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Break out the champagne; the atrocious alien storyline is finally over.. hopefully!
Continuum opens with a jump to 1968, and evidently Kit Walker has entered into a strange polygamous relationship with both Grace and the newly-returned Alma. They all live together with their children as a big, happy family, except for the fact that Grace won’t shut up about those aliens. She even goes so far as to hope the aliens come back for their children someday.
Of course, this sets Alma into a bit of a frenzy. She ends up taking an axe to Grace and killing her, forever silencing the incessant alien talk. To be honest, I really don’t blame Alma; I was getting really sick of it, too. In fact, we should all give Alma a medal for ending the storyline that just wouldn’t quit. Even better, Alma is committed to Briarcliff after her little “oops” and ends up dying there. So essentially, aside from Kit, every trace of the alien plot has been wiped. And good riddance for that, because it was forced and ridiculous from the very beginning. Rest in peace, aliens. We never liked you. Please don’t somehow show up in the finale or I’ll have to pull an Alma on the show’s writers.
What’s lovely about this turn away from aliens is that it gives room for the more compelling characters to shine (and for the boring ones to grow). Jude, for example, is delightfully unsettling yet again. Having forged her death certificate and changed her name to Betty Drake, the asylum has effectively wiped her off the map. This particular brand of hopelessness brings out Jude’s crazy side with even more delicate finesse. There’s a moment where Jude speaks of a conversation she had with the Monsignor on Monday regarding her release, only to learn that the conversation happened two years ago.
The acting by Jessica Lange blew me away yet again as she perfectly executed a portrait of a woman losing her grasp on everything she knows to be true. But the best moment comes when Kit visits the asylum only to see Jude watching The Flying Nun. Jude insists the show was made about her life, and that Sister Bertrille can only fly because she stole Jude’s hat. Both the writing and Lange’s acting are in peak condition at this moment; it’s the most believable display of psychosis Asylum has had yet.
The most surprising plotline in Continuum also happens to be the best. As it turns out, Lana did get a book deal, but instead of exposing Briarcliff, she chose to write a memoir of her time spent as a captive of Bloody Face. The book turns into a bestseller, and boy, did the fame go to her head. We’re re-introduced to Lana as a woman who not only profited tremendously from her memoir, but actually embellished parts of it to garner more attention. Lana becomes fame-hungry, harsh, and vain, and in a sense she seems to be a greater villain than Bloody Face ever was.
Sarah Paulson plays her new traits perfectly. To instantly switch gears from a grave but determined survivor to a narcissistic and cold celebrity can’t be easy, but Paulson does it effortlessly. And I’m glad Paulson gets this chance to shine; until now Lana Winters was the most boring character of the show, and Paulson’s psychic medium character on the original AHS was a snoozefest as well. But now she has the chance to play what has become one of the most compelling characters. Lana’s chilly arrogance nearly fills the hole in my heart left by the death of Sister Mary Eunice.
The best part about Lana almost becoming a villain is the effect we see it have on the future, namely on her son. It’s revealed that in her book she claims her son died at birth; to be told you don’t exist would screw anyone up. Suddenly Johnny Morgan’s terrifying sadistic tendencies make more sense. Lana’s actions make not only herself more compelling, but also a more compelling character out of Johnny. Suddenly we want to see how this man grew up without a mother, how he learned who he was, and what kind of life he led as a child. His psychosis is almost understandable after what he’s been through, and in a large part it’s the fault of this new Lana.
There’s still one more episode left of Asylum, and it’s always a toss-up as to whether it'll live up to expectations. But with Jude rapidly deteriorating, Lana screwing up her son’s life, and the aliens finally gone, I definitely have hope.