American Horror Story Season 2 – Check into the Asylum
American Horror Story
Season 2 Episodes 1 & 2
Written by Jessica Dwyer
AHS season one was without a doubt one of the most grisly and ballsy horror turns to grace TV screens in a very long time. It was surprising, scary, stylish, and unafraid to show subject matter that would normally make other series and networks run away screaming.
The first season ended in a way that tied up the entire storyline nicely. It also allowed series creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to follow through on their plan to make every season of the show a unique and stand-alone story with its own plot lines and new characters, something else that was ground breaking in terms of network TV.
Murphy and Falchuk would bring back some of the actors from the first series but they would be clothed in new characters. Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe all return in the new season, named Asylum.
The new season starts off strong and quickly introduces many of the new characters to viewers as well as setting up the new mysteries of the season (and there are many of them.) New to the series star Adam Levine is part of what appears to be a current time set story arc that wraps around the main focus of the season, which is set in the late 1960s at Briarcliff Manor, an insane asylum ran by the Catholic church.
The show quickly hits upon many controversial topics right off the bat, including race relations during the 60s, homosexual’s hiding their sexual orientation, sacrilegious behavior, paddling, S and M, pinheads, cannibalism…you know all the things you’re probably expecting from the show.
The show continues to be visually stunning, with the shadows and deteriorating look from the previous season being a part of this one. The asylum itself is just as much a character as the house was from season one, taking on all the evil and darkness that has gone on within it. The talent in front of the screen is just as great as the ones behind it, with Jessica Lange showing that burning determination and don’t mess with me attitude that served her well last season evident as the cane happy Sister Jude.
Her role is a predominate one and I’m curious as to what path her character goes down. The same for Evan Peters in the role of inmate and possible serial killer Kit…the two of them could either be true villains or victims.
Chloe Sevigny plays the nymphomaniac Shelley with a creepy bent to her eye. Zachary Quinto arrives as court appointed shrink for Kit who is about to find out the reality of evil in the world. Joseph Fiennes is the man in charge of the asylum (even though Sister Jude is obviously the real boss) as Monsignor Timothy. The first two episodes give you a glimpse that he’s a man with a plan for his career, but not anything deeper yet.
Lily Rabe plays Sister Eunice, a good hearted and sweetly innocent nun who may just turn out to be one of the biggest bad’s of the season. That honor may be fall upon veteran actor James Cromwell who plays the mysterious and extremely creepy Doctor Arden. The doctor has a thing for Sister Eunice who helps him feed the unseen creatures who live in the woods around the asylum. He’s got more secretes than just that under his lab coat sleeve though.
Sarah Paulson’s Lana is the reporter who finds herself in the middle of the madness after having gotten on Sister Jude’s bad side while investigating Kit. Under the pretense of curing her of her being a lesbian, Sister Jude starts her on the path of shock therapy. Lana joins forces with another inmate named Grace in an attempt to escape with painful results.
All in all I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Season 2 of AHS. My only problem is the fact that within those two episodes there is just SO MUCH crammed into them. There are so many pieces of this puzzle it may just overwhelm viewers with the sheer amount of things going on.
But my advice is to keep with it as I am certainly more than intrigued to see what they do with the season. The Asylum lends itself to a lot of stories within one big framework of insanity and that’s what I think we’re going to get from the team that brought us one of the most amazing horror spectacles of the last few years.
Check your mind at the door and hold onto your soul…The Asylum opens its doors October 17th on FX.