It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Briarcliff in the latest episode of American Horror Story. Instead of tinsel and ornaments, however, the asylum tree is strewn with dentures and hair bows with the hair still attached. And Santa? After the last two episodes introduced the little serial killer girl and the angel of death, "Unholy Night" gives us our newest creepy character, a family-murdering Saint Nick (played by a darkly magnetic Ian McShane) who ends up locked in a room with Sister Jude and a closet full of whips.
Whatever has been simmering inside Sister Mary Eunice finally boils over, and she gets even more blood on her hands. Dr. Arden seems to struggle with her lost innocence, and for the first time ever, we see him and Sister Jude working as an odd-couple team. But it wouldn't be an episode of American Horror Story without some jaw-dropping surprises. Let's break down the most insane moments after the jump.
- Santa Claus is a murderer. When we meet Leigh, the formerly helpless chump who got jailed for stealing a loaf of bread and violated by fellow inmates, he's matured into Twisted Santa, the festive psychopath who stalks through the suburbs in a bloody Santa suit and shoots people in their own homes. Are you surprised you ended up at Briarcliff, buddy? I guess it doesn't matter much to him, since he proceeds to bite patients' noses off while there.
- Dr. Arden — surprise, surprise! — betrays Sister Jude. Of course, this dynamic duo's shenanigans aren't going to end well. By following Sister Jude's strict instructions on fixing that whole Sister Mary Eunice-being-the-devil problem, Dr. Arden was really going behind her back and setting her up to be tortured and killed. Twisted Santa gets the honors, and appropriately so, since we see through flashbacks that Sister Jude has done her fair share of whipping poor old Leigh. He is only too eager to return the favor.
- Sister Mary Eunice "takes care of" Frank. When Dr. Arden reports to Sister Mary Eunice that Frank is feeling guilty about shooting Grace and is itching to confess, she promises to "take care of it." And take care of it, she does. When Twisted Santa's plan to kill yet another staff member is seemingly foiled by a ladder falling on him, Sister Mary Eunice has Frank take him back to his cell and then promptly greets him at the cell door and slits his throat, setting up the perfect frame.
- Dr. Arden gives Sister Mary Eunice a very special present. Deep in the Christmas spirit, Dr. Arden spontaneously surprises Sister Mary Eunice with a gift. After all that griping about getting nothing but tangerines and socks as a child, she's basically asking for it. But I'm betting she wasn't asking for a pair of ruby earrings that once belonged to a concentration camp victim who had to eat them, pass them, and repeat, just to keep her family heirlooms. Disturbing is an understatement.
- Lana and Kit capture Dr. Thredson. Dr. Thredson, aka Bloody Face, finds Lana back at her old Briarcliff digs, and he's not happy. Because of her daring escape, he's had to get rid of all evidence of Bloody Face, but he quickly reassures her that his serial killer alter ego is like a phoenix, and with her precious skin, a new Bloody Face will rise from the ashes. Not so fast; Kit's sneaking up behind you, and he's going to bash you over the head with something heavy. After Lana and Kit promptly tie Thredson up, her first inclination is to kill him, but Kit objects, saying that the doctor's the only thing between him and the electric chair, which brings up an interesting question: why hasn't Kit been turned in yet?
Yes, there's a lot going on, as usual. I didn't even get into the last-minute appearance by our alien friends, who take away Grace's body for reasons I'm hoping we find out soon (along with their existence on the show, period). And why was Lana vomiting? Could she be pregnant with — gasp! — Bloody Face's baby? That would help explain the mysterious modern-day Bloody Face. For now, tell me what you thought of "Unholy Night." Did you have a jolly good time?