[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the second season finale of American Horror Story: Asylum. Read at your own risk.]
Lana survived long enough to kill her own son. Kit ended up with the aliens. Sister Jude died happy and lucid. That, in a nutshell, is the most simplistic way to explain how American Horror Story: Asylum capped off its second season. Funny how easy that is considering how utterly confusing the preceding 12 episodes were.
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In the final episode of the anthology series' second season, Lana (Sarah Paulson) finally exposed Briarcliff - in an ode to Geraldo Rivera's 1972 documentary that boosted his career - and all those involved in the flagrant abuse of the mental health system, including then Cardinal Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes), who took the easy way out by slitting his wrists.
However, ultimately saving Jude (Jessica Lange) fell on Kit's (Evan Peters) shoulders. Jude ended up living a happy, albeit difficult life with his family as she struggled with sanity, but once Kit's (alien) children brought her out into the forest, she was finally sane again and lived long enough to kiss the Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) on her own terms. The same couldn't be said for Kit, however, who, near death because of pancreatic cancer, was taken by the aliens.
But Asylum's story was always focused on Lana and whether or not she would survive - first the asylum, then Bloody Face and then, ultimately, her sociopathic son. Always the consummate survivor, Lana was able to talk Johnny (Dylan McDermott) down from shooting her in the face, but eventually turned the gun on him and took her shot.
Get Committed: Will Lana survive American Horror Story: Asylum?
Despite all the confusing story lines - Nazis, aliens, the devil! - Lana's was the one through line executive producer Ryan Murphy saw from the beginning. "I always knew that she would survive," Murphy told reporters last week after a screening of the finale. "We knew we were going to have that character go in there, become a prisoner ... and go back to tear the joint down. That was the ending which we had from the very beginning. I know a lot of people were really furious with Lana after [the penultimate] episode because she left all those people there to rot. But I love that she goes back and I love that she does try, even after everything sister Jude had done, she does go back to get her and she does succeed in closing down that place. I thought it was a very heroic ending for her."
However, Murphy and the writers did consider - very briefly - ending the season on a very different note that would've linked the first two seasons together. "We were going to have Dylan win the showdown... and change his name to Ben Harmon," Murphy said of McDermott's Season 1 character.
Though Lana didn't appear to be the happiest of people in present day, Murphy insisted that most, if not all of the Asylum players did end up with a happy ending. "I don't know how people will react, but for me, I think Jude got a great happy ending," he said. "I know Jessica felt that. I know Kit got a strange, happy ending. It was very influenced by Richard Dreyfuss in the last scene of Close Encounters, where he takes off and probably lives forever. I always imagined that as a happy ending. And I think Lana having her Barbara Walters ending was great."
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"For me, Sarah was the great revelation of this season," Murphy continues. "I always thought [Lana] was the smartest cookie in the jar. That's how I told Sarah to play it. That you are the smartest person in the room. I liked that the hero of this season was a heroine. I like that she was a lesbian. I like that she had an arc to her sexuality. And I like that she got a happy ending. I like that she was in a loving, accepting relationship at the end. I loved all of that."
Still, as Murphy prepares for the third season, he does recognize some of the more polarizing story lines that fans had mixed reactions to this season. "I think I'm done with aliens," Murphy said with a laugh. "I thought the alien stuff was interesting because I thought it was so metaphoric because it was so take-it-or-leave-it. The thing that I thought people would not like was the Lily Rabe possessed by Satan, which was by far a great fan favorite of this year. But there will be no aliens [in Season 3]."
What will happen in Season 3? Check out Murphy's hints about the third season here.
What did you think of American Horror Story's second season? Hit the comments with your thoughts!
View original Who Survived American Horror Story's Asylum - and Why? at TVGuide.com
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Close Encounters Of The Third KindDylan McDermottFrances ConroyGeraldo RiveraJessica LangeJoseph FiennesRichard DreyfussSarah PaulsonEvan PetersBarbara WaltersRyan MurphyLily RabeAmerican Horror Story: Asylum