TV Review: American Horror Story: Asylum, Episode 13 “Madness Ends”

American Horror Story Asylum posterGenre: Sci-Fi | Horror | Drama

Air Date/Time: January 23 at 10/9c

Network: FX

Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Writer: Tim Minear


Set in 1964, American Horror Story: Asylum takes us into a Church-run haven for the criminally insane, ruled with an iron fist by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), a nun with a troubled past.  Inside this locked down facility, danger lurks around every corner.  From Nazis and serial killers, to mutants and aliens, no one is safe inside these walls. Starring Jessica Lange as “Sister Jude”, Sarah Paulson as “Lana Winters”, James Cromwell as “Dr. Arthur Arden,” Evan Peters as “Kit Walker,” Lily Rabe as “Sister Mary Eunice,” Lizzie Brocheré as “Grace,” Zachary Quinto as “Dr. Oliver Thredson,” and Joseph Fiennes as “Monsignor Timothy Howard.” Guest stars for the miniseries will include Frances Conroy, Chloe Sevigny, Adam Levine and Mark Consuelos.

So, it all comes down to this. Twelve episodes of Briarcliff, of Sister Jude/Judy/Betty, Kit, and Lana; fewer episodes of the unfortunate Sister Mary Eunice, Dr. Arden, Shelley, Spivey, Anne Frank, and creepy kid Jenny. When I asked Dylan McDermott, who plays Johnny Thredson, if this season would provide nice closure like last season did, he replied “you’ll have closure with all the characters. It’s hard to wrap up the season in one show, but I think that having read it and now performing it, I think that you’re going to be satisfied for sure.”

He was so right. This season/Asylum series finale is all I hoped for and more. While I had the luxury of watching it in a theater, you could watch this on your iPhone and still be completely drawn in. Written by the exceptionally talented Tim Minear (X-Files, Angel, Wonderfalls, Dollhouse, and American Horror Story Season One episodes “Halloween, Part 2” and “Birth” and American Horror Story: Asylum episodes “Welcome to Briarcliff” and “Dark Cousin”, just to name several), not one word was out of place. It is elegant and smart and breathtakingly paced without ever losing control and … and I can’t say more without spoiling, other than to reiterate that I found it completely, perfectly satisfying.

One of the aspects that I loved about last season was the craziness-enhancing direction to which we were often treated, and we get that in abundance in this season’s finale. Whacky angles and creative zooms and more, all enhance this episode in a way that nothing else can. I am absolutely thrilled that Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who also directed two of my favorite episodes last season, “Home Invasion” and “Birth”, and two other episodes from this season, “I Am Anne Frank: Part 2” and “Spilt Milk,” will be a Producer/Director next season, and “the guy” who works with all  the directors on the look of the show. Watch this Asylum finale and get ready for a wild ride in the third American Horror Story season.

You could not possibly be surprised at this point in the season that every single performance is impeccable, and that Jessica LangeSarah Paulson, and Evan Peters are standouts. You will not be disappointed.

Costuming and set design and hair and makeup are exactly right, every single time. Trust me. Kudos to all involved.

This season was not as scary to me as last season, and ironically the Asylum wasn’t as crazy to me as the ultimate haunted house. But that does not detract from the fact that this season of American Horror Story, this Asylum series, has been an excellent gift, and this season finale ties it up with a bow.

I give American Horror Story: Asylum, Episode 13 “Madness Ends” Five Out of Five Stars.



Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for