This isn't going to be so much a recap as it is a list of everything in "The Origins of Monstrosity" that I'm thankful for. Coming off the wondrous "I Am Anne Frank, Part II," "Monstrosity" managed to keep the quality bar high, becoming what might be my favorite episode of the season (or maybe even the series). I'm going to keep things simple and sweet for you, as I know you've got that turkey to baste.
I am thankful for the casting of "American Horror Story: Asylum." Since episode one, the show has been built on these strong female characters. It doesn't matter whether they're battling for good or evil. Lily Rabe, Jessica Lange, and Sarah Paulson are in a whole league of their own. Rabe as Sister Mary captures this devilish charm so perfectly that you find yourself wanting her to stay evil. That little number she did in Sister Jude's red slip, singing to Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me," was mesmerizing. I may not swing that way, but I was like, "Yes, more, more, please, continue." I could honestly watch her for an entire episode.
Sarah Paulson is a gem as well. Let's be honest, she's found herself in quite the pickle. Held captive by Bloody Face himself (Quinto), she resorts to playing the mother figure, only to have Thresdon suckling at her teat at the episode's end (I can say that, right?). So much genuine fear, terror, and even sadness resonates on her face and you just want to say, "There, there, Lana, it'll be okay." But will it? I hope so. But chances are ... nah. I mean, remember last season's finale?
Jessica Lange -- is there even anything to say about her that hasn't been said already? She is a work of art. Unfortunately for her character, Jude, she won't be able to stay at Briarcliff much longer as she's been put in charge of an institution for young girls. The Monsignor (Fiennes) and Arden (Cromwell) are onto her meddling ways, and yet she's the only one who can stop them. Because of course.
I am thankful for the writing of "The Origins of Monstrosity." Ryan Murphy, you did a great job adding a connectivity between these various subplots. The episode unearthed the roots of evil, and it showed how everyone is born with that maliciousness. It varies greatly between persons, but even when you're as sweet as Lana, you have that dark side. It's there, and the only difference between the good and the bad is that those who are bad decide to bring it to the surface. Sister Mary is the literal epitome of evil, as she's been overtaken by the Devil.
And then there's the Wednesday Addams lookalike, who may be my favorite character of the entire series. She's doesn't hide who she is. She'll kill the girl who was being super annoying to her. She'll kill her mom and siblings. Doesn't faze her. She's like, "Whatever. I'm just gonna do me." But that's how all children are. They're impulsive and scarily instinctive. Maybe I'm saying that just because I see this girl in every child. They're all terrifying to me.
And then you have Dr. Thresdon, continued to be played beautifully by Zachary Quinto, a psychotic, sociopathic serial killer. He's sort of the opposite. He's insanely evil on the outside, but on the inside, he's just a scared, abandoned boy. Listen, I'm not trying to justify his actions because obviously this guy needs to figure his shit out, like, ASAP, but that's how serial killers are, right? Just traumatized by loss or whatever? I've seen some dark programming on the Discovery Channel. Yeesh, this review has taken quite the turn ...
I am thankful for the insanity of "American Horror Story." Yes, this show is off-the-wall crazy. Sometimes a little too crazy (boy, aliens, am I right?). But where else are you going to find a mixture of Nazis, the Devil, serial killers, and (sigh) extra terrestrials? No other show would even think to go where "American Horror Story" goes. Some might view it as a downfall, but it just works because you expect it. You watch the show to be bombarded with things that make you go "What?!" I was worried at the beginning of the season that they weren't going to be able to dig deep with these characters because there wasn't time or because there were so many of them.
Sure, I think Grace and Kit are expendable at this point, but the show has done tremendous things with the rest of the characters. And in only six episodes! For some series, it takes entire seasons to build a foundation that allows viewers to feel for the characters, but Asylum was able to do that in half a season. And they have to, really, because a season is all they have. Thankfully, they're doing it successfully.
I've mentioned before how not fond I am of the present-day storyline, but it actually worked for me this week. The shot of the three faux Bloody Faces hanging from the ceiling was chilling and so effective. I appreciate that they kept the modern scenes short, because they waste less time that way, like I thought they have been doing previously. And even in their small window this week, the scenes managed to bring up questions like: Is Thresdon ageless (his arms weren't old man arms)? Is that even Thresdon in present day? It sounded a lot like him on the phone. Or is it an offspring by chance? Did he have a child with Lana? What is going on? Where am I?! Who am I screaming these questions at?!
"Asylum" has covered so much ground, and we're only halfway through the season, so where can it possibly go? Obviously they need to tackle the alien bit sometime (oh, brother). I'm trying to find possibilities, but my mind is literally going a mile a minute trying to grasp one. I'm nervous, but excited. I'm usually good at predicting what'll happen on a show, but I have no clue. Predictability is at an all-time low right now, at least in my brain. I just want Wednesday Addams and Sister Mary to have a spin-off where they kill people and eat ice cream and skip merrily. That's all.
"American Horror Story" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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