American Horror Story: Asylum – S2E13 – Madness Ends
Previously on American Horror Story: Asylum: “Continuum“.
The season finale/miniseries finale begins with Bloody Face Jr. (Dylan McDermott) listening to Lana’s book which would be kind of sweet, if he was maybe sitting on his couch by a fire; instead, however, he is walking through the ruins of Briarcliff and visualizing conversations with his mother and father–Lana and Dr. Thredson–wherein his mother says she couldn’t wait to get rid of him, and his father says “I loved you even while you were in your mother’s womb” and blames Lana for “taking you away from me.” Yep, Bloody Face Jr. still hates his mother.
Four months ago. Bloody Face Jr.’s audio tour of Briarcliff occurred four months ago and was followed by the events from the season premiere; you know, the stuff with the honeymooning couple, Leo and Teresa. This time, we see those events from Bloody Face Jr.’s perspective.
Lana is still famous, and she is still a “celebrity”; she’s also become a plastic surgery-laden diva. I’m pretty sure everyone is rooting for Bloody Face Jr., just a little bit, now. In present day, she is being interviewed prior to receiving a Kennedy Center Honor; it’s basically a “this is your life” thing, and Lana even jokes that she hopes it won’t feel like a eulogy. This interview is interspersed with scenes from a Briarcliff expose Lana filmed at some point following the events of the previous episode. What makes this sequence fun (as “fun” as seeing simulated maltreatment of mental patients can be) is how some of the shots are shown from behind the circa-1970s camera, while the shots that aren’t part of the “report” are shown from behind a modern-day camera. It’s a simple choice for the series to have made, but it’s a simple choice that goes a long way.
Lana tells her interviewer about how she and her camera crew found Sister Jude/Judy Martin/Betty Drake and got her out of the asylum. Unfortunately, this didn’t actually happen. Judy was gone, and Lana was too late; the expose did result in the shutdown of Briarcliff, though. After securing the closure of Briarcliff, Lana discovers the existence of “Betty Drake” and discovers Betty had been released into Kit’s custody. That’s when Lana, with cameras in tow, traipses herself over to Kit’s house; they have a nice, long conversation about how he had to detox Betty and basically tried to turn her into a mother figure for his kids (since both Alma and Grace are dead). At first, Betty is still completely insane–even having a flashback to the little girl who was left at Briarcliff–but then the kids are like “Wonder Twin powers activate!”; they lead Betty out into the woods, and she comes back as Judy Martin–sane.
For six months, they live as a family; the kids even take to calling Judy “Nana”. They laugh, the love, they dance–you know, family shit. Of course, nothing happy on this show can last very long, so Judy immediately takes ill. As she’s bedridden, she gives the children life-altering advice (like “Don’t pick your nose”; really important things). Then she decides it’s time to die. Kit tells Lana–since this is all still information he’s relaying to her–that Judy said “She” has come for her. Kit didn’t know what she meant, but Lana says she does; it’s the dark angel (Francis Conroy). We get one, final shot of the angel’s Buzz Lightyear wings. She and Judy share a weirdly sensual “kiss of death”. Judy Martin died in 1971.
When we return to the present-day interview, Lana tells about another part of the Briarcliff expose; she tracked down Monsignor Timothy (Cardinal Timothy, now) and attempted to get an interview with him. The only thing he had to say was “Happy Easter!”, as he sped away in his very ’70s car. Lana had uncovered Dr. Arden’s files on the human experiments he had been conducting, and they reveal that the monsignor knew what was going on. Cardinal Timothy Howard killed himself as a result of the expose/his guilt.
Next, Lana reveals to the interviewer, without much prompt at all, that her son actually had not died, as she had led everyone to believe. She gave him up, immediately following the breastfeeding we saw earlier in the season. She felt guilty about it, though, so she used her “skills of sleuth”, which she does not hesitate to say are “myriad, as we know”–such a humble person she is–to track her son down, in the mid-’70s. We’re treated to Lana breaking up a school yard altercation between her son and some older “asshole”. As her son is walking away, she tells him he should report the older boy; really, though, he should probably also report the creepy lady who just caressed his face for an uncomfortably long time.
