Friday, November 2, 2012

American Horror Story, Season 2, Episode 3: Nor'Easter

In the present that has nothing to do with the main plot and whyyyy is it even here, Teresa is cowering in the cell away from Bloody face when he manages to burst open to the door and leap at her, knife slashing! Surprise! It turns out Lee (will these people die already so I can forget their names) is actually Rasputin’s great grandson and despite being stabbed by Bloody Face and having lost an arm is totally not dead! He leaps on Bloody face and does some stabbing of his own, followed by Teresa doing lots and lots and lots and lots of stabbing (she needs to not hold the weapon so far down the point – she’s not stabbing very deep at all).

Bloody Face is not tolerating these shenanigans and when they starts staggering away, they run into another Bloody face, they turn – and there’s a third Bloody Face behind them, with a gun – who promptly shoots the pair of them.

The Bloody Faces take off their masks and reveal 2 kids – one of which is very freaked out by the shooting and the stabbing and the other is revelling in random murder. They both notice Lee is missing an arm which they certainly didn’t do – and are joined by yet another Bloody Face (don’t you just hate going to a convention where everyone wears the same costume?)

Back to 1964 where the plot is. Last week, Sister Mary Wet Lettuce got demonically possessed and has now evolved into Sister Demon Lettuce and is much, much, much more fun. She goes to Sister Jude to tell her (alone with 9 gazillion over foreshadowings) that there’s a big big storm coming, be slightly disturbingly creepy, and deliver the mail – which includes a newspaper from the 40s about Jude’s hit and run. Jude questions it and Demon Lettuce becomes quite snarky in the face of Jude’s confusion and mild panic.

Later when making bread (they have a famous bakery, remember) Jude has another flashback about the hit and run – just in time for Dr. Oliver to show up to judge her on her use of corporal punishment. She protests she’s the very soul of compassion, she’s even getting a film projector to keep the inmates occupied during the storm (as a crowd control measure in case they get excitable. And this is totally a balance – beat them bloody but then let them watch movies!). Oliver also wants to autopsy report on Jed walker who died during the exorcism and cuttingly remarks on it saying “natural causes”. He also accuses her of being delusional and having a guilty conscience (accurate) which causes her to accuse him of planting the newspaper – which rather confuses him since he has no idea what she means. She snarls that she wants him gone in 2 weeks.

In the Common Room that damn Dominique is still playing – until, mercifully, Sister Demon Lettuce stops the music! In fantastic creepy style she tells everyone about the storm (and expresses her contempt for their expected reactions) and that they’re going to have a special film night (which she describes as being “in the dark with fire, sex and the death of Christians” with great joy). As she leaves, one of the inmates starts praying in Spanish and calling her Satan – Sister Demon Lettuce approaches and her eyes glow with extra creepy.

Kit and Grace are planning their escape again – the film will mean there’ll be no lockdown and the movie is a perfect chance. Grace also confronts Lana for betraying them but Kit says he doesn’t blame her – in her place, if he had believed Kit was guilty, he would have stopped him escaping as well. I’m glad to see that even if it does feel a little “too good”.

While Jude is interviewing Frank, the security guard, and trying to get some dirt on Dr. Oliver, in barges Sister Demon Lettuce with the communion wine to send Jude a little closer to the edge. She thinks Spivey has been drinking the wine and watering it down – and offers it to Jude to taste. Jude refuses since she doesn’t touch alcohol (and, by the way she looks at it, there’s a suggestion of her having been an alcoholic). Sister Demon Lettuce makes a little speech on Jude becoming a nun and giving up all worldly pleasures-  before tasting the wine herself and declaring how rich and wonderful it is.  Jude spots a distraction – Sister Demon Lettuce is wearing lipstick! She says she was given it by Arden to give to Jude, since red is her favourite colour, she just tried it first. And the colour’s “ravish me red.” She leaves, with Jude being rather visibly disturbed.

Arden, meanwhile, is examining the chip from Kit’s neck that repairs itself. Arden calls in Kit for some more exploratory poking around and to ask who he’s working for – the Stazi? KGB? The US government with their “Jews” and “fellow travellers?” (we’d missed a prejudice – Arden now officially hates everyone I think) sounding increasingly paranoid.

In her room, the religious woman is praying in Spanish when Sister Demon Lettuce appears to taunt and play with her – before stabbing her in the neck and heart with a pair of scissors, producing a lot of blood. She loads up the body in a wheelbarrow and takes it outside to the ground where she dumps it among the strange carnivorous creatures Arden keeps.

Which is her next stop – to tell Arden that the creatures are hungry and that the storm makes her worry for them. Arden, fully in his Madonna/Whore complex, praises her compassion – so she shakes him out of it by saying he undresses her with his eyes and how she has awoken to the joys of sex, desire and lust. He pushes her aside and she sits on his desk, raising her habit to show suspenders and her… mossy bank. He loses it, and hits her and she leaves, laughing

Back to the Common Room and More damn Dominique where they are setting up the chairs for the film and Lana takes the chance to talk to Dr. Oliver. She hasn’t heard anything from Wendy – she’s convinced Jude is keeping them apart. She knows if she can just talk to Wendy they’ll be able to sort everything out. Oliver loudly declaims betraying Jude – and takes her note.

In the kitchen (the famous bakery) Shelly talks to Grace about letting her join their escape. Grace slut shames her and doesn’t see why she needs freedom – but Shelly talks about what she wants to do – including going to Paris (she has a rather idealised view of France).

