American Horror Story, Ep 2.13,“Madness Ends” – Documentary, Dancing and Death

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American Horror Story Episode 13: “Madness Ends”
Written by: Tim Minear
Directed by: Madness Ends
Original airdate: 23 January 2013

The “Madness Ends” this week, as the season two finale brings the audience to present day with a somewhat rewarding sense of closure.

There is a huge contrast between last week’s and this week’s episode. Last week had three different stories taking place in multiple eras, which often included giant time jumps making it hard for the audience to catch everything at once. This week has a more focused narrative, making the episode extraordinarily captivating throughout.

With the emotional stakes much higher this season, another American Horror Story is completed with stunning visuals and the best script yet provided by Tim Minear. Audiences complained that the first season failed to wrap everything up, but this certainly isn’t the case this season. Minear’s script serves as a perfect capstone and features some of the best lines the season has seen.

The two main stories audience members are dying to see resolved are Sister Jude’s redemption story and where the unlikeable traits of modern day Lana land her.

Sarah Paulson is one of the many outstanding actors this season has seen, and it is great seeing Lana all accomplished in her old age and see her redeem herself.

Looking for a way to meet his mother, chillingly Johnny manages to join the crew working on the interview with Lana. American Horror Story definitely perfected the act of misdirection this season and always leaves the audience guessing. They do exactly this in another brilliantly tense sequence; the audience are on the edge of their seats throughout when Lana acknowledges Johnny is still in the room and more importantly, she tells him she knows exactly who he is.

Whatever Lana did wrong last week is completely forgotten about when she plays her psycho son. Johnny’s obsession with his father and hatred for Lana begins to make sense when both Lana and the audience learn he gains access and listens to the tape where she threatens to abort. Showing remorse and convincing Johnny she knows he is a good person, the audience almost feel compelled to feel sorry for him after all no child deserves to hear such hatred from their mother.

Another great thing this show does to its audience, it’s scenes like this where we realise how much we actually care about the characters. The endless flashbacks and the extensive knowledge of their backstory we gain, really makes American Horror Story an outstanding, gripping television show.

When he lowers the gun, she takes it from him and shoots him dead, just like she did to his father, ending the reign of Bloody Face – all hail Queen Lana Banana. After surviving Thredson and Briarcliff it was clear she wasn’t going to let anyone stand in her way, but for a brief moment we really do fear for the safety of Lana thus engaging the audience.

It should also be noted that during this sequence cleverly, we return to Teresa and Leo’s honeymoon of horror at Briarcliff, seeing their experience again but from the modern Bloody Face’s perspective. Time jumps and flashbacks are expected in this remarkable series, it was also brilliant to see Lana’s documentary footage as well.

This season has been a rollercoaster of emotion with plot twists and impressive filming and editing techniques. It is hard to see a happy ending for any of the remaining characters especially when it is revealed Lana waited too long to save Jude.

However Kit was there to make that right. Despite everything Jude did to him, he took her in for 6 months so she didn’t die alone in Briarcliff. Experiencing the love of a family, and actually dancing with Kit instead of in her mind, when the Angel of Death came to greet her this time, she was finally ready to go. The audience see every stage of her recovery, and once again Jessica Lange is absolutely phenomenal. When she falls ill there is an incredibly well executed birds eye view shot that rotates showing weak, poorly Jude. Her last hours with Kit are incredibly touching and emotionally charged. What is particularly nice about this scene is the fact the Angel of Death noting she and Jude had been doing this dance all her life.

Though nothing really did come of the alien storyline, it tied things up. Sceptical of how creators would end the show, audiences will not be disappointed with this very satisfying ending. It is an excellent decision to end a season with a prophetic conversation. This truly is an outstanding television series that is slowly turning into a mini-blockbuster one episode at a time.

 

Tara Costello

 

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