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Shachath (also known as the Angel of Death) is a benevolent entity that appears to give her kiss of death to individuals who are dying or wish for death. She is a character in Asylum portrayed by Frances Conroy.

Background

Shachath only appears when she is called and whoever calls receives her "kiss of death", serving much like a grim reaper. Sister Mary Eunice is agitated when she encounters the dark angel bestowing her kiss upon the Briarcliff inmate known as Miles. She has appeared before Grace, Lana Winters, Sister Jude, and Timothy Howard.

Personality and Appearance

She appears to be a woman in complete mourning, but at the same time trying to suppress the emotion.

Commenting on the character, Conroy described a simplicity to the character as a servant in nature - constantly fulfilling her duty in every way, including comforting others in their time of need and difficulty usually moments before their death. Conroy also described the character as "benign". Shachath also claims that she "never judges" those who call on her.

She manifests in a classic black 1940's attire. She wears a fishnet veil which covers her eyes, and when she performs the kiss of death, two large black feathered wings spring from her back. Commenting on the character's distinct style, Ryan Murphy described it as a mixture of "Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger, meets a Japanese designer, meets Mildred Pierce".

Story

She appears to several main characters, such as Lana Winters, Sister Jude, and Grace. She gives Grace the kiss of death after she is shot by Frank in an attempt to protect Kit Walker.[4]

Shachath appears to Timothy Howard in the sanctuary as he is nailed to the cross. Timothy pleads for her to help him, and she replies "I'm here."[5]

Shachath does not end Timothy's suffering but believes he must cast away the Devil that possesses Sister Mary Eunice. She later appears when Mary Eunice dies, saying she's taking both her and the Devil and casts the Devil back to hell.[6]

When Briarcliff is put under the control of the state of Massachusetts and turned into a refuge for surplus inmates, Judy Martin is confronted by a domineering, unnamed new arrival who seems to bear the physical appearance of Shachath, though her voice is raspier due to cigarettes. When she attempts to usurp Judy's role of authority amongst Briarcliff's populace and sexually harasses her, Judy attacks "Shachath", only to find that the Angel was part of an elaborate hallucination she has been suffering from over the past two and a half years.[7] Shachath appears to Jude, who is willing to accept the "kiss of death" this time around.[8]

Powers

Shachath is an immensely powerful spiritual entity with a variety of supernatural powers.

  • Immortality - As an angel, she is not susceptible to human weaknesses, thus being immune to all aging, disease, and death.
  • Transmutation - The magical ability to move instantaneously from one location to another. Shachath can appear before those who should receive her kiss of death. After her mission is complete she will disappear into thin air.
    • Interdimensional Travel - Shachath can move freely through different dimensions.
  • Clairvoyance - The magical ability to read the minds of others and project their thoughts into them. Shachath can tell if anyone "calls" for her when they're dying or desiring to die and comes to them only.
  • Kiss of Death - The souls of dying humans' and even Satan's can be delivered to the afterlife by Shachath with her merciful kiss.
  • Intangibility / Invisibility - As a spiritual entity, Shachath is able to become tangible / seen or intangible / unseen at will. She is invisible to living people, although she can be seen by those who are dying and by other angels and demons.
  • Flight (presumably) - Shachath is seen exposing her wings every time she's about to deliver a human's soul to the afterlife, which means she could have the ability to fly.

Quotes

  • Shachath: "I come when I'm called. That's what I do, Jude. I don't judge. I never judge."
  • To Grace Bertrand: "Are you ready for me? "
  • To Timothy Howard: "The devil is at Briarcliff in your favorite young nun. Guard your thoughts, use your rosary. Each bead is His name. This is your moment, Timothy. "

Notes

  • She is the second character to be portrayed by Frances Conroy. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
  • In Ancient Hebrew, not Aramaic, "shachat" is one of the many names for the underworld mentioned in the Old Testament and not the name of the Angel of Death. The writing in blood on the wall that summoned Shachath was actually misspelled and says Shachach instead of Shachath. Indeed, the word 'shâchath' or 'שָׁחַת' is a Hebrew Greek verb meaning "to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, or decay" and is used throughout the Bible.
  • She is the first angel to appear in American Horror Story.
  • Thus far, she is the only character portrayed by Frances Conroy that did not die. However, the actor portraying Mama Polk in My Roanoke Nightmare is never shown dying, suggesting that the actor did not die.
  • She is the first immortal character to be introduced in accordance of each season; the second was her cousin, The Devil. The third, fourth and fifth immortal characters introduced were Marie LaveauDelphine LaLaurie and Bastien (all of which later had their immortality revoked). The sixth was Papa Legba. The "seventh" were a handful of vampires. The eighth was The Addiction Demon. The ninth was Scáthach.
  • Although Shachath has yet to make any new appearances outside of Asylum, it can be assumed that she is still present in the overarching mythology of the series, since every season features the inevitable deaths of the characters therein and Shachath's sole job is, after all, to take the deceased to the afterlife. Although the audience has yet to physically see her again, she is presumably still present in every season of the show as a silent, invisible figure seen only to the characters who die in their respective seasons. If this is the case, this would technically make Shachath the first character to cross over into every season.
  • Shachath is the first benevolent supernatural being to appear in the series, surpassing the kindly nature of the Salem witches in Season Three.

Gallery

References

  1. In Spilt Milk she appears in Lana's flashbacks.
  2. In Continuum, she appears in Sister Jude's hallucination.
  3. In The Axeman Cometh she makes no appeareance, but is mentioned by The Axeman as the "Angel of Death".
  4. Episode: Dark Cousin
  5. Episode: The Coat Hanger
  6. Episode: The Name Game
  7. Episode: Continuum
  8. Episode: Madness Ends