Friday, November 16, 2012

American Horror Story, Season 2, Episode 5: I Am Anne Frank Part 2

Sister Jude is continuing to look for answers about Anne Frank which takes her to see a Sam Goodman, a man who works under extreme discretion. She’s there without the Monsignor’s knowledge but with the support of the Mother Superior. Sam is a Nazi hunter, a Jewish victim of the concentration camps. He talks about Operation Paperclip, where Nazi scientists were given false identities so their expertise could be used by allied governments (this is actually something that happened and not just a creation of American Horror Story).  Learning that the SS tattooed their blood types on their arms, Jude asks if she needs to find out – but Sam says to leave him to research, she doesn’t want to corner him.

Back at Briarcliff, Sister Eunice (that would be the Wet Lettuce who is possessed by a demon) is searching Jude’s drawers when Anne Frank bursts in with the injured Arden at gun point. Sister Demon Lettuce leaves – and the security guard comes in behind Anne and holds a gun to her head.

After the credits, Anne is restrained and sedated in bed and Jude is desperate to get information from her before Arden returns, especially since they found nothing in the doctor’s office. They’re interrupted by Sister Demon Lettuce telling her there’s a man in her office. The man claims to be Anne’s husband – and that Anne’s real name is Charlotte Brown. He says she became troubled after having the baby – who cried constantly through the night and fixated on Anne Frank after reading the diary and watching the play at the theatre – she even tattooed her own arm. She became obsessed with Auschwitz and the death camps.

Behind them, Dr. Oliver who has been eaves dropping says it sounds like Post Partum Psychosis. In an interesting twist, Oliver thinks it’s dangerous to release her to her husband and Sister Jude wants Anne/Charlotte to return home with her husband. She denies her husband to begin with – until she’s shown a photograph of herself, her husband and her baby together and they leave together.

In solitary confinement, Kit and Grace are talking about their impending sterilisation (yes, they’re talking in solitary. Someone may want to redesign these cells, this is not how solitary is supposed to work). Sister Demon Nun arrives to release Kit from solitary and tell him Jude has changed her mind about sterilisation (and she does it in the best way. She’s so much more fun when she’s possessed). But when Kit leaves she tells Grace that the operation is still on for her. Grace is very upset by this, tries to trash her room – and during the night we get some strange bright light effects. There’s a close up on her eye – and we see an alien form reflected there

To the common room with Lana and that damn singing nun song. Honestly, after an episode of American Horror Story, that song is stuck in my head for hours afterwards.  And Dr. Oliver tells Lana it’s time to go, he’s springing her from the place that afternoon. From there he goes to Kit who wants her to intervene with Grace – something Dr. Oliver will get to if he’s a good boy and finishes the session. To help Kit “remember” the crimes (which he almost certainly didn’t commit), Dr. Oliver wants Kit to describe what Kit imagines happened to them, while Oliver records it, then the Doctor will play it back for Kit to break down his memory.

In a land of bright light, Grace gets to see – Alma. Kit’s not-really-dead-wife – and actually heavily pregnant, wife. Then there’s an alien, lots more light and confusing camera angles and a lot of screaming.

Arden and Jude have some snarking – he plans to press charges against Jude for letting Charlotte get her hands on a gun. He makes it clear he’s going to call the Monsignor and have rid of her. When Arden, alone, starts to treat his wounded leg, Sister Demon Lettuce comes in to help him – and he gets to thank her for cleaning out his lab of Shelley to hide her from Jude. She advances a plan of being Arden’s deputy when Jude is removed by the Monsignor

So what happened to Shelley? Why, Sister Demon Lettuce dumped her at a school, where she’s found by the kiddies.

And Anne/Charlotte is back. Seems she had a bad moment. When she got home she still had problems with her child and his crying. She even snapped and held a cloth over the baby’s head. He wants her to get treatment – preferably from Dr. Oliver. Who is busy freeing Lana by leading her out the asylum and into his car. No, really, this is his escape plan (it relies on an inattentive guard). Frank tries to call him back to help with Anne/Charlotte but he says “I don’t work here any more, Frank. In fact, I never did” and he and Lana drive off.

Leaving Anne/Charlotte to Dr. Arden and his “humane” methods of instantly curing her. Which is how he sells it to Charlotte’s husband – and how Charlotte ends up on Arden’s operating table for a lobotomy.

Security Guard Frank gets to go tell Jude that Lana has escaped – Jude is really not having a good day. She half breaks and, in a moment of incredible acting, describes a moment from her childhood and how she thinks her job is over. Frank reassures her that it’s not her fault – as a woman she never had a chance, they’d never take her seriously. Charlotte gets her lobotomy and Jude goes out to a bar.

Lana reaches the safety of Oliver’s home. Oh did I say safety? Maaaaybe not, because good Dr. Threadson is acting creepy creepy creepy. He insists she spends the night in his house since her home is the first place they would look for her – and that she can’t make any calls – if anyone knows where she is not only will she be at risk but he’ll be in trouble for breaking her out.  She says she will write about it – she is the person to tell his story… wait, his story? Oh and what an interesting lamp – it appears almost to be made from human skin. And Bloody Fa- I mean, Oliver’s little dish of mints looks like the top half of a human skull.

She asks to go to the bathroom and goes looking for an exit – and finds a room with lots of sharp and pointy things and bones and human skin (ugh that’s a hand! A skinned hand! You can see the fingers!). He makes lampshades – from skin! He pushes a button and she falls through a trap door into a pit.

I knew there was no way this guy could be a good guy and Lana could escape. This is American Horror Story after all. At Briarcliff in the nun room, Grace is sat in a chair, bleeding heavily from the groin, it seems they did go ahead and sterilise her. Kit arrives and protests and is arrested – they have Threadson’s evaluation that he did the murders and a taped confession from him. Yes, the little recorded memory game was just to get a confession. He’s a crafty serial killer. As Kit is dragged out, Grace protests weakly that Alma is alive, she saw her and Kit’s entire story is true.

Lana wakes up in a tiled room, he foot chained to the floor, surrounded by sharp objects. And there’s the body of Wendy – frozen. Oliver, pulling out epic levels of creepy, explains he kept her fresh but hoped she’d be more pliable before Lana woke. He puts on his Bloody Face mask. And ratchets the creepy up even further. Ye gods

Sister Jude wakes up next to the man who tried to pick her up in the bar – and sneaks out. And Charlotte is home after the lobotomy, and is now a perfect, stepford wife – though, through some amazing acting you can see the tension and something very wrong in her eyes and expressions. She’s packing away all her Anne Frank material – including a picture of Hitler, with a young Dr. Arden in the background.

The cameraman got a bit clever this episode. Some of the visual effects were pretty nifty and artistic, some disorientating and added to the feel – and some just seemed to be there to show how clever he was. I want to pat him on the head and say “yes, yes you’re an artiste, good boy – now can you get on with the filming?” In fact there was decidedly more artiness in how the scenes were put together as well. Makes me wonder if something changed or if I just missed it before in between the cringing.

I am glad that the whole Anne Frank debacle is over – and I think delusional was preferable to the real Anne Frank – but for the reasons I said last week, it was still grossly crossing the line. It’s clear that Arden as a Nazi scientist is going to continue.

Zachary Quinto can do creepy. Yes yes he can. But I really could do without the conversion therapy theme continuing and trying to make Lana kiss her dead girlfriend. Let that theme die, please.