“American Horror Story: Asylum” Recap: Milk and Cookie

We begin with Son of Bloody Face (Dylan McDermott) – or “Darksided Charlie Day”, as I now like to think of him – sparking up in a sh*thole apartment. But wait a second – I recognize the angle of that davenport leg … IT CAN’T BE. THIS is what became of Oliver Thredson’s impeccablely appointed bachelor’s abbatoir?!?! OMG I’m seriously gonna barf – this is by FAR the most horrifying thing the show has pulled on us this year. So much midcentury goodness wasted! So many ottomans and cocktail sets never to be recovered! And let’s not even talk about the nipple lamp – it was a two-of-a-kind!


“Johnny” Face welcomes an extremely voluptuous vixen named Pandora into his criminally undertidied abode. Sadly, it’s not:


It’s another Padora altogether – although she’s kind of amazing in her own right. She’s just had a baby and has been saving it up all day and OOOOOKAY I see where this is going. Thank God I switched to soy!

Johnny extolls the merits of breastfeeding and asks Pandora if she leaks when she hears her baby cry. WTF? She says that she does, but it might be the crisp stack of $50’s he handed to her that’s talking. She unstraps her bra (“They’re juicy!”) and tells him, “Come to mama.”

Norman Bates, watch your back – there’s a new momma’s boy in town!


Back at Briarcliff circa 1965, Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is awakened by Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto) and Carl the Orderly. Thredson is taking Kit to see his baby boy, prompting Kit to ask, “What’s your endgame, Thredson?” Smarter question than I’d give him credit for, gotta say!

In the common room, Pepper (Naomi Grossman) fends off the other crazies while Still Not-Dead Grace (Lizzie Brochere) cradles her newborn. Thredson has the orderlies take Pepper away to the hydrobaths to calm her down, and for some reason she lets them. Can’t she go all Carrie White on them and crush them with the jukebox or something? Or maybe the aliens don’t care anymore now that the baby has been born?

Anyway, the orderlies whisk Pepper away to her stewing session, prompting me to note: “Carl, there is too much Pepper in my paprikash.”

The room clears and Kit holds his baby, and he tells Grace that he doesn’t understand how this happened. That’s more like the Kit I know.

Grace remembers being shot and wanting to die but winding up in a bright room instead where they basically jammed the near-full-term jellyfish monster baby into her oven without so much as an Advil or a ten-hut:

AIIIICHIHUAHUA! Dear God, did they not at least have poppers in 1965?! Well, Kit – hope you enjoyed your first and only time together, because you’re pretty much gonna have to strap a 2×4 to your ass every time from here on out.


Grace says she then did an Esther Williams routine at the Hippodrome and points out that the aliens aren’t cruel:

I think her missing nipples would beg to differ. Oh – and her synchronized swimming partner, Alma (Britne Olford), died during a routine. Sorry about that. Kit is so upset that he asks Grace to marry him, and she agrees. Aw! It’s the cutest proposal to a dead woman since The Corpse Bride!

Grace tells Kit that their baby is special and that he will change the way people think (for the better, I hope?) and just then Monsignor Tim Howard (Joseph Feinnes) – whom I have mistakenly been calling “O’Hara” for about 7 weeks now because of the gloriously bad Bahstan ahhhccents on this show – barges in with a nun from St. Ursula’s Home for Extraordinary Psycho Babies and they take the alien nugget away, just like that. Thredson pops in from the wings to offer to help. it’s a bit late for that, Bloody McPhee!

Meanwhile, in the bakery, Motherf*cking Superior pulls Lana (Sarah Paulson) aside and tells her that she is getting her out of there because Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) – who is busy making a pile of dough into a slightly differently-shaped pile of dough – told her to.

Lana doesn’t believe her, but she eventually buys Mama’s claims that she wants Lana to blow the place wide open and shut it down for good. Lana breaks into her rainy day coke stash (or perhaps it’s a sack of flour) to retrieve the hidden tape of Thredson’s confession – OMG don’t lose that!! – to give to Mama Sups for safe keeping. Okay, seriously, if they don’t get her out of there with that tape I’m-a FREAK OUT.

Before running to pack her things, Lana tells Jude that she’s coming back for her. No nun left behind!

We then have a delightful split-screen scene that is evocative of several of Brian De Palma’s best films (Sisters, Carrie) but might work better in theory than in execution (maybe that’s just me): A dolled-up Lana descends the staircase toward the exit while Thredson tries to convince Kit at the foot of the stairs to give him the tape in exchange for his newborn. It’s pretty tense, I guess, but Kit does the right thing, distracting Thredson from Lana so that she can make it to the door.