Arden is setting up his bed for the night, not wanting to risk travelling in the storm, when Jude arrives to have it out with him over the lipstick. In a classic misunderstanding, Arden thinks she’s talking about Sister Demon Lettuce trying to come on to him. He talks about once admiring her innocence, her purity – something he’s never had – and now it’s all gone for him, she’s been corrupted and he blames the patients and Shelly. Jude blames him – she’s seen him leering. She also turns it into an attempt to drive her out, convinced Arden is behind the newspapers, the lipstick –  she rants on in a rather disturbing way which isn’t helped when Arden suggests she take a “leave of absence.”

Back in her office, Jude gets a phone call from a little girl saying “you left me there, you never even bothered to get out of the car.” Causing her to collapse in tears and apologies. On her desk is a set of broken glasses – just like the ones the girl was wearing when she was run over. Prostrate on her desk, she reaches out for the communion wine Sister Demon Lettuce left.

When next we see here, she is well and truly drunk, the bottle is empty and she staggers on down to the film showing where she mangles her way through an introduction, starts drunkenly trying to comfort confused inmates scared by the storm and, after another flashback, ends up almost breaking down in front of everyone, talking about a tiny fragile thing left in the middle of the road. She quickly staggers out, looking for the only missing inmate – the “Mexican woman.”

During the film Oliver tells Lana that he went to check on Wendy – and found the place empty, unlocked with the window open and a blood stain on the carpet. He’s worried because there are parallels between her disappearance and the Bloody Faced killer’s victims. They both look at Kit and Oliver tells her he went to the police with his concerns – but the police are convinced they have their killer so won’t look further; Oliver no longer believes in Kit’s guilt.

Grace and Kit are planning their own escape – leaving one by one under the nose of the inattentive security guard. When a naked woman comes up on the screen, Lana uses the excuse of “her condition” to leave as well, saying Jude would understand. She goes out to find Grace, Kit and Shelley planning their escape – and she tells them where the tunnel is. Grace, rather naturally, doesn’t trust her and doesn’t want her along but Kit says she can, trusting her after Lana’s apology and appeal that her loved one is in danger.

They start to make their escape but Carl, one of the orderlies, is guarding the exist. Shelley volunteers to distract him and asks them to wait for her – if they can’t, then Lana needs to write a story blowing the lid off Briarcliff. Shelley seduces Carl and they sneak past. While giving him oral sex in a side room, she knocks him over and he hits his head.

Arden seems to have cracked himself and, with the lipstick, he starts painting makeup on a statue of the Virgin Mary in the foyer, calling it a whore. It seems his Madonna/Whore complex has collapsed into seeing all women as whores. He screams “whore” at the statue and pushes it over, shattering it – and continuing to yell “whore” at the ceiling…

This is when, Shelley, seeking to catch up to the others, runs into Arden who, predictably, calls her a whore. This is the only word this man knows. He grabs Shelley and drags her to his rooms and starts undressing. She says no, she says she’s sexual but she chooses who she sleeps with. He bends her over and tries to rape her but has some trouble, she looks and sees his penis and starts laughing. She asks what happened to it and whether he was in an accident. Enraged, Arden hits her with a paperweight.

Sister Jude, staggering around looking for “The Mexican” runs into… an alien. No, really.

The three fugitives find the tunnel and escape, running through the woods in the storm until they find the dismembered, mangled body parts of “the Mexican”.  They scream – and hear a roar in return. They have found Arden’s creatures – mutant, zombie, cannibal people – who chase them, leaving aside their meals of raw meat. The monsters chase them back into the tunnel and back into Briarcliff

Oliver notices people at the film are missing and goes to tell the security guard. He rushes to Sister Demon Lettuce who is far too enthralled watching Christians being eaten and reluctantly goes to Jude’s room where she is unconscious on her bed. She wakes Jude up, who is confused and disorientated, and tells her what’s happened.

Jude storms into the film showing, turns on the light and switches off the projector (and spoils the ending! Harsh, Jude, very harsh). She says there will be no repeat because 3 people have abused the privileged and are missing – “the sexual deviant” “the pinhead” and “the Mexican”. Lana, Grace and Kit, soaking wet and muddy, are all back in their seats.

Shelley wakes up in Arden’s lab, tied to his table. He tells her people think she’s run away, they think she escaped… the sheet is drawn back and we see he’s cut off her legs

I think it’s one of those moments of deeply unfortunate timing that this episode, with its storm, happened at the same time as Hurricane Sandy.

There is no damn reason that the Mexican inmate couldn’t have been given a name. She was referred to throughout as “the Mexican” which shows a lot of contempt for her as a Latina and as, apparently one of the actually mentally ill inmates in the asylum.

This goes with the standard dehumanising of Pepper and any of the inmates who actually have mental health issues who are constantly maligned

Like previous episodes, many of the other issues are challenged – like Dr. Arden’s rampant misogyny and pretty damn blatant Madonna/Whore complex (if he is actually calling the Madonna a whore) with him treating women with utter revulsion unless he can put them on a purity pedestal – and then desiring them as a sex object. But, again, there is an extreme presentation – seriously, the man needs to learn another word.

And cutting off Shelley’s legs was a shock above and beyond what I expect even on this show.

Also in terms of unwanted side effects – American Horror Story has now ensured that that damn Dominique song is stuck permanently in my head.