By the way, Bloody Face Jr. has finagled his way onto the set of the interview. We saw him there, earlier in the episode. While Lana tells this story of how she felt bad about giving up her son and blahblahblah; the camera is on him and just slowly pushes in on his face as he angrily eats an eclair. I laughed so hard at that, and I don’t even know why. He was just so pissed at that pastry.
Lana tells the interviewer that she got over her feeling of guilt by becoming godmother to Kit’s kids. Eventually, Kit remarried, and went on to have the most normal life of anyone on this show, which is hilarious since he’s the guy who was abducted by aliens like three times. The kids became neurosurgeons, and superheroes–okay, maybe not superheroes, but come on! Don’t you think they should have? I mean, what happened to their amazing alien powers? Did they eat some kryptonite? I mean, those kids didn’t even escape to Witch Mountain! Ooo, brain surgery; big whoop. Anyway, Kit developed pancreatic cancer (probably caused by disappointment in his kids’ wasted talent) at the age of 40; before he died, the aliens took him back, for good.
Following the interview’s conclusion, everyone files out of Lana’s house–everyone except Bloody Face Jr. who is hiding. Lana nonchalantly calls out to the empty room, “You can come out now.” Damn, her sleuthing skills really are myriad. He comes out, and she tells him she knows who he is. She plays it off like she recognized him just because she would obviously recognize her son, but we’re shown that she was visited by some FBI agents or police officers who told her he was wanted on suspicion of being involved in murders and showed her his picture. She really played up that whole “I’m your mother” thing, though. This whole confrontation between them mirrors the season’s earlier final confrontation between Lana and Dr. Thredson. They both get oddly comfortable; I thought maybe they were going to start cuddling. We learn that Bloody Face Jr. had previously found Dr. Thredson’s confession tape on eBay–he probably found it while searching for a vintage Star Trek lunchbox–he says he listened to the tape and could hear that his father loved him; he’s like, “That’s when I started loving him and hating you.” Alright, Melodrama Face Jr. He gets right up in Lana’s face and pulls a gun. He shot her, right? No, they talk some more. Lana actually calms him down, and you think maybe Bloody Face Jr. is maybe going to be okay; he even lets Lana have the gun. He says he just wanted his dad to be proud of him; she tells him that it’s not his fault that he did what he did. She says it’s her fault.
Then she shoots that motherfucker in the face.
Bloody Faces: 0
The miniseries ends with a scene from 1964 when Lana first met Sister Jude at Briarcliff. Sister Jude warns her about the perils of ambition and the loneliness of being a “woman with a dream all her own”. That when Lana says the truest thing in the history of truth: “You don’t know what I’m capable of.” Then we get a nice little sendoff. Following Sister Jude’s line “When you look into the face of evil, evil looks right back at you”, a closeup of Sister Jude’s face smash cuts to a closeup of Lana’s face; they’re both evil! The end.
This finale completely redeemed the show from the penultimate episode’s lacking coherence. They managed to tie everything up with a neat, little, insane bow. Also, this is the episode that should have won Jessica Lange the Golden Globe for best performance in a miniseries. As good as Julianne Moore was as Sarah Palin (in Game Change), Jessica Lange in this episode plays all three characters she has played throughout the course of Asylum. She plays Betty Drake, as Lana finds her in “the hole” and as Kit detoxes her; she plays Judy Martin, after the Wonder Twins John Coffee’d her insanity away; and she plays Sister Jude, as she sternly warns Lana to not become what she, Judy Martin, had allowed herself to become. This was really a fantastic showcase for Jessica Lange. In fact, I’m pretty sure American Horror Story only exists to be a platform for Jessica Lange to show everyone how it’s done.