American Horror Story: “I am Anne Frank (Part 1)”

Grade: B+

Airdate: 11/7/12

American Horror Story has created a very good mix of physically and psychologically disturbing story lines and events in season two. Last week’s episode was physically disturbing and this week’s was psychologically. And I really liked it.

The episode starts with Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) going to talk to an unidentified girl who was dropped off by the police. The promos had told us that the girl, played by Franka Potente,  is either supposed to be or believes that she is Anne Frank. I think it would have been better if the promo didn’t tell us that. The girl attacked the police after a anti-semantic joke, has a German accent, and writes in a diary talking about the difference between Briarcliff and Amsterdam. It would have been better if the audience was left to try to figure it out until Anne tells Sister Jude who she is.

The episode was very psychological and that one of three major parts. Sister Jude is questioning Anne about who she really is and why she freaked out when she saw Dr. Arden (James Cromwell). Of course, Sister Jude doesn’t think she is Anne Frank and tells her she must not have finished the book because she dies at the end. Anne said that everyone just thought that but there were too many bodies to know. She was liberated, married an U.S. solider and moved to the U.S. the year her diary was published. But, she couldn’t relieve herself because a 15-year-old martyr could do more good.

Part of the good is making people fear ex-Nazis, which Dr. Arden is. Anne said he did similar experiments at Auschwitz. Sister Jude is quick to believe this, especially after the police arrive. They are questioning Dr. Arden because the hooker he tried to rape found pictures of torture he had done and Nazi memorable.

The second psychologically horror part of the episode: Lana (Sarah Paulson)’s rehabilitation treatment. Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) tells her that he wants to help her because she doesn’t belong there, but she must agree to the treatment. It takes Lana a little while to agree but she does. I almost find this stuff worse than Bloody Face stabbing people or Dr. Arden torturing people, because everything with Lana historically happened.

Anyway, the treatment starts with Dr. Thredson showing Lana pictures of women while giving her medicine to make her vomit. He even threw in a picture of Wendy (Clea DuVall) and Lana, determined to do everything she can to get out, tells him to give her the medicine until she vomits. The next step was Lana trying to masturbate while touching a guy…you can guess where. That time she vomited without the medicine. I was cringing the entire time and to add another level of disturbing to all of this: Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto are both gay.

The third part is Dr. Thredson interviewing Kit (Evan Peters) because he wants to help him to but doesn’t know what to do. If Kit is crazy he stays in Briarcliff, if he isn’t he goes to the electric chair. Dr. Thredson thinks that maybe Kit made up the aliens story because he couldn’t handle the horror of what he had done. Thredson thinks the shame of being married to Alma finally become too much for him and he snapped.

Kit goes to talk to Grace (Lizzie Brochere) about this. He asks her if he’s crazy. She said she doesn’t care, she still wants him. And the have sex on a table in the bakery. A guard catches them and they are brought to Sister Jude. She decides they need to be sterilized. The guard takes Grace to her cell in solitary. Kit is left with demonized Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) who tells Kit not to trust Grace and gives him her file. Earlier Grace had told Kit why she was in Briarcliff. Her stepsister and her boyfriend cut up Grace’s dad and stepmother with an ax and framed Grace for it so they could take the family farm.

Kit is put in the cell next to Grace and they can talk through the wall. He tells her about the file and she confesses that she killed her dad, stepmother and stepsister because her dad had sexually abused her for her whole life and her stepmother would not do anything about it. Grace asks what her thinks of her now. He said he admires her for being able to deal with her problem. Kit is taken to Sister Jude and starts to confess saying that maybe Dr. Thredson’s theory was right.

Dr. Thredson is trying and maybe failing to help everyone this episode. He goes up to Lana in the common room and tells her that he doesn’t think the treatment is going to work for her. He then gives her the picture of Wendy and says he is going to get her out he just doesn’t know how yet.

The episode ends with Dr. Arden taking Anne Frank into his lab. She has a gun, so that didn’t last very long. She locks them in, shoots him in the leg and then hears something in a closet. She gets the key and finds Shelley (Chloe Sevigny) who begs for Anne to shoot her.  Dr. Arden seems to be in the process of turning Shelley into one of the zombie, cannibal things that live on the grounds. The show has been calling them creatures and after seeing Shelley, yeah I’m going to go with that.

It was a very good episode. It would have gotten an A if we did not already know who Anne was and Wendy’s story line was at least mentioned. Neither Lana or Dr. Thredson said anything about Wendy’s disappearance. The audience knows that she was taken by Bloody Face, but I think Lana should have at least mentioned she is missing.


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