American Horror Story Asylum, S2E7: Dark Cousin
Original Airdate: November 28, 2012
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
This week’s AHS was a bit darker than the other ones. An angel of death was hanging over the asylum.
We start with two young nuns talking about the movies they have seen. They go up to the medical ward to find that Grace has bled out in her bed. Part of me wonders why they find this surprising. She was bleeding out the last time we saw her. As they work to revive her, a woman in black appears. She leans over the bed and gazes sympathetically at Grace, who tells her she’s ready to go. But just as the woman’s black wings spring forth from her back, one of the nuns delivers a blow to Grace’s chest, reviving her. “You should have let me go,” Grace whispers.
An angel of death?
Sister Eunice finds Dr. Arden trying to revive a plant in his office. She tells him she’s more concerned about his patients than his plants. Poor Grace has been hemorrhaging nonstop since the sterilization surgery he performed. He maintains that he never performed a sterilization surgery on Grace. Mary Eunice laughs at the denial and warns him that if he doesn’t take care of it, they’ll have no choice but to take her to a real hospital, and then he’ll be exposed. The more she taunts him, the angrier he becomes. He demands that she treat him with respect; he is the leading official at Briarcliff and she needs to remember that…even though she does hold all of the cards when it comes to exposing his true identity. She doesn’t let up, and he slaps her. But instead of backing away, she glares at him. If he touches her again, she warns, he will die. Of course, Arden can’t let her get away with this imprudence, so he raises his arm to strike her again. Evil Sister Eunice sends him flying across the room. She looks very pleased with herself. That should make him remember the chain of command at Briarcliff.
In the kitchen, a nun sings and an inmate named Miles is making sandwiches while the voices in his head are berating him. He tells them to “shut the hell up,” to which the nearest nun tells him that cursing won’t solve any problems (I beg to differ…). Miles notices that the slices of meat are uneven and asks to take a look at the slicer. She hesitates, but eventually walks away so that he can look at it. The voices in Miles’ head get louder and louder, urging him to stand up and make a difference for once in his life. Miles thrusts his arm into the slicer, sending blood all over the place.
Later, Sister Eunice arrives in the kitchen. Frank reports that Miles will need quite a few stitches. She becomes distracted by some writing on the wall. It looks like the word “one” but it isn’t. It’s a name, she says, written (in blood) in Aramaic. How on earth did Miles know that name? She wants to know if he “summoned her” and he denies knowing what she’s talking about. Sister Eunice orders him to solitary confinement as punishment for his actions, and then she screams for someone to clean the wall up.
Frank and the guards make sure Miles is secure in his room for the night. Miles says he doesn’t want to be there anymore. Frank assures him that he’ll only be in there for the night, but Miles says that he’s talking about being alive. He doesn’t want to live anymore. Frank gives his shoulder a reassuring squeeze before leaving the cell. I have to admit, this was a softer side of Frank. Miles can hear the retreating guards as they walk down the hall. He tries to rip the stitches from his wrist…and that’s when he sees the woman in black in the corner. Now we see that this woman is played by Frances Conroy, the housekeeper from Season One. She tells Miles that he summoned her, and with her kiss, he fades off into the night.
However, this woman senses the presence of another person in the cell. It’s Sister Eunice, but the woman senses that there is a duality to the nun. There’s a spirit inside of her, a fallen spirit. The woman in black says that they are dark cousins. Evil Sister Eunice laughs and allows the human inside of her to beg to be released. For a moment, we can see the panicked face of human Mary Eunice as she tries to break free of her demonic bonds. Alas, her struggle yields no results and the demon inside ropes her back in. “We like it here,” she informs the woman. And there is still work to do. The woman in black fades away, leaving Mary Eunice standing alone with the body of poor Miles. It looks like he has done something important after all. He has released some kind of spirit.
Grace starts to wake up, and she sees Dr. Arden hovering around her. He’s upset because she clearly is suffering from a botched hysterectomy, yet they both know that he didn’t perform one on her. And while it would be easier to just let her die, the fact is that if she dies there would be too many questions and that isn’t acceptable. Therefore, she will receive medicine and extensive care so that she’ll live at least long enough for her to corroborate his story. Poor Grace….
Oliver Thredson is having sex with Lana. As he increases his pace, she becomes more catatonic. Her eyes drift to the corner of the room and the woman in black is standing there.
