American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 8
It’s Christmas at Briarcliff and it wouldn’t be complete without an evil Santa. Aptly titled “Unholy Night”, in this episode we see a homicidal maniac dressed in a Santa suit, courtesy of the amazing actor, Ian McShane. He plays Mr. Emerson with his trademark gruff demeanor, gravel voice, ability to dig down deep and a hidden undercurrent of anger that boils over when provoked leaving him committing horrible acts such as gnawing people’s faces right off, another nod to Hannibal Lecter.
In 1962, Emerson killed a sidewalk Santa and after putting on the bloody costume, he continued on a killing spree that left eighteen people from five families dead in one night. He’s been in Briarcliff since he committed the crimes, and his stay has been anything but pleasant. Now is his time to rejoin the general population inside the asylum, in a Santa suit natch, but there will be consequences.
Sister Mary insists on the residents of Briarcliff celebrating Christmas by bringing in a large Christmas tree and showing them Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
The security guard, Frank, feels guilty after killing Grace, and tells Dr. Arden that he wants to contact the authorities and tell them the truth. This truth would reveal Dr. Arden’s creatures and much more, so it’s no surprise when Frank meets his end outside of Emerson’s cell at the hands of Sister Mary, who slashes his throat.
Sister Jude suprises Sister Mary in her office with a knife to her throat. Jude knows that Mary is really a demon. Dr. Arden walks in and has Sister Jude escorted off the property. As part of a test to see if any of the innocent side of Sister Mary still exists, Dr. Arden brings her a Christmas gift of beautiful ruby earrings. As she puts them on and admires them in the mirror, he tells her the story of a female Jewish prisoner he knew that would continuously swallow the ruby earrings in order to keep them with her. The earrings damaged her intestines and she died as a result. Mary wasn’t bothered by the story and wore the earrings proudly.
Meanwhile, Sister Jude goes to see someone to plea her case to return to Briarcliff. Dr. Arden comes to see Jude and asks her to return to Briarcliff to help him watch over Sister Mary, who he doesn’t trust anymore. He agrees with Sister Jude that there is something wrong with Sister Mary, that she is no longer herself. He doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe in evil, and Mary is evil. Sister Jude agrees but only on the grounds that he follow her instructions, no questions asked. He agrees.
The Christmas tree in Briarcliff has been decorated with items such as dentures and IV bottles. It is fitting in many ways to be the tree that represents Briarcliff and the horrors that abound within its walls.
Lana finds Kit in a bed next to hers. He is drugged heavily and dreaming about a pregnant Alma who turns into Grace. It is his goodbye to Grace as they dance next to a Christmas tree. Lana tells Kit about the real Bloody Face and how they need to escape Briarcliff. She also concludes that no one knows they are at Briarcliff since the radio has been announcing that he was still on the run. She leaves him to go find a phone to get help and comes face to face with Dr. Thredson, who attempts to strangle her. He explains how she has caused him to kill his Bloody Face persona and that he is in mourning. But this also gives him a chance to construct a new Bloody Face and start all over. Kit comes to Lana’s rescue and bashes Dr. Thredson over the head. They tie him up and stow him away in a room.
Sister Mary locks Emerson in with Sister Jude. After he roughs her up, he comes across her collection of canes. He remembers how she punished him, so he canes her in return, proclaiming, “There is no God, but there is a Santa Claus.”
The episode wraps up with Dr. Arden walking Grace’s lifeless body down the tunnel when a loud and uncomfortable noise along with a bright light floods the tunnel. You see two long arms with slender fingers descend upon Grace. The aliens collect her corpse and the tunnel returns to normal, minus any trace of Grace.
Again, as is the norm, I have many questions. One that keeps popping up to the front is what is the deal with the aliens? How will they factor in with all of the story arcs? I feel there is more to them than we know. Maybe it’s just hope for some ends being tied up, but I think it would be great if the writers tie them in to it all, bringing a final closure. Plus, I really want to see more of them. I do like the alien aspect.
With Arden admitting his Nazi background we do have some answers, but the game he plays with Sister Mary grows more and more dangerous each day.
I was sad that Frances Conroy’s new character, the angel of death, did not return in this episode. She turned out to be one of my all-time AHS favorite characters, so I would have loved to have seen more of her. But they did show in next week’s preview a glimpse of a returning Dylan McDermott.
Sister Jude is tied down to a bed with a scary apparatus strapped to her head next week. It’s looking like she will finally become one of Briarcliff’s victims after all.
Keep the Christmas tree in Briarcliff in mind when you are trimming your own (if you celebrate). Who wouldn’t want an American Horror Story themed Christmas tree?
Tags: ahs, american horror story, bloody, christmas, fx, santa, xmas