Right off the bat: 1962, Santa Claus is murdered. Well, it’s a dude outside a store ringing a bell, but it’s a better scene if you say Santa Claus is murdered. The murderer (guest star Ian McShane) takes the newly bloodstained Santa suit, breaks into a well-decorated house, takes a family hostage, and makes a few threats about raping the family’s daughter (giving her a present from his “sack”; yikes!), before murdering the husband and wife. This guy clearly has a problem with Christmas.
Meanwhile, in 1964, it’s Christmastime at the asylum, and Sister Demon/Stupid/Mary Eunice thinks it’s a swell idea to use some unconventional things as Christmas ornaments: false teeth, hair clippings, you know–the obvious stuff. Sister Jude is onto Sister Demon, remember; she figured out last week that Sister Demon is, well, possessed by a demon. It’s hard for her to do anything about it, though, because she’s no longer allowed in Briarcliff… oh, and Sister Demon is possessed by a damn demon; she’s powerful as shit. Or, at least, she’s really good at throwing things with her mind; a useful skill for a demon, I’m sure.
You’ll recall that Grace was killed last week, after Kit broke back into Briarcliff (for whatever dumbass reason) and she jumped between him and a bullet, which is never the best idea. Now, the guard who killed her wants to tell the police what happened. Why this hasn’t already happened, I’m not sure, but I guess that’s how things worked in the ’60s. Dr. Arden does not want this to happen; as we know, he is quite fond of hiding things. This is when we learn that the Santa murderer from earlier is now housed in Briarcliff; he has been for a while. We see another flashback; this time to 1963, at a previous Briarcliff Christmas “party”. We see the Santa murderer is there, and Sister Jude is all in his ass. She has good reason, though, because we promptly see him kill some guy by going full vampire on the guy’s neck. That’s when Sister Jude threw Santa murderer in “the hole”, where he has been ’til now, when Sister Demon seems to want him out there for the holiday… to kill the guard who wants to talk. She’s always thinking, that one.
Dr. Arden gifts Sister Demon a pair of shitty, ruby earrings. No, seriously, he tells her about the Jewish woman to whom they used to belong. The woman was in Auschwitz and used to swallow the earrings everyday, poop them, and then swallow them again–to hide them–not unlike Christopher Walken’s watch in Pulp Fiction. When she died from internal bleeding (I wonder what caused that), he took them. Now he’s given them to Sister Demon; not because he wants her to have them, but surprisingly, he was trying to help Sister Mary Eunice and see if she was still “in there” behind the demon. It turns out, of course, she isn’t. There is no Mary Eunice; there is only Zuul–uh, I mean, the demon–and that demon is all about those shit-stained earrings. Dr. Arden has an unhealthy attachment to Sister Mary Eunice’s “purity”; you just know there’s a creepy reason for that. He cares so much for her purity that he visits Sister Jude in her new position and convinces her to help him “help” Sister Mary Eunice. I don’t know why Sister Jude is willing to cooperate with Dr. Arden, but I guess she has no other choice, if she wants to help Sister Mary Eunice.
Sister Demon is keeping Lana and Kit hidden in the asylum’s infirmary; hidden from the police–and everyone. Lana realizes this when she finds Kit all drugged up in a hospital bed and having weird “family Christmas” dreams about Grace–set to a soundtrack of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, which happens to be my favorite Christmas song, but that’s neither here nor there–They hatch a plan to escape and tell everyone about Dr. Thredson’s crimes; crimes Kit is only now learning were actually committed by Dr. Thredson. He’s still all zonked out on meds, though, so I’m not sure he’s aware of anything. Lana makes her way to a phone in some other room, but guess what? Dr. Thredson is there. Oh, shit.
Back at the worst Christmas party ever, we see that Monsignor Timothy loves Sister Demon’s ad hoc Christmas tree covered with a hodgepodge of human hair and other organic matter; Monsignor Timothy is trying to get in the habit of Sister Demon, if you know what I mean. We also see, though, that the Santa murderer has, indeed, been let out of “the hole”, and he’s playing Santa for this little shindig (lovely). The remorseful guard climbs a ladder to hoist the star atop the tree, and that’s when Sister Demon’s plan springs into action; Santa murderer shoves the guard off the ladder, jumps on him, and hits him a few times. No big deal, though; the guard is just scratched up a little. That’s Sister Demon’s big plan to get rid of the guard? It didn’t work. Looks like she’s still “Sister Stupid”. The guard throws Santa murderer back into the hole, and that’s that… but wait! Sister Demon is behind him and she quickly slices his throat with a razor blade. Looks like her plan worked after all. A holiday miracle?
That’s not even the whole plan, though; oh, no! You remember how Dr. Arden was working with Sister Jude to “help” Sister Mary Eunice? Well, Dr. Arden was full of all kinds of Nazi shit. He was just tricking Sister Jude into coming back to Briarcliff. Why would he do that? To prove his allegiance to Sister Demon, of course! The rest of her plan is to unleash Santa murderer upon Sister Jude! What will happen? I can’t watch! Okay, I did watch, and I’m glad I did. It’s a pretty one-sided struggle, with Santa murderer throwing Sister Jude around like a rag doll. Things get really interesting when Santa murderer finds Sister Jude’s whip stash and is reminded of the time when he was bent over her desk and beaten with them. That’s when he bends her over that same desk and whips her, while simultaneously delivering an awesome line: “There is no god, but there is a Santa Claus!” That’s just a terrific line, for so many reasons; not the least of which is the fact that he is wearing a Santa suit, and she is wearing a nun’s habit. Eventually, he winds up on top of her, and she manages to stab him in the throat; Santa Claus dies again.
While that was going on, Dr. Arden has excused himself from the side of Sister Demon outside the door of the room where the fight was occurring; he said he had “other business” to take care of. That other business was disposing of Grace’s body. So he’s wheeling her remains down his mineshaft-looking tunnel to hell, right? When the flashing lights start up again. It’s the aliens! Dr. Arden is startled to the ground. When he gets back on his feet, he discovers that Grace’s body is gone! Oh, shit, again! Are the aliens going to revive her? Are they going to pull an E.T. Bloodyface and wear her skin to infiltrate society? Okay, I may be getting carried away, but it’s still exciting.
Speaking of Bloodyface, Dr. Thredson still has Lana cornered in that broom closet (which has a telephone in it, for some reason. It was the ’60s; every room had a land line, right?) Thredson informs Lana that, because of her, he had to “kill” Bloodyface; he got rid of all his skin-covered trinkets, bone-carved ashtrays, and titty lampshades, just in case she blabbed to the police. I hope those went to a good home. Never fear, though; she wasn’t able to reach the police, so he can begin again, and he’s going to start with her skin! Oh, joy! He’s dragging her out of the room when Kit–who is markedly undrugged-up, now–whacks him over the head. They tie Thredson up and construct a blanket/mattress fort around him–is he a hostage, or is he sleeping over?– I guess we’ll see next week if they’ve managed to sneak in a pillow fight or not.
Unnecessary note: If American Horror Story: Asylum was treated as a television series, instead of a miniseries, Ian McShane would undoubtedly receive a nomination for best guest actor. He was great.