Sister Jude is the stern head nun in charge of administration and discipline at Briarcliff Manor. She is a character in Asylum portrayed by Jessica Lange. Her character undergoes a major fall from grace, during which her name and title change by the end of the story.
Born Judy Martin, Sister Jude was once a promiscuous nightclub singer. Alcoholism was said to be a complaint common to her family. She was involved in a drunk-driving accident that injured a young girl and it was another drunk-driving incident that brought her, literally, to the doorstep of the Catholic Church. It is also mentioned that, prior to these events, Judy's would-be-husband ran away before they could wed.
Sister Jude was named after St. Jude, the Apostle. St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Sister Jude has a Boston accent; this could indicate that she spent a long amount of time in Boston (where American Horror Story: Asylum takes place in).
Personality and Appearance
She believes that mental illness is the fashionable explanation for sin. She is dedicated to the management of Briarcliff, hoping to make it a model institution and to atone for past sins. While stern towards her subordinates and those in her care, she is remarkably self-effacing in the presence of Monsignor Timothy Howard, the head of the institution, whom she fantasizes about. She does have a capacity for compassion, as indicated by her treatment of Sister Mary Eunice and a suffering Jed Potter. She resents Dr. Arden, both for his dismissal of her faith and the free rein he is permitted outside her purview.
Jude was a handsome, aging woman with blonde hair and brown eyes. During her time as a nun, Jude wore the traditional Catholic religious habit, underneath of which she wore 'ravish-me-red' lingerie: reflective of her repressed nature.
Sister Jude attempts to punish Shelley's transgressions by shaving her head but is interrupted by the arrival of newspaper reporter Lana Winters escorted by Sr. Mary Eunice. She tells Lana of the manor's bakery (Lana's stated interest) and of the great vision of Monsignor Timothy Howard. Kit Walker who is claimed to be Bloody Face is then questioned by Sister Jude in her office. She begins asking him questions, referring to his marriage with a black woman (Alma Walker) and why he killed her. Kit states that he was abducted by aliens and that he would never hurt Alma or another woman. Sister Jude wants nothing to do with his story so she begins to insult Alma prompting Kit to spit on her. Jude, wiping her face, states that he should not have done that and begins to cane him. After the caning, Kit is then seen in the common room meeting other inmates. He happens upon Grace, and Shelley, who tries to sexually harass him, when he is then attacked by Spivey. Sister Jude rushes in, blowing her whistle, stopping the attack. Jude then takes Kit to solitary confinement.
Sister Jude is now seen arguing with Dr. Arden, the institute's physician and Administrator. They are arguing about missing inmates. Dr. Arden simply states that they are dead and that they had no family. Sister Jude finds that very curious and exits the office, not without saying that she will get to the bottom of his schemes. Arden dares her to try.
Sr. Jude prays as she cooks dinner. She is wearing red lingerie and touches her body with her perfume-sprayed hand. Later she and Monsignor Howard have dinner together. She asks where he found Arden, and he rebuffs her concerns about him. He insists that science and faith can co-exist under their roof and that she can be Mother Superior in his new order, as he aspires to be Pope. She fantasizes about mounting him at the table as he urges her to let Arden do as he will. Wielding a cane, Sr. Jude scolds Sr. Mary for allowing Lana into the asylum. A sobbing Sr. Mary says that the cane is not big enough for the sins she has committed, and brings her a much larger one. She begs Sr. Jude to punish her as she lifts her habit and bares her bottom, but Sr. Jude gives in and sends her away.
Sr. Jude visits Wendy and intimidates her into not fighting Lana's commitment by threatening to reveal their lesbian relationship. The asylum has restrained her during her trespassing and will be "treating" her for her disorder.
Arden is cleaning a closed solitary cell, where he is discovered by Sr. Jude. Something has been living in it, but Arden denies such claims.
Back at the asylum, Sister Jude is doing room checks. In Lana's cell, Jude finds that Lana has been writing everything she's seen in the asylum down on paper, which Jude takes away from her. Sister Jude wants to erase Lana's memory, and has Dr. Arden perform electric shock therapy on her. Dr.Thredson has a talk with Sr. Jude and expresses his belief that the asylum is barbaric in its treatment methods. Sr. Jude brushes Oliver aside and has a chat with a concerned family, and Dr. Thredson interrupts. The family informs them their son, Jed, has begun hearing voices and seeing things that aren't there, and ate the heart of one of their farm animals. They express the belief that he may be possessed by a demon. They go to see Jed in his room, his body completely twisted. He cries that he is scared and does not know where he is before speaking his horrific language. Monsignor Howard and Father Malachai are then called in to perform an exorcism.
