AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “The Name Game”

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What better way to kick off 2013 than with a return to FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum?  Tonight’s episode spent a little bit of time getting us reacquainted with our favorite patients and caregivers of Briarcliff, but quickly got back into the crazy head games, battle between good and evil and even threw in a few surprises.  If you were sharp-eyed, you may have even picked up on a teaser about the plot line in the third season of American Horror Story. 

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall.  Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s episode,”The Name Game.”

american-horror-story-asylum-coat-hange[You have entered spoiler territory.  Turn back now or commit yourself to the insanity.]

In the previous episode before the mid-season break, we ended with a dual cliffhanger: the Monsignor had been crucified and visited by the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy), while Arden discovered a very pregnant Grace attended by Pepper (Naomi Grossman).  More on them in a second.  Let’s start off with Kit since “The Name Game” starts with Dr. Arden literally trying to shock the man back to life.

Not a lot happens with Kit in this episode, not in the active sense at least.  He’s hauled around from place to place and functions as more of a plot transition rather than experiencing any development on his own.  Arden lies to him about the alien visitation while Kit was technically dead, though the newly freed Dr. Thredson soon reveals the fact that Grace is very much alive and that they are now parents to a newborn.  In this case, Thredson only needed Kit in order to find out the location of his recorded Bloody Face confession, but Lana was one step ahead of him.

Lana, who has been through the emotional ringer so far, is ridiculously strong at this point and seems untouchable, partially because she’s carrying Bloody Face/Thredson’s child and partially because she alone knows the whereabouts of the confession.  Lana had next to nothing to do in this episode beyond comforting Kit, foiling Thredson and attempting to bring Jude out of her stupor.

Jude is a little bit confused at the moment, thanks to a severe treatment of electroshock therapy.  While her ramblings are muddled, she does still have some of her wits about her as seen at the end of the episode where she speaks the truth of Lana’s admission to the asylum to Mother Superior.  Unfortunately for Jude, her facts are mixed up with her fantasies, so no one can trust a word she says.  In one of the best (and sorely needed) moments of levity in the show so far, Jude is front and center for a flash mob musical number to the tune of Shirley Ellis’ “The Name Game,” courtesy of a new jukebox installed in the common room by Sister Mary Eunice.

Lily-Rabe-Sister-Eunice-American-Horror-Story-AsylumAnd now we come to the crux of tonight’s episode.  Sister Mary Eunice was at the center of everything as the nun possessed by the Devil who is pulling all the strings.  She’s dealt with Jude and addled her brain perhaps beyond repair, she’s got Dr. Arden under her thumb and has released Dr. Thredson from his bonds in order to better deal with Kit and Lana.  This episode was all about her manipulation of the Monsignor and even the “liberation of his virtue.”  “The Name Game” may be the strongest episode for Rabe so far and she absolutely owns the power-hungry demon role.  She’s equal parts ferocious and seductive and I hope we haven’t seen the last of her.  In the end, however, the Monsignor appeared to be the stronger religious force, throwing Sister Mary Eunice to her death.  Although, her death was not the only one on tonight’s episode.

Dr. Arden, perhaps the most interesting character in this season, has fallen a bit short of my expectations.  His Nazi doctor past was all but dropped when Jude’s informant was killed and then Jude herself became a patient.  His psychoses (obsession with innocence and control) were never really explained, though we visited them often enough.  In this episode, Pepper insults his intelligence and mortally wounds his pride by revealing to him his own inferior nature to that of the alien beings.  His ego is further wounded when he sees Sister Mary Eunice, whom he knows to be the Devil, riding the Monsignor.  Dr. Arden goes so far as to eliminate his own experimental subjects before joining Sister Mary Eunice’s corpse on the slow-burning ride into the furnace of the crematorium.  However, I wouldn’t expect any of these characters to stay dead long and I fully expect some of them to return in one form or another; I mean we’ve already had ghosts, alien abductees and angels/devils, so the door is wide open for anything going forward.

