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'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on last night's terrifying twist

Jessica Lange stars as Sister Jude in FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum."

Story highlights

  • Wednesday's "American Horror Story" had a terrifying twist
  • Ryan Murphy explains what the twist means for Chloe Sevigny's character
  • He also teases what's in store for guest star Franka Potente
  • Next week's episode will be a two-parter

This week's episode of "American Horror Story: Asylum" was eerily titled "Nor'easter," and dealt with Briarcliff's staff and residents battening down the hatches for a wicked storm.

Viewers also got their first glimpse at the alien that may or may not have abducted Kit (Evan Peters), and seemingly said goodbye to Leo (Adam Levine) and Teresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), who were shot.

But the most terrifying twist was reserved for Shelley (Chloe Sevigny), whose legs were amputated by Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) in an act of revenge.

EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about what this means for Shelley, what the devil has in store for Briarcliff, and next week's two-parter featuring guest star Franka Potente.

Entertainment Weekly: So this episode is called "Nor'easter." Obviously you all had no idea that the timing would be so crazy with Sandy hitting?

Ryan Murphy: No, it's very strange and somewhat sad. We wrote this script I think in June. We based it on several big '50s and '60s Nor'easters that hit the East Coast, obviously not as severe as the one that just hit. It's very eerie.

EW: I was sorta amazed by Lily Rabe. She's so angelic and this transformation was really scary.

Murphy: Yeah I think she's really enjoyed it, but I mean she's such a great actress. It's interesting to do a possession that's not like the one we did in the second episode that's the crazy voice. This is a much more sly devil, a more sly Satan. I like the idea of the devil as ambitious.

EW: Is the devil's goal in this to just destroy everyone?

Murphy: Oh nooooo. The idea is a very provocative one. The true devil is the devil in your midst who has power and a smile and has their eye on a bigger prize. She has her eyes on a much bigger prize, which is coming up in the next couple episodes.

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EW: Will she keep manipulating and pushing Jude over the edge, though?

Murphy: Yes. That's, like, the best thing ever. She has a line, I believe [it's] in the fourth episode, that's, "The devil knows everything." She can really manipulate people, particularly people like Jude who are having troubles with their faith.

EW: You had said before that Jessica [Lange]'s monologue before movie night was your favorite moment with her so far?

Murphy: I think so. I love the writing in it. She's never really played a drunkard in her career, so her doing this big drunk monologue that has both comedy and tragedy, sometimes within a single minute ... I think she just killed it. I think it's really brilliant and tragic, and it contains my favorite line she's ever said, which is "Charles Laughton is an enormous whoopsie." I thought that was really quite brilliant. Jessica Lange talking about Charles Laughton is just great. I know it was very challenging and she had a great time doing it. It was just a master class in acting.

EW: When she's searching for The Mexican, does she see one of the aliens?

Murphy: Yes, that is the alien. We were very careful not to show too much but now with the power of screen savers...

EW: With the modern day stuff, now that Leo and Teresa are dead, will we still see 2012 Briarcliff?

Murphy: Yes, not in every episode. But we do go back to it — and who says they're dead? I'm not saying they're dead. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. The 2012 connection is really related to something and someone in 1964 Briarcliff, and you find that out in upcoming episodes for sure.

EW: Will we learn more about Arden's backstory and his issues with women?

Murphy: Well, kind of -- I think you see it. He has a huge backstory coming up in episodes four and five which [will] completely answer who he is and what his mystery is. I think his thing with women is when Shelley sees his member and laughs and says to him, "Were you in some kind of accident?" We imagined Dr. Arden has a micropenis. There's something very wrong there.

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EW: You said last week that what happens to Shelley was the most shocking thing you've done. Why did you decide that fate for her?

Murphy: It is a tragic thing. I did think that she's a tragic character. Her dilemma and her pain and her trying to escape in the next couple of episodes is a really big plot point, so I don't wanna say much. When you see the evolution of what Dr. Arden continues to do to her, it's pretty amazing.

EW: What did Chloe Sevigny think when you told her Shelley's fate?

Murphy: I can't speak for Chloe, but she's a good-to-go actress. It was a very challenging thing to do the prosthetics. I think she was challenged by it. In the next couple of episodes, what happens to her is very ... Chloe does an amazingly brilliant acting job [with] it. I really love her performance.

EW: Will we see what has happened to Wendy, like whether she's alive or dead?

Murphy: Ooooh yes. Wait 'til the next two episodes. The episode coming up is a two-parter. Episode five is the best episode we've ever done on the show. It's just so brilliant. I'm really excited for people to see it.

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EW: Can you tease it?

Murphy: Well, the title of four and five is "I Am Anne Frank, Part I and Part II," and I just think that by the end of 5 we've pretty much told everybody what all the secrets and backstories of all the characters are. And I think the social statement that it makes about women in the time is very sort of great. More than that, I think the performances are just off-the-charts great.

EW: So does that mean Anne Frank is showing up on "American Horror Story"?

Murphy: Yes, she is.

EW: And I'm assuming [guest star] Franka Potente (Copper) is Anne Frank?

Murphy: Yes.

EW: So is this episode positing that Anne Frank survived?

Murphy: I'm not saying another word until you've watched it.

See the full story at EW.com.