Just before the exorcism begins, Jude wants to perform the ritual with the two priests but is insulted - told it is no place for a woman - by Malachai and asked to wait outside. Jude steps outside and speaks with Jed's parents. As the battle with the demon ensues, the lights inside the asylum begin to flicker and loud noises reverberate all throughout the Institute. Father Malachai is then injured and removed from the exorcism. After a brief break, Jude is called in to help. The demon begins to personally attack each member and states something personal that has happened to them. He then taunts Sister Jude about her past drinking, promiscuity, and manslaughter. Jed keeps repeating, "You're a murderer, Judy!" Jude loses her temper and slaps Jed across the face. Mnsr. Howard grabs Jude and forces her out of the room. Thredson gives Jed a sedative and he goes into cardiac arrest, dying. As Jed dies, his body contorts and an unseen force attacks Eunice, knocking her out. Meanwhile, all the locked cells are opened and several inmates try to escape only to have Lana scream for the orderlies, halting the escape.
Sister Jude praises Lana for sacrificing her own freedom to stop Kit. She tells her she gets a reward, inviting Kit and Grace into the office and allowing Lana to pick the cane with which they are to be punished. Before the Sister can proceed Kit tells Grace to stand up and takes the entire blame on himself. Jude accepts this but doubles Kit's punishment to 40 lashes.
Sr. Mary Eunice brings the mail to Sr. Jude, including a newspaper dated 1949, referencing missing Framingham resident Missy Stone, shown in a photograph to be Sr. Jude's hit-and-run victim. Distraught to the point of paranoia, she is kneading bread when Dr. Thredson asks her about Jed's autopsy and she begins accusing him of planting the newspaper and gives him two weeks notice to clear out his office.
Sr. Mary Eunice informs the residents of the upcoming storm and the plans to comfort them with a showing of Cecil B. DeMille's The Sign of the Cross. Sr. Mary Eunice, now possessed, seems to have knowledge of Jude's past and begins to taunt her with Communion wine, knowing she's a recovering alcoholic, along with red lipstick to which she states Dr. Arden wanted to give her, referencing her red lingerie. Sister Jude is then left alone, distraught.
Sr. Jude confronts Arden about the forbidden lipstick. Arden admits to admiring Sr. Mary Eunice's purity and innocence, but believes her to be corrupted by patients like Shelley. Sr. Jude disagrees, asserting that it is Arden's doing and again makes paranoid accusations about an attempt to usurp her. He suggests she take a leave of absence. She leaves to pray in her office, and the telephone rings. Her hit-and-run victim speaks to her from beyond the grave. Sr. Jude apologizes, and seeing the girl's broken spectacles on the desk begins to weep. She breaks her sobriety by sampling the Communion wine and leaves her office to start the film for the residents. An orderly reports that The Mexican is missing from her cell. Sr. Jude introduces the "first inaugural" movie. She tries to calm the storm-frightened residents, but she is clearly shaken and breaks down in tears while reciting the entirety of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone". Drunk, Sister Jude begins to search for the missing inmates. As she searches the halls, she catches glimpses of others running away. Jude begins her chase and then finds herself face to face with one of Kit's Alien acquaintances.
Sr. Mary Eunice wakes Sr. Jude from her drunken stupor and tells her of the escape of the others. Sr. Jude puts an early end to movie night and all other future privileges due to the three escapees, who she mistakenly believes to be Shelley, The Mexican, and Pepper, as the others have returned with muddy shoes to their seats.
Frank escorts Sister Jude to the cell of an unidentified woman who was brought to the asylum after she was arrested for assault. Sr. Jude learns that the newcomer was enraged by an off-hand anti-Semitic remark. Upon further questioning, she defiantly begins whistling a tune. Sister Jude questions the woman's claims. "Anne" says that her savior was an American soldier, who widowed her during reemployment in the Korean War. She concealed her identity to inspire others as a martyr. Anne reveals that Dr. Arden is really Hans Gruper, a Nazi war scientist.
Sister Mary Eunice, with Frank's help, finds both Grace and Kit engaged in sex in the kitchen. They are immediately apprehended and brought to Jude's office. While there, Jude notices a change in Eunice's attitude and rewards her for it allowing her to chose which cane can be used on the two accused. However, Jude has a different idea and suggests sterilization for Grace and Kit. Sister Jude then tells Msgr Howard about Arden's past. He dismisses her claims against Arden. He also says he knows she's been drinking. He urges her to pray and reflect. In Arden's lab, where Shelley struggles, Howard calls and tips Arden off that they are on to him and that he should get his affairs in order.
