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American Horror Story: Asylum S2E9 ‘The Coat Hanger’ Recap

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SPOILERS

2012

A fidgety, scruffy man named Johnny Morgan arrives at his therapy appointment, seeking to curb compulsions. Even as a child he had scary impulses, not the masturbatory kind as his female therapist assumes, but impulses to skin dead animals. Soon he started killing and skinning them. He was caught and quickly returned by his foster family. You see, Johnny is an orphan. He learned to hide his problem so he could fit in to society. Did everyone notice the continued theme of red with the doctor’s sweater? Blood truly begets blood this season.

Serving time in prison for armed robbery, Johnny researched his genealogy to find his real parents. He had to know what made him this way, and demands his now nervous doctor for help. The voices tormenting him with impulses have only gotten worse, demanding him to retrace his roots. He moves into his father’s former home and finds his thoughts are getting specific. Not only is he to hurt women, but skin them. Flashback to a frustrated Johnny pulling the Bloody Face mask off as a bound girl is screaming for her life. Being skinned alive isn’t very easy when you don’t share your father’s medical background. He tells his doctor his name is Thredson. “I’m the son of Bloody Face.” How very clever and effective to introduce McDermott on the couch and not behind the authority of his desk.

1964

A nun leads Lana into Sister Satan’s office, of course the nun doesn’t knock – shades of Sister Jude. Even Lana tells her the Jude impression is spot-on. Sister Satan informs Lana Banana that rabbit done died, and she’s serving out her nine moths at Briarcliff regardless of Lana’s want to be rid of the thing inside her. A ray of sunshine: everyone thinks Lana is cured of her evil homosexuality. Lana admits her Thredson allegations must have been from stress and trauma. The Devil hands Lana a sheet of paper and dismisses her. She looks at the sheet and faints.

Jude’s hazy eyesight returns in time to see the blurred Monsignor. She listens to his words carefully, insisting the stress of running Briarcliff hasn’t gotten to her. She grimaces when she learns Frank is dead in the midst of her alleged paranoia. Evil Santa, Leigh, testifies that he saw Jude slash Frank’s throat. A meek “Sister Mary” explains that Jude kidnapped Leigh, demanding her to seek Dr. Arden. Arden explains the situation was dire and even “bedlam” – immediate action was taken instead of phoning the police. Nuns come forward to confess Jude’s accusation that Mary is possessed, the straight razor incident is explained, adding that Jude reeked of liquor during her reported spree. It was painful to hear Monsignor explain to the restrained Jude that her remaining years to be served out at Briarcliff, her title and glory erased, she is now simply “Judy Martin…patient.” Good Lord, Lange is a phenom. I’m sure I love her.

The Monsignor and Satan have an odd conversation about Jude’s remaining red négligée. He confides that he and Jude had a shared vision. Satan expresses her need to serve Monsignor in his time to shine, offering him her support all the way to his dream of being a Pope. Great plot from the devil himself – influencing the most powerful religious organization in the world from within. Will she see her plan hatch?

Lana arrives back at her room with a coat hanger smuggled from the kitchen. Before the commercial, she begins to straighten it. Ugh. Jude isn’t doing well. Monsignor invites Leigh to come speak with her. “I forgive you.” Leigh says. We’re treated to a flashback of Jude’s harsh demeanor all the times Leigh crossed her path at Briarwood.

Fucking Kit. I’m terrified for him and Lana continuously. Lana comes to Kit, suggesting Thredson be killed. Kit, however, he needs a confession from Doctor Bloody Face to be exonerated. Down in the death schute, Arden finds alien footprints, proving that Grace’s vanishing body happened the way he assumed.

Lana brings Oliver some water and “the ultimate cosmic joke” – the news that she’s preggo. The jokes on Thredson since Lana wants it out of her. He begs for the kid to not be given away, but he loses it when Lana slips out of her panties and goes for the coat hanger.She uses it more for Thredson’s torture and inspiration than sending it up the ‘ol cooch. Good news for everyone. She demands he tell her the reasons for killing the women he came across. He admits one had great skin, comparing it to peach fuzz. He wanted to feel it. He claims Wendy never loved Lana. She relishes in Oliver’s pain, telling how she shoved the coat hanger inside, watching the blood go from a trickle to a flow, taking great delight in hurting Thredson. The jokes on Oliver because the thing confession was recorded on audio. Go, Banana.

Arden discover kit in the bath room and welcomes him back to his office. Oddly kind, he offer Kit 18-year-old scotch and a smoke. Arden knows Kit’s been telling the truth about the aliens. He admits they took Grace and he wants answers. He asks Kit if they had sex before Alma and Grace were taken. Arden thinks the aliens are studying people like Kit, going as far to say Kit the experiment would cause the creatures to return if he neared death. Of course, Arden asks for Kit’s cooperation, but not permission. “Well, Mr. Walker, prepare to die.” Kit wants to see Alma and along with it. Lana Banana is still sneaking around Braircliff the entire time.

Leigh meets Monsignor inside the sanctuary where he discusses forgiveness with Leigh, offering to baptize the criminal. They step inside the pool and Leigh forsakes Satan and declares his new love for God. Awesome slow motion scene as Leigh goes under and returns to slam Monsignor into the water. Saw that coming a mile away. Alone and with the means to kill? Count on it.

Lana takes a trial one with her all in one coat hanger, proving it’s more than a match for a pillow case. She returns to the room where Thredson is bound, ready to make good on her promise to kill him, surprise – no Oliver in sight. Lana goes on the hunt, allowing the show to treat us to amazing tilted shots of Briafcliff’s never-ending sterile-green corridors. Lana runs right into Sister Satan and immediately accuses her of letting Bloody Face go. She takes the coat hanger away from Lana, and learns Lana already did the deed. Or did she? The fallen angel places his hand on Lana’s stomach and feels the life still beating. Interesting that she says “Praise God.” How appropriately blasphemous. Sister Satan even tells her to expect a boy.

2012

An overweight therapy patient walks into the doctor’s office to find her slaughtered. Thredson Jr. is happy to have more company. If anything seemed more weird or out of place tonight, it was Judy’s unceremonious arrival to Briarcliff’s common room where she shares a smoke with Lana. Jude apologizes to Lana for her treatment, agreeing that her actions were criminal, and wants to make it up to her. Jude wants to bust Lana out and decides to gain her trust to ease her promise.

Back in Arden’s lab, he’s preparing to inject Kit with the correct cocktail of death-inducing drugs. He has the life-saving drugs on hand and explains how he’ll bring him back from the edge. One Pulp Fiction-esque injection later, Kit is walking between the worlds. The lights immediately begin to flicker. We have visitors. Arden walks into a lit up cell where the newly returned Pepper is sitting on the floor. She turns and says “The baby’s full-term. It won’t be long.” In the corner behind Pepper is a woman with her head down – the alive and extremely preggo Grace. Pepper agrees to look after her. Awkward.

We find our favorite Angel of Death returning tonight. Monsignor is found crucified in the sanctuary, struggling for life when she arrives. “Help me.” he says. “I’m here.” The Angel responds.

And scene. Well, this was certainly an illuminating episode was it not? There was a lot going on, so much to pay attention to. No one character blew me away tonight, leaving me feeling a little fragmented at times, but still offering a dramatic and powerful mid-season finale. What did you guys think?

SUPER INSANE SPOILER ALERT

Half the cast dies in episode ten. For reals.

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1 Comment on American Horror Story: Asylum S2E9 ‘The Coat Hanger’ Recap

  1. Go Banana! Love it. This episode didn’t wow me when I watched it, but after a little rumination I liked it.

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