American Horror Story Asylum, S2E5: I Am Anne Frank, Part 2
Original Airdate: November 14, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
I have come to the conclusion that just when you think American Horror Story: Asylum can’t get any crazier, well, it can. Tonight’s episode offered us irrefutable proof of that.
Sister Jude pulls up in a big ol’ Chevy. She’s a woman on a mission (though we do pause to think the only other time we’ve seen her in a car was when she ran over the little girl). Tonight she’s not in her habit, and instead she’s sporting a red kerchief over her hair. She arrives at the apartment of Mr. Sam Goodman. He ushers her inside and tells her that he’s sorry they’re meeting under these circumstances. She explains that the only one who knows she is here is Mother Superior; now even the Monsignor thinks she’s crazy. (Little does she know, he’s letting her believe that he thinks she’s crazy to protect the fact that he knows more about Arden than he’s telling her. And if that sounds confusing to you, well, welcome to Briarcliff.) Sister Jude is going on her instincts with her suspicions about Dr. Arden, to which Sam replies that it’s best to trust those instincts. Sister Jude correctly guesses that Sam has lost people in the war, which he confirms when he rolls up his sleeve to display his numbered tattoo. He lost everyone, and so now he has made it his life’s work to hunt down the Nazis still out there. He doesn’t want her money; he just wants to bring justice to those innocents who died. Though Arden’s file is thin, Sam explains that he may be operating under a false identity. After the war, Nazi scientists were rounded up and given new identities. He asks her if she has ever seen him without a shirt, but she hasn’t. Sam cautions her against digging around for information. If Arthur Arden really is Dr. Hans Gruber, he’s dangerous.
Sister Eunice is rifling through Sister Jude’s desk when Dr. Arden comes in. His leg is bleeding and Anne is right behind him, pointing her gun at his head. She wants to know where Sister Jude is. Arden is a Nazi, there are monsters in the lab, and he’s responsible for tons of other crimes. Dr. Arden exchanges meaningful looks with Sister Eunice, whose concern immediately turns to Dr. Arden’s “research.” She rushes from the room, and just when Anne thinks she has the upper hand, Frank bursts in and puts his gun to her head. I don’t know what she was thinking, keeping her back to the open door….
…Anne wakes up in bed. Sister Jude is standing over her, telling her that she had to be sedated. She wants to know where Anne got the gun, but Anne tells her that it’s a good thing she had it because Dr. Arden is a monster. She should see what was in the lab. Sister Jude says that Dr. Arden was in bad shape when she arrived, but Anne insists that he was keeping monsters in his lab. The problem, Jude tells her, is that when Arden gets better, he’ll come back and possibly bring police with him, and then the truth will never get out. And Anne could very well end up on the operating table. When Anne pleads with her to go to the lab to see for herself, Sister Jude informs her that they did go to the lab. They didn’t find anything. It’s possible that whatever it was got away. Before they can continue their discussion, Sister Eunice interrupts. There’s a man in Sister Jude’s office, and he’s looking for his wife. She casts her eyes in Anne’s direction.
The man, Mr. Brown, explains that Anne is his wife. She was born Charlotte Cohen, and they have a son together. Things were fine until she read The Diary of Anne Frank and went to see the play when she was eight months pregnant. That’s when she started to see herself as Anne Frank. The baby was born and then she couldn’t sleep, which lead her to research the Holocaust to such an extent that it was like she was reliving it. As Mr. relates the tale, Dr. Thredson interrupts and says that it sounds like post-partum psychosis. Sister Jude doesn’t want to hear his diagnoses. She decides that Anne should go home with her husband.
Anne changes her clothes and meets Sister Jude at the stairs, remarking that they made her change her clothes. That will make her transition easier, Jude explains. She’s going home…with her husband. Anne looks confused. She doesn’t seem to recognize the man standing before her and she’s scared. But when he shows her a picture of him with their son in her arms, memories start rushing through her brain. She slowly starts to remember her son…but at the same time she doesn’t want to leave without ensuring that Arden is stopped. After she leaves with Mr. Brown, Thredson tells Sister Jude that he can’t believe such a sick woman is being re-released into the world without receiving the proper care. Good thing she isn’t his patient, Sister Jude tells him. Speaking of which, Thredson replies, Kit Walker is his patient, and she has no right to authorize a procedure such as sterilization without his consent. She dismisses him.
Kit is in his cell. He asks Grace if she’s afraid. She says no, and he doesn’t believe her. He talks about his desire to have kids. As they talk, they both fantasize that they’re touching each other. This is all Sister Jude’s fault. It’s a very emotional scene…until Sister Eunice arrives. She informs Kit that Sister Jude feels he showed signs of “true redemption” and he’s being released. Yay! And don’t worry, she hasn’t forgotten Grace. Once Kit is gone, she tells Grace that her operation is still on. Rest up…she’ll need her strength. As Sister Eunice walks away, Grace has a breakdown…and then, suddenly, there is a bright light coming from under the door. Looks like those pesky aliens are back.