Sister Jude tells her Mother Superior that she has slipped off the wagon as they stroll through the woods. She also relates that she thinks Arden is a war criminal. The Mother Superior suggests that Sr Jude goes behind Mnsr. Howard's back and investigates Arden's past.
Sister Jude meets Sam Goodman, a Nazi hunter, and Holocaust survivor, at Mother Claudia's recommendation. She gives him Arden's personnel file as he explains how false records can be made. He urges her to stay away from Arden, lest he grows suspicious. After hearing about what had happened to Arden, Jude talks with Anne and tells her that her claims are false. Having searched the lab, Jude has found no clues as to what Anne saw. Anne's husband arrives at Briarcliff and informs Sr. Jude that her real name is Charlotte Cohen Brown. He explains that his wife is "high-strung" and obsessed with Anne Frank after seeing a play about her life. Sr. Jude allows her to be released to her husband - the woman claims not to know him and insists that she is Anne Frank, but a family photo appears to snap her to reality. Frank then informs Sr Jude that Lana is missing, off grounds. Sister Jude, broken down, has finally given up and tells Frank certain aspects of her life that led her to this life. Sister Jude is then seen, dressed and made up, in a bar where she is being offered a drink. Sr Jude awakens and dresses after sleeping with the man who had bought her a drink the night before, carefully making sure not to wake him.
Sam Goodman, the Nazi hunter, calls Sr. Jude to tell her that Charlotte Brown was right after all about Arden, even if not about herself. He will need a fingerprint to prove these claims. The Monsignor enters Sr. Jude's office, and tells her that he has transferred her to a home for wayward girls in Pittsburgh. She blames Arden for orchestrating the situation. He tells her to pack her things. Sr Mary Eunice walks in on Sr Jude packing, and the elder explains the situation. She bids the younger nun to get cognac from the kitchen.
Sister Jude then enters Arden's room and proposes a celebratory toast for his dismissal of her. Suspecting poisoning, he will not drink the toast alone so Jude joins him. Sister Jude now has the fingerprints she was asked to retrieve. As this is happening, Mary Eunice, dressed in red lingerie, receives a phone call from Sam Goodman. She answers, using Jude's voice. Sister Mary goes to the hotel to meet Sam. He asks if Sr Jude sent her, but she says that Sr Jude does not know she's there. Without hesitation, Mary Eunice attacks Sam, slashing his throat with a piece of glass. Sr Jude later arrives with the now fingerprinted glass, but Sam has already been slashed. With his final words, he tells Jude that it was a young nun who attacked him. In his hotel room, Sister Jude is tending to a dying Sam Goodman. She attempts to call the police and while doing this, notices that there is a bottle of bourbon on the table. Meanwhile, the Angel comes to kiss the detective. Sister Jude turns to see that on the TV, there are newspaper clippings relating to the "girl in the blue dress". Underneath the paper is the word, "MURDERER" written in blood.
In a flashback, a hungover Judy awakens in a trashed hotel room to Terry (one of her band members) knocking on her door. He comes to inform her that she has been replaced in the band as a singer, since she missed their show the previous night. She attempts to seduce him into changing his mind but he denies her. As he leaves, he informs her that the police are going to come and question her about a hit-and-run case a few days prior. Judy panics and packs her things. She leaves and begins driving but decides to drink while she is on her way. She crashes her car and awakens in front of a statue of an angel. A nun approaches her car and asks if she is hurt.
The phone rings in Sam's hotel room. It is Sister Mary Eunice who claims to be Sister Jude's "conscience". She taunts Sister Jude with accusations that she was the one who killed Sam, telling her that the police will think he was, in fact, investigating Sister Jude for the murder of the "girl in the blue dress". She advises that Sister Jude never returns to Briarcliff and that she should start running. She tells Jude that she left her the bottle of bourbon as well as a straight razor.
In a diner, Sister Jude sits down but gets up to go to the restroom. She washes her hands and takes out the straight razor. She slits up her left wrist. She is seen laying in a pool of blood. However, this turns out to simply be her imagination, for she walks out of the bathroom and sits across from Shachath.
