AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM “I am Anne Frank (part 2)” Episode Recap
And now the triumphant conclusion!
Last week a woman was admitted to the asylum claiming to be Anne Frank and denouncing Dr. Arden as a Nazi doctor named Hans Gruper, which has caused Sister Jude to be suspicious. Kit and Grace were set to be sterilized after being caught making love in the kitchen, and Dr. Thredson is planning to help Lana escape from the asylum once and for all. In the final scene, Anne shot Dr. Arden right before discovering a mutilated Shelley whom Arden had been experimenting on.
We open with Sister Jude continuing to investigate Dr. Arden by following Mother Claudia’s advice and meeting with a Jewish man named Mr. Goodman, who was also a Holocaust survivor (he shows his tattoo). Goodman explains that Gruper indeed was a Nazi doctor, and that when the war was ended a secret Nazi operation was created to give several officers false biographies, allowing them refuge. Goodman asks if Jude has ever seen Dr. Arden shirtless, since all S.S. doctors had their blood type tattooed on their lower arm. Jude of course has not, so Goodman advises her not to do anything until Goodman has had more time to investigate. Interestingly, this heavy dialogue scene is kept alive by being one long flowing shot that moves continuously around the room, drifting across Goodman’s files on the wall and catching Sister Jude reactions in the mirror at one point. Instead of being static, the sequence is suddenly very dynamic and interesting.
We return with Anne bringing an injured Dr. Arden to Sister Mary, but Mary manages to subdue Anne with the help of two guards. Once back in her cell, Sister Jude is surprisingly kind to Anne. Anne tells Jude about the “creature” she saw with no legs, but Jude says that she looked through Arden’s lab and was unable to find anything. For now, Jude seems to believe Anne’s story, but her resolve is shattered when a man (Mr. Brown) looking for “Charlotte” appears at the asylum. He claims Anne/Charlotte are the same person, and that she is his wife. In an interesting flashback sequence shot like an old 1950s-style sitcom, Mr. Brown tells a story about how Charlotte went crazy after dealing with the pressures of having a baby. When she saw a play about Anne Frank she became obsessed with learning about Auschwitz, and even gave herself the tattoo on her arm. Dr. Thredson steps in and advises that he doesn’t think Anne ought to go home, since Anne/Charlotte doesn’t seem to know who her husband is. Clearly she’s not well. Sister Jude, of course, ignores Thredson as usual. However when Mr. Brown reaches out to touch Anne, there is a brief flash of images showing their domestic life together (and some eerie theremin music), to indicate there is some truth to his words. Thredson then asks about Kit’s sterilization, believing it to be a mistake.
Before their immediate sterilization, Kit and Grace try to comfort each other. Parts of this scene is shot as if they are in the same cell, even though they are separated (in general the last couple episodes have done a good job of filming scenes from the perspective of how the characters imagine or perceive things). Sister Mary then appears to come for Kit. Kit is terrified, until Mary reveals she is coming to bring him out for dinner. He will no longer undergo the operation! Unfortunately Grace is left behind, as the operation is still planned to be performed on her. As Grace is left behind in despair, suddenly an eerie bright light appears at the edge of her cell (very reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind). The light overtakes the room, and the image of an alien appears in Grace’s eye. Looks like Grace may undergo an entirely different type of “operation”!
Thredson then comes to Lana, reminding her of their plan and that they will be leaving that night after dinner. Thredson then meets with Kit and tries some new therapy. He has Kit repeat the story Kit has “repressed” about the murders in his own words into a microphone, as a way to then hear them played back to himself and hopefully believe them. Is this therapy, or is it a subtle form of brainwashing? Hmm…
Grace, meanwhile, presumably aboard a spacecraft (though it’s hard to tell as everything is just a blown-out white) sees Kit’s murdered wife Alma, seemingly pregnant. However Alma seems to transform into some sort of alien, though it’s all very nightmarish and hard to tell exactly what is happening.
Jude calls Mr. Goodman, admitting that she was wrong about Dr. Arden now that she’s met Anne/Charlotte’s husband. However Arden catches her as the phone call finishes, and is wary of Jude’s actions, particularly her snooping around in his lab. Jude admits she found nothing interesting (which is true), but Arden says he plans to press charges against Jude because the patient was able to get a gun. When Jude tries to apologize, Arden says he’d rather see her grovel, and that he plans to demand her dismissal from Briarcliff. I’m not one to place much sympathy against Sister Jude, be she is in hot water at the moment!
In his lab, Arden gets changed (though we don’t see his if he has a blood type tattoo or not!). Sister Mary comes to dress the wounds, which at first makes Dr. Arden nervous given her sexual behavior the night of the storm. Mary apologizes for her actions, and then reveals that she is the one who took Shelley out of the lab to hide Dr. Arden’s work. We then cut to a schoolyard where a group of children (and their teacher) discover poor Shelley in a stairwell crawling around like a wounded dying animal. What I want to know is why Mary would have taken Shelley to a schoolyard rather than the woods, but I guess we’ll just have to find out in a later episode!
Anne/Charlotte is admitted once more to the cell block, and afterwards Mr. Brown meets with Sister Jude, telling her that he is convinced Anne needs more help. She has gotten worse, to the point of nearly smothering their baby. Brown asks for Thredson, but unfortunately for Brown it appears Thredson is finally leaving the asylum for good.
