American Horror Story recap: Whatever Happened To Happily Ever After?

Broken promises and shattered dreams abound as the survivors of Asylum horror move into the future in 'Continuum'
Ep. 12 | Aired Jan 16, 2013

"I'LL FLY AWAY!" "Betty Drake" (Jessica Lange) takes a (psychotic) break in "Continuum." The haggard survivor of Briarcliff horror vowed to make like The Flying Nun (which was based on her life's story, don't you know!) and flap away from The Asylum, even without her magic habit. Was American Horror Story foreshadowing Sister Jude's fate in next week's finale? Theory: Watch the aliens float Judy up into the sky and then into their mothership, where she'll come face to face with the Queen E.T., played by Sally Field.

Byron Cohen/FX

That night, Kit left the bed he shared with Alma and sought out Grace. He found her by the fireplace, sketching aliens. She couldn’t sleep. Didn't want to. “I spent my whole life asleep, locked away,” said Grace. “So much time wasted. I don't want to waste another moment.”

“I understand,” said Kit.

“I know you do,” said Grace. It was clear that Kit and Grace had become the more compatible, complimentary partners in the Walker family's alien-brokered love triangle. Grace snuggled close, and told him the way things were, and the way things had to be – a mission statement of citizenship in the Tomorrowland that was nigh. “I love you, Kit. And Alma. And our sweet beautiful miracle babies.” She smiled huge. Happy. “My life here has been more precious than I could have dreamed. But something’s changed. I won’t live in fear and isolation. Not anymore. Not again. The future is coming, Kit. No matter what. We can't hide from it. We have to engage with it. We have to embrace it. Locked doors and shuttered windows won’t keep it out. Alma needs to understand that.”

Kit nodded. You're right. She does.

“We have to open her –“

Mind? Grace couldn't finish the thought, thanks to the rude intrusion of an axe blade into her back. It was Alma. She had shockingly -- somewhat unbelievably -- psycho-snapped and broken bad. CHUNK! She raised the axe and CHUNKED! again. Blood geysered. Grace began to gag and choke. Kit tackled Alma, pinned her to the ground, asked her to explain herself. Alma, her logic so severe, her terror so heartbreakingly unreasonable, everything about her now irrevocably mad: “She wanted to bring them back into our home and I couldn't allow it! We have to hide, we have to hide, we can't die…”

Kit left Alma to her twitchy deterioration and crawled to Grace, who was gurgling and bleeding out. He gave her a goodbye kiss, then extracted the axe from her back. He shuffled shell-shocked to his man of the house chair, took a seat, and presided over the death throes of a fragile dream. Grace lost her life for the second time, and Alma lost her mind for good. And ultimately, that could only take her, and us, to one place…

Briarcliff Manor Sanatorium.

April 4, 1968. Maybe.

In the common room, Judy Martin was leading a rousing game of Candyland with a group of fellow unfortunates, including the pinhead we all believed dead, Pepper. Yes, it was a continuity error -- our first clue that noggin-fried Judy’s experience of reality was irreparably busted. On the television, President Lyndon B. Johnson, that would-be Great Society engineer, was breaking into some goofy TV show to inform the nation that another Mountaintop dreamer, Marin Luther King, had been murdered in Memphis. Few of the lunatics paid any heed. Besides, they had become hardened to the trauma of dream destruction. It was all about keeping comfortable until the end.

“Percy, knock it off!” Judy barked at the inmate pounding on the telly in hopes of… improving its reception? Shutting it down? Protesting its horror? Judy told Pepper: “His Lithium levels are way too high. Dr. Miller should check him. Okay?” Judy's newfound Mother Hen care for the Briarcliff unfortunates was touching. But it was also as if she thought she was still Sister Jude, chief administrator of Briarcliff, and (Sgt.) Pepper was chief lieutenant Frank. Another clue to Judy’s unraveling mind?

She certainly wasn’t herself. Not even legally. Monsignor Timothy had her renamed “Betty Drake” after offing Judy Martin with a paperwork suicide back in 1965. (Betty Drake = Betty Draper of Mad Men + Betsy Drake, Cary Grant's actress-turned-psychotherapist third wife?) When Father Howard entered the common room and asked for a private word with the woman he held prisoner, Judy Martin, the woman who wasn't there, gave him a veryveryvery tiny taste of his own meds by petulantly pretended he wasn’t there, either. Touché. Still, Terrible Tim managed to drag “The Queen of Candyland” away from the game board in order to give her a news flash of his own. The upwardly mobile, Pope-aspiring priest had finally been appointed Cardinal of New York. “Good for you,” Judy snarked, firing up a cigarette. “You had a dream and you made it come true.” In the background, LBJ wrapped up on MLK, and the TV returned to laugh track-enhanced amusements.

Father Howard had more breaking news. The Church had donated Briarcliff to The State, which intended to turn The Asylum into a prison system “overflow” facility for mentally addled criminals. (Metaphorical read: Here endeth the era of monolithic religious institutions and everything they meant… if they meant anything at all.)

NEXT: Enter The Horror Hag

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