bill bodkin breaks out of the asylum…
It would not be a stretch to say that American Horror Story: Asylum just completed one of the most brilliant, most well-written and most suspenseful seasons in recent television history.
The show created fascinating characters, evoked career-defining performances and no matter what, kept things spine-tinglingly tense and riveting. The show was able to conclude major story arcs which had dominated the bulk of the series, with episodes to spare and did not loose any creative steam. In fact, this added to the show’s mystique — just how in the world could this season end?
The ending, in true AHS fashion, was completely unexpected and completely twisted. The entire episode is told by Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), who is being interviewed as a part of her being selected for the Kennedy Center Honors as an investigative journalist. Through her answers we discover the fate of Kit Walker (Evan Peters) and more importantly Sister Jude/Judy Martin (Jessica Lange).
There’s an absolutely breathtaking shot in the death sequence of Sister Jude. As the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) goes in to deliver her literal kiss of death, the entire screen goes black except for Jude, her bed and the Angel. It gives you goosebumps and is just the perfect way to capture the end of one of TV’s most memorable nuns.
Of, we’re given the conclusion to the ‘Son of Bloody Face’ story arc, as it seems Dylan McDermott’s killer has made his way onto the set of Lana’s interview. The fact you know he’s onset makes you tense throughout the entire episode — when is his bloody and uncontrollable meth-fueled rage and revenge be sprung upon the aged Lana?
The ending — we’re not going to spoil it here, but trust us when we say it is completely out of left field and completely in tune with everything you’ve come to expect from American Horror Story: Asylum.
Yet, all we’ve spoken about in this review is the storyline. We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the strength of the performances throughout the series.
The stand-out, to this reviewer, is Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters. Yes, Jessica Lange, was beyond thunderdome amazing, but Paulson is the real break-out star of this show. We see so many sides of Lana throughout the series — the victim, the ambition-filled star, the crusader, the famed-hungry author, the friend and the villain. Her turns are the most unexpected and Paulson, a truly underrated actress, kills it at every turn. And in the finale, Paulson is the driving force. Watching her in action is just breathtaking. And while Lange will more than likely receive the lion share of acclaim and accolades for the show come TV award season, Paulson is the one, in the end, who steals the show.
If you missed American Horror Story: Asylum for one reason or the other, you have to make it a point of catching one of the finest television series in modern television on DVD as soon as humanly possible. It’s a remarkable show that executes in every facet and has you riveted with every episode.