American Horror Story has adopted a practice that is different from the usual, it’s the first mainstream show that has changed the cast, the setting and the entire feel of the show from season to season. Last season was about a family who buys a haunted house and gets more than they bargained for, this season is about an asylum.
Not only does the setting and cast change (although a lot of the cast from the first season have been kept on), but the feel of it as well. Instead of having a ghost horror, it’s more of a creepy, gory horror. There aren’t the shock suspense moments that make you jump, but instead an intense sense of unease and repulsion.
The episode kicks off with Adam Levine and his newly wed wife going on a horror tour honeymoon. Because that’s normal. They’re exploring an abandoned asylum, which gives the show a chance to shove a bunch of exposition about the history of the asylum that includes it starting as a tuberculosis ward, then being bought by the church and used as a sanitarium for the criminally insane. Fun place for a honeymoon.
They go for some sexy time in a patient chair with Adam Levine playing doctor (which I’m sure was put away as spank bank material by a few people), before they’re interrupted by a noise. So, like the odd person that she is, Levine’s wife suggests they go investigate it. They go to where the noise is coming from and his wife suggests he look inside the room to see what it is in return for a blowjob. Using the power of the iPhone, he sticks his hand in the slot while she kneels in front of him and goes to town.
Ever the cock block, something within the room grabs and yanks off Adam’s arm. Like completely off. He shoves his wife away, pulls out his bloody stump and the title theme rolls.
The opening theme isn’t quite as scary as the first season one was, that set my skin crawling – this one is just kind of creepy. It’s got all the asylum stuff, but it’s not as concise and spliced together in time with the music as the first one. That might have also been because the first one was surprising in the high quality of the horror, while my expectations were quite high for this one to start off with.
It’s back in 1964 at a gas station, with a family complaining about paying 30 cents a gallon – LOLs, oh you’re in for a shock in the coming years. And who is serving this family but Evan Peters (AKA Tate Langdon from the first season) who is now playing Kit – an older and far less emo character.
The lights flicker and I’m all ready to get a glance at some supernatural activity, but it’s just a group of guys messing with Kit and making some comments about him having a maid and chocolate, which don’t make much sense until he goes home and you see that he’s married to a black girl. Unfortunately for them, it’s not really a good time for it, and they’re forced to hide it from everyone.
They have a very sweet and beautiful relationship and- SHE’S TOTALLY GOING TO DIE
Anyway, after they get their freak on some weird stuff starts happening and there’s bright lights, some really weird stuff starts happening, and it looks like something extraterrestrial is going on. Sigh, aliens. Now, this show has always asked to stretch the imagination a bit, but ghosts I could deal with, aliens? That’s less horror and more sci-fi. I’m holding out hope that it was in his head.
We’ve returned to the asylum, though still in the sixties. Instead of the broken down wreck of a building, it’s now all new and fancy. A reporter, Lana, is there to write an article about the bakery (because all asylums for the criminally insane have bakery attachments). She is greeted by Sister Eunice (Lily Rabe, who played Nora, the original house owner in the first season) who leads her through the asylum to Sister Jude (Jessica Lange, previously Constance). Like in the first season Jessica Lange’s character is uninterested in messing around, and comes across as harsh. Although, in this season she is strictly religious, and thinks that mental illness is simply an absence of religion.
Lana isn’t all that interested in the bakery though, the serial killer Bloody Face is arriving, and she is desperate for the story. Her ambition sends Sister Jude into a rant about how she can see the sin and all that. Kind of love how Jessica Lange can switch it from someone so sinful, to someone who is the exact opposite. She still keeps that same energy and somewhat off-putting nature, but it just works very well. It’s obvious why she’s been kept on, along with her Golden Globe and Emmy win.
Bloody Face has arrived, and guess what, it’s Kit. He looks just as sweet faced and innocent as he did in the beginning, and it’s really hard to imagine him hurting innocent women. Much less, as Sister Jude reveals, his wife.
You start seeing the asylum through Kit’s eyes, such as the common room, which is full of a range of different psychotics. He’s about to turn off the music, which is super annoying, before a pretty young French girl steps in front and informs him that there are rules for just about everything and breaking them is inadvisable. Pssh, yeah no kidding.
Some angry looking guy taunts Kit about his supposed kills – including his wife – and a fight breaks out between them. If he’s going to get angry every time someone makes a comment then he’s going to be in a heck of a lot of fights. Sister Jude and two orderlies show up to break it up, her using a piercing whistle to stun everyone, and the orderlies clock him on the head before he can try to defend himself.