Continuum (American Horror Story)
|American Horror Story episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Craig Zisk|
|Written by||Ryan Murphy|
|Featured music||"Let's Live for Today" by The Grass Roots
"Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire
"All Along the Watchtower" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Takedown" by Blue Stahli
|Original air date||January 16, 2013|
|Running time||43 minutes|
"Continuum" is the twelfth and penultimate episode of the second season of the FX anthology television series American Horror Story. The episode, written by series co-creator Ryan Murphy and directed by Craig Zisk, originally aired on January 16, 2013. This episode is rated TV-MA (LSV).
In the episode, Kit (Evan Peters) must deal with both Alma (Britne Oldford) and Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) at home. Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), now known as "Betty Drake", slips further into insanity at the asylum. Lana (Sarah Paulson) publishes a book about her ordeal, even though it may not all be true. Johnny (Dylan McDermott) seeks out a copy of the book to continue his father's "work".
Life in the Walker household has become strained. Kit (Evan Peters) is living with both Alma (Britne Oldford) and Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) (though polygamy is illegal) and his two children, one from each wife. Kit tries to comfort Alma's fear that the aliens might return, while Grace would welcome such an event, as she claims they are the future. As Kit and Grace discuss this, Alma abruptly kills Grace with an axe, stating she had to stop her. Kit is left horrified.
At the asylum, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is now known as "Betty Drake" to hide her identity and faked death. Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) tells her that he is leaving to be Cardinal of New York and that the asylum has been donated to the state, and promises Jude he will get her out. Inmates from the local prison overflow will now be brought into the asylum. The patients' rooms become double-occupancy and Jude's new roommate resembles Shachath (Frances Conroy), the Angel of Death, which terrifies her. Jude ends up hallucinating it all and is taken to Dr. Miranda Crump (Robin Bartlett), asylum administrator. Crump tells Jude that she has gone through five different roommates in two months. In confusion, Jude mentions that Howard had promised to get her out and that her only friend, Pepper (Naomi Grossman), was a witness of this. Crump informs a shocked Jude that it has been two years since then and that Pepper died in 1966.
Lana (Sarah Paulson) reads from her book Maniac before an autograph session in a bookstore. She imagines both Wendy (Clea Duvall) and Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) standing up to accuse her of changing what actually happened to sell more books. Kit arrives to complain that she has failed to get Briarcliff shut down. He informs her that Alma had been admitted there, but has died. Lana says that only she and Kit remain but he tells her that Sister Jude is still alive, as he has spoken to her, although her sanity is slipping. He hopes the news about Jude will reinvigorate Lana's desire to shut down Briarcliff, but she claims Jude has brought her current situation unto herself.
Johnny (Dylan McDermott) wants an autographed copy of Maniac from that same bookstore. The owner refuses to sell it to him, as that was her mother's personal copy, and she does not believe that he is Lana's son. Johnny tells her of his plans for Lana: he will take the book, track her down, make her realize that he is her son, proving to her that he is alive, and then kill her, thus completing his father's "work". Intimidated and shocked, the owner gives him the book.
In a January 2013 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Murphy spoke about formatting the three leads' stories for the episode: "I think we just wanted to spend our time with resolving a lot of those stories. I think it was interesting because a lot of those people had never been together. We've never had Alma and Grace and Kit all together. I think the idea was just to spend a good chunk of time with them and see what that relationship was like which was very interesting with all the progressive, free-love, civil rights stuff so that was one thing."
He continued: "I love the idea of showing Jude's descent. We wrote it and directed and shot it much like one of those '1950s ladies in prison' movies which I was always obsessed with. As a child I was obsessed with this movie called Caged which was like tough broads standing against James Cagney.1 I was really thrilled with Frances Conroy's brilliant lady gangster interpretation. She was so brilliant and I loved her henchwoman and I loved the whole idea that Jude thought that woman is death. And I love the actress who plays the new ward of Briarcliff, Robin Bartlett, who's in one of my favorite Mike Nichols movies Heartburn."2
Finally, he added: "All of that Lana stuff was really modeled after Truman Capote and his complete In Cold Blood fame grab. Lana has sorta become Truman Capote meets Jacqueline Susann. I thought it was just fascinating and moving and totally understandable that after all the horrors Lana took refuge and solace in fame and money and celebrity and glamour. I really understood that for her. Then I love how they all dovetailed."
- ^1 James Cagney was not in Caged.
- ^2 Robin Bartlett was in Nichols' Postcards from the Edge, not Heartburn.
Featured media in episode
- President Lyndon B. Johnson's televised announcement of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
- Televised episode of The Flying Nun
"Continuum" was watched by 2.30 million viewers and received an adult 18-49 rating of 1.3, slightly lower than the previously aired episode.
Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club thought the episode "embrace[d] all that's wondrous and all that's awful about this season of American Horror Story, occasionally within the same scene or line of dialogue." He added: "This is a horribly messy piece of work that somehow gets to the heart of madness, and it's occasionally a starkly beautiful piece about survivor's guilt." About the episode, Matt Fowler of IGN stated: "Not that anything was overtly awful, but the pacing was such that you could just never get a hold on what was going on." He added: "I also don't want to fully penalize a show for pulling out all the stops and taking me on a completely unexpected journey."
- Stack, Tim (January 17, 2013). "'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy teases next week's finale, 'There's only one person left standing' -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (January 17, 2013). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'Moonshiners' Wins Night, + 'Amish Mafia', 'American Horror Story', 'Workaholics', & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Van Der Werff, Todd (January 16, 2013). "Continuum". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- Fowler, Matt (January 16, 2013). "Earth to Grace...". IGN. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
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