She asks the angel why she was kept alive, despite prior suicide attempts. The angel tells her that she does not judge, but that Jude's story was different. Jude once tried to kill herself after her fiance left her the night before her wedding. She had apparently told him he had given her syphilis and that she could never have children. The angel tells Jude that "God had a plan" for her and that it was not yet time to die. Jude admits her failure in the eyes of God and says she is just a "drunken whore and a murderer." The angel tells Jude that "Peace is close". Jude replies, "I'm ready. Ready to do one last thing." A pair of the waitresses at the diner witness Jude talking to no one and decide that they should probably call Briarcliff, just so she can have a place to sleep.
Jude visits the family of Missy Stone. As they discuss the little girl, and as Jude is about to confess, a young woman in a nurse outfit enters the house. It turns out to be a grown Missy. Apparently, she was returned to her family with only a few broken bones. Jude reacts in a confused state and says that she prayed for Missy's soul ever since the accident. She recalls that the accident occurred around the time she decided to become a nun and that after it occurred, it inspired her to take her vows. Missy's mother informs Jude that her husband, Hank, had vowed to avenge what had happened to Missy, but it turns out that they accepted that whoever had left her there would suffer on their own.
Jude comes back to Briarcliff, sneaking behind Sr. Mary Eunice and holding a straight razor at her neck. Jude threatens the Devil inside of her, but the Devil laughs off the threat and flings canes and a record at her. Arden comes in, and Sr. Mary Eunice orders him to call security, and Jude is taken away out of Briarcliff. Jude visits Mother Superior to convince her to allow Jude access back into Briarcliff. Arden visits Jude in the sanctuary. Arden pleads for her help with Sr. Mary Eunice, and Jude agrees to it, but she makes him swear to follow her instructions. Arden lets Jude back into Briarcliff, and tells him to bring Sr. Mary Eunice to her office and not let anyone in. However, Arden betrays her and remains loyal to Sr. Mary Eunice, and the two instead send Leigh Emerson to her office, in hopes that he will kill Jude. Leigh has flashbacks of being caned by Jude, and throws her over the desk, caning her. He then throws Jude on the bed, with the intention of raping her. Jude stabs Leigh in the neck with a sharp letter opener she had grabbed off the desk earlier when she was being caned.
Jude is framed for the murder of Frank McCann by Sr. Mary Eunice, Dr. Arden, and Leigh (who survived their encounter). Monsignor Timothy Howard and Mother Superior both tell their stories as well, saying that Sr. Jude was gradually becoming more unstable and delusional. Jude wakes up, strapped and restrained to a bed in Briarcliff. She resists and scratches one of the nun's face and is slapped in return. The Monsignor comes in and tells the two nuns to leave. The Monsignor tells her that she almost killed Leigh, but she protests in self-defense. He tells her that she did kill Frank a guard, and that a magistrate has determined that she will spend the rest of her life in Briarcliff. Leigh is later brought to Jude's cell by The Monsignor where he tells her he forgives her and he kisses her forehead. Jude apologizes to Lana in the common room, promising to make it up to her by getting her out of Briarcliff. Lana doesn't trust the promise after her encounter with Thredson. Jude vows to earn her trust, and breaks the "Dominique" record, while Lana simply replies "Well, hot damn."
Jude's actions prompt Sr. Mary Eunice to purchase a jukebox for the common room to replace the record player. While doing a room search, Sr. Mary Eunice finds a cucumber in Jude's room, and Jude challenges Sr. Mary Eunice to punish her. Jude is given electroshock therapy, and it is turned up extra high. As a result, Jude is left in a drugged state and has trouble remembering names. She envisions herself singing "The Name Game" while the other Briarcliff inmates dance along. In the bakery, Timothy visits her and sobs as he tells her that he was robbed of his virtue by Sr. Mary Eunice, and asks for her help in dealing with the situation. Jude tells him to kill Sr. Mary Eunice. Jude sits in the common room recalling names when Mother Superior visits her. Jude tells her that she is leaving for Rome with Timothy, but Mother Superior passes it off. Jude tells her to help Lana Winters get out of Briarcliff because she does not belong there.
As time goes by, Jude manages to adjust to life as a patient at Briarcliff, managing the other patients due to her previous skills as the former administrator. She also finds an ally in Pepper, as they both look out for each other when danger or suspicions arise. She also rebels against her former staff members by refusing to take the medications, stating that they're actually horse tranquilizers. She now has a certain disdain for the Monsignor (who's now the administrator), once claiming her admiration for him, which she now regrets and sees him as a coward for not renouncing his vows after Sr. Mary Eunice forcibly robs him of his virtue. When Lana returns to Briarcliff in an attempt to release Jude and shut down the asylum, she learns from the Monsignor that Jude hanged herself in her cell, when in reality he has imprisoned her in an isolated cell to keep her from confessing the horrors within the asylum.
