American Horror Story: “Unholy Night” (Episode 2.08)

TV Reviews american horror story
American Horror Story: “Unholy Night” (Episode 2.08)

Oh, you better watch out! You better cry. Because Santa Claus is coming to Briarcliff.

Leave it to American Horror Story to turn Christmas into an absolutely horrific hour. The possessed Sister Mary Eunice decorated a tree with snippets of hair and syringes (I guess there were no Hallmark Keepsake ornaments back then?) while guest star Ian McShane turned in a creepy performance as a killer Santa.

Sister Mary Eunice springs criminally insane patient Lee Emerson from solitary confinement and has him dress up as Santa for the Briarcliff Christmas party. Looking like he could use a good scrubbing, McShane is over-the-top crazy. His best moments came at the top of the hour, which flashed back to Lee’s original crime. Lee murders an entire family because they had way too many Christmas decorations. (He might have some issues with my neighbors too, but I digress). We later learned that he killed 18 people from five families in one night.

Sister Jude, who has become the true hero of this story, returns to Briarcliff to confront the Devil. “You’re using Mary Eunice, her purity as a shield,” Jude informs her. But the Devil throws Sister Jude out. Meanwhile Dr. Arden gifts Sister Mary Eunice with a beautiful pair of ruby earrings that belonged to a concentration camp victim. In another stellar scene for Lily Rabe, Sister giggles with delight at how the jewels bring out the rose in her cheeks. And Dr. Arden realizes that she’s the real deal. While he was hoping for “a glimmer of that pathetic girl,” no part of Sister Mary Eunice is left there. She tells Dr. Arden he must decide. Either he’s with her or against her. Hmmm . . . which direction do you think Arden decided to go in?

Dr. Arden visits Sister Jude claiming he needs her help. “I never thought I would see it. The day you and I would work together,” Sister Jude tells him. But Dr. Arden is the third-most evil person on the show. The whole thing was a set-up. He double-crosses Sister Jude, who finds herself trapped in a room with an out-for-vengeance Santa. Ever resourceful, Sister Jude stabs Santa with a letter opener. Round One: Religion over demented, secular Santa. McShane will be back next week, so we’ll get to see how the rest of their confrontation plays out.

When we last see Dr. Arden, he is taking Grace down the death chute when bright lights flash and it appears the aliens have taken her cold, dead body. She and Alma also appear to Kit in a dream, and they are both pregnant. So who knows what this wackadoodle show is planning here. Alien babies? Anything is possible.

While Arden and the Devil are concerning themselves with Sister Jude, Lana finally puts everything together. She discovers Kit in the infirmary and thinks it’s odd that he’s there given that there’s a manhunt going on for him. “If they don’t know you’re here, they don’t know about me either,” Lana realizes. She tells Kit she knows he’s not Bloody Face and then sets about finding a phone. (Lana so could have used modern technology and a smartphone: “Help. Trapped at Briarcliff. #ThredsonisBloodyFace.”)

But, of course, Thredson has returned to Briarcliff, and he’s not happy. “You made me kill Bloody Face,” he seethes at Lana before telling her that her face will be the new skin of Bloody Face. But just when it looks like there is no hope for poor Lana, Kit whacks him in the head. Lana wants to kill Thredson, which frankly is not a bad idea considering he seems fairly obsessed with her. Kit reminds Lana that Thredson is the only thing standing between him and the electric chair. “One day I’ll bury you,” Lana tells a bound and gagged Thredson. Can’t wait, Lana, can’t wait.

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