Forget the aliens, the lovers and even Bloody Face himself, this week’s American Horror Story was all about emotions. The episode showed characters struggle with their “afflictions,” and be honest with each other as they decipher reality from fantasy.

The Players:

  • Director: Michael Uppendahl
  • Writer: Jessica Sharzer
  • Cast: Zachary Quinto, Joseph Fiennes, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Lizzie Brocheré, James Cromwell, Jessica Lange

Episode Title: “I Am Anne Frank (Part 1)”

When a patient claiming to be Anne Frank outs Dr. Arden as a Nazi, everyone starts examining their sanity and place in the asylum. Lana requests treatment for her homosexuality and Grace admits to Kit that she did, indeed, kill her family.

The Good:

  • Grace is a Killer: After being a member of the Wrongly Incarcerated Club, Grace admitted to Kit that she killed her family. The back story is expected, almost to the point of being cliche; her father sexually abused her. Her step-mother didn’t believe her claims. They deserved to die. Her motive wasn’t shocking or original, but her deadly deed was a nice reveal. Most of Briarcliff’s residents seem innocent and wrongly accused. Therefore, Grace being an actual murderer stirs the proverbial pot.
  • Dr. Arden: The (Maybe) Nazi: The patient claiming to be Anne Frank could just be crazy. It is AHS, so anything could happen. Regardless of the veracity of her accusation, is there anyone who doesn’t think it’s completely plausible? The experiments on patients. The sadist outbursts. It’s not out of the question. Either way, pressure is coming down hard on Arden to cease his experiments.
  • Zombie Shelley: Now we know why Chloe Sevigny was listed as a special guest star and not a season regular. Her torture at Arden’s hands has been ongoing. She’s legless, he’s been experimenting on her face and God knows what else. Seeing her disfigured body at the end as she begs for death was jarring and a little gag-inducing. Call the Creative Arts Emmys now,  I see a makeup nod in AHS‘ future.
  • The Softer Side of Jude: Kit may no longer be convinced of his own innocence and seeks guidance from Sister Jude. He explains that he can’t remember if he committed the crimes, but God knows. Jude connects with Kit and his repentance reminds her of her own past sins. Could she switch sides mid-season? Probably not, but thanks for teasing it AHS.
  • Lana’s Therapy: Lana is willing to endure anything to get out of Briarcliff, including voluntary aversion therapy to change her sexuality. When she works with Dr. Thredson, she takes drugs to make her physically ill as she looks at women. She fights back vomit as she masturbates, while touching a naked male patient. Tt’s heart-wrenching. Sarah Paulson is proving herself to be a scene stealer with one of the season’s more grounded characters.

The So-So:

  • No Sister Mary Eunice: Sister Mary, along with the season arc, took a backseat this week. While it was a necessary evil, her possessed grins and evil plotting were missed.

Overall:

AHS has raised some amazing season-long questions, but is taking its time answering them. “I Am Anne Frank – Part 1″ may be frustrating for viewers focused on how the overall story progresses. But for those more interested in character development, it’s a home run.

Rating: 9/10

American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

What did you think of this week’s episode?