She walks out the door and there is a cab waiting and OMG WHY IS IT TAKING HER SO EFFING LONG TO WALK DOWN THE STAIRS?! Does she have arthritis? Did Dr. Arden shoot her up with fibromyalga? After about 20 minutes she gets in the car and Thredson comes out. Oh, heck. As the cab pulls away, she holds up the tape with one hand, and her middle finger with the other:

Checkmate, bitch.

Oliver arrives home to his IMPECCABLY-APPOINTED SERIAL KILLING BACHELOR PAD and finds Lana waiting for him with a gun. She tells him that the cops have the tape and they’re on their way. I hope so. He says he’s relieved, actually, noting that “living with secrets is not healthy.” Amen, sister! She tells him that he’ll pay in the electric chair. Oliver moves to fix himself a martini, and offers one to Lana. She wisely declines, but doesn’t notice that he has a gun in his bar. Ugh!

He doesn’t grab it yet, though – because we jump back to present-day in the same room, where Johnny Face is in need of a good burping after draining Pandora like a dirty-talking Capri Sun. She muses, “You’d be surprised how many men have mommy issues.” He doesn’t seem particularly tickled by her professional diagnosis, but he admits that he’s fixated.

Back in 1965, Lana demands to know where Wendy’s body is so that she can give her a proper burial. Ah, okay – I was wondering why the flaming eff she would be there confronting him at all instead of leaving everything to the police. Thredson stalls by lighting a fire and tells her that he kept Wendy’s body to use for practice. Ohhhhhh dear. Yes, poor Clea Duval returns for a 30-second cameo as the most horrifying sex doll since… well, since this:

Turns out Oliver was pushing rope with Wendy’s corpse until he turned her over and okay you know what? I’m gonna go rewatch Argo instead, because I’d much rather see Clea buried under 20 pounds of feathered hair and 1979 eyewear than Zachary Quinto.

An increasingly sauced Oliver tells Lana that there are pieces of Wendy scattered all over the damn place.

Back in the present, Johnny freaks out. Pandora tries to calm him by reminding him, “I have a rockin’ body and a titty full of milk.” I half-expect her to tip to one side. But Johnny jumps on poor Pandora and starts to choke her. “You know what that bitch did to me?!” Well, she clearly didn’t teach you manners. Or to clean up after your damn self.

Oliver gets a second martini (“Atta girl!”) and edges closer to the gun. Sirens can be heard approaching. Oh sweet Jeebus, Lana – shoot his ass! He guesses that Lana’s getting rid of the baby, and she confirms this. He also poinst out that he’s clearly insane and will never be executed. He adds that he has no more use for her now and reaches for the gun…

She shoots him:

“Prison is too good for you.”

Whew! Well, they certainly are cleaning house lately, eh?

Lana visits Wendy’s memorial in a mausoleum that may very well be the same one used in Phantasm and/or One Dark Night. Either way, it’s gorgeous – the only thing that could make this scene better would be a few more old-timey lesbians.

Oh! Right on cue. Lois – The Predatory One! – offers to move in with Lana, but Lana says she’s headed to New York. Interesting… A photographer grabs their picture and Lana tells them to leave or else they’ll be outed. Lois says she better skedaddle, adding that no one in her family suspects – HA! Love it. She also calls the press “vultures” before apologizing to Lana: “Sorry – I forgot that you’re one of them.”

Tertiary Lesbian gives Lana the name of an abortionist. Lana struts her glam stuff out of the joint and into a waiting car that’s surrounded by screaming reporters. “All I can say is, read my book.”

Back in the Briarcliff common room, the patients are lined up for Pill Time. Judy Martin rouses from her episodes-long mental hiatus to remember that the pills are horse tranquilizers that they give to the patients to sedate them, not actual medicine. She flies over the cuckoo’s nest, swatting trays of pills out of nuns’ hands and knocking hundreds of dollars worth of perfectly good disco naps onto the floor. [wipes tear]

In his office, Papa Tim reads perhaps the greatest headline in the history of journalism:

…about Briarcliff’s star employee and all the ladies he murdered. He’s interrupted by Father James (the cutie-patootie ginger priest from about 8 episodes ago), who tells him that there is a disturbance in the common room.

Judy Martin is listening to “Love Potion #9″, which has apparently restored some of her piss and/or vinegar: she lays into Timothy about how she believed in him but he’s really been all about his own selfish ambition from the start. She also points out that it’s ironic that his virginity was taken “not by a loving woman, but by the devil.” He calls the orderlies to take her to solitary, and she deadpans, “I’m more sane now as a madwoman than I ever was as the head of Briarcliff.” Tim responds with his prizewinning wince-smile:

As she’s dragged away, she yells that he is going DOWN.

Kit is released to minimize fuss around the Thredson debacle – but on the way out he blackmails Papa Tim into also releasing Grace – a confessed axe-murderer, mind you – and getting their baby back. When Tim says it’s impossible, Kit notifies him of Grace’s death certificate (how could Tim not have known about that?!) and before you know it, Kit and Grace and Baby Thomas are back at Kit and Alma’s homestead.

