"I Am Anne Frank (Part 2)"
Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Producers: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Jessica Lange, James Cromwell, Evan Peters, Sara Paulson, Zachary Quinto; ft. Franka Potente
TV Rating: MA SLV
Genre: television, horror, drama, insane asylum, alien abduction, mutants, serial killer
Scare score: C+
Plot overview: Following her instinct as well as the claims made by the woman claiming to be Anne Frank (Potente), Sister Jude (Lange) goes to a Nazi hunter and asks him to pursue the case of Dr. Arden (Cromwell). To her dismay, that same week, Frank's husband shows up at Briarcliff demanding that his troubled wife, in reality named Charlotte Brown, come home to be reunited with their baby. After her release, Arden threatens Sister Jude that he will finally have her dismissed from Briarcliff due to her poor management, and Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) plots with him so that they may run Briarcliff together and thereby continue with his bizarre experiments. Meanwhile, Dr. Thredson (Quinto) finally helps the innocent Lana (Paulson) escape, but she is not free from her plight yet.
First off, I want you to know that I haven't died (or been murder, abducted, or anything exciting like that). I apologize for neglecting The Horror Blog for such a long time, but things have been crazy lately with early bedtimes and lots of traveling. I hope that this weekend will be more filled with horror.
Back to the important stuff. This was a great episode, and I'm excited to be so far behind, because immediately following this post I get to watch the next episode and continue with the excitement! Finally, 5 episodes into the season we have been thrown a bloody bone from the writers and several mysteries have been solved... or at least expounded upon. The mysteries I refer to are namely the experiment with mutants, the alien abductions, and the identity of Bloody Face.
I think Potente did a pretty tremendous job this week as Anne Frank/ Charlotte Brown (like Charlie Brown?). All of the home video-ish sequences of Charlotte and her husband (David Chisum) were simultaneously eerie as well as reminiscent of the now retro time period in which the show takes place. In many ways her mystery and identity are not fully resolved, and the end of the episode hints that Arden may still be as sinister (or more so) than we are expecting. I'm really starting to hate that guy.
This was also a big episode for Lange although in a very different way, as we see her once again on the outside instead of as the pious Sister Jude. I'm not quite sure why she suddenly decides to leave Briarcliff, assuming that she will indeed lose her job; I'm not a monsignor and I don't know how bureaucracy works in insane asylums, but I really think she still had a chance as Briarcliff's director. Old habits die hard, I suppose. The actress was nicely featured, specifically with attention grabbing camera angles and shots, as well as a rather nice monologue that was only slightly tarnished by the fact that she was talking about a dead baby squirrel.
The strange mutants made by Arden's experiments are real! At least Shelley (Chloë Sevigny) has become like Raspers, and much to my delight she was dumped next to a school playground. Tell me there has rarely been anything funnier in American Horror Story than a schoolyard full of screaming children. That scene was awesome, and to the show's credit, so was her make up.
When I say 'bloody,' you say 'face' - Bloody Face! Bloody Face! I think something along those lines is the cheer we're hearing all across the air these past two weeks with the true identity of our terrifyingly gruesome serial killer finally being revealed. Woozy and lustful fans of Kit (Peters) rejoice in his innocence (and the fact that Briarcliff didn't have him sterilized) and other fans that was as suspicious of Quinto as Horror Buff has been are patting themselves on the back. The good doctor - turned serial killer. These past few episodes, Thredson has been creepy to say the least, so it only makes sense that Quinto's change of character was leading up to something big. Since the Doctor's introduction this season he was either going to kill or be killed, so the surprise isn't really too great, although I admit I still was somehow wishing that Lana would escape. Thredson's home decor was so eerie, and I like the fact that some of these ideas are taken from real-life murderers like Gein. The worst part is when he wants to continue with Lana's therapy- bring on the horror!
You know by now I'm skeptic of alien abduction plots. This episode, however, really started warming me up to the idea of what has been going on. I like that we see Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) back aboard the ship, along with the surprise presence of Alma (Britne Oldford) who seems to have been eating too much during her abduction - just kidding she's pregnant! Omg never saw that coming! Just kidding again. Grace's brief and bright abduction sequence was vaguely reminiscent of this summer's Prometheus as far as uncomfortable cutting and operation tables go. I saw this bit as a sign of hope yet for Alma, Grace, and Kit.
Final critique: This was a good, nicely paced episode that introduced us to some different and playful camera angles and the old side of Sister Jude; it also gave us much-wanted answers, which will help push the plot along and keep viewers coming back for more. I am pleased with how the Anne Frank bit was resolved (or not), as well as with how Arden's identity is left open. Really good acting, good script writing, and good, juicy content this week. Looking forward to more, coming at you right now!