Four months ago
Johnny Morgan wanders Briarcliff, listening to the audiobook of Tales from Briarcliff, written and narrated by Lana. He hallucinates scenes and people narrated by Lana, including a vision of his father, Dr. Thredson, encouraging him in his vendetta against Lana. As he meditates, he is disturbed by the entrance of Leo and Teresa Morrison, enjoying their "haunted honeymoon", and becomes bitterly enraged by their mentioning of Bloody Face. When Leo pokes his arm into the secluded room in which Johnny is trying to smoke from his hash pipe, Johnny somberly dons his Bloody Face mask and hacks Leo's arm off, casually tossing it aside.
Lana is about to be interviewed by April prior to a Kennedy Center honor. Though she does not wish to discuss Dr. Thredson/Bloody Face, not wishing to add to his cult figure status she agrees to discuss the Briarcliff exposé.
She flashes back intermittently to entering the asylum with a film crew through the tunnels. She has since become a television journalist with her series "America Unmasked". The film, showing her walking unchallenged through Briarcliff amidst the filthy and damaged patients finally put her on the map. When finally encountering an orderly, she voices a wish to see Judy, her old nemesis. They find her in a solitary cell, nearly feral, and Lana helps her up and shepherds her out of Briarcliff. Though touching, she admits this story to be false, as she was in fact too late to save Judy; the cell was empty when she arrived. She takes a break from her recollections, and Johnny hands her a water bottle. They share a brief look as she takes it from him.
Lana visits Kit, bringing her camera crew with her. Initially, he is pleased to see her, but not her crew. She asks him about "Betty Drake", a patient whose record she found while filming in Briarcliff, shown to be released to his care. She asks if it was really Judy, and he admits he went back for her after Alma's heart attack, subsequent death. Though she started to recover, she went through violent spells, still believing herself to be Sister Jude, administrator of Briarcliff. During one such violent episode, the children led her by the hand into the woods outside Kit's house; when they returned, Judy had seemingly miraculously returned to her old self. Following this rebirth, the four lived happily together as a family for another six months before Judy grew unexpectedly ill. After bidding goodbye to Thomas and Julie, who had come to view her as their "Nana", Judy refused Kit's offer of food. She claimed she was not alone in death because "she" (Shachath) was with her. As before (in "Dark Cousin"), Shachath questioned whether Jude was ready to die, but Jude reassured her that she was finally at peace. Darkness seemed to grow around her as the angel bent down to give her a kiss.
The interview covers her next exposé, one on Cardinal Howard and his misguided hiring of Dr. Arden while still Monsignor. Though he attempted to avoid Lana's probing, his guilt eventually drove him to suicide, slitting his wrists in a bathtub. In the present, the conversation turns to Lana's own secret: she admits on-camera that her child by Dr. Thredson did not die in childbirth, but was given up for adoption. She tracked him down in the mid-70's, and rescued him from a bully in a schoolyard, but he did not recognize her. She discusses her guilt about giving him up. Lana later became godmother to Kit's children after he married again. Thomas became a law professor at Harvard, Julia a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. Kit contracted pancreatic cancer at 40, and though Lana only knows he disappeared without a trace, a flashback shows he was spirited out of his wheelchair by the Extraterrestrials.
The interview crew leaves, and Lana pours a drink for Johnny, who she says doesn't need to hide anymore. Johnny describes his infiltration of the film crew. Lana recognized him instantly; she does not reveal to him that the police have warned her about Johnny and that they suspect him of many murders. He says that he recognized her on the playground, and also that he found his father's confession tape on eBay. She admits that neither of his parents loved him, despite his assertion that Thredson did. She confronts him about what he wants, and he holds a gun to her head. She describes the irony that Thredson hated guns. Johnny claims that he just wanted Thredson to be proud of him. She says that Johnny could never be a monster like his father. She cradles his face and gets him to put down the gun. He begins to weep, feeling the guilt of his crimes. "It's not your fault, baby", she claims. Raising the gun to his forehead, she adds "It's mine," and fires.
