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People have long put much thought into whether
the universe is cruel. AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s is. In ASYLUM, no one
leaves Briarcliff unscathed. No one
really leaves. Those who did find a way out are drawn back, as if in a vicious
circle, even though time progresses.
It seems AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM effectively ended in “Spilt
Milk.” Our two windows into Briarcliff, Kit and Lana, had found their way out;
one a survivor and a hero, the other a father. Sister Jude, the endlessly
fascinating matriarch of the asylum, despite her new perspective, could not
escape her past deeds, and thus could not escape at all. Declared dead, she
found herself locked up, now an inmate and the under the sniveling, cruel thumb
of a man of God she once admired. Mostly everyone else? Dead.
Thus, “Continuum” and next week’s season finale seem more
epilogue than anything else. In a series of more, more, more it’s unsurprising
two episodes worth of where everyone’s got to is on the plate. Monsignor is now Cardinal, and that’s all we’ve
got until “Madness Ends.” Lana has sacrificed integrity for notoriety,
embellishing details (like her relationship with Wendy) of her already
harrowing ordeal to sell more books. She’s left her baby and Briarcliff behind,
something Kit takes issue with after his free-living family life is
horrendously upended by Alma’s disinterest in remembering the aliens, and Grace
being all too open about it clashing.
It drives Alma to murder Grace. It’s, as with other violence
this season, unceremonious, harsh and tragic. Alma is off to—where
else—Briarcliff, where she eventually meets her end. Kit is alone, arguably
just as hard up as when he was hauled off to the asylum, himself.
After a season that called back to giallo, exorcisms and
nunsploitation, AMERICAN HORROR STORY had one more homage up its sleeve. With
Monsignor gone, Briarcliff is state property, seeing overflow from prison,
including a bad bitch played by Frances Conroy (who previously played the goth,
kiss on the lips Angel of Death). What follow is a small chunk of Women in
Prison as Jude, mistaking this tough cookie as the Angel is alternately
frightened and aggressive. Of course, we eventually learn Jude’s truly lost it,
fabricating her entire scenario and grasping little of the passage of time.
Time passes further and AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM
reveals all roads lead to Lana. This is where we’re headed: Neo-Bloody Face, a
rat-tailed Dylan McDermott, is off to find his mother, still alive and ready to
reveal all in a television interview. Odds are we’ll see what comes of Kit and
Jude in the intervening years, but as with “Spilt Milk” these three episodes
and this season, as a whole, feels tailor-made for continuous watch. In a time
where audiences consume television differently than ever before, does ASYLUM
fare better as marathon?
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