It’s medicine time in the day room. Lana dutifully takes her medicine and then goes to the window. Thredson approaches her and says that they’re leaving that night. She is to meet him at six by the stairs. Lana gazes at him in wonder. She asks if this is a dream. He assures her that it isn’t. He’s getting her out of there.
Thredson moves on to his only official patient, Kit. Kit begs Dr. Thredson to help Grace, but the doctor won’t do anything until he sits down and works with him. He asks Kit if he’s ready to do what they talked about in their last session. He needs to give himself permission to remember, and to help with the process, Thredson will record the session so Kit can hear himself. Kit clarifies that if he does this, Thredson will tell the courts that he should stay at Briarcliff. Of course, Thredson agrees. Kit takes a deep breath and admits to killing his wife and the other women.
While Kit confesses, we see Grace strapped to a table. Another woman is there who identifies herself as Alma, Kit’s wife. Alma urges her not to struggle, but soon Alma is replaced by one of the aliens. She screams, and at one point her belly is slashed open. Grace screams and screams. Where is she? Is she on board a ship of some kind? Those pesky aliens, always up to no good, it seems.
Sister Jude, believing to have been fooled by Anne/Charlotte, tries to reach Sam Goodman to cancel his investigation. As she hangs up, sneaky Dr. Arden comes in and asks who she was talking to. He thinks she has some juicy gossip and wants to know what it is. He knows she was snooping in his lab and demands to know what she saw. Sister Jude tells him that she didn’t see anything interesting there. He informs her that he wants to press charges, but not against Anne/Charlotte. No, he wants to press charges against Sister Jude for allowing a patient to get ahold of a gun and for enabling his accident. She is inept and should be removed, and he’ll go straight to the Monsignor if he needs to. This has the desired effect of upsetting Sister Jude immensely, of course. She cherishes her power, and the thought of having it taken away is devastating. Score one for evil Dr. Arden.
Dr. Arden retreats to his office, where he pulls off his pants and starts to clean his bandages. Sister Eunice walks in, sporting her new red lipstick, startling him. She tells him that all of the nuns have had basic medical training and she can help clean his wound. Eunice purposefully sinks to her knees before him, provocatively, and apologizes for her behavior during the storm. Dr. Arden is content to blame it on the “barometric pressure” and never speak of it again. He thanks her for protecting his work—and him—by clearing poor Shelley out of his lab. While she tells him what she did, we see her moving through the lab, dragging Shelley out. She points out that he can continue his work once Sister Jude has been removed from Briarcliff. Once she’s gone he’ll need help running the place, and clearly Sister Eunice is up for the task. He thanks her for her help, telling her that he trusts her implicitly. Then he marvels that she was able to get Shelley out by herself.
That’s when we cut to a local elementary school. Two little girls are getting some water when one hears a noise. She wanders over to the stairs, where she sees the bloody, legless monster that Shelley has become. She screams and runs away, which leads her teacher and the other students to go see what she’s screaming about. Of course, once they see Shelley crawling up the stairs, they all scream. I scream, you scream, we all scream…because there’s a freaking monster climbing up the stairs. Holy crap.
Sister Jude and Frank march into the grand entryway as Anne/Charlotte is brought back into the asylum. She is taken to a cell while Sister Jude speaks with her husband. Dr. Arden watches over the whole scene with interest, and as soon as she’s in her cell, he pays her a visit. She’s not so tough without her gun. Mr. Brown tells Sister Jude that Anne/Charlotte is worse than before. When he tried to get her to hold the baby, she tried to smother it. There is no family who can help. He needs her to be readmitted and to be under the care of doctors who can cure her. She needs a doctor like Dr. Thredson. Frank is sent to find him.
However, Dr. Thredson is down in the entryway. He finds Lana under the stairs, and he tells her that she is going to walk out the doors with him. And that’s exactly what they do. (It’s a wonder that more patients didn’t try that. The guards weren’t paying an attention at all!)
Mr. Brown runs into Dr. Arden in the hallway outside of his wife’s room. He knows that his wife shot him and is incredibly apologetic. He is grateful that Arden isn’t pressing charges. Arden suggests that they turn to an alternative treatment rather than criminal charges. In fact, he says pleasantly, they can do the procedure tonight and she’ll be as good as new the next day.
Frank finds Dr. Thredson as he is about to get into the car. When he explains the situation, Thredson tells Frank that he doesn’t work at Briarcliff anymore. In fact, he never did. What the heck does that mean?
