AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Continuum”

     January 17, 2013


We’re getting down to the wire and running out of living characters on FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum.  Tonight we bid fond farewells to three more souls: one was a surprise, two of them died a second time and one of them was simply brushed aside with nary an explanation.  This episode was also a bit more toned down than we’re used to (well, for this show anyway) so I’m expecting them to lay it all on the table in next week’s season finale.

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, “Continuum.”

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

Tonight’s episode might have been the most linear of the season.  With only three major plot points to focus on, “Continuum” was very nearly broken into three explicit sections delineated by time (four if you count Johnny’s modern-day sojourn to the friendly neighborhood book store at the end).  So let’s take them in the order they came, shall we?

It’s 1967 and Kit, Grace and Alma are all getting along just swell in their quiet suburban home…except for the racist cops and rednecks down the street, the ongoing tension between Kit’s live-in lovers and Grace’s Close Encounters-style obsession with the alien abduction/Alma’s repression of the whole thing.  But every non-nuclear family has their issues right? Best to just bury the hatchet and be done with it.  (I had to.)  So with Grace cleaved in two and Alma mysteriously passing away in the state-run Briarcliff, Kit is left alone to raise his two kids…but not until tying up a couple loose ends.

Evan Peters made a great run in season one and continues to be a solid moral anchor (ehhh mostly) in season two.  It’s Kit who ties the three smaller segments of “Continuum” together across time as the middle section takes us back to Briarcliff in 1968.  Without Monsignor/Cardinal Timothy Howard around, Jude/Betty Drake begins to lose her bearings in the ever-changing asylum.  This was a nice sequence to show Jude’s rapidly dwindling sanity as two-and-a-half years have passed her by as quickly as we might remark two-and-a-half days.  Pepper has unceremoniously* passed away (poor Pepper) and the Monsignor reneged on his promise to rescue Jude.  This realization all dawns on the former head of the asylum in a meeting with Dr. Crump (really?) after Jude’s repeated fights with her new roommates.  I’m always happy to see Frances Conroy return, either in her role as the Angel of Death or as one of Jude’s hallucinations.  Not the strongest bit for her here though, it felt forced, as did the weak thruline of racism that started with Kit and Alma’s talk of the Civil Rights march and ended with the television announcement of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The times, they are a’changin’!

american-horror-story-sarah-paulsonChronologically, after Kit happens upon Jude in the asylum and has a nonsensical conversation with her, he takes issue with Lana’s behavior and lack of follow-up on her promise to expose the evils of Briarcliff.  Paulson once again does a fantastic job with the wide-ranging emotions of Lana Winters.  She’s now embellishing her stories to boost sales, ordering her assistant around with ridiculous demands and even looking to glorify another serial killer for her next book.  Kit, ever the connective tissue in this story, drives away in that sweet rusted-out truck of his to reveal Johnny getting high as a kite in the present day. It seems that things might not end so well for Lana after all, if Johnny has anything to say about it.

Rating: 6/10 whacks, which is a bargain if you’re Lizzie Borden’s family.  This was one of your typical ducks-in-a-row-before-you-shoot-them-down penultimate episodes.

So next week, in the season two conclusion, “Madness Ends,” I’m guessing we’ll see Jude escape from Briarcliff one way or the other (I’ll take odds on the Flying Nun angle).  We also presumably get to see a showdown between contemporary Bloody Face/Johnny and his mother, Lana Winters (or is it…?).  How exactly this all ends up, I have no idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a tie back to season one.

Looking ahead at season three, however, if the comments are any indication, you guys seem convinced that we’re going to be conjuring up some witchcraft later this year.  I didn’t see anything glaring in this episode that convinced me one way or the other.  (I’ll go out on a limb here and say that maybe we are headed to Washington, D.C. – there’s certainly plenty of ill will to be found there, plus “Continuum” had a certain “Vietnam” vibe to it.  Witches, Black Panthers, hippies and Vietnam veterans in our nation’s capital? We’ll see.)  If you spotted something or heard something that makes you think season three will be all about witches (or something else entirely), let us know in the comments below!  Come back next week when we review the last episode of season two, do a retrospective on the season and a look ahead to season three!

jessica-lange-american-horror-story-asylumQuotes & Miscellanea:

  • I liked a lot of the camera inversions throughout the episode that really started to mess with the viewer’s perception of space and time and reality.
  • Julia: “Daddy?” Kit, covered in blood: “Daddy’ll be there in a minute.”
  • I hope Richard Dreyfuss somehow stumbles across Grace’s alien drawings and loses his mind.
  • Grace: “I’m not doing it for me, but for the children.  They need to know where they came from.”
  • Kit: “I’ll do anything I have to to protect them.”
  • Kit: “Let’s have a family meeting.”
  • Grace, moments before taking an ax to the spine: “The future is coming, Kit, no matter what.”
  • Jude/Betty: “I’m the Queen of Candy Land.”
  • Jude: “The cruelest thing of all, Timothy, is false hope.”
  • Lana: “Didn’t I ask you to pack almonds? And this TAB is warm!”
  • Lana: “I just sold the film rights.  What do you think of Tuesday Weld as me?”
  • Kit: “You were gonna be a reporter, not a celebrity.”  Lana: “Things change, people change.”
  • Jude: “Move! Time for my story.”
  • Jude watching The Flying Nun: “Sister Bertrille, she’s got the devil in her.  She stole my hat.  That’s how she managed to fly out of here.  What they don’t know? I can fly without it. I’ma fly my ass right out of here!”
  • Johnny: “You’re gonna give me that book, because it’s my fate.”
  • *I now try to use “unceremoniously” only when describing this particular show!


