American Horror Story recap: Booby Trapped

Twisted mother issues and bizarre baby trouble curdle the horror and spoil some heroic triumphs in 'Spilt Milk'  
Ep. 11 | Aired Jan 9, 2013

Ponder The Plight Of The Incidental Bigamist. Two babies. One wife. One fiancé. How the hell will newly free Kit Walker (Evan Peters) provide for them all on a gas station attendant's salary? Maybe he should write a book...

Byron Cohen/FX

Thredson goaded Lana by describing with sick relish how he repeatedly raped Wendy’s corpse (“It was a triumph! Better than I ever thought possible! Lana: Wendy allowed us to make this life growing inside you!”) (again: Eww!), and taunting her with the likely possibility that he’d be declared insane and sent to Briarcliff instead of imprisoned for who knows how long before executed. Neither scenario appealed to Thredson, given Little Orphan Oliver’s past experience with dehumanizing institutionalization, combined with what might have been some kind of resignation. It was over. He knew it. It was either kill or be killed now. With police sirens drawing close and crimson squad car lights strobing his home -- the Bloody Face death pad, illuminated with hellfire -- Oliver forced resolution with one last dig. After finishing his second drink and wrapping his I’m-gonna-cheat-Sparky soliloquy, the sinister shrink said: “As for you, Lana, I have no further use for you. Best you should be known as my last victim.” He reached for the gun – but slowly, haltingly. Lana shot Thredson in the head. His blood splashed on the camera lens – on us, the horror freaks.

“Prison’s too good for you,” Lana sniped, and walked away. To use the late doctor’s words: It was a triumph. Right?

We tracked the aftermath. The press ripped into the juicy tale of the “Sapphic reporter’s” heroic, traumatic clash with Thredson, thus setting the record straight about Bloody Face’s true identity. (Kit Walker: Exonerated!) Lana had much more to say about Briarcliff, but she was going to do it on her terms, in the most self-serving way possible. “All I can say is: Read my book,” she told the reporters chasing after her, shooting her picture, making her a tabloid star. We got the sense that American Horror Story was trying to make a point here, something about the emergence of a new era of sensationalistic True Crime pop, how it makes cash-grabbing multimedia celebrities out of its participants, etc. Lana Winters: The mythic harbinger of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and all the Anne Rules and Nancy Graces that would follow, for better and worse. And yet, Lana didn't cast herself as a victim. She even blamed herself for the horror that engulfed her and destroyed her true love.  “It was the story,” she told friends Barb and Lois. “I was going to do anything to get that story. I just didn't realize how much it was going to cost.” She identified with the very newshounds now hounding her. “We are vultures. Attracted to the scent of rotting meat.” (Of course, the same could be said of us, those who consume the pulpy carrion said predators bring back to the nest.) The confession spoke well of Lana. She seemed to embody an admirable model of cultural responsibility. But will she go next level and work to redeem it? Or was her admission also a confession of cynical resignation? Time will tell…

Or not. Because we quickly learned that regardless of her aspirations, noble or otherwise, Lana was going to have a hard time writing her Asylum-razing magnum opus. She had her Briarcliff case file, and she had her memories, but she needed corroborating testimony. Mother Superior/Sister Claudia had been transferred to Puerto Rico. Pepper had vanished. Again. (Boiled to death in the hydrotherapy tubs?) She needed a Deep Throat. She needed Judy Martin, and she was stuck inside The Asylum. Lana took her manuscript to those good-hearted keystone dicks, Detectives Bias and Conners, and convinced them to petition for a court order that would free Judy.

“You're one tough cookie,” the slim one patronized.

“I am tough,” she said. “But I’m no cookie.”

NEXT: The Suckle of Disillusionment

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