Wednesday, 21 November 2012

‘American Horror Story,’ Season 2, Episode 6, ‘The Origins of Monstrosity’: TV Recap

This week’s episode is called “The Origins of Monstrosity.” Some of the human monsters’ motivations are revealed (nothing on the aliens and their unhappy childhoods, yet).

The framing device returns, as a 911 call summons police to the ruins of Briarcliff. Police find hanging bodies wearing Bloodyface masks.

A little girl, who resembles PattyMcCormack as Rhoda in “The Bad Seed,” with long braids, is brought by her mother to Briarcliff. Mrs. Reynolds suspects that her daughter Jenny killed her friend Josie. Jude tells her that Briarcliff lacks a children’s ward, but the mother abandons the girl when Jude is not looking.

Thredson’s mommy issues are next. Lana wakes up in her own room: but it’s not, just a replica Thredson built in the white-tiled dungeon. He’s made her tomato soup and a croquet monsieur, which is what he supposes her mother made for her after school. His own mommy never made it for him, because she abandoned him to a strict orphanage when she was Lana’s age. Psycho or not, it has to be said that Quinto is hot in the Marlon Brando undershirt. When she praises his act of kindness for the sandwich, he laughs and cries: “You’re the one!” Aw, he’s a Lost Boy, who wants a Mother. He tells her how in medical school he realized he craved “skin to skin contact.” But a cadaver smelled of formaldehyde, and just didn’t do it for him, so we see his first woman-flaying.

The Monsignor, we learn, got sucked into the evil that is Gruper by wanting to believe the ends justify the means, and by wanting to be in Rome. Summoned to the hospital to give last rites to a monstrous woman, he recognizes her as Shelley, and he (and we) flashback to 1962 to his first meeting with Arden. The church had bought Briarcliff and Arden was about to be kicked out, but he told the Monsignor about how his experiments on live subjects would be for the greater good, and could even lead to Rome. A successful tempt, for a man who wasn’t the devil. In the present, the Monsignor mercy-strangles Shelley with his rosary beads, and confronts Arden.

Arden proudly shows the Monsignor a mutilated man, a new human being who will be able to survive nuclear attacks. Although the Monsignor is horrified, Arden reminds him they are in this together, and have a common enemy.

Meanwhile, Bad Seed Jenny bonds with Sister Mary Eunice, who is chopping up vegetables. Mary Eunice casually admits that she is the devil, that there is no God. She tells Jenny she is special for following her impulses. Flashback to young Mary Eunice (she too kept her own name) at a pool party, tricked into dropping her robe, naked, when every other girl wore a bathing suit. She’s humiliated.

The Monsignor tells Jude she’s being transferred to a home for wayward girls in Pittsburgh. Jude yells at him that this is about Dr. Arden, and she’s right of course. Jude earlier received a call from Goodman the Nazi hunter informing her that Arden was really was an S.S. officer, and a doctor at Auschwitz, who received a Red Cross pass to travel as Arthur Arden. Goodman needs a fingerprint to match the document.

Mary Eunice visits Jude, ostensibly to tell her about Mrs. Reynolds returning to pick up Jenny, but really to pry, and steal Jude’s red slip. While Jude is persuading Arden to drink a toast, Mary Eunice dances, hilariously, to Lesley Gore singing “You don’t own me.” She pretends to be Jude when Goodman calls. Uh oh. Soon Mary Eunice visits Goodman in his motel room. By the time Jude gets there, with a fingerprinted glass, Goodman is twitchily dying. Before he expires, he tells her it was “the nun.”

Jacinta Stapleton Portia De Rossi

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