When the Monsignor informs her that he's being promoted to Cardinal of New York, he states that he will arrange for Jude's (now known as Betty Drake to ensure her imprisonment at Briarcliff) release in the coming weeks. But then she encounters an inmate from the state who bears similarities to Shachath, she believes she has come to grant her death. While constantly being tormented by her, she ends up realizing that she's not Shachath, but another inmate with whom she shares a cell. When questioned by Dr. Crump concerning her behavior, she shockingly learns that it's been nearly two years since the Monsignor had promised her release, that Pepper has passed within that time, and everything within that time period has been a hallucination.
During her interview in 1971, Lana re-imagines rescuing Jude while discussing the filming of Briarcliff Exposed. In actuality, Jude was not there when the documentary was filmed. Lana admits the truth and retells how it was Kit who had begun to frequently visit Jude following the deaths of Grace and Alma, and eventually becomes her caretaker. Kit helps Jude through her recovery from the medication and trauma she received during her time as a patient, and notices positive changes in Jude's demeanor. However, Jude is soon overwhelmed by flashbacks of incidents at Briarcliff, and in an insane mental breakdown, attacks Kit and his children with a broom. The two children, in an attempt to calm her, escort her out into the woods. Upon their return, Jude's mind is inexplicably healed, and she bonds with Kit, Julia, and Thomas by providing life lessons and even teaching them to dance. Six months pass and Jude becomes ill, finally succumbing to Shachath's kiss.
The series comes full circle when it ends on a flashback to the beginning of it all in which Jude is cautioning Lana about wanting to interview Bloody Face, saying that "If you look in the face of evil, evil's going to look right back at you."
- To Lana: "You're out of your depth, Miss Lana Banana."
- To Kit: "I wonder, did her dark meat slide off the bone any easier than the other victims?"
- To Lana: "Mental illness is just the fashionable explanation for sin."
- To Inmates: "A sexual deviant, a Mexican, and a pinhead won't get far in this storm. I hope they all drown out there."
- To Kit: "All monsters are human... you're a monster."
- To Sister Mary Eunice: "Maybe the sin was mine, maybe my faith in you was nothing but the sin of pride!"
- To Inmates: "...and as the Emperor Nero, the incomparable Mr. Charles Laughton, who I understand is an enormous whoopsie."
- To Lana: "If you look in the face of evil, evil is gonna look right back at you."
- To Monsignor Timothy: "Childish? Hell, I'm the Queen of Candyland!"
- To Monsignor Timothy: "I'm blessed, with the gift of total clarity. I am more sane now as a mad woman, than I ever was as the head of Briarcliff."
- To Lana: "We're gonna slay that monster together, you and I."
- While looking for The Mexican: "Where's the goddamn Mexican."
- While chasing Thomas and Julia with a broom: "Get over here you little shits!"
- To Lana: "Just remember, if you look in the face of evil. Evil is going to look right back at you"
- She is the second character to be portrayed by Jessica Lange. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast. Lange's portrayal of Sister Jude earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
- The Apostle Jude is the Catholic Patron Saint of lost causes. He is also known as Thaddeus, the name of a character from Season One, Murder House.
- Sister Jude in 1964 has mentioned that her mother worked as a maid in a hotel. It has been theorised that she could be the daughter of Hazel Evers, the laundress of Hotel Cortez and sister to Albert Evers, who was murdered forty years prior Sister Jude's statement.
- Sister Jude had syphilis, thus was not able to have a baby.
- Kit Walker, Lana Winters and Sister Jude are the only three characters to appear in all episodes of Asylum.
- See also: Sister Jude/Media
- In keeping with the policies of this Wiki, the description listed covers the identity known during the bulk of the story.
- Episode: I Am Anne Frank: Part 2
- Episode: The Name Game
- Episode: Welcome to Briarcliff
- Episode: Tricks and Treats
- Episode: Nor'easter
- Episode: I Am Anne Frank: Part 1
- Episode: The Origins of Monstrosity
- Episode: Dark Cousin
- Episode: Unholy Night
- Episode: The Coat Hanger
- Episode: Spilt Milk
- Episode: Continuum
- Episode: Madness Ends