The Rave of Lily Rabe


AMERICAN HORROR STORY - Lily Rabe as Sister Eunice - Photo: Michael Yarish/FX
In its fluster of ghosts, babies, and Tami Taylor (oh how we love Connie Britton!), the gem of American
Horror Story‘s
first season was easily Jessica Lange’s return to television in her murderous and eerie portrayal as Constance, a mother and nieghbor of the arc’s murder house.

Returning for the second season’s Asylum as an old drunken singer turned crazed nun, Sister Jude was destined to be the scene stealer. Come October, Lange has by no means disappointed, but  a new star began to upstage Lange. Perhaps it was from the expectation of greatness, or the comparison to Constance’s different iconic ways, maybe it was the Boston accent. Regardless, Lily Rabe is not only the MVP of the jam-packed insanity that has been American Horror Story: Asylum, but easily stolen Lange’s title of the acting jewel.

As Sister Mary Eunice, the first few episodes found the quiet, outspoken, and introverted right hand woman to Sister Jude a pushover. Then, Satan struck. Literally. Following the excorism and death of a teenage boy who was thought to be possessed by a demon, instead of being banished from the asylum, the demon, which actually is the devil, himself, entered Mary Eunice’s innocent soul.

Ever since, Rabe has left audiences awestruck with her acting chops. Her composure as the confident and demonic nun gone bad has gone in my books as one of the greatest villainous performances in recent memory. Chill inducing scenes shined during Rabe’s complex mixture of sex appeal, cruelty, and purity that made her work so interesting and complicated.

It’s easy to still vivdly remember feeling goosebumps chill up my arm in the moment where she, out loud, argued with her two interior minds with Sister Jude, where she from one moment would be scolding as the devil and then in a moment of Mary Eunice’s child-like cry of her true self, would be damned as Satan took back control. To witness, in just seconds, an actress switch from cruelty, to tears and fear, and then screams of disgust in three, entirely different personas is not easy to do.

Then, the worst happened (SPOILER ALERT to those that have not seen January 3rd’s new episode after the winter hiatus). Sister Mary Eunice was thrown over the stairs by the monsignor to slowly, yet gracefully, fall to her death, a blood bath puddling around her head, her eyes eyes averting one final glare. This moment left me in shock. What would bring the showrunners to stop this damsel of delight. (Check out the gif below of  Rabe’s exploding alter egos before falling to her death!)

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To make things worse, it almost seemed as though a shred of hope was possible (at least in my overly analytical mind). When Dr. Arden expressed his wishes to cremate her due to the demonic touch in her body’s cells, I thought maybe it was possible for Lily Rabe to live on with the help of this season’s most off-the-wall inclusion: the aliens.

The final scene proved to axe that thought, not only through Mary Eunice , but also Dr. Arden, who rode his way into cremation with her (anyone else notice the irony of the Nazi being burned to death?).

Lily Rabe has proven her feats, and my only hope is that she can continue her streak, along with season two’s other shining, new stars (ummm…anyone else been mesmerized by Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters?), in season 3. Hopefully, unlike the Golden Globes, some others will be recognized during the next Emmy ceremony. With such memorable scenes, from the beginnings  of the possession and the way the crucifix’s shudder from a blanket’s brush of air, to her final devious move in taking the monsignor’s virginity, Sister Mary Eunice will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace. The good part of her at least.

In the mean time, stay tuned for my thoughts on where season 3 will be headed since Ryan Murphy expressed that the hint to the next location was given in this week’s episode, “The Name Game!”

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