Now, if anyone caught what they think might be the new plot for next season, be sure to share your thoughts below.  I didn’t pick up on anything, but according to Ryan Murphy:

“It’s not done like it was last year. It’s a different kind of clue. You really have to be quick and watch. I made sure to put it in there for the fans because I know people loved that last year, figuring it out.”

Rating: 8 out of 10 Banana-fannas 

american-horror-story-sarah-paulsonQuotes and Musings:

  • “I go where Grace goes.  I’ve been put in charge of her protection.” – Pepper
  • “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Arden. Arden who? Arden you the quack who’d make a better duck?” – Pepper
  • “Camels? Pack o’ Camels?” – Gerard to the jukebox
  • “Strip her down and boil her for twenty minutes.” – Sister Mary Eunice
  • “The experiment is over!” – Dr. Arden
  • “Crack that thick skull open like a walnut!” – Sister Mary Eunice, talking about performing a lobotomy on Jude
  • “You don’t want to lay me on the ground, you want to bury me beneath it.” – Sister Mary Eunice
  • “I’m about to devour the last morsel of her soul.” – Sister Mary Eunice, speaking about Jude.
  • “Take me.” – Sister Mary Eunice to the Angel of Death. “I’ll take both of you.” – Angel of Death
  • “What do you smell now, Monsignor?” – Dr. Arden.  “Nothing but decay.” – Monsignor
  • “I’m Goddamn plucky, remember?” – Lana

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  • Friend

    Vatican would be an interesting setup, but its “American” Horror Story. My guess is a funeral home/crematorium.

  • Chris Short

    Three possibilities with power being in play – 1) Vatican 2) Washington DC (due to the showing of Congress records during the juke box scene or 3) something to do with Bloody Mary due to the Bai reference.

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  • Lindsay

    What about the songs that played on the jukebox as clues? Put a spell on you and love potion #9. Could it be witches/ Salem? Or New Orleans? Peppers speech about side show freaks?
    Also this AMERICAN Horror, it can`t be Rome or the Vatican. Oliver said Sister Mary Eunice knew how to untie “slip knots”. Slip knots are found on ships. Jessica Lange also said in an interview when Season 3 was confirmed that she knows they won’t “sink the ship”. Maybe pirates?

    Those are my guesses..

    • Dark Mark

      Good spot on the sideshow freaks comment. Watching last night I had the distinct impression next years AHS will build off of Todd Brownings cult horror classic, Freaks. Remember the original cut of Freaks has been lost for nearly a century, the most terrifying scenes were censored and cut by the theaters due to traumatizing effect they had on their viewing audience. I think a sideshow/circus freaks theme could make for a truly horrific third season.

  • upscalegal

    Power is a good theme, does go with government. I was thinking something to do with witches. The Screaming Jayhawks song, I put a spell on you, and the comment where Sister Mary Eunice says, “Strip her down and boil her for twenty minutes.” led me to believe that. I feel like the power them will be translated this season, I do not think that demon died with Sister Mary Eunice, it got really fuzzy when they panned over here, I think its in the Monsignor now…he gave into lust, eradicated the devil, all while under the “direction” of God…what is more powerful than that? There is irony in there somewhere.

    • Tray

      I say witches also. The I put a Spell on You song and the comment the monsignor made about cremation being a pegan ritual makes me think a little hocus pocus might being going down!

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  • Ashley

    Murphy said something about it being quick. There was a flash mob dance. Flash and quick are synonym s. It was a 60s song playing. The 60s were the vietnam war and psychedelic era. That goes along with the power theme.

  • Ashley

    AND a mother superior reference. BAM

  • GlossyGem

    WITCHES!
    Listen what song was played on the jukebox :) Song about spells and casts.

    • Dark Mark

      Good point here as well. Murphy did say the clue wouldn’t be in the same manner as last season, which was from dialog in the show. Witches, spells, voodoo all of this would be very horrific as well.

