American Horror Story Review: Freedom

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"Dark Cousin" was an odd episode of American Horror Story: Asylum - and not in the normal American Horror Story freaky, scary or horrific way. It felt like a transitional hour that moved characters from one place to another. In most cases, they moved physically, as opposed to forward.

Did the writers decide they didn't like where characters had ended up and decided to use the episode to reset the story?

Searching For a Dark Presence

The Dark Angel may have taken people to their death, but only those who called for her and were ready to die. Given the horrible conditions at Briarcliff and especially with Dr. Arden's torturous experiments, it's surprising the Dark Angel hasn't taken up a permanent residence at the institution. She first appeared to take Grace, who was bleeding out from what appeared to be a botched sterilization.

Then, Arthur called to her. He couldn't take the voices in his head any more and tried to kill himself with a meat slicer. Shockingly, they were able to stop the bleeding in time to save him. His desire to die was strong and he pulled out his stitches and received the Dark Angel's kiss. She's a reaper, but a benevolent one. She only took those who verified they were ready to go.

The showdown between the Dark Angel and Sister Mary Eunice was intriguing. They considered each other cousins of sorts. But whatever has possessed the sister is a fallen angel. The pure and innocent Sister Mary Eunice is still inside and fighting to get out.

The Dark Angel was not bound to Briarcliff. She also visited Lana in Oliver's basement, was there for the suicide of the driver, took the Nazi hunter, stopped by to visit Sister Jude at the diner and then returned to Briarcliff to kiss Grace to a peaceful end. She was quite busy.

Lana went from the horrors at Briarcliff... to those in Oliver's basement... to only escape and be returned to Briarcliff. She just can't catch a break, can she? I'm not sure that she will find life any better at Briarcliff, though she most likely won't be raped. When comparing tortures, I'm not sure which is worse, being raped or being experimented on by Dr. Arden. Poor Lana may be calling for the Dark Angel again soon.

While Lana's terrors continued to get worse, Sister Jude unexpectedly didn't find relief in her journey. In the context of the episode, the flashback to how Judy became Sister Jude didn't fit well. Despite that, it did provide a better picture of how far she had fallen before she hit the girl with her car. Throughout her life, she struggled and via her meeting with the Dark Angel, she was finally ready to move on.

She first needed to visit the girl's parents to get absolution of some sort. Only what she found was so much more. The girl she hit didn't die, she broke a few bones and grew up to be a mother. The Dark Angel said that "peace is so close." Will this revelation help Sister Jude move on? 

The closing scene was terribly sad. Kit escaped while meeting with his lawyer after being told that Grace wasn't doing well. He wanted to protect her, only his appearance at Briarcliff caused the opposite. Of course, he couldn't have known what would happen. Grace threw herself in front of a bullet meant for Kit.

Their love for each other has been the only good things to come out of Briarcliff and that is now gone. Will Kit be sent back to prison now? Or will he remain at Briarcliff. And where did that creature come from that Kit killed?

Dr. Arden may no longer have to worry about being blamed for Grace, but will he be revealed as the creator of these creatures?

Dark Angel: Are you ready for me?
Grace: Yes.
Grace: I'm free. | permalink

Grace may be free, but will the others ever be as fortunate?


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


@Fatin I agree about the wings, and Frances Conroy was stunning as this 'angel of death' character. I think she's always been around, but she became a plot piece now in the story because Briarcliff is essentially going to hell right now. lol I wondered about Shelley as well. I think she still had the will to live or the want to live, but ultimately her body made the decision for her. I wonder why it wasn't reported on, then again this was a time period in which being gay was considered a mental disease and a lot was swept under the rug. Or just not talked about openly. Was Jude the singer of an all black band? Am I the only one that caught on to the episodes title fitting in with the bandmates 'fat cousin' replacing Jude? lol


Change the header PLEASE.


This is getting a bit botched up but I still prefer it to the first season. What I did like was the wings. I loved how they popped up everytime.
But how did the dark angel suddenly show up? Was it because the guy summoned her? Or has she always been around? In which case, what did poor Shelley do?
I liked Grace. I wish she didn't die, but I prefer her death to Kit's.
I want a Mary Eunice vs Jude showdown.
And hells to the yes to Lana and Kit taking down Oliver.


I swear if Lana doesn't stop her blubbering I'll strangle her or cut her throat. I don't believe in guns though, they're bad.


@kate I took it to mean an evil to the demon that jumped into Sister Mary Eunice during the exorcism. The demon can't make the patients it's pawns if the Angel of Death is there to give those who summon her the kiss of death. The creatures that attacked Kit were of Dr. Arden's creation I believe. The ones Mary Eunice was feeding out in the woods. We know he was part of the whole Nazi regime, his wanting to create a race of people that could withstand disease isn't far of a stretch. Imo, the first season was so much better than this season. Serial killers, aliens, good and evil of religion. It all seems so scattered at times.


"I figured that Lana is gonna be pregnant & the child is gonna grow in Briarcliff & become the Bloody Face in the present time that killed those 3 fake Bloody Faces." I was thinking the same thing.


So this episode was interesting, the whole Dark Angle was creepy, the stuff with Sister Jude was boring, I was glad to see Kit again, that sex rape scene between Oliver & Lana was awkward, I figured that Lana is gonna be pregnant & the child is gonna grow in Briarcliff & become the Bloody Face in the present time that killed those 3 fake Bloody Faces.


So my issue was with the episode description that sister mary eunice sensed an evil in briarcliff...the angel of death is not evil and actually not good either she/he just assists natural selection along...and hate to throw my catechism at ya but a fallen angel is a demon which has always been the predominant theory about sister mary eunice. I actually found this episode rather sad. I am glad it seems Thredson and Kit will be in their at the same time because I think between Kit and Lana they can take Oliver down.

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