‘American Horror Story’ 2×08 Review: Crazy Santa Spreads Death, Rape And Christmas Cheer


The Angel of Death (played be the always amazing Frances Conroy) carried last week’s episode on her big, beautiful black wings. It would’ve been entertaining without her glorious presence, but because she makes everything better, you can’t argue how much better she made that episode. This week, she’s gone, and her absence has left a dark angel sized hole in my heart. Thankfully, Ian McShane has come to town, and he successfully manages to add some much needed Christmas cheer to this week’s episode. More after the break!


The episode starts off Christmas-y enough, with a charity Santa ringing one of those annoying bells outside a market. He spreads some wisdom to a little boy and as he’s packing up to go to his wife — who we quickly learn he dons Santa’s robes to escape — Ian McShane pumps him full of lead.

As if that’s not awful enough, immediately after that murder he visits a seemingly random house while dressed in the bloodied outfit of the guy he just slaughtered. That’s when the stupidest kid alive sees him, mistakes him for Santa — even though he’s not fat, jolly, bearded, and it’s six full days before Christmas — and decides to lead him to her parents.

Even after he puts a gun to her head this little idiot still calls him Santa. I know kids are dumb, but this little girl is beyond dumb. She deserves to be orphaned (did I seriously just write that?).

After Crazy Santa threatens to rape the dad, he shoots both of them in the head and goes on to murder another sixteen people. This is just the first five minutes! American Horror Story sure knows how to do a Christmas episode right.

It’s a year later and we’re back at Briarcliff where Evil Sister Eunice is preparing her Christmas Orgy and Virgin Sacrifice, or, well, not really. Her event seems pretty tame, even if she is cutting off patients’ hair and slapping it on the Christmas tree alongside empty bottles of alcohol and some poor guy’s dentures.

The guard that shot Grace at the end of the previous episode (belated spoiler!) is feeling pretty bad about it. He tells Dr. Nazi that he wants to tell the police and that he doesn’t care what happens to him. He’s a good guy, so obviously, that means he’s going to die (just not for another twenty minutes).

Sister Jude only recently found out that Sister Eunice is evil now and she’s not too happy about it. Jude decides to confront Eunice with a razor to the throat in one of the many showdowns we see this episode. Unfortunately, Dr. Nazi interrupts their little tiff just as it’s getting interesting — and by interesting, I mean Eunice is mind-throwing shit all over the place. Angry Jude gets escorted out of Briarcliff, and my hopes of seeing an epic showdown between her and Eunice leave with her. For now.

Evil Eunice sure does recover quickly: In one scene she has a blade to her throat and in the next she’s freeing Crazy Santa, who’s been locked in solitude for a year after he went all Hannibal on a guy’s face for wearing a Santa hat. We find out a little more about him, too. Apparently, he was thrown in jail for shoplifting, then on Christmas day five inmates took turns raping him in his cell while the guards went caroling. Yikes.

One of my favorite scenes is the one where Dr. Nazi gives Eunice a pair of ruby earrings. She loves them almost a little too much, and as she’s admiring how good they look, Arden dishes on their origin. Back when he was a Nazi in one of the concentration camps, he met a once wealthy Jewish woman who was having stomach troubles. He followed her one day only to see her sifting through her poo so she could get the ruby earrings she swallowed every single day. She eventually dies of internal bleeding and Arden takes her earrings to he can “give them to someone who is worthy.” The whole time he’s telling this story, he’s staring at Eunice in disbelief as she admires herself. When she shows no signs of giving a damn, he admits he hoped Eunice would turn the earrings down in disgust. After she didn’t, he knew there was no humanity left in her.

It’s a neat scene, and it almost made me feel bad about his situation.

Angry Jude sure is angry! She’s complaining to who I can only guess is the Queen of the Nuns about needing to get back into Briarcliff. She throws out her best religious fanaticism, ranting about how the devil is trying to avert humanity’s eyes away from god bit by bit (one of these bits being Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, apparently.)

Arden then does what he does best and interrupts again, only this time it’s so he can admit he was wrong and team up with Jude to take down Evil Eunice! I’m ashamed of how excited I got when this happened, but I couldn’t help but picture Sister Jude and Dr. Nazi walking down a hallway in slow-motion with the camera facing them as they look supremely badass. Dubstep may or may not have been blaring in said fantasy. Unfortunately, my dream of a spin-off series gets dashed rather quickly.

