Friday, January 11, 2013

American Horror Story, Season 2, Episode 11: Spilt Milk

Leaving Briarcliff for a moment we start in the present, with Bloody Face Junior smoking some cannabis to some very eerily well done camera effects. He get s visitor, Pandora, a prostitute – who has just had a baby and is lactating. Yes, Bloody Face Junior has inherited his father’s fetish.

Back to Briarcliff and Thredson wakes Kit to take him to see his baby. Kit is convinced Thredson has harmed his baby but Thredson insists that he holds a child’s need for love and protection as a very high priority. He takes him to the common room where a love song is playing and Pepper is herding the inmates away from the baby in Grace’s arms. Grace names him Thomas and, when Thredson expresses concern about Grace’s lactation, Pepper warns him and he has an orderly take her to the hydrotherapy room with the water turned even hotter (what, the aliens can’t spare some mojo to help Pepper?).

Left alone, Kit and Grace bond over the baby and Grace tries to remember her time with the aliens. She remembers bright light, aliens and them putting a baby in her. And artistic images of water from odd angles, floating and Alma dead – apparently by accident (Grace thinks the aliens aren’t cruel – they just kidnap, experiment on and kill people! Totally not cruel at all!) . It’s a little confusing but meant to be. That and Excessively Arty  Cameraman escaped from his cage. Kit grieves for Alma and Grace worries that he wanted to have a family with her not Grace (he says he’ll do it with either which makes them sound awfully interchangeable). She’s also confident their baby is special (he was rammed in you by aliens – Ya Think?) Oh and Alma would want him to do the right thing so – marry him Grace. Wow, as far as romantic proposals go that’s probably just behind shotgun weddings.

After such declarations of love and support, Monsignor Tim, a posse of nuns (what is the collective noun for nuns anyway? A cloister? A prayer? A judgement? Actually checking google I find it’s a “superfluity”.  Which technically means an uselessly excessive amount, or more than one needs, which probably says something about the language. See, you learn something new every day.)  anyway, in comes Tim his orderlies and a superfluity of nuns to take the baby away to a Catholic orphanage. Kit and Grace are less than pleased.

Mother Superior Claudia, without a superfluity, talks to Lana in the kitchen, trying to help her escape. Lana is suspicious but Mother Superior points to Jude – confused and lost still after the damage from the electroshock – and tells her that Jude wanted her to get Lana out. She also gives Lana her medical file – documentation of every foul thing done to her – Mother Claudia wants her to expose Briarcliff, to pull it down and salt the earth.  Mother Claudia has her personal effects and a taxi waiting. Lana grabs the tape of Thredson’s confession and tells Jude she will come back for her, she will get her out – then off she goes.

Excessively Artsy Cameraman grabs hold of the scene again and we get a cut scene of Lana leaving, in civilian clothes, while Thredson tries to convince Kit to give him the tape and in exchange Thredson will save baby Thomas from the system. Kit argues with Thredson, distracting him and holding his eye, allowing Lana to sneak out past him.

In a horrendously tense, slow scene, Lana leaves the building, enters the taxi (all the while I’m waiting for some one to stop her, to ambush her, to be waiting for her, for Thredson to run out the building). Thredson comes out the building and sees her; Lana shows him the tape – and her middle finger. The taxi drives off. That scene was tense, I’m impressed.

Thredson goes him to his nifty house to find Lana, sat in a chair, holding a gun (nooooo noooo, this can only end badly! Lana you don’t have the luck to try this!) She tells him the police have the tape. Alas, despite their best efforts, Excessively Artsy Cameraman is still in control and ratcheting up the drama in the tense stand off as Thredson makes himself a drink and Lana holds a gun on him.

And we swap back to the future with Bloody Face Junior explaining to Pandora how his mother hated him and she only loved one person

Back to the past, Lana asking where Wendy’s body is (at least this gives us a reason for Lana’s such-a-bad-idea-visit), she deserves a proper burial and, since she was a Lesbian and everyone learned about her, there’s no way anyone else – her family, colleagues, anyone – would have cared enough to ensure it. She wants to know all the details (aww, Lana, please I don’t!) he describes having sex with the body (see, I told you!)  as practice for raping Lana (ye gods, American Horror Story, this rape obsession needs to stop).  He then cut up the body and scattered the parts.

Back to the future where Pandora is playing comforting shoulder to cry on for Bloody Face Junior who freaks out and starts choking Pandora. We go back to the past through the mirror (yes, the mirror. Someone restrain that cameraman!) where we hear sirens coming. The police are on their way. Thredson returns to the bar for another drink – and there’s a gun in the drawer. Confirming that she intends to abort the baby, he points out he’s not going to the chair as he’s “clearly insane”, he’ll be institutionalised for life. He turns and starts to reach for the gun and Lana shoots him. Pop, dead. “Breathing’s too good for you.” Let me have a cheerleading squad for Lana, right now. Unless she knew the gun was there, she also didn’t know he was going to try and shoot her – she just killed him.

