American Horror Story

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American Horror Story Review: Freedom

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"Dark Cousin" was an odd episode of American Horror Story: Asylum - and not in the normal American Horror Story freaky, scary or horrific way. It felt like a transitional hour that moved characters from one place to another. In most cases, they moved physically, as opposed to forward.

Did the writers decide they didn't like where characters had ended up and decided to use the episode to reset the story?

Searching For a Dark Presence

The Dark Angel may have taken people to their death, but only those who called for her and were ready to die. Given the horrible conditions at Briarcliff and especially with Dr. Arden's torturous experiments, it's surprising the Dark Angel hasn't taken up a permanent residence at the institution. She first appeared to take Grace, who was bleeding out from what appeared to be a botched sterilization.

Then, Arthur called to her. He couldn't take the voices in his head any more and tried to kill himself with a meat slicer. Shockingly, they were able to stop the bleeding in time to save him. His desire to die was strong and he pulled out his stitches and received the Dark Angel's kiss. She's a reaper, but a benevolent one. She only took those who verified they were ready to go.

The showdown between the Dark Angel and Sister Mary Eunice was intriguing. They considered each other cousins of sorts. But whatever has possessed the sister is a fallen angel. The pure and innocent Sister Mary Eunice is still inside and fighting to get out.

The Dark Angel was not bound to Briarcliff. She also visited Lana in Oliver's basement, was there for the suicide of the driver, took the Nazi hunter, stopped by to visit Sister Jude at the diner and then returned to Briarcliff to kiss Grace to a peaceful end. She was quite busy.

Lana went from the horrors at Briarcliff... to those in Oliver's basement... to only escape and be returned to Briarcliff. She just can't catch a break, can she? I'm not sure that she will find life any better at Briarcliff, though she most likely won't be raped. When comparing tortures, I'm not sure which is worse, being raped or being experimented on by Dr. Arden. Poor Lana may be calling for the Dark Angel again soon.

While Lana's terrors continued to get worse, Sister Jude unexpectedly didn't find relief in her journey. In the context of the episode, the flashback to how Judy became Sister Jude didn't fit well. Despite that, it did provide a better picture of how far she had fallen before she hit the girl with her car. Throughout her life, she struggled and via her meeting with the Dark Angel, she was finally ready to move on.

She first needed to visit the girl's parents to get absolution of some sort. Only what she found was so much more. The girl she hit didn't die, she broke a few bones and grew up to be a mother. The Dark Angel said that "peace is so close." Will this revelation help Sister Jude move on? 

The closing scene was terribly sad. Kit escaped while meeting with his lawyer after being told that Grace wasn't doing well. He wanted to protect her, only his appearance at Briarcliff caused the opposite. Of course, he couldn't have known what would happen. Grace threw herself in front of a bullet meant for Kit.

Their love for each other has been the only good things to come out of Briarcliff and that is now gone. Will Kit be sent back to prison now? Or will he remain at Briarcliff. And where did that creature come from that Kit killed?

Dr. Arden may no longer have to worry about being blamed for Grace, but will he be revealed as the creator of these creatures?

Dark Angel: Are you ready for me?
Grace: Yes.
Grace: I'm free. | permalink

Grace may be free, but will the others ever be as fortunate?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (66 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Great series with great acting. Love James Cromwell and Jessica Lange and the kooky characters. 2nd only to Homeland at present and maybe a tie with The Walking Dead.

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For me THIS was the best episode of the awesome season so far!! *__*
(in terms of horror... and I'm kinda suicide-o-phobic and slicer-o-phobic)

Richard3

Last season got a little too "ghost of the week" for me, so I've been very happy with this season's commitment to a sustained story-line. Now if we can only get that Nazi-super-drugged demon-possessed Bloody Face vs alien showdown...

Richard3

I think this season is really about how different types of evil interact with each other and the struggle for power. You have Arden and Bloody Face which are human faces of evil (one authoritarian, one chaotic) and you have the demon and aliens which are supernatural faces of evil.

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Love this show, different but better than last year's excellent show. Characters fabulous, Jessica has never been better.

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this was the best episode of the season for me. yes, the Black Angel is total exposition but still.

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The Whole thing with Sister Mary Eunice is basically going nowhere, there is a lot going on in the story that's getting to overwhelming & they keep introducing new characters .. I think the whole thing would of worked great If it was centered around Bloody Face & not demons, angles, & aliens

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This season is just AWFUL......I can barley watch it,The demon nun is getting on my nerves,Bloody Face is stupid,nothing compared to last season,I just want it over,What a let down.....Just awful.....Ryan Murphy......

Aries93

@Steve: I was thinking the same thing last week when he had her tied up and pretended she was his mum. Poor Lana though. She's been through enough.

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I am so sad. This season has just basically gone to hell in a handbasket. I get that they tried something different, but there is no coherency and any plot that once existed is long, long gone.

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