American Horror Story Asylum, S2E11: Spilt Milk
Original Airdate: January 9, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
Dylan McDermott is back as Johnny Morgan, the son of Bloody Face. We open this week in Dr. Oliver Thredson’s old house. Morgan is smoking pot and relaxing when a knock comes at the door. He welcomes Pandora and her “triple Ds” into the house. Sounds like he was doing some online dating. (Do you think he put “Son of Bloody Face” on his profile? Some people are into that….) Interestingly, Pandora just gave birth three weeks prior, so her triple Ds are very full…and judging by the look on Johnny’s face, he’s a hungry boy. Yes, as it turns out, the son of Bloody Face shares his father’s abandonment issues, but it would seem that he is getting his nurturing by drinking breast milk. He asks if she leaks when she hears crying, and she tells him that she ends up with a soaked bra. Pandora is playing with him. She knows he wants her. Oh, honey…if only you knew what he really wants….
Kit is on the floor of a cell in a straightjacket. Thredson opens the door and announces that it’s time for some daddy-time with his baby. Kit struggles to his knees, demanding to know what Thredson has done with him, and Thredson calmly informs the new father that the baby received his smallpox vaccine and is schedules for circumcision that afternoon. That doesn’t pacify Kit, who really wants to know what Thredson’s end game is. This is where we see that Thredson really does have a heart…but it’s a little twisted. He genuinely cares for children and wants to make sure both Kit’s baby, and eventually his own child, receives the love they deserve.
Kit enters the day room to see the inmates crowding around Grace and the baby. Pepper is doing her best to keep the gawkers away. Grace beams when she sees Kit, and he returns her smile. Behind him, Thredson has a smile on his face as well. Once they greet each other, grace announces that she wants to name the baby Thomas, after her grandfather. Thredson asks about Grace’s milk production; his voice wavers just enough to think that he’s getting turned on by the new mother. Pepper speaks up and says she knows what Thredson is up to. That earns Pepper a trip to the hydrotherapy room with the water turned up an extra ten degrees to help calm her nerves. The rest of the inmates are cleared out to give the new parents some time alone. Once everyone is gone, Kit studies the giggling baby and notes that he looks a lot like him. Grace agrees.
There are a million questions floating around Kit’s brain but he doesn’t know where to start. Grace tells him that her memories are like shards of glass. She remembers being shot and praying for death, and then she was surrounded by a bright light. But it wasn’t death. She was in agonizing pain; she knows now that they were putting the baby inside of her. Kit doesn’t understand how he grew so quickly, but she explains that time moves differently up there. “They” are different than humans. They’re not cruel. When Kit asks about Alma, though, Grace’s face falls. “They” aren’t perfect. Alma didn’t make it. As Kit appears deflated at the news, Grace hurries to explain that the baby is the lifeline. Kit is special, and so is their baby. Someday Thomas will change the way people think. The couple shares a loving smile. Kit’s main concern is being a good dad…but he wants to do right by his son. He asks Grace to marry him. She agrees, and they kiss.
Suddenly the day room doors open and Monsignor O’Hara enters, flanked by orderlies and nuns. Grace wonders if the Monsignor can marry them. But soon it becomes clear what’s going on. He tells them that the nuns are from St. Ursula’s Home for Lost Children. An asylum is no place to raise a child. They can find a good home with loving parents for the child. Grace protests—she is the baby’s mother. The orderlies restrain the parents while the baby is taken. When the nuns get to the door, Thredson walks in. He observes Kit’s distress and comments that he might be able to help.
Lana is in the kitchen. Mother Claudia approaches her and says she’s going to take her out of Briarcliff. She explains that Jude told her the truth about Lana’s situation, and Mother Claudia wants to make it right. She hands Lana her patient file. This will give her irrefutable proof in her expose that she had been a patient at Briarcliff, because there will be people who won’t believe her story. The realization dawns on Lana that Mother Claudia wants the asylum shut down. Not just shut down, Mother Claudia says, but taken down brick by brick and the “land salted.” Yep, she wants the place shut down. The clothes that Lana came in with have been hidden in the bathroom, and a taxi is on the way to take her wherever she wants to go. Lana hesitates before ripping into a bag of flour to fish out Thredson’s confession tapes. Then she walks over to Jude, who is absently kneading dough. She tells Jude that she will be back for her. She won’t leave her there. Okay, now she’s ready.
Down in the entry hall, Kit tells Thredson that he isn’t sure that he’ll be able to get the tapes, and besides that, how can Kit know that Thredson won’t betray him once he gets the tapes? They’re at the base of the stairs. Lana, in her street clothes, is at the top. The screen splits and we see her walking down while Kit talks to Thredson. Kit’s eyes meet hers and she shakes her head. Message received—she’s getting out. This could be a win-win for Kit. If Lana gets out, she can help exonerate him and then he can get his son back. When Thredson moves to go up the stairs, Kit pulls him back, asking how he can convince Lana. Thredson knows that he’s the only one she’ll listen to. Lana is able to pass by him and head for the door, unseen.
