black Angel Cheap Wings who she recognized.  Seems Jude has threatened to take her own life many times before.  The two are old pals.   She tries to talk Jude into finally letting go; seek the peace only Black Angel can offer.

“Let’s French!!!!”, she all but suggests.

No, insists Jude.   There’s at least one more thing to take care of before that ultimate swappage of spit.  And that was to confess to Missy’s grieving parents which ultimately, created one helluva monastic tap dance in the living room of Missy’s parents.   Jude was dumbfounded when Missy and her cat eye glasses walked into the room.  She’d spent 13 years thinking she killed Missy.    But was injured and there’s still the matter of the hit and run; the failure to stop to render aid.

Lastly, Kit/Tate makes his way back to Briarcliff and darts in and out of the tunnels in an effort to find Grace and run away with her.  He bursts through the kitchen door.  She’s eating  a snack with a nun.   Yes, she’s better now—up and walking around thanks to the miracle of sulfa drugs and Bactine administered by Dr. Arden, earlier in the show.   But the guards know he’s an escapee and have been ordered to shoot him on sight.    one was nearby and heard the nun scream.  He goes into the kitchen; sees Kit and shoots, but Grace ends up taking the bullet for him.  Shot in the gut.    Then one of Arden’s forest dwelling human eating creatures with the single quail plume-like dreadlock thing hanging from his head attacks the guards, then Kit, but Kit gets in one good lick and stabs him in the stomach and his entrails or something, falls all over the kitchen floor.

As Grace lies there, Black Angel Cheap Wings appears above her and yes, they kiss and yes, Grace dies.

She is free, she whispers.

Then we’re treated to next week’s previews.   It’s the Christmas edition of this season of  AHS.  Nothing says Yuletide quite like a crazed inmate in a Santa suit.  Can’t wait.

As I mentioned in the beginning, good and evil are the focus here.  It just so happens to these two things converge at an asylum.   One thing is becoming apparent—from Arden’s Nazi past, to Grace’s murder of her family and of course, Sister Jude’s crazy ass life, evil is a part of  man’s existence on this Big Blue Marble.   We have to deal with it.   Try as we might, we can’t erase that which we’ve experienced, nor can we turn a blind eye to it.   All the characters this season hammer the point home that the evil and good are real;  they exist independently, but they can’t co-exist, not without consequences.

That said, I’m beginning to think that the asylum is like some form of Purgatory.  For those not raised under the tent of Catholic dogma, Purgatory is the condition of purification or temporary punishment before entrance to the Pearly Gates.   Here’s the ecclesiastical 4-1-1, kids.

According to the Church and Wikipedia,  immediately after death, a person undergoes  judgment in which the soul’s eternal destiny is specified. Some are  united with God;  others reach a state known as Hell, the  eternal separation from God often envisioned as a fiery, sulfur smelling place of punishment, misery and Lawrence Welk  records.   Apparently, it’s by one’s own free will that a person enters into the state of hell.  It’s willful entry.

Conversely, one could argue that would apply to the opposite destination.  Those who die in a state of grace are believed to be prepped and readied to  move on up–to the Eastside.  To that dee-lux apartment in the sky….eye….eye.

You know, Heaven.

I know that’s thought process, especially when applied to this show, is as insane as one of Briarcliff’s inmate.   I tried to approach last season from a psycho/social mindset and I couldn’t have been more wrong.    There was no Miltonian metaphor.  No deep seeded Faustian explanation.  The house was merely haunted.   With ghosts.   Phantams.  Spectors…Ronnie AND Phil.

But all I know regarding this season so far is simple: if there IS a purgatory, a place for those who lived the worst life  to be  given the choice of redemption and head north….↑ (towards the sound of harps)

or south↓ (where da brimstone at!!!)

Briarcliff would be it.

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