TV Review – AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM – “Madness Ends”

The end is here friendos.  I’m going to do a small recap of last week’s “Continuum” and then a review/recap of the grand finale “Madness Ends”.  So be forwarned…Spoiler Alert!!!

As I said last week “Continuum” dealt with our major characters in a different way.  First off was Kit.  He was living “hippily” ever after with Alma, Grace and their kiddos Julia and Thomas.  Grace drew some incredible pics of the aliens and Alma was freaking out.  When Kit was having a deep conversation with Grace, Alma snuck up on them and buried an ax in Grace’s back.  I for one was shocked at this development.  I thought Grace was the only ax murderer in the family.  The next part of the story concerns Sister Jude, Judy Martin and Betty Drake…all the same person in case you didn’t catch on.  We found out just how fried Jude’s brain was.  She envisioned herself as the queen of Briarcliff Castle, and Candy Land, with Pepper as her right-hand woman.  She also received a promise from Monsignor Howard, who is leaving the Cliff to become Cardinal of New York.  When the church donates the asylum to the state she sees that one of the patients looks just like the angel of death!  My head was spinning and then we realize that Jude is really sitting in her old office, in a straitjacket this time, and the new “warden” is reminding her that Pepper died shortly after the takeover and Cardinal Howard hasn’t been to Briarcliff in over two years.

 

So much for a hippy, or happy, family.

So much for a hippy, or happy, family.

Finally we see Lana, looking very composed reading from her book entitled “Maniac:  One Woman’s Story of Survival”.  She has three visitors, the first two ghosts from her past.  Dr. Thredson and her lover Wendy basically ask why she wrote so much bullshit.  In my opinion the ghost of Dr. Thredson, and Lana’s guilty conscience perhaps, tells Lana, “You’re only interested in one thing…fame.”  When we see the third blast from the past, Kit, we find out just how much of a fame whore Lana has become.  She brags to Kit that she was on the Dick Cavett (Google it young ones) and that she sold the rights to her book and wonders who will play her in the movie.  I was so disappointed with her attitude, and so was Kit.  He relays what happened to Grace and Alma.  After killing Grace Alma was sent to, you guessed it, Briarcliff.  After a brief stay there her heart simply stopped.  After claiming her body Kit sees Jude in the common room.  She tells him, in the only small moment of levity in the episode that THE FLYING NUN has stolen her hat but she insists that she will still fly free from the asylum.  Kit comforts her by saying that he believes she will.  After Lana hears all this Kit angrily asks her why she didn’t do as she promised by exposing Briarcliff and helping Jude.  She smugly states that Jude made all the beds in that asylum and she needs to sleep in them.  Damn it Lana!  In the final scene Lana and Dr. Thredson’s hate/rape child goes to a defunct book store and finally terrorizes the owner to give up her signed copy of Lana’s book.  He plans to finish what his father never got the chance to…

"Pardon me while I argue with my conscience and the ghosts of my past."

“Pardon me while I argue with my conscience and the ghosts of my past.”

Now we’ll move on to the finale “Madness Ends”.  Again, if you haven’t watched yesterday’s episode yet, don’t read the next bit or you will know how everything turns out, and that wouldn’t be much fun now would it?

We begin where we left off last episode with Johnny, a.k.a. Baby Bloody Face, touring the ruins of Briarcliff while listening to an audio book of one of his mama Lana’s other works.  We also find out who ripped off Leo’s arm, of the haunted honeymoon couple that began this entire season.  Guess who?  Yes it was Johnny with a machete, not much of a shocker eh?  The meat of our story takes place in the present day with Lana in her seventies.  She has granted an interview to discuss her many exposes but the interviewer is mostly interested in Briarcliff and Bloody Face of course.  Since the last episode Kit’s disapproval of her handling of the promise she made forced her to redeem herself.  We see her and her crew as they sneak in through the death chute to find many patients uncared for, some with feces on their bodies.  Ewww and double ewww!  When an orderly finally does come to check on his charges Lana demands that she be taken to Judy Martin’s cell.   Jude is no longer there but Lana Banana gains some interesting knowledge from Jude’s old office.

