American Horror Story — Asylum Episode Two
In what turned out to be one of my most favorite episodes of American Horror Story yet, Tricks and Treats threw down the gauntlet.
The episode started with our dear, bloody newlyweds, Leo and Teresa, attempting to hide from Bloody Face. When Teresa cannot pull Leo into a room with her, Bloody Face ends up stabbing Leo multiple times as Teresa is stuck in a cell. It looks like we’ll already be saying goodbye to Mr. Lavine. It was fun while it lasted, dancing boy.
Back in 1964, Lana’s girlfriend, Wendy, is crying over being forced with admitting Lana into Briarcliff. The empty house with bustling curtains sets the tone for creepiness, and when Bloody Face appears in the house, it seems that we also bid adieu to Wendy, as well. This also backs up Kit’s claims of innocence in the Bloody Face charges against him.
Lana, the reporter that she is, has been taking notes on the facility and the questionable practices within. When someone finds the hidden notes, Sister Jude goes to the resident scary doctor, Dr. Arden, and persuades him to use electroshock therapy in order to wipe Lana’s memories and cure her of her lesbianism. A graphic and disturbing scene depicting the treatment follows and we see Sister Jude waver ever so slightly.
Zachary Quinto plays Dr. Oliver Thredson, a guest doctor brought in to Briarcliff in order to study Kit. We learn here that the murders by Bloody Face have all been women that were dumped in a field, decapitated and drained of blood. Dr. Thredson gives Kit the diagnosis of Acute Clinical Insanity.
The mysterious things in the woods surrounding Briarcliff seem to be getting hungrier and more violent. Dr. Arden starts to show some feelings for Sister Mary Eunice and there is a nice little “Sleeping Beauty” reference added in the scene with a candy apple.
A turning point in the episode happens when a couple brings in their troubled son to Briarcliff with claims of him being a chronic masturbator. Once he is shown, it quickly turns from merely sexual issues to one of demonic possession. The boy contorts, speaks in different languages and knows things that he wouldn’t know. Dr. Thredson believes the boy needs to be put on medication immediately, but Sister Jude has other plans.
Escape weighs heavily on the minds of Briarcliff’s inhabitants this week. We have Grace and Lana plotting in the bathroom, Grace telling Kit about Lana’s plans in the common room, and a full fledged attempt at leaving that I will discuss more about below.
A priest is called in, and Monsignor Howard and a few other men go into the room to begin the exorcism. As it progresses, the boy hurls the priest across the room using his mind. Sister Jude, who was not allowed into the room at first for fear that women were not strong enough, is left alone with the boy. In a flashback we see that Sister Jude wasn’t always so innocent. In fact, she has quite the history as a promiscuous, drinking singer. While driving drunk one night she hit a child, killing it.
When Monsignor Howard and Dr. Thredson pull Sister Jude off of the boy, they use holy water and sedation to try and bring him under control. The building shakes and all of the cell doors open allowing the patients to escape. Grace and Kit make a run for a set of doors with a promising bright light seeping through the crack, but Lana, believing Kit to be Bloody Face, screams for the guards and Kit is beaten.
The boy involved in the exorcism goes into cardiac arrest and dies. At that moment, an unseen presence moves through the room and exits, knocking Sister Mary Eunice backwards onto the floor.
Shelley tries unsuccessfully to seduce Dr. Arden in order to get five minutes worth of sunshine. He calls her a ‘whore’ many times and resists her advances. But later we see Dr. Arden with a prostitute that he makes to dress up in the nun’s clothing. As she is in Dr. Arden’s bedroom, she finds a box full of photographs of women tied up and some of them look to be mutilated. Dr. Arden bursts in and as he lays on top of her, she bites him and knees him in the groin and runs away.
Sister Mary Eunice is in the bed after her ‘fainting spell’ during the exorcism. Dr. Arden approaches her as she lay in a nightgown. His desires are apparent as he looks at Mary’s body. When he leaves the room, Mary throws off the covers and a cross on the wall trembles, hinting that the demon may have passed onto Mary.
Lana is rewarded by Sister Jude having her pick the cane to use on Grace and Kit as punishment for their attempted escape. Kit won’t let Grace be punished and instead agrees to take the total of forty hits by himself.
This episode was spot on with tension, conflict and a building plot that had me ensnared in its sticky grip. Full of action, fun and fast paced with just the right amount of terror is how I would describe American Horror Story: Asylum.