AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Spilt Milk”

     January 9, 2013

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With only two episodes left after tonight, it’s nice to see American Horror Story: Asylum wrapping up the myriad plotlines in favor of bringing the major arcs to a satisfying conclusion.  We’ve already said goodbye to a few of the main players but more and more characters just keep popping up.  Also returning for this episode is my favorite stand-out director of the series, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

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,”Spilt Milk.”

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

Last week, we waved goodbye to the dearly departed Dr. Arden and the Devil-possessed Sister Mary Eunice.  Cromwell and Rabe turned in some of the best performances this season, especially considering the lengths they were asked to go.  But tonight’s episode belongs to Paulson, whose arc is just about at an end.  Before we get into the characters, I want to make a special mention of Gomez-Rejon again.  From the outset of this episode, I knew that there was something pleasant and familiar about the way it was shot: the dramatic angles, the atmospheric use of lighting and shadow, the lens selection for certain sequences…it all pointed to Gomez-Rejon.  Fans of the director will remember me calling out his aesthetic choices in a previous recap and I’m happy to see him back to work on this episode.  As a side note, he’ll also direct the season’s last episode, “Madness Ends.”  Now onto the characters!

“Spilt Milk” had what is easily the most uncomfortable opening of the season so far, though the title is explained pretty quickly.  We get a bit more backstory on Dylan McDermott’s character Johnny Morgan here as he nurses on a prostitute with ample assets before going into a “Mommy issue” fueled rage.  There’s a great flashback/forward sequence that occurs between these two and Lana and Thredson, who have a stand-off in Thredson’s apartment.  The ties between Thredson, Lana, their baby and Johnny Morgan are being strengthened in each successive episode.

Let’s wrap up Lana and Thredson while we’re at it because the show has certainly tied up the majority of their storylines.  After being rescued from Briarcliff thanks to the intervention of Jude (and some quick thinking by Kit), Lana turns in evidence against Thredson/Bloody Face but decides to break into his home and wait within until the police arrive (…okay).  Obviously this doesn’t end well…for Thredson, who now has a particularly bloody face of his own.  However, his lineage lives on because Lana cannot allow herself to be surrounded by any more death (thus forgoing the abortion) and also cannot abandon the child, who is conveniently allergic to the infant formula at the hospital.  Lana’s only other purpose, after putting Wendy’s ashes to rest (what an awful way for Duvall to make a guest appearance – a necrophilia scene, really?), was to attempt to liberate Jude from the nuthouse.  Too bad that the Monsignor tells Lana and her court-appointed lawmen that Jude hung herself (lies!).

A quick note on Jude since she’s only in this episode for a few blinks.  It seems she’s been able to shake off the electroshock effects long enough to come to her senses about the medication she’s being forced to take.  Lange turned in a great scene as she stands up to the Monsignor before she’s hauled off to solitary.  Jude is really the only major character left to get a chance to complete her arc, as the others are either done or nearing the finish line.

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Speaking of finish lines, what a (mostly) happy episode for Kit and Grace!  Sure, Kit was innocent all along and the evidence of Thredson as Bloody Face proved that, but baby Thomas was hauled off to the children’s home and Grace was still in the asylum for being an ax murderer.  Some quick thinking on Kit’s part managed to get Thomas back while also getting himself and Grace out of Briarcliff; don’t underestimate good old fashioned blackmail, kids!  While the newly engaged Kit and Grace made their way to Kit’s old home with the baby in tow, a big surprise awaited them.  Well, technically two surprises, because Alma (who Kit had presumed dead due to Grace’s story about her abduction) and their baby were seated comfortably in the dining room.  If three’s company and four’s a crowd, what’s five? It’s either a Mormon household or an episode of Maury.  Can’t wait to see where this one ends up.

As for where this season is going to end up, I have some speculations.  I think we all know more or less how Lana’s baby and Johnny are going to be connected, though I’m less certain about the fates of Kit, Grace, Alma and even Jude.  Even less certain is just what the creators of the show have in store for next season.  You guys made some great guesses in the comments last week about what the theme and location of season three might bring: some thought perhaps the Vatican, others think we’re headed to Congress (or at least Washington, D.C.) and still more think we’ll be seeing some witches, possibly in Salem.  The only thing that stood out to me in this particular episode was the song “Love Potion No. 9,” which could lend itself to witchcraft.  Although, others have reported that the clue is more of a visual one, so if that’s the case, I missed it.  Feel free to continue your speculations below!

Rating: 7/10 Bottles of Formula (I was going to go with “Triple Ds,” but an odd number would just make that too weird…even for this show.)

Quotes and Miscellanea:

  • “You won’t be lookin’ at my face once these DDDs come out to play.” – Andora
  • “They’re so juicy right now, they’re ready to burst.” – Andora
  • “Breast-feeding is so important to early development.” – Johnny
  • “They’re not like us, Kit.  They’re not cruel.” – Grace
  • “You want this place shut down.” – Lana  “I want it pulled down and the earth salted.” – Claudia
  • “I am the one.  I am the one who’s going to put your ass in the electric chair.” – Lana to Thredson
  • “I’d either say you had a mommy fixation or a calcium deficiency.” – Andora
  • “I’m clearly insane!” – Thredson
  • “Prison’s too good for you.” – Lana to Thredson
  • “You’re one tough cookie, you know that?” – Officer to Lana  “I am tough, but I’m no cookie.” – Lana

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