American Horror Story: Asylum, Season 2, Episode 9: The Coat Hanger, Review

Did you think this show couldn't get any more disturbing? Really??

What is the definition of insanity? Insanity by Albert Einstein’s terms is doing the same action over and over again and expecting different results. By the genius’ definition, most of the audience of AHS is insane. Viewers tune into American Horror Story every week expecting to have seen it all by now, to not be able to be surprised by the deranged twists and turns that unfold, but every week viewers find themselves mouths agape and truly shocked. AHS serves up several eye-covering moments this week that definitely push the limits of decency, even for this show. The show crosses abortion, crucifixion and reanimation off of the “horrifying things we can still mine” list and does so in a wholly unflinching manner. The plot doesn’t necessarily move, it just sort of sprouts developments, like unplanned pregnancies and the confinement of Sister Jude to Briar Cliff. Had we not already seen the set-up and unlawful imprisonment of Lana earlier in the season, Sister Jude’s lockup would seem more significant, but instead it just feels like a rehash and a convenient way to keep Jude involved in the highly convoluted and ever-expanding story. However, the episode isn’t brought down by this minor misstep, and it goes on to be one of the more unsettling and interesting episodes of the season.

The episode begins with a return to the modern storyline, but we’ll get to that information later. Back in the ‘60’s, Lana is meeting with Sister Mary Eunice to discuss her progression. Mary Eunice uncharacteristically begins in a comforting way, divulging that she believes Lana really has been rehabilitated from her sexual deviancy, before her devilish grin returns and she alerts Lana that Lana is with child. Mary Eunice begins bombarding Lana with questions about the father, bringing up the rape that she had claimed and Threadson’s guilt, but Lana just stands in disbelief. She tells Mary Eunice that she can’t and won’t carry the child, but Mary Eunice contradicts her, insisting that she will give birth to the child and that the child will be raised by the institution. Walking out of the meeting, Lana realizes that she’ll have to do something to sabotage the pregnancy and also remembers that she has the problem of Threadson to deal with. On her way to a meeting with Kit, she conveniently steals a clothes hanger, one that will come in handy many times throughout the episode.

Lana meets with Kit and they discuss the need to kill Threadson, but Kit protests. He needs Threadson to confess to the Bloody Face murders in order to clear his own name. The two devise a plan and Lana returns to where Threadson is being held. Lana taunts Threadson before revealing that she is carrying his child. Threadson immediately starts pleading with Lana to keep the baby and he will change, but Lana is all fury, threatening to perform a clothes hanger abortion right there on the spot. The moment is just the tip of the iceberg though, as Threadson goes on to beg Lana, and she stops and asks Threadson to come completely clean on the details of the girls he has killed. As he describes the skin of various victims, Lana smiles and it’s soon revealed that Kit was recording the entire conversation. This is where things get truly gruesome, as Lana goes on to tell Threadson that she has already performed the abortion and the action cuts to a gruesome depiction of the bloody affair, in the season’s biggest gross-out moment. With a sadistic grin, she tells Threadson that she’ll be back to kill him. When she gets around to returning to his holding room, clothes hanger in hand as her instrument of torture, she finds Threadson has escaped. The only person she comes across is Mary Eunice. Lana gloats to her that the baby has been removed, but Mary Eunice places a hand on Lana’s stomach and tells Lana that not only is the baby alive, it’s a boy.

Meanwhile, after Kit searches for a place to hide Threadson’s confession tape, he comes across Arden. Arden is happy to find Kit and tells him that they have much to talk about. The man tells Kit that he believes his abduction story, after witnessing the abduction of Grace’s body last week. He goes on to deliver his theory that the only reason Alma and Grace were abducted was due to their sexual connection with Kit and Arden also says that he believes the creatures are studying Kit and that if he were to endanger Kit’s life in any way, the creatures would intervene. Arden tells Kit that he wants to bring him close to death to try and coax an appearance from the aliens and Kit agrees to the plan. With another possible nod to Pulp Fiction, Arden puts Kit on his table and draws a little x on his chest with marker and, using a combination of drugs to stop Kit’s heart and then revive him, he slams a needle deep into Kit’s chest. After convulsions and then a stopped heart, the electricity within Briar Cliff begins surging. Arden travels to the source of the interference only to find a reanimated Grace, fully pregnant with, presumably, an alien baby. 

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In the modern-day storyline, a man named John Morgan (a returning Dylan McDermott) is meeting with a therapist. He begins talking about his obsessive compulsions and his childhood, recounting an early call to skin a cat. He tells of his orphaned childhood and his time spent behind bars, as he delves into his parents’ background to find an explanation for his murderous urges. He tells the therapist that his real last name is Threadson and that he is the Son of Bloody Face. A colleague later finds the therapist’s mutilated body.

That’s not even all of the insane action this week! AHS continues to stuff its season full with all the terror inducing moments humanly possible. AHS will be on break until January 2. Good luck quenching your thirst for horror while it’s gone.

The Best of the Rest 

  • Jude finds herself confined to Briar Cliff this week, accused of the murder of George the security guard. All of the staff of Briar Cliff throw Jude under the bus and she finds herself trapped just like Lana.
  • To prove her sincerity to Lana after an apology, Jude breaks the record that plays in the common room. The scene comes across like a kid trying to impress the other kids on the playground and Lana even responds with a, “well hot damn.”
  • Emerson, the murderous Santa (Ian McShane), survived last week’s incident with Jude and pretends to be reformed. The Monsignor believes that maybe he can use Emerson as a project, showing his return to Christ as a way to further his pursuit of his dream of ending up in room. When the Monsignor goes to baptize Emerson, the man shows his true intentions and viciously holds the Monsignor under. When we cut back to the Monsignor, he is bloody, beaten and crucified on a cross in the church. He calls out to a visitor, who happens to be the Angel of Death from a few episodes back.