American Horror Story (Season 2): Asylum

AHS Asylum

Warning! This posts is mostly meant for those who have seen and enjoyed the second season of AHS. In other words, this post contains SPOILERS!

When it comes to some shows, I decide to go with the ignore all season and then spend the entire day watching all the episodes back to back option. As you can guess, American Horror Story’s second season had the pleasure to be consumed all at once this year. Then all of a sudden it had the pleasure to be forgotten completely and if Sati from Cinematic Corner hadn’t mentioned my lack of review about the Asylum oriented season, this post wouldn’t be here. So thank you, Sati!

There isn’t a proper reason to my forgetfulness regarding the second season of American Horror Story – it was a solid season and yet, it was not as strong as the first one. For me, the appeal of the first one was the fact that I am not a fan of horror and yet, season 1 managed to reel me in and keep me on my toes. The second season of course had its moments, some episodes were utterly awesome, and yet, there was something missing and I can’t pin point it exactly. Maybe it was the whole alien story line and dead people coming back to life thing that kind of ruined the vibe of the second season. I have nothing against ghosts and satanic possession, serial killers and mutilated people but when the dead come back unharmed and touched by the aliens, I draw the line. Why? Well, I sort of can believe the existence of everything except the aliens.

Kit (Evan Peters) was a regular man who got abducted by aliens. Now comes the disappointing part, I like Peters, I think his character in the first season was exciting and interesting. In season two Peters had no such luck, his character was shallow and so uninteresting that it made me sad throughout the season. I get good characters, I’m not all about the bad boys (though I still prefer them as you’ll find out soon), but the whole alien plot and the lack of depth his character had – a huge let down for me personally. It didn’t help that his asylum girlfriend Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) became pregnant, died, was brought back with the help of the aliens and had a super fact pregnancy – I disliked everything about that to a point of face palming. So much awesomeness for Peters in the first season and then this happens, poor guy.

Next to that the satanic possession was almost the highlight of the series with the innocent nun Mary Unice (Lily Rabe) becoming the devil him/herself. The twisted idea of the collision between good and evil in one body had so much potential and yet, I can’t say it was pushed to its limits. It began with this young boy possessed by evil ending up in the asylum and the priests going through the practice of exorcism on him – that was in the beginning of the season and I can still recall that scene. During that moment I though, wow, this season is going to be awesome if it continues as such but with no luck. I could go into detail regarding the whole plot but honestly, it’s been almost a month since I saw it and I can only remember it vaguely because it sort of became uneventful after that. Unice had her moments, sure, but she was the devil and for some reason, by the end, I didn’t care for her satanic possession almost at all.

One of the biggest characters of the series was Sister Jude Martin (Jessica Lange) who’s plot was literally dragged out to a point where I was exhausted. It will take me forever to tell her entire story, because she had the pleasure to be presented almost entirely from her past before the past to the present or god knows where. Lange is enjoyable on the screen, don’t get me wrong, but I liked her role more when she was the strict Sister and less when she was becoming crazy. I also wished there were more scenes of her fantasizing about the Monsignor (Joesph Fiennes) because those little moments that I remember well are the ones that stand out. A nun fantasizing about the man of God is certainly a controversial moment and it’s a bit sad it happened just once in the beginning.

Now, as some of the dislikes towards the outstanding story lines have been revealed, I shall talk about the main-main plot about the journalist Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson). There were bits and pieces of that plot that screamed awesome but I can’t say it was Paulson who I enjoyed: my focus was on Zachary Quinto’s character! Now, what Peters was in the first season, Quinto was in this season and I’ll just say it, I tend to love the crazy and extremely psychopathic killers and thankfully Oliver Thredson (Quinto) was just my type. He did appear more in the second half of the season, in terms of showing his true colors, but thinking back, Thredson was most likely my favorite character of the entire season. Not just because I love Quinto but because Thredson was written almost perfectly, warm and friendly in the beginning and suddenly, flip the switch and he becomes scary. In other words, while there weren’t many surprises throughout the season, Thredson’s story line definitely a pleasant and well executed surprise.

When it comes to the quality of the show, there’s no doubt that it feels realistic and creepy. There were many side characters who looked the part almost too well, for instance Pepper (Naomi Grossman). And whilst the whole angel of death character wasn’t my favorite, Frances Conroy looked lovely as usual. But if I must complain a little, I do confess a slight unsettling discomfort regarding the time span of the entire season. As you might remember the first season had the main plot taking place in the present and many of the sides stories happening in the past. For some reason the first season felt more comfortable that way but Asylum flipped things around, having the main plot in the past, with flashbacks to the further past and then in the end back to the present again. Maybe it’s just me but for some reason it felt a bit messy and all over the place.

With that, I can actually say the entire season felt a bit all over the place at times. There were many story lines, few too many I would say, and the focus wasn’t all as great as it could have been. Sometimes I wanted to know more about a certain story line but the series took me to the other direction, it kept dragging out the alien plot and neglecting plots that interested me the most. Bare in mind that I did like the second season, I’m just picking at it because I loved the first season and I had high expectations. Also, I’ve mentioned my fear of asylums and honestly, I wasn’t as scared as I would’ve wanted to be. In the beginning, maybe a little bit but somehow the fear almost disappeared and for a horror show, I don’t think that’s a very good thing. The big mystery Bloody Face, I can’t say it was a big shock but at least it was a bit scary at times because of that mask.

To finish off, the second season didn’t live up to the first one because it was less eventful in terms of mystery but it was good nonetheless. The quality and value of the production makes American Horror Story stand out and I don’t doubt it will continue to be as such in the future. What I do hope is that Convent, the third season that will be revolving around witches, will be less messy, more scary and maybe a bit more mysterious. Plus, I doubt it will have aliens! Anyway, I’m simply glad that the second season was good, although I might have gone overboard with the negativity in this post, I still liked it and I’m happy to be thrilled about the upcoming season.

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4 thoughts on “American Horror Story (Season 2): Asylum”

  1. Murphy tends to put everything that fascinates him in his projects, there is nothing wrong with his ideas per se, but it makes his shows messy. I think he was incredibly interested in alien abductions so he put it in the show, I also found that story to be the weakest, I don’t mind alien abduction stories but it just didn’t fit with everything else in the series.

    Another thing is Lange. Murphy would literally wipe her ass for her if she asked him. She is really the one behind the show as he does what she wants, while she was the best part of season 1 it definitely wasn’t the case in season 2, but seeing how Murphy adores her he gave her that whole storyline. She was good in the part but it was another weak link for me as the s2 already had such a marvelous heroine in Lana.

    I really hope they would have gone only with Bloody Face/experiments/possession stories – that way they would have enough time to develop all of them in satisfying manner.

    Awesome write up, glad I reminded you of the show 😛

  2. I think the first season was better because the audience was able to relate to the main characters better – a father, a mother, and a teenage daughter. I also think the love story of Violet and Tate added to that. The love story in asylum was too awkward with Kit having two loves in his life.

    The stories in asylum were just too off the wall which I think is the main reason it was weaker than the first season. I am looking forward to what they come up with for season 3 though!

    Great write-up!

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