American Horror Story Review: Dear Iconic Diary...
Just when you think American Horror Story can't get any more weird or whacky... Anne Frank enters the Asylum.
Played by Franka Potente, the show's new inmate was bad news for Dr. Arden, but a positive addition for viewers, as she accused James Cromwell's unhinged physician of being a war criminal, opening up Season 2 beyond aliens and experiments and the mentally ill and into the world of... Nazism.
Yup, just another day on American Horror Story.
"I Am Anne Frank, Pt. 1" also featured two of the more disturbing scenes in series history, which is saying A LOT of course:
- Dr. Thredson attempting to "cure" Lana of her homosexuality. Like everything else this season, the eeriest aspect of this scene and storyline is that the belief that homosexuality is a sin and that it can be eliminated from one's soul is still prevalent in sectors of society today. We haven't come all that far from 1964, have we? Although the methods, as ridiculous as they may be today, don't involve touching both oneself and the "unit" of the opposite sex. Shudder. Here's what I want to know: what was the casting breakdown for the role of the naked man in this scene? Extra Wanted, Must Be Open to Nudity, Possess Toned Backside, Non-Speaking Role?
- The concluding shot of a dismembered Shelley. Damn. Damn. Damn. Chloe Sevigny was right: it gets far worse for her character. It's clear now what the creatures beyond the wall are, but it's very much unclear what the heck Dr. Arden is doing with them.
We also have no idea what is going on with Sister Mary Eunice, aside from an apparent takeover by The Devil. On this show, that may simply be the answer, huh?
Elsewhere, I enjoyed how the installment gave us insight into Lana's thinking, by taking us inside her imagination and her plans for exposing the institution for the deranged facility that it clearly is. If the reporter can pull this undercover mission off, forget the Pulitzer. They'll need to invent a new award for her.
The episode also delved deeply and darkly into Kit, raising the topic of whether he really is crazy and really did kill all those people, including his wife. This is dangerous terrain for a series to traverse. It risks toying with the audience by depicting scenes that never really happened.
We've now witnessed two versions of that night Kit's wife was killed - once by him and once when aliens supposedly touched down - and it's a confusing, unfair narrative tool to break out. It's a cheat, really. It's one thing to raise questions about a character or an event, but it's another to just throw up scenes on screen and make it impossible for viewers to know which are real.
We do at least know the real story behind Pepper now, although the show again depicted a different backstory at first. She's a killer, but one fueled by revenge following years of abuse. It's not especially original, but the flashbacks were nice and chilling.
Finally, the major reveal was that Monsignor Howard is working with Dr. Arden. He's aware of his Nazi past. I like it. I'm intrigued. I'd have to imagine these two have some warped vision for the future and how their mangled patients/creatures will better humanity in some way. That's what Hitler thought of his Master Race, of course. It's as disturbing of a concept as it gets, people taking it upon themselves to cleanse the human race.
In other words: it fits in perfectly with what we've seen so far on American Horror Story: Asylum.