American Horror Story: Asylum Recap: Anne Frank Checks Into Briarcliff

Dr. Adren a Nazi? Grace guilty of her crimes? Answer to those questions and more in our rundown of tonight's episode

By Jenna Mullins Nov 08, 2012 4:00 AMTags
American Horror StoryByron Cohen/FX

In tonight's first installment of a two-part episode, American Horror Story: Asylum gives us the story behind Grace (Lizzie Brocheré), an update on poor Shelley (Chloë Sevigny) and Lana (Sarah Paulson) tries to "cure" herself.

Plus, Anne Frank, the girl who was murdered by the Nazis and whose posthumously published diary elevated her into one of the most revered symbols of courage and humanity in the face of evil, appears as a possibly delusional character played by Franka Potente. Yeah, well, so there's that. Just your typical visit to Asylum, where you never know what's behind closed doors. Speaking of…

Shelley's New Look: Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) is still working on Shelley in his lab. He's giving her a makeover of sorts, telling her that by the time he's done with her, she could live forever. He injects her with something, but we don't get to see what happened to Shelley until the end of the episode, where Anne Frank discovers her being kept behind a closed door. Shelley has been transformed into some grotesque creature, much like the ones we caught glimpses of in the woods, and she is begging Anne to kill her.

Who Is Anne Frank? We all should know the story of the Jewish girl whose diary recounting the events of her family's experience during the Holocaust gave her international posthumous fame. We also know that she was murdered by the Nazis in 1945, so how is she in Boston in 1964? According to this episode, she says she survived, but never came forward to keep the memory of her matyrdom alive, so she's been living in America. What is she doing here? Stabbing bigots, it would seem, because that's what brought her to Briarcliff. And she also brought something else with her: a secret about Dr. Arden.

By the end of the episode, Anne has cornered Dr. Arden and shot him in the leg. So we are huge fans of hers right now (even if we have conflicted feelings about Anne Frank being a fictional TV character). Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) has also gone to her Mother Superior about Dr. Arden, who promises to find somebody to help investigate the situation. We think a Nazi hunter is on his or her way!

Grace's History: Grace tells Kit (Evan Peters) that she was framed for the murder of her family, but after they are caught having sex by Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), he gets the real story. Grace did kill her dad and stepmother, but she insists it was because her father was abusing her and her stepmother bribed her with candy to keep quiet about it. Kit believes her side of the story, and he also thinks he might be crazy and is starting to think he actually did commit the crimes he was accused of, especially after Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) paints a mental picture of Kit being the murderer.

Lana's Cure: Dr. Thredson takes an interest in Lana, and decides he can help her get out if he can treat her for her homosexuality. After daydreaming about accepting an award for exposing Briarcliff, she decides she will do whatever it takes to escape. Which means we have to witness the brutal practice of aversion therapy—and that scene was one of the hardest things to look at all season. Obviously, it doesn't work, but Lana is determined to push through to make it home. Dr. Thredson decides to stop treating her, but he also decides that when he leaves Briarcliff in a couple days, she's coming with him. He doesn't know how, but he promises her he'll make it happen.

Burning Questions:

  • Could Thredson be in love with Lana?
  • What's the story behind Monsignor Howard?
  • Does Kit truly believe that he committed those crimes, or is at all a ploy?
  • What did Dr. Arden do to Shelley?
  • Is Anne Frank really the Anne Frank?
  • What is Sister Jude going to do to get rid of Dr. Arden?

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