TV Review: American Horror Story Season 2 Episode 8
Christmas is my favourite holiday.
It’s the most acceptable time of the year to get shit-faced. Next to New Year’s. And St Patrick’s Day. And my birthday. And Wednesdays. And-
Actually, Christmas wins because you get alcohol AND presents. There.
TL;DR Skitty confirms she is more evil than ever, Lana and Kit put the smack-down on Quinto, and there’s a homicidal Santa on the loose. What’s not to enjoy?
Well, there’s still no check-ins with present day Bloodyface and Channing Tatum’s wife, so boo.
Anyway, the plot this episode is all about that Christmas cheer. Ian McShane (Blackbeard from the terrible 4th POTC movie) guest stars as a Briarcliff inmate who just loves murdering the shit out of people at Christmas. When Frank the security guard starts getting moral about his fatal shooting of Frenchie last episode, Skitty lets the jolly psycho out for a bit of silencing. However, when Skitty catches wind that Lange has snuck in and is preparing to exorcise her, she finds Santa a better target. Lange is convinced by Cromwell to return to Briarcliff to save Skitty’s soul from the Devil inside (ah ha!), but he double crosses her to Skitty. Lange hadn’t been very kind to Santa in the past, so things almost go very badly when he starts beating the shit out of her. Luckily, she stabs him in the fucking neck, because that’s how Jessica Lange DO. Meanwhile, Lana finds Kit in the sick bay and they collaborate on the plan for yet another escape attempt. When Lana finds a phone and tries to get the word out about the true Bloodyface, Quinto ambushes her. Luckily, Kit has her back, and they lock him up. Oh, and Fiennes is stirring a romance with Skitty or some shit.
The only thing that really pissed me off this episode was when Cromwell fucked Lange over and she was attacked by Santa. But I really didn’t see it coming, so it was effective. And Lange got to kill a dude, so that’s awesome.
Otherwise, no serious complaints.
Why I hate this episode:
The writers seem unable to decide whether Fiennes is a misguided straight-man or a fellow loony. This episode he praises Skitty’s Christmas tree decorations. The decorations are (as Lange had scrapped the actual ones the previous year) bits of the patients’ hair, dentures, IV bags, syringes etc. Dude, that’s weird. At the very least fucking having medical equipment within reach of the inmates is super dangerous.
He’s also impressed by her release of Santa, because he is apparently the most genre blind character in the history of moving pictures and doesn’t see a violent rampage ensuing. I’m leaning towards loony.
Skitty’s plan for Santa to kill Frank is unnecessarily roundabout, which is frustratingly demonstrated by the conclusion to the sub plot. Santa does attack Frank, but Frank fights him off. So Skitty just slices his neck open and blames it on Santa anyway. Why didn’t you do that first?
Cromwell wants to have his cake and eat it too morality-wise, and I’m getting a bit tired of it. In order to test just how wretched Skitty has become, he gives her a Christmas gift. It’s a pair of ruby earrings he stole from one of the concentration camp Jewish women. She used to swallow them every day then shit them out, clean them off, and re-swallow them. To keep them from being stolen. He tells Skitty the story and she puts them on and doesn’t give a fuck. He has some big spiel about how impure she is, which is when he goes to Lange for help. Then when he betrays Lange his whole point becomes invalid. I know that’s he’s not a good guy, but why bother showing us him giving Skitty that lecture if it wasn’t going to mean anything?
Unless he’s going to betray her later. Nazis be complicated, yo.
Oh, and Lana (as opposed to Fiennes up there) shows some wonderful genre savvy when her immediate suggestion after having Quinto knocked out is to fucking murder his ass. However, Kit needs him alive as he’s the only proof that Kit isn’t Bloodyface. God. Dammit.
Reasons to watch:
It’s Christmas, bitch.
Santa’s original murderous rampage is pretty twistedly fantastic. He infiltrated various homes and got his rapin’ and murderin’ on. With the couple we see him attack, he convinces their daughter that he is the real Santa and she leads him to them. He ties them up at gunpoint and starts talking about rape. The husband does the whole “Don’t you dare touch her” thing, but Santa is like “Who said I was talking about her,” while leering at the husband. That’s some equal opportunity sexual crime right there. Who knew American Horror Story was so progressive?
Santa also wins himself best line right after that when he makes it clear that the impending rape will not be short-lived: “The difference between me and that Santa Claus is he only comes once a year.” Extra hilarity for me as I recently re-watched The World Is Not Enough.
He then promptly shoots them both in the head. Doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t make good on his promise, though. Implied necrophilia.
Before Lange sneaks back into Briarcliff with Cromwell’s help, she busts the fuck in and holds a razor to Skitty’s neck (picture above. Duh). Holy crap she is too much boss to handle.
Lana looks like she’s going to get her vengeance on Quinto. Although she doesn’t kill him, she and Kit tie him up and stash him away in an out-of-the-way room in Briarcliff. Lana gets second best line this episode with this chilling promise: “One day I’ll bury you.” There’s not a hint of hesitation in that delivery. Do it.
Santa gets some poetic justice against Lange when he whips her with a cane, like she did him. I gotta give him props on really making that vengeance count. And the scene (including him punching her in the face and trying to rape her) was genuinely tense. Because this is American Horror Story and major characters could drop at any second.
While trying to wheel Frenchie’s body away, Cromwell is dazzled by the aliens (we haven’t seen them in a while), who disappear, along with Frenchie. Finally, some real intrigue with the sci-fi sub-arc.
Oh, and Quinto’s ambush of Lana is fucking rough. Yes, she’s a pig-headed fool who’s only in this mess because she wanted a story to make herself famous, but for all the decent effort she’s put in to get away, I really wanted to see her succeed. And it looks like she just might. Thank god.