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"Continuum" is the twelfth episode of Asylum. It premiered January 16, 2013.

Synopsis

A deadly new inmate threatens Sister Jude's chance of release from Briarcliff. Grace's obsession with the aliens turns violent.

Plot

The Walkers' Story

1967

Kit and both Alma and Grace have been living together in apparent harmony, along with their mutual children. Kit is in the living room, wearing only bloody underclothes  and holding an axe. In shock, he sits in an armchair to think. One of the children calls, "Daddy?". He calmly replies "Daddy'll be there in a minute..."

Earlier, Julia (Alma's child) and Thomas (Grace's child) play in the living room, while Grace sketches the extraterrestrials and Alma does housework. Kit arrives, discussing a civil rights march that the women are reticent about, though he feels it would be good to be among like-minded people. Later, Alma rebuffs Kit's advances because she is worried about Grace's fixation on the extraterrestrials. Fearing that she is dwelling on the past due to unhappiness with her present, Alma advises Kit to spend more time with Grace. Grace disagrees: she is keeping a visual record of her experience so that the children will never forget where they came from. During the conversation, Kit and Grace begin to have sex, while Alma listens with dissatisfaction.

Alma's unrest is disturbed by what appears to be the bright lights, which signal the arriving of the Extraterrestrials. Panicking, she crouches in a corner, fearing that she is to be abducted again. Grace leads her out of the room, and she realizes that the lights were a hallucination, and they were in fact attacked by a firebomb. When the police arrive, Kit swears that the house was attacked by Billy, the racist who antagonized him in the days before he was sent to Briarcliff, though he only saw Billy's truck. The police officer points out that rumors of the polygamous nature of Kit's family has been going around, and that this relationship is itself illegal in Massachusetts. In the house, Grace comforts Alma. 

The next day, Grace (speaking French) encourages Thomas to try and express his memory of the abduction through drawing it, causing Alma to become more protective of Julia. Grace encourages Alma to discuss recent events with her, including their differing opinions. Grace, grateful to be brought back to life, still sees the extraterrestrials as benevolent, godlike scientists who will change the world, but Alma instead views her own abduction with horror, seeing the extraterrestrials as akin to a child pulling the wings off an insect. As the subject grows more tense, Alma tries to warn Grace against calling the extraterrestrials back for Julia and Thomas, an event that Grace sees as inevitable - but that they will come back for Kit and his incredibly open mind. Alma admits that she preferred her old life, before Kit brought home an "axe murderer", but Grace points out that Alma is just as imprisoned in the house as she was in Briarcliff. Alma slaps Grace, creating a rift between them, despite Kit's efforts to mitigate.

A while later, Kit is unable to sleep, visits Grace in the living room. Grace, still drawing, tells Kit she no longer wants to hide, but that they should all embrace the future. Alma, who had been overhearing them talk, hits Grace in the back with Kit's firewood axe, fearing that Grace's talk indicates that she wants to bring the extraterrestrials back. Shocked and increasingly fearful, she huddles against the doorway, whispering that they had to hide. Kit kisses Grace on the cheek. The story catches up to the misleading opening scene as Kit removes the axe from the dying Grace's back and sits in an armchair to gather his thoughts, as Thomas (Grace's child) calls for him.

Judy's Story

1968

Judy, Pepper, and others play Candy Land in the common room, a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. During the past year, Judy - under the assigned pseudonym of "Betty Drake" - has regained a measure of her old authority within the ranks of the Briarcliff patients. 

Monsignor Howard interrupts, telling Judy that he is working on her release, and he has been promoted to Cardinal of New York, and the cruelty must end. The Diocese has donated Briarcliff to the state, and it will now become an overflow facility for other mentally ill individuals from prison. This soon comes true. In the bakery, Jude receives a strange visitor: a woman physically identical to Shachath, though suffering from a raspy throat due to constant smoking. She claims to be an inmate transferred from county, and aims to take over the leadership role with or without Judy's support. More new inmates are added by the new administration, including Alma. Under new ownership, Briarcliff is changing, and "Shachath" is Judy's new cellmate, who claims Judy as her "property".

