Bloody Face, AKA Dr Thredson, holds Lana prisoner, while ex-Nazi Dr Arden gets the better of Sister Jude. Shelley’s suffering comes to an end…
The modern storyline makes a brief comeback in this episode, with police now arriving at the defunct Briarcliffe asylum only to discover three Bloody Face imposters strung up, while they receive phone messages from yet another Bloody Face (possibly voiced by season one cast member Dermot Mulroney).
That’s an effective counterpoint to the background we get on Dr Thredson, 1964’s version of Bloody Face, who relates his story to Lana, his captive mother substitute. It’s quite uncomfortable viewing this stuff, lacking the ridiculous camp element that allows viewers to laugh off so much of American Horror Story’s darkness.
Similarly, Shelley’s quest for freedom comes to an ignominious end, at the hands of the Monsignor, who is also revealed to have been long in cahoots with fugitive Nazi Dr Arden (at least as far back as 1962’s Cuban missile crisis, it seems). Arden sees himself as a ‘visionary’ rather than a Mengele.
Into the asylum comes a Wednesday Addams lookalike who seems set on wiping out her entire family. It can’t help that her homicidal tendencies are encouraged by Sister Mary Eunice, who claims—in her own words—to be ‘the Devil’, an identification seemingly confirmed in her alliance with Dr Arden.
This episode is perhaps not as deliriously insane as the previous one, despite director David Semel’s attempts to ape Alphonso Gomez-Rejon’s off-the-wall direction.
Verdict: A calmer, but perhaps even more disturbing, instalment.
Episode 6 ‘The Origins of Monstrosity’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb