American Horror Story Asylum Should be Locked Up


I wanted to like this season so bad. It had so much potential- a creepy insane asylum with creepy doctors. That setting alone holds the possibility of good horror stories- though not exactly an original plot line, at least it is simple and has yet to be done on television. But no, the writers of American Horror Story (on FX) had to go ahead and just throw in every crazy idea they have, adding new plots each episode while resolving none. They have turned a show with the greatest scare potential into the most wtf-inducing shows I have ever watched (and I’ve seen clips of Honey Boo Boo).

The first episode begins in the asylum in modern-day with a couple exploring the closed asylum and become trapped. In the middle of the couple’s tryst on an old, rusty examination table, “Bloody Face” interrupts them when he rips of the arm of the man in the relationship, played by Adam Levine. The rest of the episode takes 48 years earlier, in 1964, except for the last two minutes, when the show goes back to the present with the couple trapped in the asylum. In 1964, we learn that a white man named Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is married to a black woman who was abducted by aliens and then skinned alive. Other woman have also been abducted and skinned alive, but since no one believes the abductions occurred, Kit Walker is blamed for the woman’s death’s instead. Kit is taken to Briarcliff Asylum, where we’re introduced to head nun Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) and her right-hand gal Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe). Also visiting the asylum that day is a reporter named Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), there to question Sister Jude about the asylum’s bakery, but really there to investigate allegations of misconduct. Sister Jude sees Lana’s line of questioning as a threat, and has her committed into the asylum and blackmails her girlfriend to sign Lana into the asylum. We are also introduced to the sinister Dr. Arden (James Cromwell), who we quickly learn likes to perform creepy experiments on patients. Dr. Thresdon (played by the sexy, bushy-browed Zachary Quinto) is also at the asylum for a short time to determine if Kit is sane to stand trial. In the second episode, Sister Mary Eunice becomes possessed  by a demon, and we learn that Sister Jude has a crush the Monsignor of the church (played by Joseph Fiennes).

At this point, we should start keeping track of the number of plot lines, because it only gets crazy from here on out. One: a present-day couple is being attacked by a man in a bloody mask called “Bloody Face.” Two: Man possibly wrongly accused of being a serial killer and is put into crazy asylum. Three: ALIENS! Four: Creepy doctor who experiments on patients. Five: Lesbian journalist is held against her will as a patient in a creepy insane asylum. Six: Catholic nun possessed by demon. Seven: Head nun in love with her boss. Ok, so that’s seven different plot lines by the second episode. Episode 7 just aired, and though I won’t go through each episode, I will go on to talk about all of the plot lines they’ve added since episode 2.

Since the aliens and demonic possessions, the show has decided to go ahead and add in weird zombie people, Anne Frank and Nazi doctors, and Sister Jude’s very troubled past.

This show had so much potential to be great. The overall premise of the show is to have stand-alone seasons with mostly the same actors with some new actors in an entirely different setting. The first season revolved around a haunted house in Los Angeles and included Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, and Zachary Quinto as main characters. Season 1 of AHS had its issues, but overall, each week the writers provided scary and interesting television. This season it seems like the writers are worried about the show ending abruptly, with the way they’re adding in plots willy-nilly, like they’re trying to use as many of their ideas as possible before it ends. With every episode, no plot is resolved- more are added on, to the point where the show is nothing but a mash-up of horror cliches. For now, I will keep watching AHS, but unless some of the questions on this show start to get answered, I’m not sure for how much longer. At this point, the biggest horror in American Horror Story is the mysterious disappearance of coherent plots.

Kally is the host of the kssu show Technical Difficulties, airing every Wednesday morning at 8 am on kssu.com, streaming on Sacramento State’s College Radio.

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