Meanwhile, the festivities at Briarcliff are continuing, where a very pale Monsigneur visits to give Eunice a special star to put on the tree — side note: does anyone else get weird vampire vibes from him? — and Ian McShane utters one of the best lines in the episode.

Let me set the scene first.

He’s sitting on a chair facing a gorgeous, denture-laden tree, with an almost definitely doped up woman on his lap. She looks at him, he looks back. Their eyes meet, and he says “”what do you say we blow this pop stand, go savage some elves, and then suck on each other?” So great.

There’s also a sweet and brief flashback of a pre-committed Kit and his girl on Christmas. They have a stunning tree, there’s a kid on the way, then, suddenly, Grace is there and she’s pregnant (and, possibly, sans accent)! Now, obviously Kit’s doped up and feeling bad about getting Grace killed, but seriously AHS writers: don’t bring her back. I know anything’s possible in this show and the aliens seems to have a weird fascination with Grace, but please, let her stay dead. I don’t want her to have a recurring hallucinatory role in this show.

I bet you were wondering when we’d have another showdown, huh? Well, we’re about to get not just one, but two.

Lana meets up with Kit to let him know she totally knows who Bloody face is. She also realizes the cops aren’t coming, because Kit’s still there. When she goes to get help, fucking Threadson shows up wearing his best creepy face. He’s a little pissed he had to destroy all his Bloodyface stuff, but now he’s looking to reinvent himself, and he’d very much like to use Lana’s skin to do that.

Than, Kit saves the day! Lana desperately wants to kill Threadson, but the duo decides to lock him up instead.

The other showdown happens when Arden leads Sister Jude into her old office so she can have her showdown with Eunice. Unfortunately for her, Arden actually wasn’t on her side, and instead, Eunice (who just got back from killing the guard who shot Grace) locks Crazy Santa in with Jude, who immediately begins to freak out. I would too, it’s just weird to see Jude begging for her life.

Long story short: Jude stabs Crazy Santa in the neck right before he got too rapey.

Oh, and the aliens took Grace’s body. I don’t know why.

Burning questions: The aliens. What’s going on there? They appear every once in a while to make me wish they’d leave and never return. And the Also, Monsigneur: is he a vampire? Lastly, Sister Jude says Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of the things to blame for humanity’s corruption, then Evil Sister Eunice (hilariously) says she plans to play that same movie during the “entertainment portion” of her Christmas event. Does that mean Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer really is one of the devil’s tools? DISCUSS!

What did you think of this week’s episode?

Have a question? Feel free to ever-so-gently toss Adam an email, or follow him on Twitter and Bloody Disgusting.

  • CorbinRaven

    LOVED THIS EPISODE SO MUCH!!!! It was easily my favorite this season!

  • CorbinRaven

    Adam, just wondering, but did you ever think this episode felt familiar with the Halloween special for the first season? Yeh this one wasn’t a two part episode, but I really like that they didn’t do a specific episode focused around Halloween this season. Ian McShane was incredible as the psycho Santa! This guy needs to be in more horror films! He’s perfect as a deranged murder!

    • Adam Dodd

      TOTALLY agree. This episode definitely reminded me in an off-handed way of season one’s Halloween two-parter, and YES – more Ian McShane, please! That guy plays crazy alarmingly well.

  • djblack1313

    awesome ep! most definitely. we have 1 more before the holiday break. i hope i can last during it.

    • Aaron Emery

      Really? I was under the understanding that they wouldn’t break until the beginning of January and only for 3 weeks before the finale.

      • Adam Dodd

        American Horror Story will take a brief break after next week’s episode, but it returns immediately after the holidays (Jan 2). Stupid Christmas/New Years, trying to separate me from my beloved AHS…

  • Zombie-Killa

    Nice write-up! And lol at the title, I can only wonder how came up with that one.

    Ian McShane was the highlight of last week’s episode. If anyone can pull off a murderous and hateful Santa, it’s McShane, and he proved it last Wednesday.

    • Adam Dodd

      Thanks! Ian McShane was AMAZING.

  • cryocore

    Not so much a review as it is an episode summary. Adam we all know what happened but I for one would like more review and opinion in a review.

    Great episode, and I agree with the sentiment regarding the aliens. They are the only thing I really dont like. They feel so… alien compared to the rest of the content and personally I think they detract from the overall feel and impact of the season. Mind you it really is a combo of practically every horror trope out there. Serial killers, demonic possesion, mad doctors, mutant/deformed creatures, insanity, killer kids, and body horror. It really does cover the bases but the aliens still feel out of place.