Back inside, Dr. Arden preps Anne/Charlotte for surgery. He’s going to perform a transorbital lobotomy on her while her husband watches. It’s as safe as filling a cavity, Arden tells him.
Frank interrupts Sister Jude as she goes through her prayers. Lana isn’t on the grounds, and Thredson is gone. Looks like the world is going to shit. This leads Sister Jude to deliver another fine monologue for us about being so alone as a child that she found a baby squirrel and kept it in a shoebox. Her mother worked as a maid and her father was already out of the picture, so Jude was always alone. One day the squirrel died (Jude had forgotten to feed him) and so she laid it out on the table and prayed for it to come back to life. When her mother got home, she threw it in the trash. Jude told her mother that God hadn’t answered her prayers, to which her mother replied that He rarely does in the ways that we want Him to. Sister Jude looks at Frank and tells him that her career at Briarcliff is over. Frank, in an uncharacteristically tender moment, tells her that she shouldn’t blame herself. The way he sees it, she never had a chance because “men will never accept a woman in charge.”
The next scenes show Arden prepping Anne/Charlotte for surgery while Sister Jude dresses in a nice dress and goes to a bar. As the music crescendos, a man approaches Sister Jude and asks what she’s drinking…and Dr. Arden drives his instrument through Anne’s skull.
Lana and Dr. Thredson arrive at his house. Dr. Thredson’s house is the consummate bachelor pad. He tells her to call him Oliver, and he explains that she can’t go to her house because that’s the first place they’ll look for her when they figure out that she’s missing. He goes to get a glass of wine for her, but he returns when she tries to make a phone call. He’s at risk as well, he reminds her. He tells Lana that she’s going to win the Pulitzer Prize for her story…for telling his story. She watches as he turns on a lamp…wait, are those nipples on the lampshade?? And what the heck is he serving the mints in? She excuses herself to the bathroom, but she doesn’t find it. She finds his hobby room instead. He makes furniture…lamps, mostly, using skin…he hits a switch and she drops through the floor.
Back at Briarwood, Kit finds Grace bleeding in a chair. He calls for a doctor, but instead two police officers come in and arrest him. Kit tries to tell them to find Dr. Thredson…but Thredson was the one who gave them the confession on tape. As Kit is led away, Grace tells him that she saw Alma, and everything that he saw was real.
Lana wakes up in a nightmare. She’s in a room that reminds me of the first Saw movie, complete with white tile. There’s another person on the floor. Upon closer inspection, we see that the dead woman is none other than poor Wendy. Lana screams. That’s when we see Dr. Thredson in the corner. Now he’s wearing black clothing and he’s amused by her terror. He’s been keeping Wendy on ice instead of skinning her because they need her to help continue with Lana’s treatment. Kiss her cold lips, he tells her. Holy hell, what is going on? He promises that Wendy won’t bite, because as he dons the familiar mask made of skin and hair, we see that he has added teeth…Wendy’s teeth. Oh shit. Dr. Oliver Thredson is Bloody Face!!
Next we see Sister Jude waking up with the man from the bar. The song that plays through the scene talks about how “it could be a wonderful world.” Looks like the good Sister has fallen off the no-fleshly-pleasures bandwagon.
Then Mr. Brown comes home to find his Charlotte cleaning up her articles. She’s holding baby David and she’s dressed like a Stepford Wife. She’s even cooking a pot roast. Gone is the feisty rebel. As she moves to make her husband a drink, he helps take out the trash. On the bulletin board, we see a picture of Hitler delivering a speech…and there is young Dr. Arden right over his shoulder. Dr. Arden’s secret seems to be safe…for now.
Holy shit. I felt like I’d been hit by a bus with tonight’s episode. I don’t even know where to begin. Thredson is Bloody Face. Grace was abducted by the same aliens that Kit and Alma were, and Alma might be alive. Kit has been framed for murder by the real killer himself. Sister Eunice is back in Dr. Arden’s circle of trust. Poor Shelley is finally out in the sun, but she’s a monster. Lana has been freed from Briarcliff, only to end up in the seventh circle of hell at Dr. Thredson’s house of horror. Dr. Arden ensures that his secret is safe by performing a lobotomy on Anne/Charlotte. And Sister Jude has left the institution and has sought refuge at the bottom of a bottle…and in a man’s bed.
Just when you think it can’t get any better…it does.
So let me know what you think about tonight’s episode, Asylum Faithful. Will Lana live to tell her tale? Why is the good Dr. Bloody Face taking so much care with her? Will Dr. Arden be exposed as a Nazi? Will the aliens explain what the heck they’re doing up on their spaceship? So many questions, so few answers at this point. Please leave me your comments below…and be sure to sleep with the lights on…