Lana goes to a memorial she’s set up for Wendy with her friends and we learn that Thredson’s death went down as self-defence.  Lana also blames herself for Wendy’s death – getting the story cost so much. When the press arrives to photograph them, Lana even agrees with her friend Lois that the press are vultures (including her) attracted to the scent of rotting meat (Lana’s packing in the powerful emotion here despite the monotone, some excellent acting). She warns her friends to leave through the back or they’ll be Outed as lesbians. Both of them explain how they can’t be Outed due to family as work complications. Lana leaves the beautiful mausoleum, dramatically, walking past the press, telling them only to read her book.

In Briarcliff, Jude is getting back on form and fighting fit. She takes pills off the other inmates telling them it’s horse tranquiliser – she knocks the rest of the medicine away, shouting that they turn their brains to mush (the nun protests that Jude signed for them, which is probably how she knows).

Lana’s story breaks and Monsignor Tim reads all the reports about how bad Briarcliff is and the hiring of Bloody Face as a psychiatrist. His tactic, which he shares with Brother James, is to keep quiet and hope it all goes away.

James also tells him about Jude acting up. Monsignor goes to speak to her (oh, he’s a lot braver than he looks. Facing down a demon? Sure, but this is Jude). She mocks him for “giving up his virtue to a demon rather than a willing woman” (her presumably. Ugh yes, more rape fail from American Horror Story). She tells him how much she believed in his fantasy of going to Rome, how she would have done anything for him – and then shouts dramatically of her disillusionment and shame now she sees through him and his filthy ambition.

That touches a nerve and he tells her to shut her mouth but she keeps on ripping into him and all he took from her – leaving her with total clarity. Monsignor has her sent to solitary while she declares he won’t win.

Carl, the orderly, takes Kit his release papers and tells him that Lana killed Thredson (though he terms it “the lezzie blew his head off” which seems unnecessary). Kit insists on seeing the Monsignor.

Timmy’s happy that justice has been served and he got to be part of it (really, when was this?) Kit demands Tim let Grace out and get his son back – or he’ll start talking to the reporters. Monsignor points out Grace is an axe murderess and he can’t release her – but Kit counters that she is actually legally dead so he could release “her body” to him.

We cut to Kit, Grace and baby Thomas getting out of a Taxi at Kit’s home. They go in all happy and lovey dovey and find… Alma! With a baby!

Meanwhile Lana has found a doctor to provide an abortion. She asks whether Lana is sure and Lana tells her “my lover was murdered by the man who raped me and got me pregnant”. That alleviates any such questions. Lana prepares for the operation (giving a false name and checking to see if everything is sterile – since before abortion became legal this was a major worry). As she undergoes the procedure she has repeated flashbacks to all of the violence she’s faced and the people she saw die – at the last instant she grabs the doctor’s hand and says “I can’t. No more death.”

We later see a heavily pregnant Lana talking to the police about all the people who have gone missing in Briarcliff, she wants them to investigate and get to Jude to corroborate what she said. They can’t even go to Mother Superior Claudia as she was transferred to Puerto Rico when she started protesting the institution. One of the police comments that Lana’s “one tough cookie.” She responds with “I am touch. But I’m no cookie.” Cheerleading squad for Lana please.

She gets her court order and they go to see Jude – and Monsignor Tim protests that she’s dead. We have a flashback to Monsignor walking into Jude’s room, finding her hanging from the ceiling. And they then had her cremated.

They leave and we dramatically follow a tray of food – each plate is taken off the tray to give to the inmates, leaving one tom go to Jude in a tiny solitary confinement cell – the cell that we saw in the first episode that rips arms off.

Lana gives birth and, despite her express wishes not to see the baby, the nurse brings him to her – he’s allergic to the formula and won’t stop crying. Lana lets him suckle while having almost a panic attack, staring at the cross on the wall. (Do they have to keep pouring pain onto Lana?)

This season of American Horror Story has not been racially diverse. Off hand I can think of the un-named dead “Mexican”, a dead Black man who committed suicide, Alma, Kit’s semi-murdered wife (who then got a collective 30 seconds of flashback images at most for most of the series) and now Pandora – a sex worker who is murdered. Not only is this a high casualty rate, none of them actually lasted for very long before dying either.

Lana said “I can’t, no more death” to an abortion – after flashbacking through all the murders of Thredson, the man who committed suicide in the car, and killing Thredson herself. Ugh – that was a gross comparison of abortion – abortion in a case of rape no less – to murder. Which is bad enough but already follows from season 1’s demonisation. Honestly if, as seems to be inevitable on TV, you couldn’t have her go through with it (and it’s clear she wouldn’t since Bloody Face Junior is running around – ha, so much for “no more death” maybe that’s the attempt to subvert? It’s weak if it is) then you could have had her have a reasonable terror of surgical implements, for example.

It’s definitely heading to a close – the ultra-creepy Thredson now dead as well. Arden, Thredson, Sister Demon Lettuce, the bad guys are falling like flies. I have to say the thing that has really made this show has been some truly incredible acting as well, it really showed this episode, especially what the Excessively Artsy Cameraman running free.

We have an interesting and powerful story with Jude. So cruel and wrong as the head of Briarcliff then they take everything from her, reduce and near destroy her and she has “total clarity” and sees better treated as a “madwoman”. It makes a good rant – except she apologise to Lana, had her rescued and even tried to save the other inmates from the drug regimen she implemented. She even mellowed on the Juke box rather than that damn singing nun that is STILL stuck in my head.

My main suggestion for Season 3? Stop the damn rape!