Kit is in a meeting with his lawyer. He tries to explain that the tape wasn’t a confession, that Dr. Thredson tricked him into confessing using his “headshrinker” tricks. And Grace can support his argument—she saw Alma. Alma is still alive somewhere. The lawyer shakes his head. Grace is really sick and might not make it to the trial, and besides that, she’s an inmate at the asylum. Why would a jury believe her? As he continues on, talking in vague terms about possibly lying on the stand as a last ditch effort to avoid the electric chair, Kit’s eyes start to wander. Suddenly Kit leaps from his chair and hits the lawyer with the metal hole puncher. He hits him again for good measure, and then he takes a long look around the room to figure out the best way to escape.
Back at Thredson’s house, Lana is tucked in a ball on the bed. The woman in black reappears. Lana asks if she came because she called for her. She doesn’t know if she can keep this up anymore. She used to be afraid, she says. The woman in black advises her to “just let it go, she’s right here” with her. However, Lana isn’t ready to go just yet. The woman fades away as Thredson comes down the stairs. He tells Lana that they have reached an impasse. He’s too tenacious and that has always gotten in the way of what he needs to do. As Lana looks on in terror, he assures her that he wants this to be as painless as possible: “I can either cut your throat or I can strangle you. I don’t believe in guns,” he says. Oh, that’s refreshing. She starts to cry. That’s when he realizes that he can sedate her, and then the method of execution won’t matter. She won’t feel anything. He holds her down and tells her she’ll be reunited with Wendy. As he tries to give her the shot, she hits him in the head with Wendy’s picture frame. Once he’s on the ground, they struggle and she chokes him with her chain. He comes after her, and she kicks him. He lands on one of the metal tables, unconscious.
Lana flees from the subterranean torture chamber and finds herself in the middle of the woods. A car pulls up and she jumps in. The driver automatically assumes that she did something to her boyfriend. He becomes more and more enraged. Lana just wants to go to the police. The man laughs. She jumps into his car and starts making demands. He pulls out a gun. Lana asks why he’s doing this. Well, as it turns out, he’s having trouble with his wife, and it looks like Lana found herself in the middle of his crazy drive. That’s when she notices the woman in black sitting in the back seat. Lana’s expression crumbles. Not now, not after all of this, she says softly. The man looks over at her. He puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger, sending the car careening all over the road. Lana screams and everything goes black…. When she wakes up, she looks up into the smiling visage of Sister Eunice, who welcomes her back to Briarcliff after an incredible adventure. The nun cautions her against moving, and then she tells Lana that the accident was so bad that the driver didn’t survive. Looks like the woman in black wasn’t there for Lana, after all.
We return to the hotel to see Sister Jude in a panic as Sam Goodman lies dying on the floor. He repeats his message from last week, that he was attacked by one of her nuns. We flash back to when Sister Eunice went to the hotel and attacked him. She broke the mirror and stabbed him. Jude dials 911, but just as she starts talking to the operator, she notices that the television is covered with articles about the death of the little girl that she hit five years before.
Back in 1949, Jude is awakened from a drunken stupor by one of her band mates. He wants to know why she didn’t show up for their gig; the band had to perform without a singer. One of the guys’ cousins filled in for her. He hands her an envelope and tells her she’s out of the band. She has been slipping for a while, and now they know they can get by without her. Jude is furious at first, but then he starts talking about how the cops have been asking around the club for information about the hit and run accident the week before. After he leaves, Jude has a meltdown and packs up her belonging. On the road she thinks back to the night the little girl died. She remembers being in the club, kissing the soldier, tossing back a few drinks…and then she recalls the shock of the impact when the little girl’s body collides with the windshield. Without realizing it, Jude drives herself to the local convent. The nuns ask if she’s ok. That’s when she sees the statue of the angel and has an epiphany.
The phone in the hotel room is ringing. Jude answers it. It’s Sister Eunice. “This is your conscience calling,” she laughs. Eunice reveals that she knows everything about what happened fifteen years prior—after all, she was in Jude’s head the night of the exorcism. She says that Sam Goodman was conducting an investigation about an unsolved hit and run accident. Eunice advises Jude to start running, but not before telling her that she left a bottle of liquor and a switchblade in the room for her use.
