‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ Episode 12 Review – False Hope Floats

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Naomi Grossman and Jessica Lange in American Horror Story Asylum Continuum American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 12 Review – False Hope Floats

One of the things American Horror Story: Asylum has managed to do throughout its run is to always present the feeling that the other shoe was just about to drop. No matter how much the story had seemingly gone off the rails at times, or how finished the storyline of Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), Kit Walker (Evan Peters), or Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) appeared to be, it always felt as if there’d be one final hurrah. Grace did come back to life, after all.

So, in a way, maybe it’s a good thing that it feels like there’s always going to be one tiny last drop left at the bottom of the glass. And with ‘Continuum,’ the penultimate episode of Asylum, Ryan Murphy pens what definitely feels like the end of several character threads, even those that had, more or less, already wrapped up in a significant way. But their continuation is just build up because, really, at this point in the series, the most important question left hanging is that of Briarcliff’s future, and what will become of its most secret charge, Sister Jude.

Before we get to that, though, there are the other questions that ‘Continuum’ seeks to answer right away. Naturally, we were all left hanging in terms of what the heck was going on with Alma (Britne Oldford) popping back up in Kit’s bedroom at the end of last week’s episode. In pretty typical AHS fashion, the episode begins by filling the audience’s head with more questions; namely, why was Kit yanking an axe out of a dead body in his living room, and then sitting down to process the scene while a small voice called his name from another section of the house?

Evan Peters in American Horror Story Asylum Continuum American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 12 Review – False Hope Floats

Perhaps because of the series’ setting and the topic of madness and the overwhelming question of whether all or part of what the characters have seen or experienced is truly real, the aliens of Asylum have always felt like the most questionable part. There was that moment where Jude actually ran into one roaming the halls of Briarcliff, and, although she was firmly in a drunken stupor at the time, Jude never really mentioned having a close encounter again. So when the episode jumps forward several years to show Kit, Grace and Alma living together, their acknowledgement of the abductions offers the most concrete proof that the aliens weren’t actually a manifestation of some kind, or some other presence like the angel of death or the devil residing inside the body of Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe).

But then it all comes to a gloriously fast, and unexpected end when Alma buries an axe in Grace’s spine after coming to the conclusion that Kit’s French import was going to bring the nasty green men back for her and the children. Grace’s death is of course a nod to the crime that found her in Briarcliff in the first place, but the abruptness and brutality of it speaks to the indelible mark the institution left on everyone – even those who hadn’t yet called it home. So then, Grace’s murder sets off a rapid-fire string of events that works to bring characters back to Briarcliff, despite it no longer holding any real sway over them.

Most didn’t make it out alive, and Kit and Lana (Sarah Paulson) certainly have had divergent experiences on the outside. Whereas Kit was supposedly chosen by the aliens for his great empathy, Lana has seemed to head in the opposite direction, choosing not to publish a story that would put an end to Briarcliff, but instead seek to modify her own tale in such a way that would bring her fortune and fame. It’s easy to see what Murphy’s suggesting with his approach to Lana, and the way the media and public glommed on to her flashy story of survival, while the inmates of Briarcliff – especially Sister Jude – went forgotten for years. In fact, as Lana tells Kit, the only other inmate who’d gotten any attention was Lee Emerson (Ian McShane), following a kill-spree that claimed the lives of seven nuns after his crucifixion of Monsignor Tim (Joseph Fiennes). It’s something of a bold move for a show so often perceived as favoring flash over substance to make such a statement, especially through the use of a storyline that’d really come to its conclusion in the previous episode, but the reminder of Sister Jude helped to temper what appeared to be a lack of self-awareness.

Jessica Lange and Joseph Fiennes in American Horror Story Asylum Continuum American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 12 Review – False Hope Floats

That being said, the Jude portions of ‘Continuum’ venture the closest to the feeling that the other shoe is about to drop with M. Night Shayamalan-level twistiness, but surprisingly, they seem intent on staying the course. Jude’s been given a new name, Betty Drake, and the time she’s spent in Briarcliff goes by with nightmarish revelations that whole years have passed in the blink of an eye. It’s a really effective set of scenes played with confused panic by Lange that’s some of her most subtle on the series so far. The realization that she’s missed her window of escape, that Tim’s once more lied to her, given her false hope, and, worst of all, that she’d not had the presence of mind to react to it are the closest this show gets to horror, lately – but, on some small level, they do work. Jude’s moments are not unlike the feeling of falling asleep on the couch in the afternoon to awake in complete darkness, knowing you’ve missed an important appointment – or at least feeling as if you have.

The episode ends with fun visual trick to illustrate the shift in time to Son of Bloody Face (Dylan McDermott) that briefly (and most likely, inadvertently) calls into question what we the viewers have been told to accept, as far as the story is concerned. At any rate, it looks like Asylum is heading to a showdown between Lana and the son she gave up for adoption – provided there’s no major twists lying in wait for the last hour.

