Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Episode 11 of FX's "American Horror Story: Aslyum," titled "Spilt Milk"
This season of "American Horror Story" is buckling down, and with only two episodes remaining -- "Continuum" and "Madness Ends" -- the vision is becoming evermore clear. And it's finally becoming evident what the real villain is. It's not the aliens or Zachary Quinto's Dr. Thresdon or the Devil or even present-day Bloody Face. It's just Briarcliff. You could be saying, "Well, duh. We all knew that," but it didn't hit me until just now when I starting writing this, so hold back on the condescension for a quick second.
But Briarcliff is not like the Murder House in Season 1. Evil isn't rooted in its foundation. Evil just found its way through the doors. I mean, it's an insane asylum, after all; it wasn't going to be rainbows and butterflies anyways. And shutting down Briarcliff wouldn't even necessarily mean the end of the evil. It's like if Briarcliff is a stone thrown into a calm lake. The evilness that has walked the halls finds its way through space and time. Almost 50 years after Briarcliff's shutdown, the turmoil and suffering is still affecting Johnny Thresdon, a product of Briarcliff since Lana wouldn't have ever been raped if she wasn't committed.
"Spilt Milk" isn't a perfect hour by any means. It was slow and tedious at times. I still find Kit and Grace pointless, although they did bring a fine cliffhanger (I'll get to that later). However, the showdown between Lana and Thresdon was remarkably shot and definitely cringe-worthy, and the whole noir feel gave the episode an artistic boost.
I also found the episode particularly well-written and entertaining while still having a great deal of substance, and I commend Brad Falchuk for that. (Note: The other episode he wrote this season, "I Am Anne Frank Part 2," is one of my favorites). The transitions between Lana and Thresdon and Johnny and his prostitute were really cool. It was just fun to watch without losing plot value. I could have done without the flashbacks to Thresdon having sex with Wendy's dead body. They were a little extreme. We already know Thresdon is a psychotic madman. We don't need anymore convincing.
And then just like that, Lana kills him with one shot. His death was obviously justified, but it was a little underwhelming. Arden and Mary got proper sendoffs, in my opinion. It was just *bam* and he's dead. He didn't even suffer. I'm not a sadist or anything, but I feel like he deserved a little more misery. I guess in that moment, all I was thinking was, "Kill him! Kill him already! SHOOT THE BASTARD!" And then she did, and I was like, "Oh, OK." Also, she didn't go through with the abortion which struck me as odd. I know she didn't want anymore death, but I'm pretty sure most people in her shoes would have gotten that thing removed ASAP. Of course, we all see what it becomes, but still. Bad genes, man. Bad. Genes.
"Spilt Milk" was significantly less over-the-top than your typical "American Horror Story" episode (I'm leaving out the whole Grace-in-Alien-Land flashback because I don't even know what that was), but I'm kind of OK with that. I liked the laid back feel. It had great moments and not-so-great moments and that's all I can really ask for from this show.
This episode felt a little like "The Secret Life of the American Asylum Inmate" when Lana didn't want to go through with her abortion, when [SPOILER ALERT] ...
"Parenthood's" Amy did, and that's a family drama.
"Have you fully recognized the irony here? You relinquished your virtue not to a loving woman, but to the Devil. It's so perfect. It's perfect. It's perfect." - Jude to the Monsignor. I just loved the way she said, "It's perfect."
"Now look at me. I have a rockin' body and a titty full of milk." - Johnny's prostitute, obviously knowing how to calm down a sociopath.
I liked the shadow work in this episode, but did anyone feel it was a little excessive? The shadow of Lana's gun pointing at Thresdon was great, but the conversation between Kit and the Monsignor was just, like, all shadow.
So Grace and Kit get released from Briarcliff and both of them return to Kit's home, where they expect to live happily and raise their weird alien baby. All is foiled when they find Alma sitting at the kitchen table with her and Kit's baby. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
When Lana came back to Briarcliff demanding to speak to Jude so that she could back up her stories, the Monsignor said that Jude had hung herself. I let out a childlike "No!" but luckily, they're just keeping her in super solitary, but it looks like she'll get out of there next week, so no harm done.
I'm ending with Lana being a bad bitch (a.k.a. my new sign off GIF/email signature):
"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX
Follow Joey DeAngelis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joeydeangelis