This week, demon seeds and mommy issues!
I’m trying not to be trite, and I’ve definitely appreciated the horror conventions that the Show has used and tweaked to great effect. As the title of the episode denotes, we are going back to understand – to some degree – what creates monsters. And while for one I had stirrings of sympathy for, the other was too…convenient for me. But first let’s discuss the Alden-Monsignor connection, Sister Mary Eunice (and what her new devil-may- care attitude can do), flash-forward to present day, and say goodbye to dear old Shelly, and Sister Jude.
It turns out that Dr. Alden sold his experimental ways to the Monsignor as a way to cure TB, but upon seeing Shelly (and strangling her out of her misery) his conscience is rattled, and he wants out. He’s too far in though, and Alden convinces him that their mutual threat must be gotten rid of – who is in the form of Sister Jude. The Monsignor complies, and he breaks the news to the sister that she will be transferred to Pittsburgh to help a school for wayward girls, highly recommended. This breaks Sister Jude, who tries her vengeance in obtaining Alden’s fingerprints to prove his Nazi past. Unfortunately, Sister Mary Eunice becomes privy to things, and kills Mr. Goodman before he can confirm Alden’s identity, but not before eeking out to Sister Jude that a nun did it.
Sister Mary Eunice lets Alden know that she knows, by giving him the research that Mr. Goodman had collected – but not all of it. She is keeping some as leverage, and telling him so. She is a far cry from the girl we see in a flashback that was duped into skinny dipping. She retells this reawakening to young Jenny, who has been dropped off to Briarcliff by her mother, suspicious that her daughter killed her friend Josie (she did). Our little demon seed has a nice little chat with Sister Mary Eunice before she’s collected, and by episode’s end she had killed again – this time her brother, sister and mother, blaming it on the same non-existent man that “killed” her friend. I’m just hoping that this evil kid grows up to be someone relevant in the present day.
Speaking of, the police get a call from a man sounding suspiciously like Dylan McDermott alerting them to the imposter Bloody Faces that are now hanging from the abandoned asylum’s rafters. They also find newlywed Leo, and his missing arm, but no sign of Theresa, who is alive and strapped down to a table. The question is , who is this new Bloody Face? And does he stand for the same things that Dr. Thredson does?
Oliver. I’m sure that several times in the previous episodes we’d heard Dr. Thredson’s first name, but it didn’t seem relevant until this one. Fitting that he, as an orphan, would be called Oliver, though instead of turning his misery for pick-pockting, he turns to murder. His sticking point is that his mother abandoned him, and he was raised without warmth, and he craves his mother’s touch, as most children do. This craving develops into murder, and the reason he takes women’s skin is because he is trying to recreate that contact he was deprived of. We also learn that Lana, as part of the press group trying to interview Kit Walker about the Bloody face murders, confides to a colleague that there must be something about this murder, that there must be some kind of reason for it, and that is what draws Dr. Thredson to Lana, to helping her, to believing that she is “the One” – the woman to replace his mother. Unfortunately, he unravels after Kit phones him, he’s being called a liar and fraud, and takes it out on poor Lana who had managed to file down a link in her chains. Thredson almost kills her, but she’s smart – she has figured out what he craves and she pushes her empathy to his abandoned boy, horrified but alive as he suckles her. I remember how eager Lana was to get out of Briarcliff, to go so far as to denounce her homosexuality for the sake of freedom, and here she knows that she needs to denounce her revulsion if there is any way she can get out of those chains and escape.
I managed to feel for Thredson, and I bet that Lana held onto that part of what ever compassion she could muster for the boy he was, however sick his outlet for his pain became. Every serial killer has a back story, many rooted in love and loss of their mothers, and this example was a solid one. I’m still upset that Thredson is this monster, but in getting at the roots of why, it somehow made me feel a little better. I hated him less. I don’t love him more, but it was easier to get some answers.
Which circles back to the question of who our modern day Bloody Face is. He calls the others imposters, but it can’t possibly be Thredson, who would be in his 60’s (if I’m being generous about his age in 1964). So who carries his legacy now? Does he kill for the same reasons? And if not, then why? It’s fair to say he will be played by Dylan McDermott since I already knew he was coming back, but who the hell is he? This is the only part of the Show that frustrates me – what is the point of the present day storyline? I’m sure that by season’s end we’ll all know, but waiting for some answers are irritating. The one thing I’m hoping for is that our little Jenny is all grown up and we’ll see what became of her, with Sister Mary Eunice’s encouragement.