American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Seven
In what turned out to be both a haunting and beautiful episode, American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 7, “Dark Cousin”, brought with it many deaths, but the sadness was balanced with elegance, along with a dose of quiet and a good measure of composure.
Grace is back in Briarcliff, but her botched hysterectomy has her clinging to life by a thread. When she is bleeding out, she sees a woman dressed in black approach her bed. The woman is beautiful with pale skin that stands in stark contrast to the ebony outfit she wears. Her hair is up and there is a quaint veil over her lovely face that is complete with red lips. As she bends over Grace to give her a kiss, beautiful, large black wings open up. The nuns who were tending to Grace see that she has crashed and pound on her chest to revive her, sending the angel away. This angel, the angel of death, is being played by the wonderful actress, Frances Conroy, who also played the maid Moira in American Horror Story Season 1.
Sister Mary confronts Dr. Arden in his laboratory about messing up Grace’s sterilization. He admits that he did not perform the surgery, but when Sister Mary continues with her rant against him, he strikes her across the face. The demonic Mary does not care for this behavior and tells him that if he touches her again she will kill him. When he raises his hand once more, Mary throws him across the room using only her mind to “clarify the chain of command”. You really don’t want to make this nun mad, I don’t think.
Miles is a young African American who hears voices in his head. He is tired of these cruel voices and as he sits in the kitchen with the nuns, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He asks to look at the slicer a nun is working with, and when she steps away, he offers up his wrists in order to commit suicide and end his torment. Miles is saved, and when Sister Mary comes in to assess the scene, she sees strange writing on the wall in blood. Miles says he didn’t do it, but Sister Mary looks unsettled and explains the symbols are written in ancient Aramaic. Later, restrained in a dark cell, Miles sees the angel of death. He reopens his wrist and she offers a kiss to make it all go away. He agrees, and when she bends to kiss him, her beautiful wings once again open up and Miles is gone.
The angel senses someone is near and Sister Mary comes into the cell. The angel knows there is something different about Mary simply from the fact that she can see her. Once she realizes Mary is a demon, Mary becomes more threatened and demands that the angel leave. We get to see the real Mary briefly when the demon releases her for just a moment, then it’s back to her hellish ways.
Dr. Arden gives Grace medicine to make her get better so she can set the record straight that he did not mess up the surgery. Hey, at least he’s helping her, right?
Just when you think Lana can’t have it much worse, Dr. Thredson forces himself on her. Lana is miles away inside herself during this awful scene and she sees the angel, one form of relief. Later, the angel returns and tries to give her the last kiss, but Lana refuses it, saying she’s not ready. Dr. Thredson returns and has decided to kill her, giving her the pleasant options of either having her throat slashed or being strangled. Oh, but wait, he’s got some humanity left in him because he’s going to sedate her first. But Lana isn’t going down without a fight. She overcomes Dr. Thredson and manages to escape. Once she’s outside, she stops a car and hops in. Bad timing, though, because this driver has recently lost his wife due to an affair that he witnessed. He does not like women very much right now and refuses to help her. He pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head and the car crashes. Before he dies, the angel appears in the backseat and Lana still isn’t ready to go, but the angel wasn’t there for her after all. Lana comes to back in Briarcliff with Sister Mary hovering over her.
Kit escapes the prison when he attacks a prison employee after hearing that Grace was near death.
Sister Jude is back with Mr. Goodman as he is bleeding to death. He manages to tell her the person who killed him was one of her own, a nun. Jude tries to call an ambulance, but the angel shows up and he is gone. Scrawled on the television set in blood is the word ‘murderer’ and a newspaper clipping of Jude’s hit and run is pasted on the front of the television.
We go back to 1949 and see Jude before she became a nun. One of the members of her band shows up at her apartment, telling her that she is no longer needed as their singer. She tries to seduce him to get her way, but he rejects her advances and tells her a cop is wanting to talk to her about the hit and run that had happened locally just days before. Jude packs her things and leaves. She drinks while she is driving and eventually passes out in the car. The next morning she wakes up in her car, parked in a convent. The nuns check on her and she decides then to become one of them.
Back in the current day, Sister Mary calls Sister Jude. Jude figures out that Mary knows about the hit and run and realizes that the demon that fled during the exorcism, landed in Mary. Mary has left Jude some liquor and a blade to kill herself with.
Jude goes to a restaurant and in the bathroom she envisions herself slitting her wrists. When she leaves the bathroom, the angel of death is waiting for her in a booth. Jude and the angel talk and we find out that Jude has called the angel before in her life. When the angel is called, usually somebody dies. The angel explains that God gave her a plan, a calling. The angel promises peace is close for Jude, but Jude wants to do something first.
Jude goes to the home of the girl she hit with her car. The parents are holding a baby, and right before Jude confesses to the crime, a young woman comes in. It is the woman that Jude hit. All of these years, Jude thought that she killed someone when in reality the girl suffered a few broken bones but made it through all right. The parents say that the person who hit their daughter might have made it without consequences, but they will have to live with themselves.
Back in Briarcliff, Lana refuses to take her medication. Sister Mary comes in and Lana tells her that Dr. Thredson is Bloody Face and Kit is innocent. A cop outside tells Sister Mary that Kit has escaped and that he is a fugitive, they will shoot him on sight.
Kit has found his way back to Briarcliff and he runs through the halls until he finds Grace by herself in the kitchen. Vowing to get her out of there, the two try to leave. A nun shows up in the doorway and screams. Behind her is one of Dr. Arden’s mutated experiments. It attacks and kills the nun and comes after Kit and Grace. Kit uses a tool he finds in the kitchen to kill the beast. The cop comes in right after and sees Kit holding the bloody weapon. He draws his gun but Grace leaps in the way and gets shot. As Grace lies in the floor with the bullet wound, the angel shows back up. Grace says she’s ready and the angel spreads her wings and gives her a kiss.
There are many deaths in this episode, but the moment of death is handled with dignity and respect as the angel gives each person the choice to leave this world and a resounding, eternal peace. In this way the writers have allowed each person to die of their own accord and with some measure of control over their life. In a show where unfortunate circumstances abound, this was a treasured and necessary episode to show a soft side, a tender moment, in the tragedy of death.
As far as some of our beloved characters go, poor Lana seems to be living an ending nightmare. Will she ever be released from Briarcliff and free from the threat of Dr. Thredson? Will Thredson get away with the Bloody Face murders and continue his killing spree? Is Kit destined for the death sentence? Meanwhile, Sister Jude is battling her own demons, different ones than the one that inhabits Sister Mary. What will become of Jude as her motivation for becoming a nun is now resolved? Will she find that she truly wants to be a nun after all? The revelation of the girl and the hit and run just may be the peace the angel spoke of for her.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see…