Around The Web
  • dogg

    The first season was edgy and spooky, but this one just feels like someone else’s fetish porn. You can only scream “I’M SUBVERSIVE!” so much before it’s pathetic.

  • Nuts

    Tuesday Weld starred in ‘The Crucible’ in 1967. It’s more and more clear to me that the speculation is accurate.

  • Anonymous

    Was the racist cop who came to Kit’s house Frank the guard? It looked like the same actor.

  • Andrew from Troy

    The clue-hidden ads from the summer showed a blue sweater. Last night was the first time I saw it, both on the nuns in the movie Jude was watching and on Lana at the book signing. I feel as though it should be more important than that, so maybe it’ll have significance next week.

    Unless it’s showed up before and I haven’t noticed?

    • DJP

      The blue sweater (actually jacket) is actually from the little girl who jude hit and thought she killed while drunk driving

  • Bob Smith

    Definitely the craziest season of American Horror Story I’ve seen yet, and I can’t wait to see what happens in season three! The only thing I didn’t really like in season two was the whole alien thing. So far, I’ve been watching all the episodes with my co-workers at DISH on our lunch break, and now that season two is coming to an end, what will replace AHS? I’ve been recording all the episodes on my Hopper DVR from DISH, so that I can store all the episodes on the 2 terabyte hard drive so that I can watch them again whenever I want. Also with the Hopper I can record up to six live HD channels at once during primetime, including 4 local HD networks, and 2 channels of my choosing, so I’ll never miss a recording of AHS!

  • Amber

    I think the next season will be about witches, because of what Sister Jude said, “I don’t need a hat, I can fly without it.” Anyway, whatever the next season is, I’m SUPER excited!

  • Dedpool

    So I’ve heard that in this episode as well as the last there were hints as to the possible location of the next season. I’m thinking Bookstore after it was so prominent in this episode, and breifly I think in the last.


    Is it just me or does anyone else think this season kinda sucked? I think they tried to do way too much with aliens, murderers, the devil, the angel of death, Nazi’s, etc.

    How will they up the anti next season? Trolls, goblins, witches, grumpkins, snarks, mermen, merwomen, vampires, blobs…… you get where I’m going.

    • Amina

      I agree REALLY? S1 was way better, this one felt messy to me.

  • Lola

    Hey, Really? comment. Screw You.

  • Pingback: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Continuum”()

  • Jai

    I think this Season is Awesome! I love the fact that the you get all your information in 1 season, it opens and closes. I love that they recycle the characters!! I LOVE that each season is different from the other. I Loved season 1, but I think Season 2 was GREAT because it had you guessing more, better cliffhangers, amazing story line. I love how they had so much going on and tied it all and made sense …. its just an all around great show!

    I do think the clues lead up to the Salem Witch Trials because in the 1st clue in the “Name Game” episode, Sister Mary Eunice played the song “I put a spell on you” for Sister Jude. Then in the “Continnum” episode the cop told Kit “Polygomy is illegal in MASSACHUSSETTES” and im not sure if they ever mentioned where Briar Cliff was. The 2nd clue I picked up was when she was watching “The Flying Nun” and says “I dont need a hat to fly”. I just didnt catch the 3rd clue. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. If it is the Salem Witch Trials … I can just imagine how GREAT it would be!

  • katie

    I think it’s going to be in Washington D.C. The song “The Name Game” was on the album “Shirley Ellis in Action” in 1964 and the album “The Complete Congress” did not come out until 2001. So how would it have been on a record if it didn’t come out until 2001? Has to be the clue!

  • RobinEstee

    In episode 10 they played “I put a spell on you,” an in episode 11 they played “love potion #9.” I re-watched episode 12 but I couldn’t make a connection.

  • kate dierks

    Ellis Island seemed to jump out at me from the Name Game episode sung by Shirley Ellis, that and the old newsboy hat that Kit wore when he went to see Alma at the asylum, he had it on only in the aslyum and then it was gone making me think that it might be tied to a prohibition theme.

    Also Lana told the Dr. that there was no alcohol where he was going and repeated that statement.

    So, no alcohol, Ellis Island and the old fashioned cap that Kit was wearing make me think of immigrants coming into NY during the late twenties early thirties, during prohibition.

  • Pingback: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Continuum”()