TV Review: American Horror Story Season 2 Episode 12
Well, it took 12 episodes, but American Horror Story finally dropped the ball.
This episode is uneventful, tangential and wholly underwhelming.
It’s like watching Snooki & JWoww.
TL;DR Is American Horror Story trying to challenge Lord of the Rings for the most painfully overdrawn epilogue title? Because they’re pretty close.
Characters even get killed off, too. Though it’s not very exciting when one of them is basically insignificant and the other is dying for the second time.
The plot starts off with a short time skip ahead from last episode‘s ending. Kit, Frenchie and Alma have been living together for a few years in polygamous bliss. But some serious PTSD causes Alma, who is disturbed by Frenchie’s adoration for their alien abductors, to axe murder the fuck out of her rival wife. So Frenchie is dead. Again. Alma gets sent to Briarcliff, which Lana apparently failed to shut down. Briarcliff has since been converted to house ordinary criminals. Lange is menaced by a new inmate who appears to be a human Angel. Surprise, Lange is batshit crazy and has lost 2 years of her memory. Which means Fiennes’ promise to free her earlier in the episode never came to pass. Skip forward a bit more and Lana has become a best selling author. But her book sanitises her relationship with Wendy and greatly embellishes her time in Quinto’s basement. Kit tracks her down and wants her to help him shut down Briarcliff for good (Alma died in there, btw), but is rebuffed. And back (forward?) in present day, McDermott tracks down a first edition copy of Lana’s book and wants to follow this up by finding Lana herself and killing her. Children: who’d have ’em?
This episode is seriously boring. A lot of screen time is wasted on Kit/Alma/Frenchie’s domestic drama, and an even bigger slab of time is pissed away on some weird prison gang thing Lange has with supposedly-Angel. The reveal that the prisonser isn’t Angel and Lange has gone legit cray doesn’t prove anything we didn’t know from the last 2 episodes: her brain is fried. I suppose it is definite confirmation that she’s not all there, but I didn’t want to waste half an episode finding that out.
And Lana has gone from hero to sellout in just 1 episode. Frustrating.
Why I hate this episode:
Kit is also hardly thrilling. Now that the whole Bloodyface thing is over, I don’t care what he does/what happens to him. The only time he’s interesting is when he goes to Lana for help in closing Briarcliff.
I’m gonna give Alma some big demerit points on account of being a fucking bizarre psychopath. She’s portrayed as mostly normal and healthily dealing with life. Then her conflict with Frenchie escalates from minor slapfight to sudden homicide. Then she quickly dies off-screen, just to further insult us with how unnecessary her return was. It didn’t prove anything. All it did was waste a whole episode for Kit. Oh, and Kit doesn’t seem to be too bothered by both his loves’ deaths. Pointless!
The prison gang drama with Lange is truly grating. The plot suddenly finds itself on Oz With Vaginas and seems unable to shake it off. All the clichés are there: supposedly-Angel saying she owns Lange, having her own nameless lackeys, shanking someone who inconveniences her. Even cigarette stealing. Then after we’ve sat through an age of this, American Horror Story turns around and is like “Lulz, JK. Lange is just crazy and none of this meant anything. Ryan Murphy was here!”
The narrative moves forward up until 1969. Remember, the show started in 1964. So in 5 years, nobody has closed down Briarcliff? We can probably assume Lana’s book fudged a lot of the details, but the mere fact that Quinto was working there should have been enough to spark some interest from the authorities into Briarcliff’s administration. Or the fact that, you know, Lana had already told the police all that last episode. Hell, there’s even new management now that it’s been transformed into a normal prison. And still nothing is done. What the hell?
Oh, and Frenchie mentions her fear of the violence inside her (the force that made her kill her parents with an axe, in case you’ve forgotten). Then she dies before this goes anywhere. It was probably just a reminder to the audience so her death at the blade of Alma’s axe would be, I don’t know, ironic or some shit. But it was still, as much of this episode was, pointless.
Reasons to watch:
Frenchie dies. Again. And it’s pretty violent, so I’ll give it points for that.
The best part of the episode is Lana’s scenes. Despite her flagrantly unrepentant attitude to Kit, she does experience crushing guilt from within during her book reading. She reads a passage where she fabricated an extra victim being brought into Quinto’s torture basement while she was there, then Quinto’s visage stands up in the audience and very accurately berates her for lying.
This is followed by Wendy’s visage bitching her out for reducing their relationship to just roommates. Lana has layers, man.
And her smug side isn’t entirely without merit. When Kit begs her to help him shut down Briarcliff, in part to help Lange (who he tells her is still alive), she responds that Lange herself made Briarcliff most of what it is. And she’s fucking right.
During their chat, Lana says her next book will be about Santa, who apparently went on a fantastic spree killing after his escape from Briarcliff, where he murdered seven nuns.
Her idea for a title gets her the episode’s best line: “I thought of calling it ‘Santa and the Seven Nuns.'” Success really does rot talent. Ryan Murphy finally makes sense.
Although it obviously didn’t come to fruition, Fiennes (before his leaving for a promotion in New York) does promise Lange that he’s working on her release. He seemed genuine.
McDermott’s plan is to find mummy and shoot her in the head. Lana would be what, 70-something in his timeline? I think she’ll still put up a good fight.
Oh, and Alma really does get a good grip on that axe. American Horror Story knows not to skimp on the blood.