'American Horror Story: Asylum' recap: An 'Unholy Night' at Briarcliff

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An "Unholy Night" descended on Briarcliff Asylum, and naturally "American Horror Story" could not do a Christmas episode without bringing in Santa. While he had the traditional suit and beard, this was one Santa you wouldn't want your kids to be around.

Santa Claus is coming to Briarcliff

After a chilling prologue, we see that Briarcliff has a patient that has been tucked away for a long, long time. Leigh (the appropriately creepy Ian McShane) is a deranged Santa that has a rather unique definition of the Christmas spirit; in fact, he hates what it has become so much that he killed families who expressed too much commercialism. Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) also feels the same way, but hey, she never tried to bite off someone's face, which Leigh does during a photo shoot for Briarcliff. So Jude had him thrown in the hole and never once checked up on him. Naturally, that did not sit too well with Santa.

Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), still possessed by the devil, decides that it is time for Leigh to get out his cell and join the rest of Briarcliff. Of course, being the devil and all, there is an ulterior motive. Sister Jude has figured it all out, and after a tense confrontation, she is locked in a room with Leigh (thanks to Dr. Arden). Jude manages to escape Leigh's clutches but will still have to face Sister Eunice.

The best part about this storyline was the evil glee that Rabe seems to bring to the role. You know you have to hate her, but for some reason, you just cannot look away from her antics. Also, while it was nice to see an attempt at humanizing Arden (James Cromwell), the writers stayed true to his character by having him betray Jude, which goes to prove that the true horror may not lie in the supernatural, but in other regular humans.

Are you really there?

Lana(Sarah Paulson) is sick with worry (who can blame her) that Sister Mary Eunice has not gone to the police, but the nun in attendance (again, where did all of them come from suddenly) assured her that it will happen. Lana sees that someone else is in the room, and after some investigation, discovers that it is Kit. Lana promises that she will help clear his name and runs off to find a phone in order to call the police.

Naturally, things don't go as planned. A visit from Thredson (Zachary Quinto) stops Lana dead in her tracks. Thredson assures Lana that the police won't find anything (he's cleaned up the room), and even though he feels no one will believe her, he still wants to kill her. Luckily Kit storms in and knocks him out, allowing the pair to hide Thredson in an overlooked closet.

Thredson's obsession with Lana is still slightly confusing, but based on promos for the next episode, it might have an impact on the present day Bloody Face storyline.


Is Grace really gone? It appears that way, and everyone seems to be acting as if she is dead, however the aliens (or whatever they are) still want her. In a flash of light that manages to knock down Arden, they remove Grace from the cart and take her to who knows where. This is the one storyline fans surely wish they had more answers to; it is getting to be a bit too much to absorb with all the other spooky stuff going on.

What did you think of "Unholy Night"?

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