In the washroom, Jude opens the blade and cuts open her wrist. Blood pools in the sink, and eventually she’s on the floor in a puddle of blood. No, wait, that was just a vision. Jude still has the knife. She didn’t kill herself after all. She leaves and goes to a coffee shop. The woman in black takes a seat across from her. Jude knows who she is, apparently, for they have met before. Never trust a drunk, Jude advises her, referring to the fleeting moment when she thought about killing herself. She thought about it, but she didn’t go through with it. The woman in black says that she comes when she’s called, when she hears their songs. This song was different. Jude wants to know why it’s different. Was it so different than the night before her wedding, when her fiancé left her because she’s not able to have children thanks to the syphilis he gave her? Why didn’t she die that night? “You were young, you still had hope,” the woman tells her. She tells Jude that she didn’t die after she killed the child because that was the night that God revealed her true calling. “Peace is so close,” she tells Jude. Jude agrees that she wants peace, but she still has something that she needs to do. The two waitresses stand nearby and watch Jude have a conversation with herself. The wonder if they should call Briarcliff…at least she’d have a warm bed for the night.
Jude sits on a couch. A woman holds a baby while her husband brings Jude a cup of coffee. Jude mentions Missy’s blue coat. It looks like Jude is seeing absolution for her sins before she dies. That’s when the door opens and a young nurse comes in. She takes the baby from the older woman. Yes, as it turns out, Missy didn’t die that night. Missy survived the accident. Now Jude has to backpedal a little bit. She tells the story of how Missy’s plight led her to become a nun. Missy’s mother says that her husband wanted to seek revenge on the person who ran over their daughter, but she reminds him that their daughter came home to them. That monster has to live with himself. Jude is completely shell-shocked.
Back at Briarcliff, Lana refuses to take her medicine. She has to stay awake, she tells the young nun. She has to speak with Sister Jude. Sister Eunice enters the cell and dismisses the nun, then she informs Lana that Sister Jude no longer works there. Now Sister Eunice is in charge. Lana tells her that it was Dr. Thredson who killed Wendy, and he killed the other women as well. Sister Eunice recalls the night of the exorcism, when Jed said “I like your work, Bloody Face,” to Dr. Thredson. She tells Lana that she believes her. Lana looks relieved and makes Sister Eunice promise that they won’t let anyone know that she’s back at Briarcliff. Sister Eunice agrees, and then she encourages Lana to take her medicine.
Outside Lana’s cell, Sister Eunice tells Frank that she’s still very confused and she believes Dr. Thredson kidnapped her and that Kit Walker is innocent. Frank tells her that he’s escaped custody, and the police have ordered that he’s to be shot on sight. Beneath Briarcliff, Kit runs through the Death Chute to the door leading inside. Little does he know, one of Dr. Arden’s creations is down there with him.
Upstairs in the kitchen, Grace is seated at one of the tables. A nun sees her and can’t believe that she’s out of bed. She was just on death’s door the day before. “I’m one of Dr. Arden’s little miracles,” Grace explains. She begs the nun to let her stay there. She doesn’t want to go back to her room. “You actually have to go now,” comes Kit’s voice from across the kitchen. Grace turns and runs into his embrace. He couldn’t let her die in there, he tells her. But before they can escape, the nun returns and starts screaming when she sees Kit. Then the monster that followed Kit attacks the nun, ripping out her throat. The creature lunges at Kit, who manages to kill it. That’s when Frank arrives. All he sees is the carnage. He can’t see the monster on the ground. As he raises his gun, Grace jumps in front of Kit and takes the bullet that was meant for him. She falls to the ground. The woman in black appears and asks Grace if she’s ready yet. Grace says yes, and the woman kisses her. “I’m free,” Grace says.
But I’m not so sure that Grace dies. There’s a flash of light in the room before the scene ends. After all the twists and turns we have come to expect with this show, I’m not going to believe that she’s dead until I see her dead body. I think the aliens might intervene at this point.
There you have it, Asylum fans. Tonight’s episode had a markedly different tone to it. The pacing was interesting as well. I found it to be very fragmented, and I’m not sure I understand where the whole woman in black thing fit into the story. It was believable until Jude had a conversation with her. The Jude from the first episode did not seem like the type to believe in the supernatural. But what do I know…
Please leave your comments below. Am I the only one who thought tonight’s episode was a deviation from the first six episodes of the season?