Lana makes her way back to Kit’s house with the camera in tow and asks who Betty Drake is.  Kit lets her in sans camera or crew and the duo catch up again.  After losing Alma to the asylum Kit began visiting with Jude at least once a week.  After some time and with not too much effort Kit signs “Betty Drake” out of the asylum and welcomes her into his home.  Kit explains to Lana that he didn’t do it for himself, but for his children.  He tells her that he needed someone to forgive in order to get on with his own life.  After Jude goes through detox she begins to go back to her old ways by screaming at the kiddies and chasing after them, and Kit, with a broom.  One day the children take Jude by the hand and lead her off into the woods.  Kit doesn’t witness this but when they bring her back she becomes a loving “nana” to the kids, even teaching the family to swing dance.  It was a lovely moment but I knew my waterworks were about to turn on in a major way.  He tells Lana “I don’t know if those last six months made up for a lifetime of horrors but she sure seemed happy.”  Wah!  In an extremely touching scene we see the angel of death for the final time and Jude is ready for her at last.  Her final words were “Kiss me.”

Back in the present after Lana requests a short break in the interview and receives a bottle of sparkling water from…her son Johnny!…she retells the fate of Cardinal Howard.  After ambushing him in a parking garage on Easter Sunday, Lana throwing a barrage of hard hitting questions at him-that he of course wouldn’t answer-his conscience got the best of him and he bled out into his tub.  We also hear of Kit and his family’s fates.  His son became a law professor and his daughter a neurosurgeon.  Kit contracts pancreatic cancer and although it is treated with chemotherapy it is just a waiting game.  One day he simply disappeared leaving no trace.  We the audience get to see the now familiar bright flashing lights.  Kit is being taken back home and in my opinion, he was an alien all along.  His children tell Lana there is no need to mourn him.

After that emotional reveal present-day Lana gives up her last ghost to the interviewer.  As Johnny sits patiently in the next room menacingly eating a pastry she confesses that her child did not die in child book as she previously stated in her book.  She even admits to having a moment of remorse and she uses her superior sleuthing skills to track down her preteen aged son.  She scares off a bully in the schoolyard and gently cups his face.  That was the last she saw of him…until now.   After the TV crew leaves Lana calmly walks over to her bar, removes two rocks glasses, pours the drinks and says, “Let’s get this over with”.

"Is this interview over?  I still have my baby boy to take care of."

“Is this interview over? I still have my baby boy to take care of.”

During the tense final minutes we learn how Johnny learned of his roots.  After that fateful day on the playground with Lana he began telling anyone who would listen that that was his mama.  When she wrote her first book Maniac he learned who his father was.  After years of speculating Ebay produced the final piece of the bloody puzzle.  He purchased his daddy’s Bloody Face confession there.  Johnny begins having a tantrum and puts a gun to his mommy’s forehead.  He tries to remain full of rage, but Lana softens him up with words like “baby” and phrases like “your father was a monster, you are nothing like him”.  Clever girl Lana.  As she coaxes him she gently lowers the gun.  He breaks down further as Lana tells him that none of this is his fault, then she raises the gun and shoots her baby boy between the eyes.  After this triumph, if you can call it that, we rewind back to the first episode when Lana first enters Briarcliff to get an interview with Bloody Face.  As Sister Jude shoos her away she tells Lana that she is out of her depth and that “If you look in the face of evil, evil’s gonna look right back at you”.  We end with that oft loathed song “Dominique” that played relentlessly in the common room.

Whew that was a doozy!   I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this finale.  I bawled like a baby when Jude received her kiss of death and finding out about Kit’s demise…or return to the mother ship.  It somewhat left me with a sense of hope but for me things almost got wrapped up too perfectly.  Don’t get me wrong friendos, I absolutely appreciated yet another beautifully shot episode but my problem was…there was nothing shocking about it.  Last year I had a lot of what the ‘f’ moments.  This year I guessed pretty much everything.  This was a season of excellent story telling, but the finale left me wanting more.  You can call me greedy but that’s how I feel.  I’m happy that Jessica, Sarah and Evan will be back next year though.  What did you think of the finale?  Please let me know, and thanks for reading!

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