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|“||Please, Jude, don't be childish.||„|
|~ Monsignor Howard revealing his true colors|
Monsignor Timothy Howard is a major antagonist in the second season of American Horror Story, dubbed Asylum. Though initially appearing as a kind-hearted character, he becomes more evil over the course of the season. After the death of Bloody Face, in the first half of the eleventh episode, he becomes the main antagonist for the second half of Episode 11 and of Episode 12, while being a posthumous antagonist in Episode 13.
Howard is ambitious and has aspirations of becoming a bishop of the archdiocese, and intends to keep Sister Jude at his side. He was instrumental, with Dr. Oliver Thredson, in the exorcism and resulting death of Jed Potter, especially after visiting priest Malachi was incapacitated by the demon's power.
He confronts Sister Jude regarding her reported inebriation during the storm, suggesting this might be behind her "unfounded" accusations that the Institute's Chief of Medicine Dr. Arthur Arden is actually a Nazi war criminal who tortured and murdered hundreds of concentration camp prisoners. In reality, Howard is in league with Arden, who is indeed guilty of everything Sister Jude accuses him of and worse, defending him against and warning him of the encroaching suspicions of the law and Sister Jude, in order to preserve Briarcliff's reputation and his own.
This changed after his encounter with the horribly disfigured Shelley, one of Arden's victims, in a local hospital. Disgusted, Timothy tries to have Arden fired and exposed, but Arden silences him by threatening to expose his complicity in the experiments, namely that he kept them hushed up.
After surviving a near-death encounter with serial killer Leigh Emerson, Jude awakens tied to a bed and Timothy, sitting next to her, gaslights her into believing that she committed Emerson's crimes. He strips Sister Jude of her title and announces that she is now a permanent inmate at Briarcliff.
Timothy visits Emerson in the sanctuary and tries to counsel Emerson, who has manipulated him into believing he feels remorse for the murders he committed. After Howard baptizes Emerson, the killer reveals his true motives when he quickly grabs Howard and forces his head underwater, keeping it submerged until he is unconscious. He then crucifies the Monsignor to the sanctuary's cross, leaving him there to die. Scáthach, the angel of death, appears before the dying priest, and he pleads for her to take him. She tells him that the Devil resides inside Sister Mary Eunice and that it is his duty to cast him out.
Howard returns to the sanitarium and is attended to, dutifully, by Sister Mary Eunice. In every encounter, he is visibly nervous about being in her presence. It is while she is tending to his wounds distracted by her own ramblings that he quickly grips her and places his rosary upon her forehead in an attempt to exorcise the Devil. It appears that the bold maneuver only slightly flusters the Devil, who quickly brushes the Monsignor off, sending him flying back into his bed. His body pinned down and his arms outstretched at both sides, again crucified, forced into this position by unseen force Howard finds himself at the mercy of Sister Mary Eunice as she mounts him. As she undresses and gyrates atop of Howard, ignoring his pleas for her to stop, she rapes him.
Howard visits a catatonic Jude, sobbing over being robbed of his virtue and asks for her help. She tells him that he has to kill Mary Eunice. The monsignor returns to Mary's office and prays until he is again confronted by the possessed nun, who taunts him with her body again; this time, however, he fights her off. She then promises to fulfill his ambitions as she rehashes her plan that includes the Vatican and him as pope. Howard's eyes widen at the proposition, but he ultimately resists temptation and refuses. Mary Eunice walks out to the landing of the asylum stairway berating Howard as she departs. He replies that he can sense the real Mary Eunice, and that he will cast the Devil out of her.
At that, Mary lashes out and grabs the monsignor by his shoulders and pins him against the railing. The Devil promises to defeat the priest and eradicate any remaining reminisce of Mary's soul. At this, the real Sister Mary Eunice breaks free and cries out to the Monsignor that she can no longer can fight the Devil. Timothy softly tells her to then let him go, and she obliges. He then grabs Mary and tosses her over the railing to her death
Howard and a couple of nuns appear in the common room to Thomas, Kit Walker and Grace Bertrand. Howard takes Thomas away, wanting to place him in an orphanage as he feels Kit and Grace are not fit to raise a child.
Howard reads Lana's exposé article about the asylum, which reveals the cruel, inhumane conditions the patients are subjected to, and that Howard knew that Arden was a war criminal and Dr. Thredsen was really the serial killer Bloody Face and did nothing to stop them from torturing and killing patients. Jude appears to Timothy in the common room, stating how ironic it is that he was robbed of his virtue by the Devil, and continues to challenge him until Timothy orders her to be sent to solitary.
When Kit is freed, he requests that he gets his baby back and that Grace leaves too. Howard refuses, but Kit argues that Grace is still officially presumed dead so he doesn't have to lie and Kit doesn't have to tell the truth about Briarcliff, forcing Howard's hand. Lana and two police officers come into his office with a court order wanting to talk to Jude. Howard tells them that Jude committed suicide and even shows them a death certificate. In reality, the death certificate is a forgery and Jude still lives in solitary with a new name. Howard interrupts a game of Candyland, telling Judy (renamed "Betty Drake") that he is releasing her, as he has been elevated to the rank of Cardinal, and been named Archbishop of New York, and the cruelty must end.
During Lana's interview in the present day, she reveals that Howard denied the allegations she made against him in her article, but later committed suicide by slitting his wrists in a bathtub.
- Originally, the character's name was Timothy O'Hara.
- Cardinal Howard's suicide after being questioned by Lana is an ironic echo to his actions of faking Jude's suicide in order to prevent Lana from freeing her.
American Horror Stories