Considering all the violence, gore, perversion and depravity on display in any typical episode of ‘American Horror Story’, is it really possible that incorporating a real (and important) historical figure into the storyline may finally be a line of taste that the show shouldn’t have crossed?
The title of episode ‘I Am Anne Frank, Part 1’ kind of tells it all. The asylum admits a new patient (Franka Potente), who claims to be the real Anne Frank, all grown up. She insists that she actually survived the Holocaust and has been living incognito since her diary was published. Worse, she recognizes Arden (James Cromwell) as a Nazi doctor who experimented on young girls at Auschwitz. He calls her a liar, but Sister Jude is eager to believe any bad thing that she hears about Arden. She brings this information to Monsignor Howard (Joseph Fiennes), only to be told that the rantings of a lunatic cannot be considered legitimate evidence against the good doctor, and to be chastised for her drinking relapse during the storm. After Jude leaves, Howard calls Arden to warn him that someone is onto him.
We learn more this episode about Grace, who tells Kit that she was sentenced to the loony bin after her family was slaughtered by an axe murderer that pinned the crime on her. The two form a bond, until they get caught banging in the kitchen. In lieu of punishment, Sister Mary Eunice gleefully shows Kit the evidence that Grace was the actual axe murderer.
Understanding that Grace is delusional, Kit begins to doubt his own sanity. He concedes to Sister Jude that it’s possible that he may have murdered his wife and fantasized the stuff about aliens. If true, he asks her if there’s any way that God could forgive him.
Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) feels sympathy for Lana and decides that he must help her to get out of the institution. He believes that the best way to do this is to officially “cure” her lesbianism. Lana, who’s been fantasizing about winning awards for the exposé she’ll write about the horrors that go on in the hospital, agrees to undergo aversion and conversion therapy, which entails conditioning her body to get sick at the thought of naked women and to force herself to be aroused by a naked man. Sadly, treatment fails. Regardless, Thredson vows to find another way to take Lana with him when he leaves the hospital in a week’s time. I have a feeling that this means that Dr. Thredson is about to meet a horrible fate in the next episode.
In the final scene, Arden gets Anne into his lab with plans to torture and kill her, but isn’t prepared when she reveals that she’s snuck in a gun. Anne shoots him in the leg. When she hears noises behind a closed door, she opens it and is horrified to discover the legless Shelly (Chloe Sevigny) on the floor, begging for death.
This episode is high on the gross-out factor. In addition to her amputation, Arden has experimented on Shelly, presumably with some sort of mutation serum that has left her with disgusting sores all over her skin. Also quite icky are the grisly flashbacks to Grace’s backstory, and the disturbing details of Lana’s therapy.
If, like me, you were impressed at how much the young Dr. Arden in the WWII flashbacks looks like James Cromwell, that’s probably because the character was played by his son, John Cromwell.
I’m undecided on how I feel about using Anne Frank as a character in the series. I’ll probably feel better if it’s revealed in Part 2 that she’s really just a nutcase from Des Moines, or something like that.