What creates a cold-blooded killer? In Oliver Thredson's case, it’s maternal abandonment. In Dr. Arden's case, it’s a deranged vision to create the next stage of human evolution. This harrowing hour delivers nonstop terror as Lana clings to her life and Sister Jude appears to finally lose her battle with Dr. Arden just as she's about to expose him as the monster he is.
Will the Real Bloody Face Please Stand Up?
This week's particularly bloody installment begins in present day, back at ruined Briarcliff. Bloody Face summons police to Briarcliff via 911 to find his latest victims - three Bloody Face imposters, dead and dangling from ceiling rafters.
Who is this guy? Is it Thredson four decades later? He seems too young for that and we still can't figure it out.
Serious Mommy Issues
Cut to 1964 and Lana is waking in Thredson's lair. He's cooking for her and she wakes up, freaking out, as she remembers where she is. He's not happy she's upset and she quickly quiets down and tries to get on his good side by thanking him for the food and the act of kindness. He seems to buy this - for a while.
Zachary Quinto, the actor, is unrecognizable. We are instead riveted to this psychopathic killer, who is drawn with frightening accuracy. His stare is cold and merciless and his mannerisms are carefully executed. Even him shaking a bottle of nutmeg is absolutely terrifying. What is he going to do to Lana? The anticipation is unbearable.
I was a little shocked when he starts to tell her his story. His mother abandoned him and he grew up in the system completely devoid of physical human contact and totally without a mother's love or touch.
The craving for this basic human desire, he tells her, is what drove him to psychiatry as a tool to figure out the short circuits in his own mind. Along the way, he met his first "mother's substitute," a corpse in gross anatomy. Without going into gruesome detail, he "bonded" with the "subject" who he projected to be his mother. But he discovered a need for "more lively" skin-that's when he killed his first victim and skinned her alive.
Lana listens in horror as he explains that now she's here, his other work is done. He calls her mommy and we know that things are going to get a whole lot worse for poor Lana.
No Way Out
Kit (Evan Peters) calls Thredson from jail, begging for help. Of course, Thredson tells him he needs to face up to his crimes. Kit calls him a liar and Thredson is outraged.
Meanwhile, Lana tries to cut off her chains and almost succeeds, and then Thredson arrives and discovers what she did.
He dons the Bloody Face mask and prepares to kill her. I squeezed my eyes shut at the first sight of his scalpel. She starts talking like his "mother" and it gives him pause. She has saved herself for now but can Lana continue to outsmart a psychopath and somehow get free?
Sister Jude's friend gathers evidence that Arden was indeed a Nazi criminal with a different name at Auschwitz. She forms a plan to take him down that goes awry when Monsignor Howard also confronts Arden for his mutilation of Shelley.
A flashback reveals that these two men met in 1962. Howard greenlights what he thinks is TB research and sets Arden up at Briarcliff to continue his work. He doesn't realize he's backing Arden's sick plan to take Briarcliff inmates and experiment on them in the name of generating the next stage of human evolution–creatures that will live beyond a nuclear blast.
There probably isn't a darker time in world history than the Holocaust. When we hear Arden go on in a Nazi supremacist rant, we recoil in remembrance of this awful time.
Sister Eunice kills Jude's witness and makes a satanic pact with Arden. Arden forces Howard into a similar pact and Sister Jude is ordered out of Briarcliff. Everything seems totally hopeless.
James Cromwell and Zachary Quinto may have created the most evil villains in television history with these two psychos. Can anyone stop their reign of terror? Is the moral of the asylum story that the evil bred inside a man by extenuating circumstances is the biggest kind of human horror?
The final cut returns to present day where the police find Leo dead, but can't find his wife. Bloody Face has her tied to a table and he watches her squirm.
I have to admit, I'm squirming too - and sleeping with the lights on.