Published on October 18th, 2012 | by LIANNE0
American Horror Story : The Asylum (Episode 1 Review & Rant)
(cross-posted from LianneSpiderbaby.com)
American Horror Story is my favorite show on television – the last season was phenomenal, and I have very high hopes for the second season. It just started, and so far – the setting is stellar. This old insane asylum previously owned by the Catholic Church, now wrought with vandalism and overgrown weeds is the perfect hellhole for the new season. However, not so perfect within the first five minutes: Adam Levine – why is this guy acting? His music is bad enough. What’s wonderful though – is that he loses his arm in the first few minutes. He’s touring the deserted asylum with his girlfriend who is obsessed with all things horror – it’s her dream to have sex strapped to a mental patient’s table.
I’m also incredibly happy that they kept the really creepy opening music – because that is also perfectly creepy. The opening credits are just as disturbing and wonderful as the first season. American Horror Story favorites Jessica Lange and Evan Peters have returned, which already has fans talking.
Then, it’s 1964 and Evan Peters is singing “There Goes My Baby” while attending to his work at a gas station. American Horror Story has a knack for soundtracks and music, and the way that the show uses music to create mood and setting is really effective. I had a big bad ol’ crush on Peters last season, and now he plays a handsome married man with a hot rockabilly haircut. And there is a sex scene 11 minutes in. Thank you, writers.
There is a character in Asylum that is homage to a character in Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932). You won’t be able to miss her. She’s the first inmate we meet in the asylum. And then we see Jessica Lange, shaving the head of Chloe Sevingly, who I’m confident won’t disappoint this season. I’ve loved her ever since Kids (a movie which repulsed me) and Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry.
Jessica Lange is a completely new character – Constance is all gone, and Sister Jude a nun who seems to be trying her best for the good of the patients has replaced her. It turns out, that there is a murderer called BLOODY FACE who is decapitating woman. A journalist named Billie Dean Howard (played by Sarah Paulson who played Lana last season) has come to the asylum to learn about the bakery program, but instead she uses that as her story to catch a glimpse of BLOODY FACE. Who is this mass murder? The camera pans up from his feet: Evan Peters!
What just happened?!
He claims there is some kind of confusion, that he did nothing. There is another inmate who claims to be sane – Grace – a pretty brunette who is in for chopping up her family – but she too claims that she’s innocent. But patients are dying in the asylum, and Sister Jude blames the asylum doctor, Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) – she thinks he’s up to no good because the patients that disappear and die are the ones with no families.
Clea Duvall is also in the show, another actress I greatly respect. She was wonderful in HBO’s Canirvale and she was incredibly in the lesbian rom-com, But I’m A Cheerleader. DuVall is a lesbian in real life, and she seems to be type-casted, because she plays Billie’s girlfriend in this season.
And then Joseph Fiennes is introduced, and he plays Monsignor Timothy Howard. He seems to have a little flirtation with Sister Jude – he seems corrupt, but Sister Jude seems to be flirting with him for answers. She wants to know about the doctor. Naturally, as a faithful patron of God, Sister Jude isn’t pro-science, and the doctor seems to be up to some strange business in curing certain illnesses and carious insanities. Sister Jude is questioning her own faith internally though, she has sexual thoughts and desires when it comes to her partner at the asylum.
There is something living in the forests of the asylum, something that needs to be fed human meat. It’s only a matter of time before we find out what it is. Lily Rabe, who plays Sister Eunice in this season (she was Nora Montgomery in the first) takes buckets of food out into the forest, and runs away in terror, but she bumps into Billie, who is clearly up to no good. She is in over her head, and that’s obvious.
Oh no, Adam Levine and his stupid girlfriend are still alive. The episode flip-flops back and forth between 1964 and the present – the past and the current state of the hospital. There is evil that has lived on into the asylum, beyond time. The Doctor comes for Bloody Face and takes him out of his cell for a midnight operation. He’s a man of science, and he experiements on patients, and Bloody Face is next. There is a homage to Clockwork Orange in this show as well, and Evan Peters looks exactly like Malcolm McDowell as Alex in one shot – with his eyes forced open, laying on the medical table.
American Horror Story season 2 is really setting itself up for some extremely dark imagery and upsetting content. I think this season is going to be much darker than the first. The first season had elements of humor and mystery, whereas this season is downright creepy and disturbing. The first season was also quite sexy – and this season so far is the exact opposite. In season one, there were several different sexual relationship: Tate and Violet, Constance and her boy toy boyfriend, Vivien and Ben Harmon, the love/hate relationship between the two men who lived in the house prior to the Harmons.
In this season, the only elements of sex are Sister Jude’s internal fantasies (which are just weird because she’s a deeply repressed nun), and a variety of insane and ugly patients with their hands down their pants. Eww.
Sister Jude shows her true colors when she holds Billie at the hospital. Billie’s girlfriend (DuVall) can do nothing – although she’s in an intimate relationship with Billie, the couple keep their relationship a secret. Sister Jude blackmails her and Billie’s girlfriend realizes that she has no power. Billie was trespassing, she wanted an inside look into the mental asylum, and that is exactly what she is going to get. Sister Jude intends to cure her homosexuality.
American Horror Story 2 is being set up for several different kinds of evil manifested in several different characters. Sister Jude, the Doctor (played by ) and a variety of patients.
In the very last shot of the first episode, we see Levin’e girlfriend running away to get help when a monster approaches her: it appears to be a version of Blood Face, but I can’t be sure. He looks a bit like Jason in the fourth sequel to the Friday The 13th series. We’ll have to wait and see! The good news is, it appears as though Adam Levine won’t be appearing again.
Overall, I’m impressed with the episode. It didn’t grip me the same way that the first episode of the first season did, but I think that’s due to my own expectations. I know that characters and mood have to be established, and I think they’ve done a great job of that in this first episode. Also, it’s clear that they’ve given Jessica Lange and Evan Peters really important roles – not just supporting characters, but it looks as though they could be carrying the story this time around. Smart move, since they were the favorites last season, and Jessica Lange won the show a few awards. I’m looking forward to next episode, and I’m sure you are, too!
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