American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Six
Episode six, “The Origins of Monstrosity”, started off back in the present day. Cops have been called to Briarcliff and we see a grisly scene with bodies dangling in the air, all wearing a Bloody Face mask. Along with a few intense moments, AHS offered up more backstory for some of the key players and allowed us to meet a charming little pigtail adorned, psychopathic girl, Jessie.
In 1962, Briarcliff was preparing to close its doors as a tuberculosis hospital. Monsignor listened as Dr. Arden explained how the only inhabitants left were called ‘The Incurables’ because of their advanced stage of tuberculosis. He was experiment back then to find a cure, but the only thing standing in his way was his need for human trials.
Fast forward to 1964 and a woman is talking to Sister Jude about her concerns for her daughter, Jessie. She had never cried, not even as an infant, and she came to Sister Jude for help. Jessie and her friend were alone and playing outside when the little girl was stabbed and killed. Jessie told the cops that it was a tall, bearded man with a brown coat, who was never found. Jessie’s mother found a lock of hair in her coat, hair seemingly from Jessie’s now dead playmate. Sister Jude tells the woman that there is no place in Briarcliff for children, but she ends up leaving Jennie there with them anyway.
Lana wakes up to the smell of a delicious breakfast only to find herself chained to a bed in Dr. Thredson’s soundproof basement. He tells her about how his mother abandoned him as a child and that he was raised in an orphanage. When he was in medical school, he saw a cadaver in his gross anatomy class that was a thirty three year old woman, the same age his mother was when she left and also Lana’s age. He began to imagine it was his mother and would press his naked body against hers. Thredson was missing his mother’s touch. This is the reason he cuts the skin off his victims. He wanted, “warm, living skin”. They show him taking his first victim and cutting into her while she was still alive.
Sister Jude receives a phone call from Mr. Goodman, her Jewish confidant, who confirms that what Anne Frank told her was true. Dr. Arden is a Nazi war criminal. In order to definitively prove it, he needs Arden’s fingerprints.
The Monsignor has been called upon to give the last rites to a patient in the hospital. When he reaches the room, he recognizes that the person is Shelley, and seeing her in misery, he breaks her neck to relieve her of her condition. When the Monsignor confronts Dr. Arden about Shelley, Arden shares his views on the populace of Briarcliff. The patients are referred to as “receptacles for human waste” and he also explained that each one of them was an example of evolutionary failure. Arden reveals that his injections are a mixture of syphilis and tuberculosis. His intention is to create a human that can withstand the radiation from a nuclear attack from Russia. One of Arden’s newest victims is Spivey played by Mark Consuelos. Spivey is in Briarcliff because he liked to expose himself to children on playgrounds, but Arden catches him watching Sister Mary as she bathes. When the Monsignor confronts him, Arden threatens the Monsignor and both of them team up against Sister Jude.
Sister Mary spends some one-on-one time with little Jessie, telling her she is the devil and that her friend deserved to die. She goes on to offer Jessie a crash course in self-defense.
The Monsignor fires Sister Jude and sends her on a new assignment in Pittsburgh in a Home for Wayward Girls. Jude goes to Arden with a bottle of cognac in an attempt to get his fingerprints.
Kit calls Dr. Thredson from prison and calls him a liar, which upsets the good doctor. He goes to Lana, puts on the Bloody Face mask, and decides she has disappointed him, so he must kill her. He tells her it’s her fault and she can only blame herself.
Sister Mary goes to visit Mr. Goodman, and when Sister Jude shows up, she finds him lying in the floor, stabbed and in a pool of blood. He confesses it was a nun who did this to him.
Little Jennie is now standing amidst her dead mother, brother and sister, telling the cops the same story as she did when her friend was found dead. The tall, bearded man did it and told her not to move or else she would die, too. She plays with the lock of hair idly.
In a last ditch attempt to save her life, Lana plays the role of Dr. Thredson’s mother and he suckles from her breast in response.
Ending in the present day, the police find out that the four dead bodies are Leo and the three Bloody Face imposters, but they cannot find Leo’s wife, Teresa, who’s lying on a table with the real Bloody Face hovering over her.
Zachary Quinto has a delicious character this season as Dr. Thredson. It is nice to see him play such a deviation from some of more well known roles. He is able to convey the calculating depth and madness of Dr. Thredson along with the quiet, unsettling penchant for horrendous violence. I see some similarities in refernce to Hannibal Lecter. The bodies being strung in the air was a little like Hannibal’s dramatic escape scene in the movie, “Silence of the Lambs” when he posed a corpse suspended from the ceiling. Also Dr. Thredson’s medical background and as a psychiatrist, Hannibal would no doubt find Thredson’s mommy issues fascinating. Thredson’s confession of a need for skin to skin contact explains the reason he wears the hideous Bloody Face mask made from his victims, all who were representations of his mother.
Dr. Arden’s Cold War era survival tactics are extreme, to day the least, but it will be interesting to see how they continue with the character and story arc pertaining to him.
What will become of our dear Sister Jude? Something tells me Briarcliff won’t be rid of her so easily.
And I have to say that Sister Mary’s possession has been pretty uneventful so far. But the preview for next week looks like they may have finally amped up her devilish abilities. This I’m looking forward to!
I will leave saying a heart felt goodbye to pitiful Shelley. Her conflicted life has come to an end, but she certainly won’t be forgotten. Especially by that playground full of kids who for one day saw a real-life monster crawl up the stairs straight at them. Talk about nightmares…