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'American Horror Story Asylum' finale recap, 'Madness Ends'

After a season of blood-curdling thrills set in the 1960s, we've come full circle to modern times. Now we can all sleep easy for a few months.

Unlike the Season 1 finale where viewers were left on a cliffhanger, the show's writers tied this season up with a nice little bow (and no, killer Santa Lee Emerson won't be delivering this present).

There is one person in the giving spirit however, and it's not Lana Winters (unless you count death as a gift). By the time the self-obsessed journalist arrives at Briarcliff to film her expose, Sister Jude has already been released from the asylum under the care of Kit.

It takes time for Jude to detox and not chase Kit's children around the house with a broom while making threats, but eventually Jude regains her sanity and teaches the kids various dances and how to sew.

I never took Jude for the Mary Poppins type, but she finds happiness caring for the children in the Walker household.

Lana's TV special does manage to get Briarcliff shut down. Her next investigative piece focuses on the former monsignor, Timothy Howard, but the Cardinal of New York slits his wrists after Lana confronts him, knowing he will face criticism for Briarcliff's history.

"I've got broad shoulders, but I can't take credit for what his guilty conscious made him do," Lana says. 

With the deaths of Dr. Thredson, Wendy and Timothy Howard, it seems like Lana gets everyone around her killed, except for the one person she wanted to kill the most: Johnny Morgan aka the son of Bloody Face.

Back in present day, Lana might have the chance to finish what her coat hanger couldn't nearly 50 years ago.

As Johnny hides behind the set of an interview at Lana's house, the stage is set for the likes of a mother-son reunion that not even Maury Povich could handle.

More on that later ...

Happy days

Lana visits Kit after the demise of Briarcliff to inquire about Jude's whereabouts. Kit tells her of Jude's recovery and how she had an enjoyable last six months of life.

"I don't know if those last six months made up for a lifetime of horrors, but she sure seemed happy."

Eventually Jude's health caught up to her, but not before she could impart some wisdom on the Walker children.

"Julia, don't you ever let a man tell you who you are, or make you feel like you are less than he is. It's 1970 and you can do whatever you want.

"Thomas, don't pick your nose. And never take a job just for the money. Find something that you love."

The Angel of Death finally claims Jude with a kiss and with that smooch, she nearly ties John Barrymore for the all-time record of on-screen kisses.

One victim the angel doesn't get to claim is Kit. He remarries and develops pancreatic cancer around age 40. Then he disappears, courtesy of the aliens.

Kit just might be the first alien abductee that doesn't return naked or pregnant. But that's just a hunch. 

Dirty little secret

Back in present day, Lana tells her interviewer, April, that she doesn't want to discuss Bloody Face.

"He's become a household name. Like some kind of Heath Ledger Hollywood-style movie villain. He was an evil monster ... I refuse to give him one more second of air time."

Eventually Lana softens up and admits that she has a 40-year secret to confess.

"Lies are like scars on your soul. They destroy you." 

Of course we already know what this secret is and so does the subject -- Johnny -- who's hiding behind the scenes chowing on a baguette.

What we didn't know is that Lana visited Johnny once when he was in grade school. Winters intervened as Johnny was getting bullied on the playground.

"You know he's the asshole, right?" she asked as she picked Johnny's glasses up off the ground.

"Yeah I know." 

That's as much information as Lana gives April, but she has more to say to Johnny once the cameras leave.

"Can I pour you a drink? Why don't you come out now. ... Let's get this over with, shall we?"

Here comes Johnny

The son of Bloody Face sits down for a drink with his mom, but he's not quite ready to bury the hatchet, especially since he bought the Thredson confession tape off eBay and knows Lana had no plans to raise her son.

"My father loved me. I could hear it in his voice. That's when I started loving him and hating you."

Ignore the fact that Johnny probably bought the tape via eBay sometime in the late 80s, half a decade before  the website existed.

As Lana talks about Johnny's monster of a father, the killer's temper flares and he points a gun to Lana's head.

"You don't get to talk about him."

"What are you so afraid of, Johnny, the truth about him or the truth about you?"

"I just want him to be proud of me. I can't measure up."

"He was a monster. And that's not you. You could never be like him. Not that sweet little boy I met on the playground," Lana assures Johnny as she moves the gun from his hand. "Even then I knew you were a better man than he was. 

"It's not just him that's in you. I'm a part of you too."

"I've hurt people," Johnny cries.

"It's not your fault baby," Lana says as she turns the gun on Johnny. "It's mine."

Pop ... there goes the weasel. Lana shoots her son dead, the same way she shot his father 48 years ago.

Knowing Lana, she probably planned to shoot Johnny because it would be a great topic for her next book.

At least one character got a happy ending.

Final thoughts

Did anyone doubt that Lana was going to kill Johnny once she took the gun? Ms. Winters has been cold-hearted from the season premiere.

Both of Kit's children grew up to be doctors or lawyers. Where did they get their intelligence? Probably not from Jude, who taught them to "swear like a sailor."

Lana married a woman as ambitious as her. I'd still guess that Lana wears the pants in that relationship.

The season's final scene showed Jude talking to Lana when she first arrived at Briarcliff. Jude tells Lana, "Just remember, if you look in the face of evil, evil is gonna look right back at you."

Is this a wrap up to the season or a precursor to themes for next season? I'll let you decide.

Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Jessica Lange will return for Season 3, as will some cast members from Season 1.

But for now, sleep tight, "American Horror Story" fans. The madness ends.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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