Or was she? As Kit walks away, Thredson stares at the figure moving through the door. Lana makes her descent down Briarcliff’s front steps, heading toward the waiting taxi. She gets in and Mother Claudia closes the door as Thredson rushes outside. Lana meets his gaze and holds the tape against the window, flipping him off as the car drives away. She is free.
Thredson hurries into his house. There’s a figure sitting in the dark. It’s Lana. She’s dressed impeccably in a blue suit, and she has a gun pointed at him. He’s relieved to see her there. It saves him the trouble of finding her. She tells him that the police have the tape and they’re on their way to get him. He looks troubled, then relieved. He has always wondered what it would be like when he got caught. It isn’t what he thought it would be, but it feels good to not be burdened by the secrets anymore. She’s glad to be the one to put him in the electric chair for what he did to Wendy and the other women. Thredson calmly moves to the bar, ignoring the gun she has pointed at his back. “There is no alcohol where I’m going. I’m not going to let you ruin my last chance to have a martini.” He asks if she wants a drink, and she points out that she’s not the crazy one. He is. She knew that when he chained her up and called her “mommy”….
….Speaking of “mommy,” back in the present day, Pandora tells Johnny that he can call her mommy. He finishes drinking, the milk dripping from his lips, and she comments that he either has a mommy fixation or a calcium deficiency, based on how fast he drained her triple Ds. He lights a cigarette and admits that Pandora is right. The “cold bitch” never loved him. Pandora wants him to tell her all about it.
Johnny says that his mother never cared about his father, either. We see Thredson preparing his drink. There is a gun in the liquor cabinet. Lana gets closer and asks about Wendy’s body. She deserves a proper burial. Thredson turns on the fireplace and asks if Lana is sure that she wants to know the details. It turns out that Wendy’s is the only body that he ever kept intact. Since his relationship with Lana was going so well, he thought he might need some practice…so we see her body on his bed. He’s wearing a robe and describing how difficult it was for him at first, but as soon as he turned her over, he was successful at “practicing” on her. Let’s add necrophilia to Thredson’s list, too.
Johnny is curled against Pandora’s chest as he tells the story. She encourages him to let it all out, but soon he jumps from the couch and yells that it’s all her fault, and thinking about his mother makes him angry. He kicks a table and then lunges at Pandora, wrapping his hand around her throat and asking if she knows what his mother did to him.
The camera pans away, and through the mirror we return to the same house in 1964. Thredson wonders if he will end up with pint sized visitors in prison. Lana tells him there’s no way she’s keeping the baby. She just wants him to fry. He points out that he’s clearly insane. They won’t sentence him to death; rather he’ll live out his life in an institution, possibly leading therapy groups, considering how many crazy people are locked up. He moves to get another drink as the sirens get closer. But if she isn’t going to keep the baby, Lana is no use to him anymore. She might as well be known as his last victim. Thredson moves to grab the gun and Lana shoots him, sending blood spattering all over the walls. “Prison’s too good for you,” she says.
Lana visits Wendy’s tomb at a mausoleum. Her friends watch as she places white roses into the holder. One friend comments that she can’t believe the police weren’t able to find any fragments of her, not even bones. The other friend moves to silence her before Lana interrupts, noting that there were some ashes in the furnace, and even though they might not all be her ashes, at least she has a place to visit. Now she wants to move to New York. She can’t help but think that her quest to get the story is what caused all of this. Speaking of stories, their moment of silence is interrupted by some reporters who tracked her down (this must mean that Lana’s story has gotten out to the public). Lana calls them vultures, looking for fresh meat. One friend makes sure Lana still has the phone number for the doctor who can help her with her “little problem.” Then they both apologize for abandoning her. They leave, and Lana turns and walks out, looking every bit a woman in mourning.
Reporters are waiting for her outside. Is it true that Bloody Face tortured her while she was being held captive? Did she receive electroshock therapy daily? Did the therapy really cure her homosexuality? She rolls the window down. “All I can say is read my book.”
Jude is in the medicine line in the day room. She watches the inmate ahead of her reach for his pills. That’s when she takes it from him, telling him that it’s a horse tranquilizer. The nuns admonish her, pointing out that she was the one who signed for the meds in the first place. Jude knocks the tray from their hands, yelling that the medicine “turns their brains into mush.”
The Monsignor pours over a newspaper headline denouncing Briarcliff and the horrors within. The paper is dated January 1965. Father James comes in and reports that the reporters have been cleared from the front steps, but he can’t do anything about the ones camping outside of the gates. Clearly, this troubles the dapper Monsignor, who is implicated in a lot of the articles. He’s hoping the media frenzy will die down once the press realizes that Briarcliff is not issuing any statements. Father James informs him that there is an incident in the day room that requires his attention.
Jude is listening to “Love Potion Number 9” on the juke box. The Monsignor approaches and points out that it’s a good thing they’re friends, because otherwise she’d be locked in solitary confinement. She tells him that Eunice got one thing right—the music has a healing quality. That’s when he pulls the plug on the machine. She wants to know if he plans to renounce his vows after losing his virtue to the devil, but clearly, he doesn’t have any plan to give up his new power. Jude tells him that she would have done anything for him on his “magical carpet ride to Rome.” Now it seems like that ride isn’t over. He is still going after it. Jude understands that he is lost, and that means that she is blessed with the gift of clarity. “I am more sane now as a mad woman than I was as the head of Briarcliff,” she says. He says she’s as “mad as a hatter.” Carl the orderly arrives and the Monsignor orders Jude to be taken to solitary confinement. She tells him that her god will not let him prevail.
