TV: Welcome to ‘American Horror Story Asylum’

By Meryl Gottlieb | | @buzzlightmeryl  
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

I have held a grudge against Ryan Murphy ever since he announced that the first season storyline from American Horror Story would not be carried over to its second season. I still have many questions: What happened to the demon-child from Tate (Evan Peters) and Vivien’s (Connie Britton) relations? Why can I not see five more seasons of just Violet’s (Taissa Farmiga) and Tate’s relationship?!

But luckily, this new season seems very promising — plus there’s no annoying Ben (Dylan McDermott) for me to detest every second of his existence, nor is there freaking Hayden (Kate Mara) whom I hated more than anything!

And only for those reasons can I say thank goodness the storyline is new, but I promise it is also amazing, and I know it will be addictive.

In present time, Leo (Adam Levine) and Teresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) are newlyweds who decided that their honeymoon will be an exploration of the most haunted places in America. You know, the usual romantic trip couples like to take.

During their break-in, the couple hears a noise, and Leo peaks his phone through a slot in a door while Teresa gives him a blowjob. I mean really Ryan, can we have some class? At least make him finish looking in the room first. However, what he finds is not welcomed, and his arm is severed by whatever was in that room.

Back in 1964, Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is a hunky fuel station attendant who is in an interracial marriage — a big no-no — so he and his wife, Alma (Britne Oldford), keep their marriage a secret.

While at home, Kit hears a noise and runs outside in order to protect his wife. A light from the sky blinds him and some super weird stuff happens in their house. All of a sudden, there is a quick cut to Kit naked in a white room and then it ends.

And now the episode’s title, “Welcome to Briarcliff,” comes into play. The manor was turned into an institution after a Catholic church took over in the 1960s.

Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), a reporter, is investigating something about a bakery – not important, what’s important is that her tour of the institution is our tour.

The asylum is full of interesting characters – personality and looks-wise. Pepper and some of the other members look too monster-ish and are really just distractions from the storyline, though that might prove to be different, a common theme in American Horror Story.

Also introduced is Shelley (Chloë Sevigny), a nymphomaniac, who is having her head shaven by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) as an attempt to control her problem: “Mental illness is an excuse for sin,” Sister Jude said.

I would like to break for a moment to exclaim my adoration for Jessica Lange. I don’t think there would have been an “Asylum” season if Jessica Lange had not killed it like she did – because we all know Dylan McDermott was not doing anyone any good.

Lana’s real purpose for being at Briarcliff was a desire to see “Bloody Face,” a serial killer who decapitated three women and then wore their skin as a mask on his face. Ew.

In a turn I was not expecting, as I usually never do, Bloody Face turns out to be Kit!! Evan why do you always play a demented person so well, and why am I always so attracted to it?!

Kit is admitted – with a beautiful washboard stomach may I add – and sedated. When he wakes up, Sister Jude is sitting by his side and eventually reveals that one of the women Kit supposedly killed was his wife! No, it was not him!!

Kit meets Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) who seems like the only other sane person in the whole building, though she is accused of chopping up her family. I don’t know; I like her for now.

Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) is Sister Jude’s adversary. Both are fighting for the top position of who actually runs Briarcliff, and both are terrifying.

Apparently, Dr. Arden has been taking patients without Sister Jude’s knowledge, and they all end up “dead and cremated” within a night. However, Sister Jude has realized that every missing patient never has any connections to the outside world where questions would be asked about their whereabouts… hmmmm….

Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) is Dr. Arden’s accomplice in a way in that is not so clear – partially because I have bad hearing and missed a line and also because that scene honestly did have some mumbled dialogue.

Lana sneaks onto the grounds but is let in by Sister Mary Eunice, which Sister Jude finds out about and is, well, less than pleased.

While nosing around, Lana is attacked at the same door Leo was attacked at. When she wakes up, Sister Jude is sitting by her side – she is strapped in like a patient. Sister Jude explains that she went to Lana’s house and threatened her lover Wendy (Clea DuVall), a third-grade school teacher who would have a lot to lose if word got out that she was gay; thus, Lana is trapped in the asylum until her homosexuality is “fixed.” Mr. Murphy, you take a stand in Glee about forty thousand times, can we leave American Horror Story to the twisted and frightening material?

It is also revealed that Sister Jude has the hots for Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) who is the true head of Briarcliff. The two have dinner: He discusses his big hopes for the manor while she fantasizes about having sex with him. Are nuns really allowed to wear red lingerie underneath their habit? I didn’t think so.

Dr. Arden takes Kit for what is clearly a medical malpractice suit waiting to happen. While there, Arden removes an implant from Kit’s neck that had to have come from his abduction! It sprouted legs and ran away – those aliens are quite tricky.

Back in the present, Teresa is running around trying to get out of the institution. She is running down the secret tunnels of the asylum, where I think Dr. Arden shoveled his used patients out, and runs into Bloody Face, skin mask and all!


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