TV Club

American Horror Story: Episode 4 “I Am Anne Frank” responses.

Is Anne Frank off-limits?

Franka Potente as Anne Frank in 'American Horror Story: Asylum.'
Franka Potente as Anne Frank in ‘American Horror Story: Asylum.’

Photo by Byron Cohen/FX.

As far as I can tell, there’s no word in English (but probably one in German!) for the reaction that most recappers experienced when Anne Frank shuffled into Briarcliff last night—something  like gasping, cringing and being turned-on by the brashness of it all, simultaneously. Call me crass, but I just kind of took her arrival in stride; are we really surprised that Murphy would make a move like this in an already delightfully ridiculous show? Still, I do buy Halle Kiefer’s judgment of the black-and-white concentration camp flashbacks as “gauche.” I realize we have to have some way of showing that Dr. Arden was indeed part of the Holocaust, but representations of that kind of atrocity made on the TV-cheap is probably not the way to go.

The success of Frank’s inclusion probably depends heavily on how the veracity of her claim plays out: I’m of the opinion that having her be deluded about her real identity (but still full of earth-shaking, Third Reich revelations) is a better plan than insisting that she is the REAL Anne Frank. But Brian Juergens over at AfterElton (hilariously) takes the opposite position:

Yes, you heard that right. Anne. Motherf*cking. Frank. Are you KIDDING ME?! Okay, fine - Anne Frank is a patient at Briarcliff. Someone tap Helen Keller on the shoulder and give her the news - she’s over in the corner letting Joan of Arc cheat at checkers. Half of me thinks that it would be absolutely amazing if it turned out that she weren’t just a delusional mental patient who is making this up, and the other half finds it massively inappropriate that they’d even suggest that it’s a possibility.

I have a feeling one of us will be satisfied on next week’s conclusion to this two-part story arc. A view that Jeurgens and I share, however, is joy at the absence of the boring and distracting modern-day story involving Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. With those awkward cuts gone, I felt much more immersed in the world of the asylum; let’s hope that going forward, we’re treated to more episodes free of that mess.

Speaking of messy, reviewers and commenters were uniformly grossed out by poor Shelley’s transformation into…some kind of sore-spotted, big-eyed reptile? We can’t tell yet, but I, for one, hope she gets a mercy killing at the beginning of next week’s episode from gun-toting Frank before we have a chance to find out. Though I will miss gazing upon her pock-marked visage in Queerty’s excellent stick-figure recaps, I’d hate to keep poor Chloë Sevigny locked in a closet just for my entertainment.