Pepper counsels Judy on the changes, while the newcomer dominates the common room. This includes shanking an inmate who didn't hoard his pills for her. In their cell, driven frantic by paranoia, Judy hallucinates that Shachath in her "Angel of Death" form is bending over to kiss her, speaking in the new woman's gravelly voice. She begins to beat the angel, only to be dragged off, having attacked an entirely different, seemingly harmless woman.

Judy awakens, straitjacketed, in an office that at first seems unfamiliar but she realizes was once her own. It now belongs to Dr. Miranda Crump, the government-appointed administrator. Dr. Crump reminds her that she has reacted violently to all 5 of her former roommates in the past 2 months, a statement that puzzles Judy. As the only alternative would be to place her in solitary, Dr. Crump can only issue a stern warning. When Judy asks if Cardinal Howard - whom she still calls "The Monsignor" - has sent word about her release, Dr. Crump tells her that he had been appointed Cardinal 2½ years ago.

This final fact shocks Judy - she has been kept in Briarcliff for another 2½ years, but her memory is so impaired that she recalls the Monsignor leaving only the Monday before. Neither does she recall that Pepper is now dead, having perished in the winter of the year Briarcliff was given to the state. Most or all of the previous sequence may have been a hallucination caused by Judy's stressful state, paired with the medications given to her by Briarcliff's new owners. As Judy tearfully breaks down at this new information, Dr. Crump promises that the doctors will increase her dosage of Chlorpromazine, to help her cope.

Lana's Story

1969

Lana's book, Maniac: One Woman's Story of Survival, has been on the New York Time's bestseller list for 10 weeks. She reads an excerpt to a rapt audience in a bookstore. As she reads a clearly fictional scene, a vision of Dr. Thredson confronts her about salacious additions, while a vision of Wendy is angry about how the book whitewashes their relationship, portraying her as Lana's asexual roommate. Thredson bitterly accuses her of being more interested in fame than the truth, moving her to tears. Lana awakes to an adoring crowd, thinking that she was overcome by having to re-live the book's events. During the signing, a fame hungry Lana encounters Kit, with whom she hasn't been in touch. Though she wanted to get in touch regarding Grace's death, she has been busy - she recently sold the film rights to her book.

Over coffee, she tells Kit her plans for a new book about Leigh Emerson's murder spree, tentatively titled Santa and the Seven Nuns. Kit angrily reminds her that she was supposed to be dismantling Briarcliff. Her ego has blinded her to the situation there. He describes a visit with Alma amidst crowded chaos in the common room, months before she was struck by a fatal heart attack. Lana was unaware of Alma's death, and points out to Kit that they are the last two survivors to be released from Briarcliff. Kit corrects her: Judy Martin still lives.

Shortly after visiting Alma's body and apologizing to her, Kit by chance found Jude watching The Flying Nun on the TV in the increasingly crowded common room. Though he attempted to have a conversation with her, he found that she had become genuinely mentally unhinged, believing the show to be based on her life and Sister Bertrille to be a caricature of herself. Kit's story fails to move Lana, and she returns to her book-signing.

Johnny's Story

2013

Johnny Morgan returns to the bookshop where Lana did her reading. It is closing down and offering most of its stock on sale, but Johnny is looking for an original, autographed first edition of Maniac; this is the only store which, according to internet sources, has a signed edition. The clerk is unwilling to sell from her mother's personal collection, even when Johnny claims his relation to Lana, as the book clearly states that Lana's baby died at birth. Persistent, Johnny switches from offers of money to describing his intentions with the book. He plans to track Lana down in the present day, give her the signed copy of the book, and identify himself as the child she gave up. He will then murder her, finally completing his father's work. Horrified, the clerk gives him the book.

Quotes

Notes

  • James Cromwell (Arthur Arden) and Lily Rabe (Sister Mary Eunice) are credited, but do not appear (Although Rabe's character was mentioned).
  • Showrunner Ryan Murphy has stated that this episode will be divided into four acts - "each act follows a different character and then it all dovetails together...there’s a great Kit/Grace/Alma act, there’s a great Jessica [Lange] and the Angel of Death act, there’s a great [Sarah] Paulson act." ("Spilt Milk" EW Interview)


Gallery

References

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