‘American Horror Story’ 2.06 Recap: “Where Does This Evil Come From?”

We found out the true identity of the mysterious Bloody Face in the previous episode of ‘American Horror Story’. In the latest, we also get to learn why he is what he is, plus the details of other important back stories for the season. The show doles out plenty more whacked-out insanity too, but that should go without saying by now.

In the present-day bookend storyline, police find the bodies of the three Bloody Face copycats strung-up in the ruins of the asylum. BF makes an anonymous call to explain that he only killed the imitators. He had nothing to do with the death of Adam Levine. I guess that means that one of Dr. Arden’s “creatures” is still around. Bloody Face does have Levine’s wife, though. (How is she not dead after being shot a bunch of times?)

Back to the ’60s, the events of ‘The Origins of Monstrosity’ kick off when a woman tries to commit her little daughter Jenny to Briarcliff. The mother believes that the girl is a cold-blooded psycho who killed her friend. Sister Jude turns them away, insisting that the institution is not a day-care facility and is not equipped to handle children. Later, the mother tries to abandon Jenny at the asylum anyway. Sister Mary Eunice takes a liking to her, and encourages the girl to follow her impulses and never let anyone change who she is. When the family is eventually reunited, the mother turns up dead soon after.

Thredson has trapped Lana in a morbid facsimile of her own bedroom. In a series of flashbacks that he relays to her, we learn that his psychosis also stems back to serious mommy abandonment issues. He’s been trying to find, or create, a replacement for his missing mother, and the inadequacies of his candidates has forced him to eliminate them. Lana tries to outsmart Thredson by playing along with his fantasy. Things get… icky.

Other flashbacks show us Mary Eunice’s back story (she was driven to the church by humiliation at the hands of cruel friends), as well as how Monsignor Howard came to take over Briarcliff and meet Arden. The good doctor claimed to be researching an “immunity booster,” and justified experimenting on mental patients as a sacrifice for the greater good. He’s developed a cocktail of syphilis and tuberculosis that he believes represents the next stage of human evolution, and will allow a subject to survive even the fallout of an atomic war.

After being called to deliver last rites to what turns out to be the grotesquely deformed Shelly, Howard finally realizes the extent of Arden’s evil. He confronts the doctor and threatens to expose him, but Arden reminds him of his own culpability. The cowardly Howard agrees to fire Sister Jude and transfer her to Pittsburgh.

When the Nazi hunter named Goodman confirms that Arden was in fact a war criminal, Mary Eunice takes care of that situation, and makes it clear to Arden that she’ll be pulling his strings from now on. However, Goodman lives long enough to warn Sister Jude about Mary Eunice.

After some ambivalent feelings about the first few episodes, I think that the show’s second season has finally hit its groove. This is another really sick, really fun episode.

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