However this is fortunate for Lana. The night of her escape has finally arrived! Being a doctor, Thredson is calmly able to lead Lana out of the asylum without much suspicion. As Lana waits in Thredson’s car, he is called back in by the guard Frank to look into dealing with Anne. Lana waits nervously in the car, and for a moment it seems as if Thredson will go back inside. However Thredson finally remarks that he never did any good at Briarcliff, and has decided to head off for good.
Mr. Brown heads to Anne’s cell, only to run into Dr. Arden. Arden suggests an immediate operation on Anne/Charlotte–a lobotomy.
Jude, alone, prays to herself, only to hear from Frank that Lana has gone missing. In the first episode we learned “once admitted to Briarcliff, you never came out,” but I must say, a lot of patients are sure disappearing! Instead of getting angry with Frank, Sister Jude tells a story of how as a girl she tried to take care of a sick squirrel. She prayed and prayed for the squirrel to live, but God never answered her prayers. When Jude as a young girl complained to her (also alcoholic) mother, she replied, “God always answers our prayers, Judy. It’s just rarely the answer we’re looking for.” It’s a great monologue from Jessica Lange, and offers a lot of insight into Sister Jude’s character. Frank tries to support Jude, but it does little good. Jude knows she’s going to get thrown out of Briarcliff any day now.
As Dr. Arden performs the lobotomy on Anne, Sister Jude relapses into her philandering ways, putting on a form-fitting dress, lipstick and heading to a local bar, where she picks up a younger man.
Lana finally enters Dr. Thredson’s apartment, “safe” from Briarcliff. At first Lana asks if she can return to her own apartment, but Thredson reminds her it’s not safe. He lays out a plan for her to stay at his apartment for the evening, and meet with the police in the morning to present the evidence and shut down Briarcliff. Lana is thrilled by Thredson’s kindness, and easily accepts a glass of red wine (interesting that Lana chooses red, the color of blood and desire, the two themes of the show!). As Thredson goes to get the wine Lana tries to call a friend, but Thredson again stops her. Is Thredson’s apartment a new prison? Thredson tries to comfort her, saying, “You are the person to tell my story.” Lana is a bit confused. “Your story?” she asks. As Thredson then turns on a lamp, Lana suddenly notices the shade has bizarre markings, almost as if it has a pair of nipples. Thredson then offers a mint, from a bowl that appears to be made from the dome of a human skull. What is going on?! Is Thredson, the seemingly only nice doctor from the show, the serial murderer, aka Bloody Face?! As Lana excuses herself to go to the bathroom, she instead searches Thredson’s closet and finds his “tools.” Lana is putting all the pieces together just as Thredson comes up behind her. Thredson explains he has a “hobby.” He likes to make lamps…with shades made out of human skin. With a pull of a lever, she falls down into Thredson’s basement! YIKES!!!
Back at Briarcliff, Kit finds Grace in the common room covered in blood. Kit assumes it’s from the operation and tries to call for help, but in that exact moment he is arrested for murder. Thredson used Kit’s recording in his “therapy” sessions as evidence to convict him! Dr. Thredson, the seemingly kind doctor, has turned out to be the most devious and evil of them all! As Kit is led away, in a moment of terribly bad timing, Grace screams, “Everything he said is true!” Grace is referring to the alien abductions, but to everyone around this seems to refer to to the recording heard by the police. As Kit is dragged away from Grace, she calls out once more, “Alma’s alive!”
Lana awakens in Thredson’s lair, chained to the floor, surrounded by terrifying instruments. She comes across Wendy, only to turn her over and find out she has been dead for quite some time. Thredson has been keeping her frozen and “fresh,” and admits that he normally would have removed the skin and head by now (if you’re thick enough not to have yet figured out Thredson is Bloody Face, this should do the trick). However Thredson wants to “continue therapy” with Lana, remarking, “you can begin by kissing her colds lips.” Thredson then puts on the Bloody Face mask, which appears to be stitched together from human flesh. “Don’t worry, she won’t bite,” he sneers. “I took her teeth.” Indeed, Wendy’s teeth are actually inlaid to Bloody Face’s mask, now covering Thredson’s face. Lana’s screams in anguish and terror, but there’s nothing she can do.
Guy Carawan’s “If We Could Consider Each Other” leads us into the next scene, as Sister Jude (wearing her red dress) awakens from a night with the man she slept with. She discreetly heads out the door, the man still asleep. As the song continues, we see Anne (now Charlotte!) at home with the baby, greeting her husband in a scene that seems almost too perfectly domestic and “50s sitcom.” It looks like Arden’s lobotomy worked, and “Anne Frank” is no more–she has even thrown away all her Auschwitz photographs, dismissing them as trash. As Mr. Brown begins to throw them away, we pan up to a few photos still tacked to the wall. One of them reveals young Dr. Arden, standing right next to Adolf Hitler. There’s a few ways to read into this, but my theory is that though Charlotte in fact imagined herself as Anne Frank, it doesn’t mean any of her research into Auschwitz was incorrect. Arden indeed was a doctor for the S.S., but now that he has performed the lobotomy, the evidence has been covered up and his secret is safe once more.
What an episode! I suspected there would be some sort of reveal with Dr. Thredson, but never did I imagine he would turn out to be Bloody Face. Zachary Quinto always has a subtle hint of creepiness even when seeming kind, and it has been put to wonderful use Asylum. His reveal as Bloody Face has to be one of the creepiest moments this season. Several of our “good” characters (Kit and Lana) are now in worse predicaments than before, and I’m very excited to see if and how they manage to get out of them them.
For last week’s review, look here.