American Horror Story: Asylum, S2:e13, “Madness Ends”

“This face he showed the world, this face of sanity and benevolence, that was his real mask.”

 

I’m going to skip the blow-by-blow here and get right to the chaos of my feels about the finale.

I have spent the entire season skeptical (verging on irritated) about the whole alien thing, but with the final episode I suppose I can’t complain too much about them. Overall given my lingering resentment for the closure of season 1, I’ve got no complaints about how this season resolved. For something that tried to bring in so many disparate elements, Asylum succeeded better than I anticipated. Between the timeline jumps, aliens, Nazis, Catholics, angels of death, demonic possession, and crack pipes, the resolution seemed almost guaranteed to fall short.

My only complaint about the finale is the amount of recycled material; while I can see how it’s necessary in order to provide viewers with a broader understanding of what was happening at other points, to fill in the blanks of deliberately vague earlier episodes (think crack-pipe Johnny finally shown hacking Leo’s arm off with a machete), in some ways it seemed like filler.

The scenes of Jude and her new life with Kit’s family were touching, providing some great closure to her storyline, and I felt a bonus burst of vindication for her when Cardinal Timothy killed himself. I can only assume that when the alien children lead her off into the woods the aliens take her and ‘fix’ her, because she stops hitting Kit with brooms. Aliens. At least they took Kit back at the end, though we still have no indication of why he was so special. Is it as Grace theorized, where they prized his open-mindedness and kind heart?

Lana Banana got a great finish, and one that was not at all unsurprising for her character. Even in her interview, she’s still rationing out information and making up stories as suits her; would she have shared the recollection about visiting Johnny on the playground if she hadn’t known he was in the house and likely waiting to kill her? Then she calls him ‘baby,’ playing his emotions just like she did with Oliver Thredson to survive her kidnapping. She’s a shrewd woman, clever and intelligent, and as a newly expanded scene with Sister Jude to fill in some gaps from “Welcome to Briarcliff” shows, she’s spent her life risking it all for acclaim. When Lana looked into the horror of madness and ruthlessness, it looked back and left a mark. She manipulates her own son into weakening in his resolve to kill her, then uses his own gun to take his life. Though not incomprehensible given her history, it’s still an uncompromising position to take.

The twist about Johnny finding Lana’s recording on ebay, hearing in their own words and voices how desperate she was to be rid of the baby and how desperate Thredson was to keep it, lent some credence to his obsession with his parents. It also made it more reasonable that he would aspire to be like his doctor-murderer father instead of his celebrity reporter mother. Still, Lana proves once more that she is the consummate survivor.

In fact, she’s the only one that survived, isn’t she?

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