American Horror Story: Asylum: S2:E4, “I Am Anne Frank, Pt. 1”

“That’s when I woke up and saw my life for what it was, and once I opened my eyes there was no turning back.”


After this, you’ll probably live forever.

The patients and administrators at Briarcliff are all at war with the truth–their own or one another’s–and forced to deal with the illusions that allow them to feel innocent or justified. “I Am Anne Frank, Part 1” introduces another new patient, a dark-haired woman sent to Briarcliff by the authorities for “involuntary psychiatric hold” for causing a disturbance in a bar over a businessman’s anti-Semitic remarks. “I’m not immune to the atrocities you people have suffered.” The woman responds with a whistled tune (which I assume is meant to be the “Horst-Wessel-Lied”), suggesting that rather than having lost someone to the Holocaust, she herself was subjected to its horrors.

Dr. Arden looms over Shelley’s amputated legs. In response to her asking if she is going to die, he injects her in the head with something, musing, “After this, you’ll probably live forever.” It’s unclear if he means a physical life, or if she’s a key component in his work and will live on in history books.

Grace and Kit are talking; Kit flashes back to Arden’s interrogation from “Nor’Easter,” with X-rays searching for what Grace calls “the tracer from the creatures in the sky.”  As she wavers on her self-knowledge Kit responds, “You have to say it out loud all the time just to keep it straight in your head.” She tells him her story, the scene cutting to her tale of her stepsister’s lover murdering her stepmother and father. When she recalls how the horses made her feel free like she was flying, Kit assures her, “You’ll fly again.”

Thredson questions Lana regarding her disappearance from movie night. He is sharp, realizing she tried to escape, but says he doesn’t believe she belongs in Briarcliff. She is skeptical when he says he wants to help her leave. Thredson also makes a deal with Kit, claiming an ethical dilemma because he finds Kit neither insane nor evil. He insists he is willing to lie to the courts to say Kit is unfit to stand trial if Kit is willing to confront the truth of what he has done. He feels Kit’s psyche has concocted an elaborate fantasy to absolve him of his guilt.

In the common room the song is back to normal. The new patient notes, “There is madness everywhere… These people, they are resigned to die here.” When Arden walks in she recognizes him from Auschwitz, calling him a Nazi murderer. She claims to be Anne Frank, explaining to Sister Jude that an American soldier married her and rescued her from Germany’s streets where she had been living as a pickpocket. When asked why she didn’t come forward, Anne explains, “She had to stay fifteen, and a martyr. I could do more good dead than alive.”

Anne recalls Auschwitz. Dr. Arden’s name, she claims, is truly Hans Gruber (from Die Hard? Gruper? Oh, accents), and while he seemed kind and gentle it quickly became evident it was a mask to hide what he was doing to the captives. “He wanted to help, he said…. He had made them sick. Whatever he had done to them.” Anne reveals her identification tattoo as proof.

Thredson suggests Kit has murdered the women and removed them of their heads and skins as a way to purge them of their race and identity, just as he sought to purge himself of his guilt over marrying Alma. Meanwhile Lana fantasizes how she’ll be rewarded for her suffering by revealing the horrors of Briarcliff’s treatments. “I did everything I could think of to survive, and then I did what I had to do to get out.” She goes to Thredson, determined to begin his therapy.

In the bakery, Kit is beginning to second-guess himself, but Grace claims “self-doubt is a sure sign of sanity.” While it is funny considering her alleged certainty of her innocence, her faith in him leads to an intimate moment on the bread-kneading table that is interrupted by a guard. Predictably, this is frowned upon by Sister Jude, who decries their fornication,”You’re drawn to each other like the serpent and the apple. Are you purposely trying to make a murder baby?” Her plans for sterilization are interrupted by news that detectives are on site interrogating Dr. Arden over the claims of “Tricks and Treats” prostitute, who found Nazi memorabilia. The detectives point out Kit lacks the surgical skill to have beheaded and skinned the victims.

Lana begins aversion therapy, which she tolerates with determination until she sees a picture of Wendy that Thredson found in their apartment. When the emetic drug forces Lana to vomit in response, Thredson suggests they move on to the conversion portion of their therapy, utilizing Daniel to familiarize Lana with the male form as she masturbates, the intent being to associate male physique with physical pleasure.

Monseigneur Timothy reprimands Jude for drinking, asking, “Do you think alcohol has compromised your judgment in these matters?” He insists that Arden isn’t the problem she believes him to be, but as she leaves her own office with the Monseigneur seated in her chair in a symbolic usurpation of her authority, he phones Arden. “If you have any housekeeping to take care of, I suggest you do it now.” Appropriately, Jude turns to the Mother Superior for counsel in desperation. “By their very nature they react out of fear when confronted with tough questions. It’s instinct to protect themselves, cover their mistakes.”

Demon-possessed Sister Mary Eunice, about whom Jude remarks, “I don’t know what’s gotten into you Sister, but it’s a decided improvement,” shows Kit Grace’s file. Grace explains a history of sexual abuse by her father (and stepmother’s complacence), but is driven over the edge by the sale of the horses, her ‘escape.’ Grace’s admission of guilt is contrary to the flashback earlier in the episode, calling into question the veracity of every scene shown. She asks if she has opened Kit’s eyes; between this and Arden’s creatures he begins to doubt his own innocence and asks for Jude’s help finding God’s forgiveness.

Arden locks Anne in his surgery room, but she has pickpocketed a gun and shoots him in the leg (ironic, given what he’s done to Shelley). When she hears the noise from the other room, she finds a mutating Shelley writhing on the floor. It sounds like she gasps, “Kill me.”

More American Horror Story: Asylum

American Horror Story: Asylum S2:E3, “Nor’Easter”

American Horror Story: Asylum S2:E2, “Tricks and Treats”

American Horror Story: Asylum S2:E1, “Welcome to Briarcliff”


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