Saturday, February 2, 2013

American Horror Story: Asylum - 2x13 Madness Ends (season 2 finale)

By Sati. Saturday, February 2, 2013 , ,
Madness Ends marks the conclusion to American Horror Story season 2. Very cinematic and at times moving finale was infinitely better than the one we got last year. We began as Johnny, modern day Bloody Face and Lana and Thredson's son walks around the Asylum where his parents met. We also got another look at the opening of the season when two unlucky newlyweds met Bloody Face.

Through the entire finale we were going back at forth to modern times when elderly and now very famous Lana Winters is being interviewed. We saw parts of her documentary that exposed the abuse in Briarcliff. One of Lana's best memories was fabricated - Atonement style - when she said she rescued Sister Jude from the Asylum. We also see how much the things in Briarcliff deteriorated when the patients were basically left alone as there wasn't enough staff to take care of them.
In reality it was Kit who rescued Jude and brought her home with him. Jude recovered a little from the horrors she endured in Briarcliff - with the help of Kit's kids who took her to the woods were Aliens, presumably, helped her. Jude passed away after few months when she finally accepted the kiss of death from the angel. The whole conclusion to the aliens storyline was as unimpressive as this whole story arc - the kids grew up to be a doctor and a lawyer. What? That's it?

I can see where Murphy was going with it - you know, the mystery angle. He left things opened ended - as Kit who suffered from cancer was simply taken by the Aliens. But the amount of time that was wasted on this whole thing could really be used on something better. However, I do find it fascinating how both seasons ended with special kids who are out there somewhere in the world - we have the Antichrist in season 1 and now two kids created by aliens.
All this time would have been better spent on developing Arden's storyline a bit more - the whole Raspers plot really went nowhere and nothing bigger came out of it, unless you count Monsignor's suicide in the finale. This could have been easily connected with Satan if they only made the possession thing last longer and perhaps Satan would be in Monsignor now. This could have led to much better conclusion than the one we got for Arden, Monsignor and Sister Mary Eunice. But I do have to mention one absolutely golden moment involving Monsignor from the finale - Lana and the camera crew are chasing him in the parking lot asking all sorts of questions and he gets in the car and shouts "Happy Easter!". That was fucking hilarious.

The whole thing with Mary has gotta be the least impressive plan Satan ever had in cinematic/television world. Other than tormenting those in Briarcliff nothing bigger ever happened. So that was Satan's big plan? To make fun of nuns and one Nazi, dance a little bit and fuck one priest? Woah, hold on with that world domination! I really hope Murphy focuses more on certain story lines in season 3 and just drops those there is simply no time for, because with 13 episodes even when the pace of them is so fast you really don't have enough time to fully use all those ideas.
But the finale was as good as it could have been. It didn't leave many loose ends and the scenes with Kit and Jude were very moving - I adored the music used in their scenes and I still don't know what it was, which bugs me as it was a great choice of track to play in the background. I also like how Kit and Lana remained friends and that he found happiness in the end and became a very decent and compassionate man.

The best part of the finale - also the best part of the season - was the character of Lana Winters. This is, hands down, the best character Ryan Murphy has ever written. She is such a complex person - there seems to be a very mixed response to her character and some people even call her evil. I really admired Lana - she was never really a victim because she kept on fighting no matter what. She did what she had to do to get what she wanted - even if what she wanted was fame and through that - happiness. Who can blame her? It's not like she is Paris Hilton, people.
The finale added so much to her character - I was very impressed by how clever and calculating she was. At one point of the interview we see that Johnny is there and he obviously intends to kill her. Lana then tells a story of suffering remorse after she gave her child up - at first you may think she says that because it was true but as much as maybe she did suffer remorse I doubt she lost sleep over it. She went back (looking more like Lana Del Rey than ever) and found Johnny and even met him, not telling him who she was.

In the end of the episode it is revealed that Lana knew Johnny was coming for her, because the police told her about the new Bloody Face and even showed her his picture. She didn't tell them it was her son because she had a plan. She said that whole story about suffering remorse so he would hear her and then manipulates him into thinking she cared about him and takes his gun from him. She kills him and I'm sure it will be her new story - she will probably call the police and reveal the truth, probably even write another book about how she killed yet another Bloody Face in self defence.
I really loved how the conclusion of the finale was handled - while I did feel bad for Johnny who was destined to have a horrible life and it would have been much better if Lana never gave birth to him, I can't really hate Lana for what she did. He killed and skinned women so I don't think compassion is the emotion we should have towards him. And just like with his father Lana wanted him dead and didn't hesitate to serve the justice herself.

The ending scene was genius and it initially left me confused because for a second I thought Lana made everything up. Then it occurred to me that this scene took place right before Lana saw Kit on the stairs of Briarcliff in the very first episode. She snack back in later on and got caught, but she was taking immense risk. She was willing to take it just to make her dreams of being a famous writer come true. All that evil Lana saw left a mark on her - after all she was willing to look her own child right in the eye and pull the trigger. She clearly lost a lot of conscience through all of that and that evil took a big part of her innocence. She became cold, driven and yes, much, much stronger in the process. I really doubt if Murphy will ever be able to create such a great protagonist again. Sarah Paulson deserves all the possible awards for her performance here - as much as James Cromwell and Lily Rabe were the scene stealers of the season, she was really continuously amazing and became a true anchor of the second season never making her character into one dimensional caricature.

Initially Murphy wanted to link both season - he wanted Johnny to change his name to Ben Harmon in the finale. That would not work as even if Ben was a cheater we never saw him as a psycho killer or were even given a slight hint he may have been one in the past. I like how the seasons aren't linked because with the same actors playing different parts it would get a bit too confusing. However, the special kids thing is pretty cool and I like the idea of something supernatural being unleashed in the world somewhere and how each season is kinda an origin story of that, with all that darkness and evil surrounding the birth.

As for season 3-  it will start in October and we still don't know what the main arc will be. As I type these words Ryan Murphy is working on the scripts. Some say New Orleans and voodoo. Some say Salem witch trials. And others say political family which got the reins of power with the help of witchcraft - which sounds pretty awesome. What we know for sure - Evan Peters, Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe are coming back. Wonderful Taissa Farmiga from season 1 will appear again. And Murphy says that the third season will be "dark, funny and glamorous". I can't wait.

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9 comments:

  1. I'm skipping this post, as I just started Season 1 of American Horror Story last night. What a spectacularly fucked up show! :-)

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    1. AWESOME! I hope you'll like it! The pilot episode actually has one of the scariest scenes - the one in the basement O_o

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  2. I'm convinced I need to watch this show.

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    1. It's really insane :) I think you would like it - it's like a mix of great acting, cheesy camp and surreal fucked up ideas :)

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  3. Wow. Was not anticipating Sarah Paulson being that calculated and devious.

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    1. It was really an awesome twist. I loved Lana so much!

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  4. I know it's a horror story but so much of it was so gross to watch before I went to sleep, I gave up halfway through this season. Also, I don't trust Murphy since Nip/Tuck. He creates something and never knows how to take it episode to episode; so much of it was overtly grotesque with seemingly no point. Reading this, I'm happy something (Lana) came out interesting. I might have to watch it somewhere to see her transformation. :)

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    1. Yeah it's really acquired taste :) Thankfully, this being anthology series, Murphy only has to keep consistency for 13 episodes and he is almost handling that :)

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  5. I didn't get how Johnny even got the tape of Lana confessing, didn't she take it and flip Zachary Quinto's character the bird? Did she sell it on Ebay or something?

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