Image credit: Byron Cohen/FX
Livestrong and Prosper. Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) and Kit Walker (Evan Peters) represented two different kinds of confession, redemption, and happily ever after in "Madness Ends." One was worth modeling. The other... not so much?
One day, while teaching Kit and the kids a new swing step to “Jump Jive And Wail,” Judy’s nose began to bleed, her knees went weak, and that was that: Judy’s mysteriously blessed bonus period of fully realized living was over. Thomas and Julia cuddled with her as she gave them final instructions. To Julia: “Don’t you ever, ever let a man tell you who you are or make you feel like you are less than him. It’s 1971, and you can do anything you want. Okay?” To Thomas: “Don’t pick your nose.” (Pause for a sobby guffaw.) “And never take a job just for the money. Find something that you love. Do something important.” (If only someone had given the aforementioned Mr. Madoff such advice when he was a kid.) Kit arrived with food and herbal balms, but Judy waved them off. It was time to go. The kids wanted to stay with their “Nana” – Judy must have loved hearing them call her that – but she backed Kit’s request that they leave the room.
“I’m not going anywhere,” said Kit. “I’m not leaving you alone.”
“I’m not alone,” said Judy. “She’s here for me.”
Judy was referring to the woman in the room that Kit could not see, the femme fatale angel of death. “Jude, we’ve been doing this dance for so many years now,” said Shachath. “Are you sure you’re ready this time?”
“I’m sure. I’m ready now,” said Jude as the reality of farm faded away into blackness, leaving only her and the angel to complete a timeless transaction. “Kiss me.”
The piano tinkled. The black wings spread. Shachath bent low to give her transporting kiss, and Judy Martin passed away.
It was a happier ending than Judy could have ever hoped for. And it’s not an ending that would have happened if Lana Winters had gotten her way. Would this Barbara Walters copycat have worked to rehabilitate Sister Jude’s life after exhausting her ratings value? Probably not.
But no one was more grateful for Judy's turn than Lana herself. Kit’s extraordinary work enriched her life, too. They rekindled their friendship. She became godmother to Kit’s kids, allowing her the chance to experience parenthood (or at least a semblance of it) at a time when gay women “were resigned to not having children.” She helped the children grow into dynamic adults
now plotting the alien takeover of the planet. Julia was a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins University. Thomas was a law professor at Harvard.
Lana was also there at Kit’s wedding to the last great love of his life, Allison. And Lana did everything she could to make sure that Kit was comfortable as possible during the last months of his life. Of course, everyone who knew Kit wanted to attend to him when they learned he had terminal cancer. “But he wouldn’t hear of it,” Lana recalled to April. And so it went that there were no witnesses to his final fate: One day, while dozing in his wheelchair, Kit was roused to consciousness by a familiar roar and white hot light, and as his eyed popped wide, we saw the aliens with their strangelove fingers float-crawling toward him to claim him – to reward him, I believe, for a life well lived. And with that: Energize. Kit beamed up. Next stop: The final frontier. “No one could explain what happened. No note. No tracks. No clues. And no need for a funeral,” said Lana. “The kids insisted there was no need for one.”
In the end, American Horror Story offered no concrete explanation for the aliens. (A New Age analog to the Judeo-Christian Shachath, maybe?) While some fans might be frustrated about this, I am not. I think it’s for the best that ETs remain open to interpretation. They offered great metaphorical value, and any attempt to pin them down with specifics would probably render them silly and sap their thematic power. A final thought on this storyline: Asylum in many ways was about the legacy of the sixties, and a midcentury idealistic humanism represented by The Civil Rights Movement, The Beats, Flower Power and "All You Need Is Love" rock that promised and portended great social change, however painful and tumultuous. (The Carole King song that took Lana to Kit Walker's door: I feel the Earth over under my feet/I feel the sky tumbling down) It was a close encounter with a future that electrified some (think: Grace) and terrified others (think: Alma), and the spirit of that time was captured in the iconic, enduring sci-fi of era: 2001: A Space Odyssey, about man’s frightening, transforming engagements with strange and sophisticated and superior ideas/technology/Others (depending on your POV); and, of course, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s long-lived a vision of optimistic, progressive, global village futurism. In its uniquely angry and baroque way, American Horror Story: Asylum was all about expressing a wish. Not for nothing the Stevie Wonder song that “Madness Ends” chose to play over the footage of Kit’s funky-trippy hippy-happy wedding: I wish those days would comes back once more/Why did those days ever have to go?/Cause I love them so…
Yeah, I’m corny like that.
NEXT: “Let’s get this over with, shall we?”