American Horror Story Review: "The Name Game" (Episode 2.10)
American Horror Story kicked off the new year by killing off two major characters and giving viewers a twisted musical number straight out of a bizarro Glee.
The Monsignor has lived. Yes, he was visited by the Angel of Death, but only so she could tell him that the Devil was at Briarcliff in the form of Sister Mary Eunice. Poor Monsignor tries to cast the Devil out, but he’s the definition of the flesh being weak. The Devil seduces him and he ends up having sex with her. So that doesn’t exactly work out.
The Monsignor apologizes to Jude who tells him the only option is to kill Sister Mary Eunice, which he finally does by throwing her off the railing. Dr. Arden takes her body to the crematorium (raise your hand if you kept expecting her to wake up) and sends himself into the fire too.
Are Dr. Arden and Sister Mary Eunice really dead? I’m doubtful. This is, after all, a show where presumed dead characters are very much alive and having alien babies. But if Sister Mary Eunice is indeed dead, it’s a puzzling plot decision. I’m fine with never seeing Dr. Arden again. Even with James Cromwell’s performance, Arden was always kind of a one-note villain to me. But Lily Rabe’s devilish nun is the breakout character of the season. Rabe approached the role with such delight. Do people still use the word “hoot?” Because Rabe was a hoot to watch. It seems short-sighted to kill her off with three more episodes to go.
With Arden and the not-so-good Sister gone, the show is left with Dr. Thredson as its primary villain. But Thredson seems to just be hanging around to spout of the occasional dastardly statement. He was better when we didn’t know why he was creepy. Now that we know he’s Bloody Face, he’s not all that interesting anymore. He’s letting Lana live because she’s pregnant with his baby, blah, blah, blah. But Dr. Thredson was rather forward thinking for his time. He tells Lana he’ll keep her alive for a year after the baby is born because the health benefits of breastfeeding are “myriad.” Serial killer who moonlights as a breastfeeding advocate. Good times.
One of my favorite moments of the episode came when Lana tells Thredson that if anything happens to Kit she’ll make sure people find out he’s Bloody Face. “You know I can do it Oliver. I’m goddamn plucky, remember,” she tells him. Lana is plucky, and I’m just so happy that the entire season didn’t turn out to be one long sequence of Lana being tortured. It’s a credit to Sarah Paulson’s performance that no matter how ridiculous American Horror Story has gotten, I’ve always believed in Lana.
But as Lana has risen, Jude continues on her descent. She’s losing her mind due to electro-shock therapy. When Lana asks her if she knows her name, Jude breaks out into Shirley Ellis’ “The Name Game.” It was a really fun number and the juxtaposition of Lange dolled up as a ’60s singer with the bedraggled patients providing back-up was, I’ll go ahead and use that word again, a real hoot. Lange vacillates between Sister Jude’s despair and her fantasy sequences with an inspired grace. I’m hoping Sister Jude survives just like Lange’s character did last season.
With most of the show’s other mysteries revealed, all viewers are really left with is the alien storyline which, unfortunately, has been the least interesting plot point this entire season. Although I did love Pepper (Naomi Grossman) as Grace’s protector. Is Grace having an alien baby? The devil’s baby? Is it her baby who actually grows up to be Bloody Face?
Here’s hoping Sister Mary Eunice returns from the dead next week.