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'American Horror Story: Asylum' Recap: 'The Name Game' Changes Everything

Posted: 01/03/2013 8:18 am

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Episode 10 of FX's "American Horror Story: Aslyum," titled "The Name Game"

So, you know that feeling you get when you think you know what's going to happen and then suddenly things go in the complete opposite direction, and you're just left stunned and perplexed and maybe even a little sad? Tonight's episode left me sitting in bed, going "Whaaaat?I Gah! Ack! No!"

"The Name Game" might just be the best episode of the season, and that could be due to the awesome musical number by Jessica Lange or the two amazing death scenes. With three episodes left, we're down two in the Big Bad category, and I had originally thought their deaths would have made it to the finale. But alas, Episode 10 marked the end of Sister Mary Eunice and Dr. Arden.

I never cared much for Dr. Arden as a character. I didn't find him particularly interesting besides the fact that he was a Nazi doctor (something that never really got explored that much). His death however, was brilliantly crafted. After Mary's death (which I'll get to later), Arden tells the Monsignor that he will perform the cremation, and as the fiery furnace burns in front of Mary's body, Arden lays on top of her and send them both to burn to ash. The way he died also struck me as ironic, since there's little doubt he played some part in the burning of Jews in the concentration camps. Quite appropriate.



I also thought that Sister Mary's death was beautifully done. After demon Mary let it all out ("I'm done with you and with your sweet nun. I'm about to devour every last morsel of her soul!"), the real Mary surfaced ("I'm tired of fighting ... I wanna let go."), and so the Monsignor took this opportunity to throw her off the top floor of Briarcliff. Her blissful and poetic fall mirrored the image of a fallen angel gracefully plummeting to her death. But now Mary's soul is free of struggle and pain, so there's that thought to comfort us as we're going to be (maybe) Lily Rabe-less for the last few episodes. Let's pray to the TV gods she comes back in spirit.



It's not Arden's death or even Mary's that struck me as the best part of the episode. That title goes to Jessica Lange's performance of "The Name Game." I had to watch it multiple times, being the only legitimate happy scene I remember seeing this season. It made the return to reality a harsh one, but watching Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters dance along to the 1964 hit brought the widest smile to my face. Paulson's deadpan expression really got me, and Pepper's face of pure joy was enough to last me throughout the dreary and death-laced episode.



"The Name Game" marked the reunion between Kit and Grace, a relationship I could really do without, but I guess Jude and the Monsignor being a couple is out of the question at this point, so I guess they're the only romance the show's got. When Arden revived Kit (after "killing" him at the end of the last episode so that the aliens would pay them a visit), he lied about them dropping off Grace. Thredson (who is free and now a full-time doctor at Briarcliff, thank you) then happened upon Grace in labor. She was being nursed by a now wordy and intelligent Pepper, whom I actually have come to love. So now we have Kit together again with his girlfriend and newborn child. I still can't tell if the aliens are good or bad, but they are still serving absolutely no purpose for me on the show. To quote The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started A Conversation With At A Party: "It's, like, what're we even doing and, like, why and, like, don't."

I was honestly looking forward to a showdown between Mary Eunice and Jude, as they seemed like the two opposing forces, but I suppose the Monsignor was up to the task after the Angel of Death told him to kill Mary. Now that Mary and Arden are out of the way, what are we left with going into the final stretch? Thredson, for one. He seems like he's more than willing to take on the lead villainous role. The aliens are up for grabs, really; they seem pretty positive and beneficent. The weird cannibal creatures are no longer an issue since Arden killed them all. Jude's own inner demons have proven to be a strong and malicious force, so perhaps she'll take the time to tackle those. I just hope it's not the aliens.

Stray Observations:

Sister Mary Eunice took the Monsignor's virginity, so HE TOOK HER LIFE.

The choreography for the "The Name Game" number was pretty spot on to what I do when I'm alone, except there is usually a glass of wine in one hand and a cat in the other.

Even though Jude's brain was fried to a crisp, she still managed to tell Mother Superior to get Lana out of Briarcliff. What. A. Sweetheart.

Can Mary and Arden just, like, be dead? Because so far, everyone who I think has died in one episode continues on living in another, i.e. Grace, the Monsignor, Shelley, and Leigh Emerson.

Ryan Murphy said that the clue to Season 3 is in this episode, and I'm going to go with the use of "I Put A Spell On You," indicating some witches are afoot. That's my guess! Chime in with yours!

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"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX.

 

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