Byron Cohen/FX
January 17, 2013 at 08:19 AM EST

American Horror Story

TV Show
run date
Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters

Was Alma truly so big-hearted/open-minded about Grace? Or was Alma starting to worry that she was losing rank to this progressive woman in the eyes of her progressive husband, and pushing Kit toward Grace was her way of remaining relevant and maintaining dignity, by making it look like it was all her idea? The question lingered as Alma listened to Kit and Grace begin to make love, her face blank to forlorn…

And then alienated Alma lost her head to the alien elements in her mind – the first of several women to do so in “Continuum.” As the Asylum lovers reconnected and Alma sadly eavesdropped, the electricity frizzed and lights blazed through the curtains – exactly the phenomenon that occurred prior to Alma’s abduction three years earlier. Fear flooded her brain, clouding her consciousness. Her sensory experience electroshocked with surges of post-traumatic stress. Reality blurred. It is happening again. IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN. Kit and Grace, those Asylum forged soldiers, sprang into action. Kit grabbed a shotgun and defended the house. Grace secured the children and Alma, then extinguished the fire caused by the Molotov cocktail. No, it wasn’t aliens. It was just Billy and The Bigots. (Just!) As Alma gathered her wits, Grace embraced her, tried to comfort her…

But nothing was ever the same again. Billy’s hate crime had re-aggravated her psychic injuries and exacerbated her anxiety of the cruel, hostile world outside her now-shattered window. The delicate relational chemistry of the Walkers’ micro-commune had been altered. It was as if some kind of loss of innocence/fall from grace had occurred in their tiny patch of self-made Eden. Alma began to see Grace differently, and not for the better. Grace’s unique qualities and exotic quirks — her alien characteristics, if you will — were irritating, even threatening. There was Grace teaching her boy Thomas about his extraterrestrial heritage – in French – and there was Alma laboring alone in the kitchen, watching the lesson, looking perturbed. When Alma heard her daughter Julia whimpering in the next room, Grace moved to attend to her (I got the sense that Grace earned her keep by playing nanny), but Alma coldly shooed her back. Stay away from my kid, you rainbow-striped bead-sporting alien-loving hippy!

Grace could feel Alma’s bad vibes and called her out on it. An argument ensued. They vented their differing views about the aliens. Alma: “They were like little boys plucking wings off a butterfly!” Grace: “I don’t believe that for a second. They are so far ahead of us. These children are living proof.” Then Grace said something that scared the s—t out of Alma, something which, in retrospect, might have been an insensitive miscalculation on Grace’s part, given the freakage Alma experienced several weeks ago during The Terrorism That Changed Everything: Grace told Alma that she wanted the aliens to return. She believed they would come back for the kids they helped create, and also for Kit, whom Grace regarded as some kind of enlightened yogi. “His mind is, like, so open, because incredible empathy for every living thing!” said groovy Grace, sounding quite Kool Aid-tipsy culty.

But Alma didn’t want any more close encounters. And she didn’t like Grace talking about her husband with such deep familiarity, like she knew him better than her. And so it got nasty personal. Alma said she liked life better without Grace, i.e. “before my husband brought home an axe murderer. … They locked you away for a reason.” Ouch. Grace parried, poking deep: “Well, at least I wasn’t the one locking herself away. Is that the way you want Julia to grow up? Ashamed of who she is?” A tense sequence that was made more edgy by cut-aways to Kit Walker chopping wood (and alluding to the episode’s cryptic cold open, when we saw Kit dressed in blood splashed undies and holding an axe dripping with gore) exploded when Alma drew back and slapped Grace across the face. Alma was immediately ashamed, and immediately wanted to take it back. She couldn’t.

Enter Kit, cradling firewood, alarmed. “Let’s have a family meeting!” Way earnest.

“I’m done with family meetings,” said Grace, and huffed away.

NEXT: So I Married TWO Axe Murderers

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