First thing’s first: if you haven’t watched last night’s episode of American Horror Story…GET OUT! Right now! This post will spoil a lot of things for you, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Now, back to business: it was an epic evening of episodic television on the Ryan Murphy horror show last night. The revelation that murderer-at-large Bloody Face is in fact none other than our very own Doctor…Oliver Thredson, came as quite a shock to many. (Can anybody say: TWIST!) That’s right, the show’s beloved Zachary Quinto is, in fact, our killer of women. And while some people may have seen it coming (cough cough I am a television genius cough), others were shocked that the long-built-up serial killer wasn’t revealed to be the is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-Nazi (he’s probably a Nazi) Dr. Arthur Arden, played by James Cromwell.
It was a dark turn for the character many once believed to be the single ray of light to right so many of the erred ways of the Briarcliff staff. Now, we have a whole new set of worries: will Lana live? How has Bloody Face been able to escape prosecution for so long (since he is seen in the ‘Modern’ sequence, scaring his imitators away from Adam Levine‘s nearly-dead body)? How many copycats are there? Did this infamy stem from Lana’s writing? (Will she live to write the story of Bloody Face?) Will there ever be hope for poor Kit (Evan Peters)? We went right to the source himself, in an interview with Quinto to get some answers.
So how did Quinto feel about his character’s dark turn? “I knew from the very beginning [about Thredson being Bloody Face], it was part of the conversation I had with Ryan about coming back to the second installment of the show in the first place,” he explained. “As a result I felt that my responsibility then became creating a character that people could trust.”
Quinto sees the role as perhaps a bit less foreign to the everyday human experience than most would assume at first glance. “It’s more rooted in character and relationships. I like that this was grounded and real, and I’m always drawn to that sort of connection. … It was an immersion.”
But when it comes to playing a serial killer with such deep knowledge of psychiatry? It seems like there’s more going on there, huh? Quinto agrees. The slow build to getting the “how” and the “why” of Dr. Thredson’s desire to help Lana flee the asylum kept everybody guessing. “I think a lot of his actions in the first four and a half episodes of Asylum were serving some ulterior motive. I think he was trying to gain Lana’s trust, gain some proximity and intimacy with her. … I think he was definitely trying to show her that he could be there for her, that she could rely on him even in as something as ugly as [the process of undergoing aversion therapy treatment].”
Quinto, an openly gay man himself, knows that fans may have found his approval of the therapy unsettling, but asserts that it’s just about playing to the times. “… It was a pervasive mentality that homosexuality could be treated … [Dr. Thredson] was implementing the ‘forward thinking’ of the time.”
That said, Quinto believes Thredson himself doesn’t totally believe in it—outside of being a really great manipulation tactic on Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson). “It put him in a position when it didn’t work that he could go deeper. … He knows [the aversion therapy] won’t work on some level, I think, and he can sort of be more radical about [getting Lana out] since she already has more faith and trust in him. It’s an incredibly manipulative tactic that works.”
This, of course, leads to the question: why Lana, of all the patients—someone who, on some level, he must morally oppose (since, you know, he did kill her girlfriend and all)? Well, apparently we’re close to finding out! “Next week’s [episode] is called The Origins of Monstrosity, so it really dives into a lot of the roots of the characters in Asylum. A lot of things will become clearer and probably more disturbing in the coming weeks.” Sounds…ominous.
And while fans can rejoice at the announcement of the third season pick-up, Quinto is staying quiet on his potential role for next season. “I’m so glad it’s doing well and people are responding to it…[but] I haven’t had any conversations with Ryan about what he’s thinking about for a third season.”
In the end, Quinto believes that the show is breaking ground, and pushing boundaries that are asking to be pushed in this modern world. “I think there’s obviously a sense of collective anxiety in the world that we live in,” Quinto explained. “It’s very complicated—precariously perched in so many ways [politically and socially], and I think that plays back [in Asylum]. It taps into that kind of primal fear that all of us share, that builds in society, and needs an outlet. … [Horror shows] stand to serve that purpose … and I think that’s important, actually. It’s exhilarating but also a little bit scary that it reflects the world.”
Horror shows are certainly reaping the benefits of this fear, it seems, and Quinto agrees. “A story that reflects societal fear back at the audience—on some visceral level—is the most compelling kind of horror, and I think that’s what the show’s doing in a lot of ways.”
What do you think about Quinto’s character revelation? Surprised by the Bloody Face unveiling? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX]
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