Entertainment Magazine

Review #3913: American Horror Story 2.12: “Continuum”

Posted on the 18 January 2013 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Ryan Murphy
Directed by Craig Zisk

After a somewhat meandering season, “American Horror Story” appears to be getting back on track. I’m not sure if there’s any more sense to these new directions for the story, but whatever is going on, I found it a good deal more interesting and entertaining than what the status quo at Briarcliff had become. And there’s at least a clear sense that we’re actually building toward a climax, even if it only takes the form of Johnny Thredson’s mission of vengeance in present day. In a sense, that has been what the whole season has been building up to. We’ve already seen his rampage at Briarcliff and one or two other kills. Now we see what he plans to do next (assuming that this all takes place after the massacre at Briarcliff).

Review #3913: American Horror Story 2.12: “Continuum”

And maybe it’s just that the storyline seems to be heading in a more interesting direction; the writing and direction both just seem more inspired and bold. Kit’s storyline starts out with what appears to be as happy an ending as he could have hoped for; with both Grace and Alma back, along with their two children, and the whole family living together under one roof. But given that we’re so close to the end of the season, Murphy and Falchuk aren’t afraid to start killing off characters. In the end, Kit is left with more motivation to take down Briarcliff than ever, and there’s still the lingering possibility that the aliens will return for him to exact some final purpose.

The 1960s storyline progresses through time over the course of two years during the episode. And all the while, Sister Jude remains trapped at Briarcliff, gradually losing her mind. Her scenes are about as surreal and confusing as anything the show has ever done. Frances Conroy’s role here seems designed almost solely to give her something more to do in the season, as I can’t really imagine any other story reason for the character; though I suppose it does help a little to illustrate Sister Jude’s growing madness. I’m still baffled as to just what’s going on during Jude’s scenes, but we can at least be fairly sure that she really is stuck at Briarcliff, under a false name, and Kit and Lana both know about her now.

Lana’s book signing was one of the more entertaining scenes of the episode. It manages to rather abruptly shift from the real to the surreal, while also offering insights into who Lana has become as a result of her experiences. Instead of exposing Briarcliff and getting it shut down, Lana has sold out; she’s embellished the truth to earn enough money to become a celebrity, but remained silent about Briarcliff. Believing that Sister Jude had committed suicide certainly would have killed a lot of her motivation to take down Briarcliff, but it’s more than that. Her ordeal with Bloody Face has hardened her into a pragmatic, self-centered survivalist. Kit’s visit, and revelation of Sister Jude’s survival, may push her into more noble actions in the finale, though.

“American Horror Story” is still playing things pretty close the vest, offering few real answers to render the events of the season intelligible, which is a bit disappointing this late in the game. But after growing somewhat bored by what the season had become, this episode felt like a welcome change of direction. It managed to bring back some of the creativity that made the first season so entertaining, while adequately setting up what will hopefully be a strong finale. This season certainly hasn’t lived up to the first one as well as I’d hoped, but I’m still eager to see how Murphy and Falchuk bring it to a close. And maybe they’ll be able to reign in the show’s excesses and improve the storytelling during the show’s third season.

Score: 8/10

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