American Horror Story Review: A Briarcliff Christmas

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Christmas at Briarcliff was definitely an "Unholy Night" thanks to the evil-possessed soul of Sister Mary Eunice.

Instead of focusing on the scary, the story has shifted into a battle between good and evil with the sides becoming more clearly developed. Sister Mary Eunice versus Sister Jude. And, Dr. Thredson/Bloody Face versus Lana and Kit. Which side will the aliens end up on?

Santa At the Asylum

The evil force within Sister Mary Eunice is no longer operating in the shadows of Briarcliff, she is now acting out in the open and has gained Dr. Arden as an ally of sorts. When he went to see Sister Jude and sought her assistance to free the innocent Sister Mary Eunice, I bought into his changed man act. He had always been drawn to the young nun's pure and innocent soul and repudiated the new evil, ruby-loving nun. 

What a shock to find out he only brought Sister Jude back to Briarcliff so that Sister Mary Eunice could kill her. Wow. Dr. Arden continues to be a mystery. What did the evil sister promise him to gain his support? Perhaps, she had Frank killed to protect Dr. Arden's creature secret and that was enough to turn him. Whatever she did, it worked. He is on her side.

She also had the support of a killer Santa, who was locked away for years by Sister Jude. He was the perfect proxy to kill Sister Jude, unfortunately, his desire for revenge got in the way. Instead of just killing her, he tried to punish her first which provided the opportunity to take him out first. Sister Jude has blood on her hands for real this time, but it was a righteous kill. Sister Jude won this round, but the war is far from over.

Sister Mary Eunice wasn't the only evil at Briarcliff, Dr. Thredson returned in search of Lana. He got there just in time to stop her from calling the police and turning him in as Bloody Face. Just as Sister Jude survived her attack, so did Lana. She was able to turn the tables on Thredson with Kit's help. The doctor is now their prisoner in Briarcliff. It was nice to see Lana and Kit team up together; they are going to be a formidable pair. She gave him hope that his innocence could be proven.

When Kit was drugged up he dreamed of a pregnant Alma, but was it a dream? Or, was his conscientiousness transported to wherever the aliens are keeping her? Grace also saw a pregnant Alma in her vision. The aliens are perhaps the most confusing aspect of American Horror Story: Asylum. Since we know that Bloody Face is a killer, how do the aliens fit into the story? 

Will Dr. Arden become a believer of Kit's story now that he has seen Grace's body taken in a glow of light? I'm not so sure. I suspect that Dr. Arden will keep that incident to himself for now for fear of being committed himself if he revealed it. 

Christmas at Briarcliff permeated with evil, but in the end good triumphed despite the blood and death. Sister Jude is still alive, while Lana and Kit had a victory of their own. But, with American Horror Story change comes fast and in unexpected ways.

Odds and Ends

  • Lana's pregnant! Her stomach sickness further supports that she will bear Thredson's child. Will the baby be the future Bloody Face? Dylan McDermott, perhaps?
  • Who knew that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was controversial show when it first aired? I'm sure some people did, but I never would have guessed.
  • Killer Santa: There is no God, but there is a Santa Claus! | permalink
  • Ian McShane was brilliant as the killer Santa. He was frightening, crazy, and a believable chomping into a person. Gross, but believable. 
  • Is the Monsignor really so naive that he brought a glass star for the tree to an insane asylum? It never looked like a beautiful star, rather it was immediately a dangerous weapon. It was just a question of who would use it.
Did you enjoy Christmas at Briarcliff? Is there any hope of riding Sister Mary Eunice of the evil spirit within her? Is Lana pregnant? Any thoughts on the aliens?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

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


l M sorry boss you Ge me repose in the TV the
Object: Demande de stage Madame, Monsieur,
Caméraman de formation et en poste á I’ORTC, la chaine de television nationale de Comores, je viens pa la présente sollciter un séjour de stage au sein de votre chaîne afin de perfectionner mon savoir faire.


@Fatin I was also like 'WTH Christmas?'. I got a very strong notion of the movement of today with people wanting to put the 'Christ' back in Christmas. This was evident in the episode as Jude thought even Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tv special was a stain on religious beliefs. Or at least, 'her' beliefs. I found it echoed issues we have in the present. Or was I the only one that caught that? lol


Oh and BTW the monsignor so far is a waste of space.


The alien aspect bugged me SO much at the beginning I wasn't going to keep watching. I'm glad I did tho. Lily Rabe is FANTASTIC. She holds her own with Lange and that's amazing. I loved her face-offs--no pun intended --with Jude, Arden and especially the Angel of Death. This week I've got to confess, I totally bought Arden begging Jude for help. I was shocked by his betrayal of Jude. The Lana /Thretson storyline was also shocking. How the hell is he back inside and no one knows??? A minor quibble. I'm hooked aliens or not. And am I nuts or didn't Jude come face to face with a big old Independence Day-looking thing? Angels, aliens and demons oh my! LOL. I'm giving the genre-crossing a chance but...I hope the demon sicks the mutants on them. Oh yeah! Forgot about them! I hope they wrap it up well.
And for the record, I like this season but I loved last season.


Haha for me the episode started with "wtf are they doing to Christmas!" I was also thinking he was going to abuse the child in the beginning!
Lana was less annoying in this episode.
I agree the alien part is super confusing. And that it was a little difficult to believe that Sister Jude just took Dr Arden's word. I mean, a few episodes back she was all "YOU corrupted her" and now she's willing to believe he likes her all innocent.
And I hate Sister Mary Eunice. Well, the evil one.
And I do like that Dr. Arden's faith is being questioned. With a demonic sister, and Grace's body disappearing one can't but question what else there is out there in the world


This episode gave me chills down my spine. Though a great episode, I was not impressed with Sister Jude believing a word of Dr. Arden. I thought she had more common sense than that.
As for Lana, how much more can she be traumatized? I'm glad Kit burst in and saved her and they've both got Dr. Threadson tied up and gagged in a storage room. This should be interesting to see how it plays out. My initial thought was that they were going to save Sister Jude, but I guess not and now with the death of that 'Santa Claus', she has to face the repercussions of it.
All and all, a great episode and though I was expecting a bigger and anticipated episode, I'll take what I got seeing as Dylan McDermott is back next week and we'll be seeing Brooke Smith also.


Killer Santa. Really. How could Sister Jude possibly have believed a word of what Dr. Arden said? If she bought that then she may as well buy Kit's "I'm innocent" story and anything else she doubts very strongly. I still don't get where the aliens fit into any of this. Perhaps in an old religion vs. new age way of thinking? No idea though. This show is all over the place. While I am enjoying Jessica Lange's character, I still prefer the 1st season overall.


I liked this episode a lot. But...i did have a problem with the Santa sl. I really didn't get Bad Santa's way of thinking. I mean how do you go from commiting petty thefts to being a serial killer just because you were jail raped on Christmas day? I would have guessed it had sth to do with his childhood...but whatever.
Jude's confrontation with Santa was interesting to watch. Maybe now Sister Jude will start rethinking her peculiar methods of psychotherapy.
I still don't get the aliens sl. If it turns out to be sth stupid, like a finale where Kit leaves in a giant spaceship with Alma and Garce, i'll be so pissed!

Carla day

@Steve Now I must track down the preview. I hadn't seen that. Intriguing.


From the previews of the next episode it is obvious that Lana is pregnant & the child will be Dylan McDermott who in turn will be the bloody face in the present time, I really thought Sister Jude was gonna die for a second .. & for a minute there i thought they were gonna show a very awkward & disturbing child rape scene in the beginning with the Killer Santa & the little girl.. But all in all good episode.

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