Kit has a visitor. It’s Carl. That makes sense, since everyone else who tends to visit Kit is dead. He tells Kit to sign some papers. He’s being released. Kit asks if they caught Thredson. Carl explains that Lana turned in the confession tapes, and then she did one better. “The lezzie blew his head off.” The story is all over the papers and reporters are all over Briarcliff trying to investigate the corruption. He tosses a bundle of clothes on the mattress. Kit’s a free man. But there’s one more thing Kit needs. He wants to see the Monsignor.
Monsignor O’Hara is happy that he played a small role in Kit’s release, and that justice has been served. Kit doesn’t call it justice. He wants his son back. He and Grace plan to raise him as a family. The Monsignor points out that it isn’t possible, given that Grace is still an inmate and Kit has been released. The shadows play on the wall so that the Monsignor’s shadow looks like a demon. Kit promises that if Grace isn’t released, he will share his stories with the reporters outside. The Monsignor laughs at this, pointing out that he can’t simply release an “axe murderess” into the public. This is where Kit has been formulating a plan. He wants her “body” released. Clearly the Monsignor wasn’t in on that game, but he listens as Kit explains that there is a death certificate in her file that was signed by Arden and Frank the Guard. He doesn’t have to lie, and Kit doesn’t have to tell the truth. If this happens, then all of the Monsignor’s problems will go away.
A taxi stops in a field. Kit jumps out and gets the door for Grace and the baby. They’re outside Kit’s house. He tells her that she shouldn’t expect a castle when he opens the door. She’s just happy it isn’t Briarcliff. The house is still a mess from the night Alma was abducted. The couple is willing the clean it up together. They kiss, but the kiss is interrupted by a noise in the next room. Kit grabs a bat and storms into the next room…only to find Alma sitting there with a baby in her arms.
Lana is in a nondescript room meeting with the lady who can take care of her “little problem.” She wants to be sure if Lana is certain that this is what she wants, but Lana is resolute. She knows that she can’t have a baby that was conceived with the man who kidnapped and raped her. The woman tells her to get ready while she prepares her instruments. She assures Lana that boiling water is the best way to go, since she can’t smuggle the big sterilization machines out of the hospital. As Lana opens her legs and gets ready, she flashes back to the blood and the death she witness during her ordeal, and she stops the doctor before she does anything. “No more death,” she says.
Lana tells the police that there have been many deaths and disappearances at Briarcliff that can’t be explained. She can’t get access to the premises to investigate their whereabouts. The police are reluctant to get involved, but when she says that Sister Jude could corroborate the story, they start to listen. Mother Claudia can’t help because she was sent to Puerto Rico as soon as she started to make “noise.” Clearly, there is something going on. One of the detectives asks if the baby belonged to Bloody Face. “This baby has no father,” she replies, puffing on her cigarette (oh, how the times have changed). The police seem impressed with her toughness. But Lana is no cookie.
The Monsignor’s door opens and the detectives walk in with a court order, Lana in tow. They want access to Sister Jude. The Monsignor sinks to his chair, shocked. They can’t see her, he says, because she’s dead. It was the saddest day he’s experienced, walking in to her room to see that she had hanged herself during the night. Lana is outraged that her remains had been cremated. But since she died without absolution, she couldn’t have a Christian burial. If only Lana had arrived two weeks prior. Perhaps she could have done something to save her.
It’s meal time at the asylum. Things don’t seem much different as we follow a nun with a plate through the halls and into the kitchen. A pile of slop and a piece of bread are dumped onto each plate, and then the plates are delivered to each cell. In the last cell, a woman is mumbling to herself. The food remains untouched. The camera pans up and we see Jude sitting on the stone bench in a three by five foot cell. She’s praying for strength.
Lana wakes up at the sound of a baby crying. She had asked not to see the baby at all, but the nurse decided to disobey in hopes that Lana would suckle him because the little guy has been crying for seven hours and won’t eat. Hmm. As the nurse moves to leave, Lana stops her. She takes the baby and unbuttons her gown. The baby stops crying as soon as he’s attached to his mother. Lana looks up at the ceiling, then at the cross over her bed. Her hand clenches and unclenches as she relives her abduction. Then she holds the baby closer.
Well. The season is almost over and we have tidied up quite a few storylines. Who would have thought that Monsignor Timothy would be even more of a devil than the demon that resided in Sister Eunice? I can only imagine what will happen next week as we bring this season to a close. Personally, I think this episode raised more questions than it answered. What’s going on with Alma and the baby? Did Grace know that she was alive? What will happen to that trio? What will become of Jude? What happened to Pepper? Will Jude make it out alive? What will become of Johnny Morgan and Pandora? And will the Monsignor be brought to justice?
So many questions. As always, I want to know your thoughts. Please leave comments below, and I will see you for the finale next week!