As Johnny bleeds out on her carpet and police sirens gather, Lana remembers her first meeting with Sister Jude. Leading on from their confrontation in her office in "Welcome to Briarcliff", Jude cautioned Lana against her ambitions as a reporter, though Lana pointed out Jude held similar ambitions for Briarcliff. Believing they'd never meet again, the nun attempted to leave an impression on the reporter. Jude's eyes seemed to reflect the light unpleasantly as she told a confident Lana, "If you look in the face of evil... evil's gonna look right back at you".
Disturbed, Lana turned and left; Jude, satisfied, looked momentarily at the statue of the Virgin Mary, neither woman at all aware of the horrors they would have to undergo in years to come. As the Nun went about her business and patients continued to rave, the pleasant sound of "Dominique" echoed through the halls of Briarcliff...
MarionMarion is Lana Winters's partner. An opera singer, Lana is very fond of her.
- Dr. Thredson to Johnny Morgan, in his hallucination: "I loved you even when you were still in your mother's womb. I'd have given anything to be a real father to you, but she kept us apart. I had so much love to give you, son. But she stole it from you. From both of us."
But you did shut down Briarcliff?
Yes, but it's not the ending I wanted. It's one hell of an ending. Just not the one I wanted.
- Lana describing Timothy Howard: "I've got broad shoulders but I can't take credit for what his guilty conscience made him do. That man was a particular kind of liar: the kind who lies to himself about being a liar. He was so corrupt and deluded he believed his own lies. Lies are like scars on your soul. They destroy you."
- Jude teaching Kit to dance: "I'm right! Because women are always right."
- Lily Rabe (Sister Mary Eunice) and Lizzie Brocheré (Grace Bertrand) are credited, but do not appear (although their characters appeared in a deleted scene). James Cromwell (Arthur Arden) appears briefly in archive footage.
- The penultimate line of the show - Sister Jude's warning to Lana - is a paraphrasing of Friedrich Nietzche's Beyond Good and Evil, in which he states "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."
- Lana's concerns about giving more camera time to Bloody Face - along with Johnny Morgan's storyline in the series - parallels with real-life cases in which mentally disturbed individuals have drawn inspiration from the cult status of charismatic killers to go on their own killing sprees. Lana singles out Heath Ledger; following the 2008 film The Dark Knight, cases such as the Dendermonde nursery attack or the Aurora shooting in 2012 have been perpetrated by individuals inspired by Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in that film.
- By coincidence, James Cromwell has stated that his acting technique in playing Dr. Arden is motivated by fears of letting a disturbing character portrayal prey on his mental health, as the Joker character preyed on Ledger's. ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ Star James Cromwell Talks Heath Ledger, Distancing Himself From Dark Dr. Arden
- The last meeting between Kit Walker and Judy Martin mirrors their first meeting - when Judy first spoke to him as Sister Jude, he was chained helplessly to a bed and she sat on his left. When Judy dies in this episode, she is lying helplessly ill on a bed, and Kit sits on her right.
- Similarly, Lana's face-off with Johnny Morgan reflects on her final meeting with his father, Oliver Thredson, in Spilt Milk. Lana broke into Thredson's house, intending to kill him, and he poured and consumed a drink during their last conversation; Johnny tricked his way into Lana's, intending to kill her, and she poured and consumed a drink during their last conversation.
- In her expose on Briarcliff Manor, Lana says almost the exact words as Geraldo Rivera did in his 1972 documentary on Willowbrook State School: "These images and sounds are far more powerful than any words that can be spoken. But how can I describe to you the way it smells? It reeks of filth, of disease. It smells of death." (Originally: "This is what it looked like, this is what it sounded like but how can I tell you about the way it smelled? It smelled of filth, it smelled of disease, and it smelled of death.")
- Did the Extraterrestrials see Kit as a test subject, a shining example of progressive humanity, or both?
- ↑ The Interviewer