It looks exactly as it did when he left it – trashed – but they are optimistic that they can clean it up until they notice that there is someone sitting in the bedroom …

It’s ALMA! … and a baby! And awkward. Oh sweet baby Thomas, PLEASE tell me that this season ends in 1995 with a middle-aged, Cavaricci-wearing Kit getting nailed on twin alien paternity tests on The Maury Povich Show. You ARE the alien baby father!!

Meanwhile, Lana visits the abortionist. She tells her that the baby is a product of rape from a serial killer and the doctor tells her she’s glad she found her. As the doctor preps for the abortion, Lana starts to blanche at the sight of all the instruments – and as she is on the table, she remembers all of the blood and death that has led up to this moment. She screams, stopping the doctor before she can perform the procedure: “No – no more death.” Hate to say it, but this is just the tip of that particular iceberg for the poisoned bun in that oven.

Lana goes to the cops and asks them to get her back into Briarcliff – someone there (Sister Jude, who is now being held prisoner as a patient) can confirm her reports of all the missing patients, but they won’t let her in the front door. The cops are skeptical, and one calls her a “tough cookie”.

She replies – exhaling a drag of her Merit Ultra 100 with a 6-month-gestated child in her belly – “I’m tough – but I’m no cookie.” Girl, if you were a cookie, it would be a Birth Defect Newton.

The cops barge in with a court order, demanding to see Judy Martin. Papa Tim says that it isn’t possible, because she’s dead. He elaborates with a flashback in which he rushes in to call Jude downstairs for dinner. He’s made her favorite – spaghetti, lots of oregano:

He gets her file out and shows that Judy hung herself just weeks ago and was cremated. Lana isn’t buying it, and accuses him of murder. She is politely asked to leave.

We then follow a cart of food trays through and out of the kitchen and through the halls, where they are picked off one by one … until only one remains. It is roughly shoved under the door of a filthy cell in solitary – where Judy Martin now crouches, muttering prayers to herself and serving extra helpings of Solitary Realness:

OH MY GOD. Is she somehow going to wind up being the beast that rips Maroon 5’s arm off?! Or was that a different cell?

In a quiet, clean hospital room, a nurse holding a screaming baby interrupts Lana Winters, who barks from her bed that she said she didn’t want to see it. The nurse apologizes, saying that the baby won’t eat anything and she thought she’d try. She goes to leave, but Lana relents – and puts baby to her breast, where it calms and begins to suckle. Eew – I just said “suckle”.

Lana’s head falls back and she sees the crucifix hanging over her bed – from her perspective, it’s upside-down.


Wowzah! Things certainly moved along at a clip this week! Let’s take a look at our trusty body count meters, shall we?

Notably Absent: Jenna Dewan Tatum (seriously, is she officially dead yet?)

Notably Dead: Oliver Thredson, Judy Martin

Notably Undead: Alma, Judy Martin

Blood – 8/10

Thanks mostly to Lana’s mid-abortion freakout, there was blood all over the walls and floors. (Additional thanks to Oliver Thredson)

Beasts – 5/10

Wait, what the hell was that thing that the aliens crammed into Grace?! Baby Thomas doesn’t look like a hairless Fry Guy.

Buns – 0/10

Again. Le sigh. I think the reign of rumps is over for the year.

Blasphemy – 3/10

Aside from pooh-poohing the ridiculous tendency of the Church to cover up everything and the clever inverted-cross shot at the end, this was a relatively tame installment. Fingers still crossed for a nun orgy in the finale!


Well first off, it was pretty clear early on that this episode was directed by Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon, the same bad boy who handled “I Am Anne Frank Part 2″, as it shared the same heightened visual style (which, when “Anne Frank” aired, I was hoping would actually increase as the season carried on but was a one-time blip until now). Gorgeousness all around – from the overdone shadowplay to the bizarre POVs to the alien encounter to the crackerjack flashback sequence that Lana has at the abortionist, it was just what the Nazi doctor ordered. Apparently he’s attached to direct his first feature, a werewolf movie set at the US/Mexico border. Sounds about right.

And St. Otherwise, I thought this was a pretty great ep all around. Glad that Lana made it out of Oliver’s clutches alive, though I’m very worried about her letting Johnny Face so close to that plucky bosom. The Monsignor’s betrayal was delayed but expected, and it’s about time he emerged as the true villain of the season. I can’t believe Kit and Grace got out, and I have no effing clue where this is going – how can there be two episodes left?! Anyway, I’d diagnose it with severe post-partem depression aggrivated by oral fixation and double vision.

Or, as patron saint Barbra Streisand would call it, eight-outta-ten Nutses:

But that’s just one paprikash’s opinion. What’d YOU think?

In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.