[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM!]
Have you caught your breath yet, American Horror Story fans? The concluding installment of Asylum’s two-part episode “I Am Anne Frank” was a roller coaster ride that saw Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) regress to drinking, the aliens attack Grace (Lizzie Brochere) and Lana (Sarah Paulson) in chains in the basement of Bloody Face’s lair. Oh, and Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) is Bloody Face!!! EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about this brilliant episode, Bloody Face’s backstory, and a major clue about the series’ alien encounters.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This episode in particular just felt like a tribute to your production design. This one felt really big.
RYAN MURPHY: Interestingly enough, this was not one of the more expensive ones but the thing we had in this episode is [director] Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who is such a great director and really gets the sensibility of the show. We have a great, great team and I do remember on this episode we had really long production meetings and we redid things. I remember one of the writers said, “I think the lamp needs a second nipple.” That is the attention to detail! Sometimes you get lucky with a great script, great cast. Our production designer Mark [Worthington] is so talented. I think it was an interesting episode because there were three things in it: Briarcliff which is very claustrophobic and dark and gothic; Thredson’s house, which is the beginning of the post-modern thing; and then there was the Anne Frank thing which was very suburban. So I think there was a lot of life in the episode.
We talked for this week’s issue of EW, on stands this Friday, but basically viewers should expect a whole mythology now with the reveal of Dr. Thredson as Bloody Face?
Yes, there’s three episodes in a row that really get you deep into the mind of this killer and a lot of backstory explanation and a lot of flashbacks that talk about why he is doing what he’s doing and how is society to blame in some regard. They’re really tough to watch and strong. We did it last year with Evan’s character but that was really an unexplainable crime. We really construct this serial killer that is based on two or three serial killers.
What does the future hold for Lana?
She’s gotta get the f*** outta there! Sarah Paulson and I came up with this thing very early on in the shooting of the show which was “Pray for Lana.” I actually tweeted it out. Every time a script would come out, we would say, “You still gotta pray.” How is she going to escape? Wait til you see episode 8 and 9. I love the construction on it. You won’t believe what happens to her is all I’m going to say.
I remember you telling me that he would be wearing a black teddy over a denim shirt and I didn’t believe you. But he is. Where does this outfit come from?
Well, we get into this in the next episode. This is a serial killer with really really bad mommy issues. It’s explained and it’s somewhat chilling.
So will we meet Thredson’s mother in the flashbacks?
Somewhat. You don’t meet his mother but you meet his mother’s substitute. The one after this episode is called “The Origins of Monstrosity” so it’s a real origins episode for several characters, which include Thredson, Arden, the Monsignor. It really examines ‘ “Where does evil come from?”
When Thredson sits Lana down and is feeding her wine, he says he can’t wait for her to tell his story. Does he want Lana to write about him?
Yes. The next episode there’s a flashback where you see that Lana has actually been in the same room with Thredson before. She didn’t know he was there but he overhears her ambitions about wanting to be a reporter so there’s a connection.
I love Paulson and Zach Quinto together because they’re really good friends in real life and then they have to do these horrifying scenes. I think they’re so good because these are two actors who are so comfortable with each other and are able to go to these places because they feel safe. Lana stuck in that lair is some of the most harrowing stuff we’ve done.
And you’ve told me it’s only going to get worse.
The next episode is probably the darkest episode we’ve ever done and I would say it’s the bottom. So from the bottom you start to climb up to the top.
Like Shelley climbing up those stairs!
Child’s play I say! Child’s play!
We talked about this last week but it’s so twisted and funny that Sister Eunice drops off Shelley in a child’s playground.
[Laughs] Because that’s what the devil would do!
And we see Shelley again next week right?
You do. You see Shelley in episode six along with Lily Rabe singing “You Don’t Own Me” to a crucifix.
Cromwell is getting seduced left and right on this show!
He is catnip to women on this show! He and Lily quickly become the Macbeths which I love.
This one felt very DePalma to me especially that final cross-cutting between Jude returning to her drinking ways and Anne Frank’s lobotomy.
Yes there’s definitely some DePalma stuff in there but I think what Alfonso was going for was a cross between Scorsese and a Douglas Sirk thing. I felt when I saw the first cut that it went into this great Far From Heaven/Douglas Sirk stuff that I loved. The next one has touches of that too. I think it’s the period. We were influenced by all of that.
I know you are involved in choosing all the Glee music—do you pick this music too?
You know I don’t. Our writers are so great. The person who picked out the music for this episode was really Jennifer Salt. When she was a little girl, her father – who was Waldo Salt the screenwriter – would play that song [that plays] at the end. So they write this stuff in and I usually leave it unchanged. There’s an episode coming up where Jessica Lange sings the 1964 Shirley Ellis classic “The Name Game” and I will take full credit for that. But other than that, that stuff is pretty specific. The writers are very good about that.
So what will Jude do now that she’s out of the asylum?
Well, at the end of this episode, she’s not really out. She’s a lady in search of a drink. In the next episode, she sobers up and she comes back looking for redemption and that’s when it all goes terribly awry. She’s slipped too far, that Sister Jude.
So it’s gonna get worse for Sister Jude, too?
Oh my God! This is like Disneyland compared to what happens. Jessica was really interested in tracing someone’s descent into madness. So that’s where we start.
Is Alma pregnant with an alien baby?
I’m not saying. Who’s to say that’s even real?
Okay, well, Grace appears to have been experimented on by the aliens. Is she pregnant with an alien baby?
I’m not saying that! I think it’s interesting the aliens come after Kit has sex with women. That’s a really good clue. People should look at that. There’s something about that.
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