Jessica Lange as Betty Drake in American Horror Story Asylum Continuum American Horror Story: Asylum Episode 12 Review – False Hope Floats

Various other items:

  • Alma really got the short end of the stick in terms of her storyline this season, didn’t she? She endures months of experiments at the hands of alien beings, only to return home, child in tow, to see Kit’s replaced her with an axe murderer.
  • Murphy recently spoke about how Asylum was really about the decline of the mental healthcare system in this country, and suggested that’s where the real horror in this season emanates from. It will be interesting to see how that aspect ties into the finale next week.


American Horror Story: Asylum concludes the season next Wednesday with ‘Madness Ends’ @10pm on FX. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Why won’t my comments post?

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  2. So, I guess we will never know what was really going on with the aliens. At least it doesn’t seem like we will.
    I am curious to see how the Lana/Bloody Face story will wrap up. On the surface it seems like we know the basics. Lana gave up Bloody Face Jr., he grew up to be the maniac we see now, they will meet face to face next week. But, this is American Horror Story and if we’ve learned anything over the past two seasons it’s that nothing is ever that straight forward.

    • Also, to be honest the Bloody Face mask creeps me the **** out.

  3. i have not been able to see the 2nd season yet, but the first was very good.

    like my up and coming film facebook.com/lonewolvesmovie

  4. I don’t know…maybe I’m just becoming desensitized to everything, but this show just doesn’t seem very scary anymore. Throughout the season, we have seen a plethora of perversions, including aliens, a demon, a nymphomaniac, a serial killer, a killer Santa, a nazi, mutants, a priest and nuns acting less than Christianly, etc. Too much absurdness, and not enough horror, nor any real explanations for anything. The quickness of events in the last two episodes has also been ridiculous. Bad year, compared to the first, but Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson keep me watching.

    • You’re spot on. Things ARE too absurd with no explanations for anything. I doubt the last episode is going to clear everything up.
      This is LOST all over again. A great show until we near the end when we realize the writers were making it all up as they went along without thinking harder and planning ahead for the plotlines and thus were unable to tie up ANYTHING together and copped out by creating some sort of spiritual-type ending that made no sense and didn’t explain a single thing.

      • Honestly, this show does go off the deep end, but they know how to bring it together. I was on the fence with S1 right until the final episodes, which completely floored me. I have no doubt the finale of S2 will do the same thing.

        As for the random aliens/zombies/etc., I saw it as sort of an argument against faith and the afterlife. The existence of aliens greatly disproves the idea of God, but then the existence of the Devil enforces it. Is the Angel of Death related to them? Are the aliens angels themselves? I am really looking forward to how it all plays out in the final hour, they always manage to do so much in such a short time frame.

      • Where have you been all my life? Haha. As a once avid fan of Lost, I felt exactly the same way about it. I actually believe it was one of the biggest shams in television history, as more questions were raised during the course of the show than were ever answered, despite all the promises. I just kept watching it due to Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson, but I have since vowed that I would never become so “committed” to watching another show after that.

        • Ah…just so there is no confusion, my comments were in response to Elena, not Tommy.

          • @JEFF: I totally agree. I was so invested in Lost for 6 years. I thought there was no better show on TV right up to the last two episodes of the series when I began to realize there was no time to explain even half the stuff. After I watched the finale I realized they’d done a major cop out.
            They couldn’t answer any of the questions in a coherent, meaningful, entertaining way so they copped out by creating a spiritual-type-each-one-takes-away-something-different-and-beautiful-from-the-conclusion type of ending. I wanted to go on an angry rampage! lol

            • @TommyKtheDJ: My point exactly. Nothing makes sense on AHS because they’re not creative enough to come up with great explanations for the stupid aliens or 90% of the other stuff so the viewers are forced to conjure up their own theories and meanwhile be satisfied with the unsatisfying, meaningless cop outs the show will inevitable give us. There’s only one more episode to go, which I suspect will answer absolutely nothing. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way with Lost.

      • That’s why this show annoys the hell out of me. Don’t know if I’ll watch season 3.

  5. Maybe the aliens will be explained in the final episode? Maybe somehow they’ll throw out their disconnected plot idea and have the aliens back in season 3?

    Honestly, I’m thinking some of you complaining are the ones who need to be spoon fed all the time because in my view, the aliens don’t need to be explained. Just like how the whole possession thing with Sister Mary Eunice was never explained but it doesn’t matter to me at all.

    I can’t speak about Lost because I saw the first few episodes and thought it was terrible so the ending – which I only saw because of the fuss made about it – just reinforced my opinion years before that the show was piss-poor.

    Seriously though, it reminds me of the Life On Mars finale when that show ended and people wondered what was going on and whether Sam Tyler really was dead or what after he jumped from the police building to get back to the 1970s.


    The Sam Tyler thing was explained in the finale of the follow up Ashes To Ashes though when we found out that Gene Hunt was a ghost who helped dead police officers find peace by solving crime in the afterlife in a sort of Purgatory before moving on into a certain pub when they were ready to move on.

    That was probably the greatest TV ending I’ve ever seen.

  6. Hi am very interested to know what day the new serious will begin I know it is on FX at 10 but don’t know what day this fall it will premier can’t Waite