Before we dive into the expansive, oddly touching and hugely successful series finale for American Horror Story: Asylum, let me just say that it’s been an honor sharing a hydrotherapy tub with y’all for the past 13 weeks. This season has been totally batguano insane, and it’s been a riot navigating the murky corridors of Briarcliff Manor with you.
I’d also like to thank the folks behind this season’s unhinged sprawl for delivering, in this finale, an homage to one of my most favorite horror subgenres: the “Matron in Peril” film, or as I like to call them, “Final Nana” movies. You know them well and love them better: horror films that pass over hot teens in short-shorts in favor of slightly more seasoned leading ladies. Eyes of Laura Mars, The Fan, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and Visiting Hours are a few of my favorite examples, and Miss Lana Winters would have fit right in with their septigenerian survivors.
NOW: Let’s finish what that abortionist started back in 1965, shall we?
We start in modern day, where Johnny Face (Dylan McDermott) is breaking into the ruins of Briarcliff, popping in his earbuds and listening to his mother read from her book Tales from Briarcliff. He also very nearly lops his right ear off with the machete that he brought along:
That boy sure knows how to pack for a picnic!
He wanders the halls, and imagines running into Miss Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) herself in the tub room:
She calls him an abomination and says that he was conceived out of hatred, not love. And also, someone who’s not his mother dresses him funny.
Johnny Face continues on, watching ghosts of the past dart back and forth like characters at Disney’s Haunted Mansion. It’s delightful. Eventually Lana’s audiobook turns to Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto), and Johnny sees his papa enter.
Oliver tells Johnny that he loved him even before he was born, and he touches his face. Aww. Just then, Johnny hears voices that aren’t coming from his earbuds or from somewhere in his own twisted skull: it’s Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan Tatum! Okay, so it’s “Four Months Ago” and we’re back at the opening of the first episode. Well done.
Adam and Jenna go about their naughty business, and Johnny hides out in a cell smoking crack. As you do. When Adam sticks his cameraphone through the slot in the door, Johnny pulls on his Bloody Face mask, hauls out his machete, and chops off his arm:
Okay, well… mystery solved. Although, considering we already knew he was in there it’s really not a big surprise – was anyone else hoping that there was some leftover from the Dr. Arden Collection still hanging out in the ruins? Ah, well – at least they didn’t just leave it dangling, and we get to see Maroon 5 bite it again.