      • windi

        its not something said or you can hear. i saw that form the write saying you have to see it not hear it

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  • JesusChristThisShowIsGood

    “I’m about to devour the last morsel of her soul.” – Sister Mary Eunice, speaking about Jude.

    Wrong. It was the demon talking about Sister Mary Eunice

  • mare

    I put a spell on you is a song about VOODOO so I am going with New Orleans and voodoo. Heck Murphy says he wants glamorous scary next season….what is more glam than that?

  • jed

    The third season will be set in illinois. The clue was a song name in the jukebox “on the south side of chicago”There are heaps of witchcraft and supernatural myths deriving from there. Hopefully whatever they come up with is as good as the first 2 seasons. Most EPIC show ever made!!!I really think lily Rabe stole this season she is an amazing actress and should have the lead next season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tray

      He also said it will be set in an American setting where true horror has taken place. I say Salem Witchcraft trials……. Either would be good

  • Anonymous

    Butts are scary

  • windi

    I first thought the vatican. then i saw the record that said congress., but then i read about a statement that the write put out and said the next one would be in a place that true horror has been seen. so at this point god only knows

  • windi

    oh fyi…the write said this time around its not something said or you can hear its something you have to look fast to see

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  • Archangelfire

    During the “Name Game” dance sequence there were many quick images of various people dancing and moving. One of the images shows someone holding up a doll making it dance. It actually happens twice during the song/dance sequence. Both of these clips are very brief and you have to really look for them. Those images along with the song played just before “Name Game”, by Sister Satan…. “I Put A Spell On You”…. make me think the 3rd installment will have something to do with Voodoo & Black Magic with the setting being New Orleans & The Bayou.

  • Archangelfire

    During the \"Name Game\" dance sequence there were many quick images of various people dancing and moving. One of the images shows someone holding up a doll making it dance. It actually happens twice during the song/dance sequence. Both of these clips are very brief and you have to really look for them. Those images along with the song played just before \"Name Game\", by Sister Satan…. \"I Put A Spell On You\"…. make me think the 3rd installment will have something to do with Voodoo & Black Magic with the setting being New Orleans & The Bayou.

  • Archangelfire

    During the \\"Name Game\\" dance sequence there were many quick images of various people dancing and moving. One of the images shows someone holding up a doll making it dance. It actually happens twice during the song/dance sequence. Both of these clips are very brief and you have to really look for them. Those images along with the song played just before \\"Name Game\\", by Sister Satan…. \\"I Put A Spell On You\\"…. make me think the 3rd installment will have something to do with Voodoo & Black Magic with the setting being New Orleans & The Bayou.

  • Archangelfire

    During the \\\\"Name Game\\\\" dance sequence there were many quick images of various people dancing and moving. One of the images shows someone holding up a doll making it dance. It actually happens twice during the song/dance sequence. Both of these clips are very brief and you have to really look for them. Those images along with the song played just before \\\\"Name Game\\\\", by Sister Satan…. \\\\"I Put A Spell On You\\\\"…. make me think the 3rd installment will have something to do with Voodoo & Black Magic with the setting being New Orleans & The Bayou.

  • Autumn

    I think the witchery clues were put there to throw everyone off.There were too many,would they make it that easy?Although it could prove to be quite scary.Speaking of scary,thank God electric shock treatment these days isn’t anything like it was back then because I would be fried.Also,thank you Collider for all the awesome recaps!

  • autumn

    The comment I left last night disappeared…hhhhmm.Ok,basically what I said was,there are too many hints at witches,spells,& voodoo.I don’t believe they would make it that easy to figure out.

  • autumn

    Great my first comment came back.Now I look crazy.

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  • Autumn

    I came back to say I was wrong.It is about witches.Really didn’t think they would make it that easy,but I guess making it too easy can throw people off just as well.Fooled me. :)

  • Quietobserver

    Archangel fire hit the nail on the head, good for you!

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