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“American Horror Story” Asylum


Christy Blevins

Adam Levine, Jessica Lange, and Evan Peters. What more can you ask for to make Wednesday nights better? Oh right, Zachary Quinto.  The premiere of season two of “American Horror Story: Asylum” on Wednesday October 17, started out much better than the series premiere last year. This episode started off right with in (haunted in modern times) sanitarium, Briarcliff Manor, with flashbacks of crazed patients, nuns with a sin complex, and dare I say aliens.

Just after ten months of impatiently waiting, AHS returned to FX with its second season. This season takes place in the late 1960s at an Institution for the mentally insane ran by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), and Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell).   Dr. Arden is performing experimentations of the patients and, if I assume correctly, is deforming them into disgusting, dangerous creatures.  I doubt if we’ll find out what he’s up to any time soon, but Ran Murphy, writer of AHS, sure has a fascination with writing in human experiments. Check out season one for some more graphic human experimentations.

Before I continue with the happenings of 1964, let’s jump back into the present. The premiere kicked off with two newlyweds, Leo and Teresa (Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan), sneaking into the abandoned and run-down Briarcliff. Teresa happens to be a paranormal enthusiast and drags Leo with her with a promise to “do it” in every haunted place they visit.

In short, they get it on in the examination room and Teresa hears a bang somewhere in the manor. Of course, as with any horror show, she has to go check it out. They run around the manor and stumble upon a locked door from which the banding has come from. Leo sticks his hand through the food slot with a camera (why would you do that?) and ultimately gets his arm ripped off.  Who ripped off his arm? Presumably it is this seasons big bad, Bloody Face, who we don’t really know who is. Later Teresa runs around trying to get out and finds Bloody Face, and then the episode ends.

Now back to 1964. Remember Tate from last season? Evan Peters plays Kit Walker, is a simple gas station attendant who is secretly married to a black woman named Alma (Britne Oldford).  She is assumed to
be a maid from his friends, but his love for her is so deep he couldn’t care.  He comes home from work, they share a moment, she cooks dinner, and then aliens show up and a bright white light illuminates our TV screens. Yes, you read that right, aliens.  Ryan Murphy is at it again pushing limits and somehow creating an even better season of AHS.

The alien abduction scene isn’t shown in entirety, but what we can presume is that Alma has been killed, and they probed Kit.  Sometime after this Alma’s body was discovered her skin torn off, matching the signature of a serial killer known as Bloody Face. Naturally the police prove that Bloody Face is Kit (is he really?) and Kit is shipped off to Briarcliff to be held until further notice.

While at Briarcliff many new characters are introduced. Chloë Sevigny plays Shelly, who for simple terms, just can’t seem to control certain sexual urges.  Lange’s character, Sister Jude, has the hots for Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) and has pretty steamy daydreams about him. Thank you Jessica Lange for coming back to AHS.  Playing an assistant to Dr. Arden and Sister Jude is Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) who is quite fragile.  The amount of patients increase for audiences as we are introduced to Grace (newcomer Lizzie Brocheré) who was convicted for murdering her family, which she denies, and is portrayed as being the only character who is truly sane. I’m sure this will change with episodes to come.

As if this isn’t enough, Sister Jude is proved to be even more cruel and corrupt than Lange’s character last season. Sister Jude catches investigative journalist Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) sneaking around Briarcliff after hours and finds it necessary to commit her as a patient as she thinks it is only fitting she gets a feel of the institution. Sister Jude also says she’s going to get Lana “cured” of her sexuality, and black mails Lana’s girlfriend (Clea Duvall) into signing her into Sister Jude’s care.

Bringing past cast members into the new season of AHS was a brilliant idea. It is fun to watch the same actors we fell in love with before portray different characters, it just feels like there’s more to their stories.  Be sure to watch the rest of the season to catch Zachary Quinto as they felt it necessary to torture the audience by not including him in the premiere.  If the characters in the asylum are truly crazy then they better be making more room for the audience to move in. This season is set up to be more complicated, terrifying, crazier, and better than last seasons.

Within the first half of the premiere it is obvious this season will be more frightening that the last with more goodies to give. The episode as a whole gave us more than the premiere of the first season, and is clearly setting us up for an insanely interesting and frightening season.  This is in no way a show for the faint hearted, or weak minded.