  • Flash-Over

    You forgot to mention that Lana was having morning sickness at the beginning…we all know how that’s gonna tie in to the present-day storyline haha.

    • Adam Dodd

      I can’t believe I forgot about Baby Bloodyface!

  • Joe-Banger

    First off I have to say this isnt the video game section Adam, but I am interested in what you have to say about this great power house show! Are you filling in for someone?

  • Joe-Banger

    Ok 2 hours ago I didnt read all that Adam but now I did. What I’d like to know is how the hell did Kip go from Briar Cliff to cop custody and then all of a sudeen end up back in Briar Cliff again?! And great article! You should do the weekly report on this show not that other guysy whats his name?

    • Adam Dodd

      I’m just reviewing/recapping/slapping my opinion on each week’s episode (I don’t only write about video games!) — in the Frances Conroy episode Kit bashed that officer’s head in when he was at the station and escaped, where he then decided it’d be a good idea to return to Briarcliff so he could save Grace. Not the best idea he’s made so far. :)

  • Lady-M

    As a preemptive note: I’m new to this site, and I don’t know much about the authors of the various articles, so…please take my posts with a grain of salt. That being said…

    Adam, I thought your re-cap was AWFUL. I mean, you got the play-by-play down, but…I think you’re taking it all WAY too literally. That little girl in the begining was phenominal. And MacShane’s interaction with her was one of the best scene’s in the episode! Here’s a little girl – presumably pretty young (six years old? Seven?) – and she wakes up to find Santa in her living room! Keep in mind, this is in 1962, right? Before the Internet and continuously streaming television. She’s probably thinking she’s the luckiest damn kid in this history of the WORLD! And MacShane’s responses to her were priceless (“…that’s what you get when you let Rudolph manage your calendar.”). Fucking GLORIOUS! It was a great back-and-forth, which kind’ve implies that even someone who commits evil acts (i.e. subsequently executing her parents), may not be an entirely evil person.

    Aaaaaaand…doesn’t that add to the “horror” of AHS? That there really isn’t a defining line between good & evil? AHS: Asylum, MUCH MUCH MORE SO than season 1,is fucking terrifying, because it plays on EVERYONE’s lofty fears (alien abductions,torture,deamonic possession, etc.), as well as their realistic fears (murdered by a serial killer, social stigma of interracial relationships and homosexuality, being labeled as a freak, losing loved-ones and not knowing why or what’s become of them, abandonment, crisis of faith,losing control in your life, etc., etc.). And the cherry on top of the towering sundae of fear is that viewers never really know who’s on the side of good and who’s on the side of bad. Because truthfully, all of the characters probably have a little of both within them (notice how your allegiance to Sister Jude has changed since episode 1), and THAT is what’s truly terrifying about real-life: you never know who you can *really* trust.

    To answer some of your “burning questions,” here are my thoughts (feel free to wipe your ass with them, should you so desire): THE ALIENS: I have no idea what that story line will lead to. I can’t ponder it for more than a few seconds (outer space and all inhabitants thereof, happens to be MY greatest lofty fear; I can handle mass-murders and hardcore thugs on a daily basis, but the thought of little green men (those long fingers…eek!) coming to earth and scooping up people to stick shiz up their asses, makes me piss myself!). THE MONSIGNEUR: …uuuuuuh, no; I DO NOT think he’s a vampire. I DO think that Dr. Arden may have caught him and a fellow preist (perhaps the one he was with when he first visited Braircliff?) in a scandalous situation. Oooooooooooooor perhaps he witnessed the Monsigneur “counseling” a young boy in an overly-attentive manner? I am super curious to see what it is that Dr. Arden is holding over his head. RUDOLPH: This would be another point of disagreement from your article. Sister Jude wasn’t saying that Rudolph is part of the corruption of hummanity; she said that NBC broadcasting Rudolph but no Christian-based Christmas programs is a sign that the devil is succeeding in taking the focus of Christmas away from Christ. Sooooooo…yyyyyyyeah. I guess THAT would suggest that yes; Rudolph IS one of the devil’s tools. Maybe the whole, Rudolph-thing was a full-circle to Santa-MacShane’s earlier comment????? Damn. WTF do the AHS writers have against Rudolph?!?

    • Adam Dodd

      I appreciate your honesty, and you bring up some good points!

  • Joe-Banger

    Alright thanks for the update! Some how I missed the part where Kip escaped, even though I saw that episode twice. Damn add!