Friday, February 01, 2013

Recapping AHS: Whys and Wherefores

Last one, everybody. (Well, until October, that is.) We begin at the beginning with Johnny breaking into the ruins of Briarcliff in the modern day. He wanders about while listening to a recording of Lana’s book read by Lana herself. He sees visions of the inmates, including Lana telling him he never should have been born and Thredson saying how much he loved Johnny and how Lana stole that love from both of them. Who should arrive but Leo and Teresa, the randy newlyweds from the first part of the season. We see the opening scene, this time from Johnny’s perspective as he hides in the cell that Leo eventually sticks his arm into. We all remember what happens next – arm in, Johnny decides what the hell and hacks it off with a machete before heading after Teresa.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Act I! In the modern day, an aged Lana sits in her extremely well-apportioned home preparing for a Barbara Walters-style interview on her life. Lana’s partnered openly to a professional classical musician and seems to be doing splendidly. The interviewer wants to talk about Bloody Face for the Kennedy Center honor she’s being given, but Lana’s not too keen on talking about that subject, understandably. But she does agree to talk about how she finally took down Briarcliff. Flashback to 1970 and Lana leads a camera crew through the death chute into the asylum. We see an extremely dank, overcrowded and filthy Briarcliff with inmates wandering freely. Patients are naked, covered in sores and generally utterly gross and the filming is all very Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace and, honestly, really cool to watch. Finally finding an orderly, Lana demands he take her to Sister Jude. Lana recounts wishing she could have found Jude in the depth of the asylum and freed her from it, but she never got the chance. Jude was long gone by the time she got there. Meanwhile, she needs a break before going on and asks for some water. A production assistant hands her a bottle. Lana thanks him and we see the assistant is Johnny.

Proof that the reality of deteriorating mental health care is far scarier than aliens, ghosts, demons and the Catholic Church.

Act II! Sometime in the early 1970s, Lana visits Kit in his house shortly after airing her exposé on Briarcliff. Lana demands Kit tell her who Betty Drake is, confessing that while going through the mess in Braircliff she discovered the files that showed Monsignor faked Jude’s death and gave her the new identity. The files also show that Kit checked Jude out in 1971. Kit confesses that he used to visit her while she was drugged and unresponsive, eventually reasoning that getting Jude out was the one thing he could do for her. He brought her home to detox from the drugs they put her on and she slowly began to recover some of who she was. Jude would occasionally relapse, however, believing she was back at Briarcliff and becoming violent until one day, during a particularly bad fit, the children calmly took Jude’s hand and led her into the woods, after which Kit said she was never the same again, becoming calmer and happier. Kit concludes that Grace was right, the kids are special. Jude spent six months becoming a surrogate grandmother to Kit’s children before becoming sick. In her final moments, we see Jude lying in bed with the kids. She tells Julia never to let a man tell her that she can’t be anything that she wants and that Thomas should find something that he loves and do something important with his life. Kit sends the kids outside to play, telling Jude that he’s here and he’s not going to leave her alone. Jude smiles and tells him, “I’m not alone – she’s here for me.” We see that the Angel has been in the back of the room this whole time. The Angel gently tells Jude they’ve been doing this dance for many years, is she sure she’s ready? Jude asks for a kiss. The Angel moves closer to the bed, wings unfurled and leans in and the entire scene is just ridiculously touching and beautiful. And that’s the end of Sister Jude.

And a flight of creepy anachronistic angels sing thee to thy rest.

Act III! The interviewer asks Lana about her next success after Briarcliff – taking down Cardinal Howard. Lana recalls hunting down the former Monsingor in New York in a parking structure and asking him about his role in hiring Arden, detailing the human remains of the zombie inmates that they’ve since discovered. Monsignor drives off, but apparently couldn’t escape the guilt and he is found later in his bathtub, wrists slit wide open. “Lies are like scars on your soul, they destroy you,” Lana ponders. Then she tells the interviewer about her lie that she’s propagated for years – that her baby died in childbirth. She admits that she gave him up to the state, although in the mid 1970s she suffered remorse and managed to hunt the baby Johnny down to a schoolyard, where he was being picked on by some bullies. Lana intervened and helped young Johnny, touching his face tenderly before Johnny ran away. Lana says she thought about him often, wondering where he is now. Of course, Johnny is sitting in just the other room listening. Lana says she found some comfort in becoming Godmother to Kit’s kids who have done well for themselves becoming a law professor and a neurosurgeon. Unfortunately, Kit developed pancreatic cancer when he was 40. His decline was apparently slow and painful, but strangely, he disappeared one day without a note or any evidence. Three guesses as to which extraterrestrial force was responsible. Finally, the interview is over and the film crew clears out leaving Lana alone in her home. Lana pours two stiff drinks and says to no one in particular, “Why don’t you come out now?” Turning around, Johnny emerges from the other room. “Let’s get this over with, shall we?” says Lana.

Act IV! Turns out Johnny got onto the crew by getting stabby with one of the early delivery staff. Johnny says this isn’t how he pictured this happening, but Lana says she always knew it would come. Lana was warned about him recently when two cops sought her out after a series of murders occurred in what was Thredson’s old home, now Johnny’s. Johnny says he suspected who Lana was that day on the playground, dreaming most of his life that she would come back for him. Then one day, on eBay, he found the recording of Thredson confessing while Lana threatens to abort the baby growing in her. Hearing Lana speak so coldly about getting rid of the life inside her while Thredson begs for her to keep it alive, Johnny began to hate Lana because at least his father always wanted him. Johnny pulls a gun and points it at Lana’s head, saying that this will make his father proud of him. Lana gently touches Johnny’s hand and says that his father was a monster, but she knows that he isn’t because even if Thredson is a part of him, there has to be a part of her in Johnny too. Lana cradles Johnny, moving the gun away from her. “It’s not your fault, baby,” she tells him. “It’s mine.” And that’s when Lana uses the gun to shoot Johnny in the head, just like she did his father, stone cold killer style. 

Cue obligatory hand-wringing about who is the real monster, etc. etc. 

Flashback to 1964, the first meeting between Sister Jude and Lanat. Lana would also like to interview Jude, but Jude says no, she’s certain they’re not destined to meet again. “You don’t know what I’m capable of,” Lana says. “Just remember,” Jude advises her, “If you look in the face of evil, evil’s gonna look right back at you.” And with that Sister Jude leads Lana out of the building before heading back into its depths as Dominique begins to play.

No comments: