'American Horror Story: Asylum' episode 12 recap: 'Continuum' comes close to the end

sarah-paulson-american-horror-story-asylum-fx.jpgThe penultimate episode of "American Horror Story: Asylum" had a tough act to follow: last week's terrific "Spilt Milk" delivered a superior visual style and sense of momentum that had the feeling of everything clicking into place for the finale.

"Continuum" didn't really hit that level, but it did set the table for next week's finale to the entire "Asylum" arc. Here's what went down in the episode's four different chapters:

Kit and Grace (and Alma)

The action in "Continuum" picks up in 1967 with Kit, Grace and Alma all living together with their two kids. It's not exactly domestic bliss though, as we know from the pre-credits teaser featuring Kit in his underwear, splattered in blood and holding an axe.

The segment didn't do much to advance the mysterious alien storyline (here's hoping for some real answers in the finale, and not just loose ends), but established a power struggle between Grace and Alma and their different ways of coping with their alien encounters. Alma prefers to forget, while Grace is obsessed with remembering. Alma views the aliens as cruel, while Grace believes they're benevolent beings who are attracted to Kit's "incredible empathy."

Although Alma is willing to share Kit with Grace, she doesn't entirely trust Grace because of her history as an axe murderer. But it's Alma who winds up a killer -- axing a stunned Grace in the back to prevent her from influencing Kit any more than she already has. A shocked Kit removes the axe from Grace -- who appears to be really, actually dead (this time!) -- and stumbles backward. That's where we came in.

Jude

It's 1968 and Jude is still in Briarcliff under the alias "Betty Drake." She's the leader of a small gang -- including Pepper -- and handling herself OK, but it's a promise from Monsignor Howard that really keeps her going. He visits her to share that he's been appointed Cardinal of New York and the church is donating Briarcliff to the state for use as an "overflow facility." But, more importantly, he promises that she'll finally be released.

"The cruelty ends here," Howard tells her. "The cruelest thing of all, Timothy, is false hope," Jude responds. He insists he'll keep his word.

Which only makes it more disturbing for Jude when the Angel of Death arrives, in the guise of a transferred prisoner, and becomes her cell mate. But appearances are deceiving in more ways than one, as a session with a Briarcliff psychologist reveals that not only is Jude's new cell mate an entirely different person than who Jude has been seeing but most of what Jude sees isn't based in reality: Howard left Briarcliff to become Cardinal two and a half years ago, and Pepper died shortly after that. Jude's been living in a dream world, and now she's returned to a waking nightmare.

Lana

With the publication of her book, "Maniac: One Woman's Story of Survival," Lana has become a successful author (10 weeks on best seller list) and Hollywood is interested in the movie rights to her story. During a book reading in 1969, she's haunted by two faces from her past: Thredson and Wendy, who taunt and scold her for exaggerating details and deliberately leaving parts of the story (such as Lana and Wendy's romantic relationship) out of the book.

"I'm a writer, it's my job to tell the essence of truth," Lana pleads. "Face it, Lana, you're only interested in one thing: fame," Tredson counters.

Another familiar face turns up at her book signing, but this one's flesh and blood. Kit has something important to share: Sister Jude is still alive and inside Briarcliff. Kit knows because Alma's been committed there as well, and died in the facility. But Kit wants Lana to keep her promise to Jude and help set her free and shut down Briarcliff for good.

"It's heartbreaking but let's be real here," Lana tells him. "Every bed in that place, she made." Fame has certainly changed Lana, and not for the better.

Johnny

After Kit leaves Lana behind, we move on to Johnny, who's hunting Lana down for long awaited revenge. He's finally found one important piece of his own personal puzzle: A copy of "Maniac" that she autographed back in 1969.

The book store that's going out of business won't sell it to him. The owner explains that the book belong to her mother, who "credited that book with giving her enough courage to leave my father."

When Johnny reveals who he really is, the owner doesn't believe him. So he calmly, and extremely threateningly, tells her his plan. He's going to track Lana down, ask if she knows who he is, show her the book and get her to admit that he didn't die during childbirth like she wrote. Then he's going to kill her. "And finally I would've completed my father's work."

Will Johnny succeed? Will Lana survive? Will Jude ever be freed? And where will Kit end up?

We've still got a lot of questions, and only one more hour to get the answers.
Photo/Video credit: FX
SHARE IT ON: