American Horror Story: Asylum “Continuum” Review

American Horror Story Asylum title card
Spoilers for American Horror Story below

After the events of last week, American Horror Story: Asylum has left us in a strange place. Lana is out and has taken down Bloody Face, Kit was released and connived Grace’s release and the return of his son. The only person left in the asylum are Judy and the Monseigneur. The aliens are still lurking in the background, intentions still shrouded. I wasn’t sure exactly how they were going to handle these last two episodes, but opening this one with a blood-soaked Kit pulling an axe out of a body, sitting down in a chair and reassuring his children that everything is okay is certainly a strong way to do it.

Even after such a strong opening, Kit’s plot in this episode seemed lacking. After escaping the asylum and finding his supposedly dead wife alive and with their baby daughter last week, we just fast forward a few years and Kit is now a hippy, living with Grace and Alma and raising both of their children. It was like American Horror Story decided to try its hand at doing Big Love. It isn’t until Alma panics, thinking that the aliens have returned, and murders Grace with an axe to stop her from summoning them, does that plot actually pick up.

It turns out that axe Kit was holding in the beginning was Alma’s. She’s carted off to Briarcliff and Kit is left alone. Instead of doing something interesting with Alma, she dies in the asylum and that’s that. After all this building and last week’s big reveal, Grace and Alma are just killed off this week and it seemed so unceremonious. Lana’s plot, with what is barely there, is just as disappointing. She meets with Kit and he chastises her for not closing down Briarcliff like she swore she would. Kit also informs her of the deception the Monseigneur pulled as Judy is still there.

American Horror Story Continuum

Judy’s plot makes up for the lack the others provided. The church is selling Briarcliff to the state, who will convert it into an overflow branch for the penitentiary, and the Monseigneur is being promoted to Cardinal and leaving. He promises to get Judy out and leaves. The rest of her part is a confusing blur of hallucinations and time passing rapidly. Judy’s grip on reality has become so loose that months pass and she sees it as weeks. The image of the Angel of Death also starts stalking her mind, appearing to her as a prison inmate. I don’t think it’s the actual angel, especially due to Judy’s mental state, and it made for some fascinating story.

Dylan McDermott continues to be weird as ever. After all the antagonist deaths and with no real wrap up to the alien plot line in sight, he has been set up as our final antagonist. This week he decides to antagonize a kindly old book store owner as he tries to find a signed copy of his mother’s book. Instead of just being creepy and murdering people, we finally have some motivation for his character, he’s going to get his mother to admit the lies she published in her book and then brutally murder her. At least there’s some indication of the direction the finale will take.

After such a string of strong episodes, it’s disappointing for American Horror Story to take a misstep. The way the narrative jumps around in the timeline, without actually giving the time period when it’s taking place, was jarring. I have loved this season so much and I want it to go out with a bang. The material is deserving and those final ties to the present have to be cleaned up. At the very least, “Continuum” is still a great episode that only misses the bar set by a few inches. FX, bring on the finale.

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