“American Horror Story: Asylum” aired in 2012. (same year Ellie Goulding’s second album Halcyon came out) It received positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. An eleventh season will take place in New York City. Slated to air/stream October 19. Only on FX and Hulu. As a fan of AHS, I wanna share my thoughts on the second season.
This review contains SPOILERS. If you’re not caught up, read at your own risk.
The Whole Season
Positive: Return Cast Members from Season 1 such as Sarah Paulson, (my all-time favorite actress) Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Dylan McDermott & Frances Conroy all did an excellent job for their respective performances playing a new set of characters.
Newcomers to the series including Chloë Sevigny, Joseph Fiennes, Naomi Grossman & James Cromwell all did a solid job for their respective performances.
Death Scenes are brutal. If you have a weak stomach, be prepared.
Say what you will about him, Adam Levine guest stars.
Practial Effects were heavily involved to bring the titular setting alive.
Asylum takes place in the 60s to 2012.
A serial killer named, Bloody Face plays a crucial role.
If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” & “Better Call Saul,” Mark Margolis (Hector Salamanca) makes a guest appearance in three episodes
Negative: Cinematography is occasionally shaky.
Ryan Murphy and his writing partner Brad Falchuk mapped out all thirteen episodes. Unfortunately, the story arc falls flat.
A subplot involving aliens. At first, there’s sinister buildup. In later episodes, they’re underused. As if David Benioff & D.B. Weiss wrote this piece of crap. The same guys who ruined “Game of Thrones.” Upon rewatching Asylum, I got slightly bored.
I swear to God I am not making this up. There’s a Musical Number outta nowhere with no connection to the plot. The Cast sing and dance to “The Name Game.” As Nostalgia Critic calls it… “A Big-Lip Alligator Moment” or BLAM for short. Gonna have to Double Down this stupid ass scene!
Episode 13 – Welcome to Briarcliff
A man named, Kit Walker is committed to the titular location.
In 2012, Bloody Face stalks a couple.
Closeted journalist Lana Winters arrives to interview Jude Martin that a serial killer is committed at the Asylum. She snoops around for additional intel. It doesn’t last long.
Several patients are dead from an unknown source.
One scene references Alex’s treatment from “A Clockwork Orange.”
Pepper makes her first appearance. She later appears in “Freak Show”
Episode 14 – Tricks and Treats
Good: Somebody is possessed by a demonic spirit. Not a demon llama. Obviously pays homage to “The Exorcist.”
James Wong (Final Destination) wrote the fourteenth episode.
Arden’s dirty secrets are filled with disturbing photos.
Judy reflects on an accidental murder of a little girl prior to becoming a nun.
Bad: Lana makes a stupid decision. She doesn’t escape with Kit. She doesn’t trust him and alerts the staff he’s escaping. The worst excuse to make more episodes. Cue Deadpool’s quote… “Well, that’s just lazy writing.”
Episode 15 – Nor’easter
Two random guys posing as Bloody Face wounds the couple. The real Bloody Face shows up.
Judy learns the little girl is alive.
After a failed attempt to let Lana & Kit escape Arden amputates her legs.
Episodes 16-17 – I Am Anne Frank Parts 1-2
This two-part episode mostly focuses on a patient named, Charolette who claims to be Anne Frank. She confirms Arden is a Nazi war criminal.
Lana has a therapy session with Thredson. The latter also has a chat with Kit.
A disfigured Shelley roams at an elementary school.
Thredson takes Lana to his place. It’s revealed he’s Bloody Face.
Episode 18 – The Origins of Monstrosity
Arden reveals his true intentions, human experimentation.
At one point, Mary sings and dances to “You Don’t Own Me.” It’s also used in “The First Wives Club.”
Thredson reveals his origin as Bloody Face. His mother abandoned him at an early age. During medical school, he cuddles with a dead body becoming obsessed with human skin.
In 1962, Shelley is diagnosed with an incurable case of Tuberculosis. Two Years Later, Howard puts her out her agonizing misery.
Howard fires Judy.
Episode 19 – Dark Cousin
The Angel of Death has the power to voluntarily kill people. Whenever she kisses a dying person, an individual is sent to the afterlife. She spares Judy. Plus, she kisses Grace, sending her to the afterlife.
Lana escapes Bloody Faces’ wrath. Only to be sent back to the asylum.
A Plot Twist reveals the little girl is all grown up working as a nurse.
Episode 20 – Unholy Night
Ian McShane (Al from Deadwood) makes a guest appearance as a serial killer dressed as Santa Claus.
Judy stabs “Santa” in self-defense. As a result of her actions, she’s stripped from her role as a nun and becomes a patient leaving Mary in charge.
Episode 21 – The Coat Hanger
In 2012, turns out Johnny Morgan is the son of Lana & Thredson. Carrying his father’s legacy as Bloody Face.
Back in the 60s, Lana is pregnant. She reluctantly carries her unborn child who’ll soon be taking over Thredson’s role.
Thredson mentioned he murdered Lana’s partner Wendy.
Episode 22 – The Name Game
Winner: Mary installs a new jukebox. She plays “I Put a Spell on You.” It was also in “Hocus Pocus.”
Judy admits Lana is wrongfully declared insane.
Loser: Oh jeez! The Musical Number I’ve mentioned before made me cringe. Imagine if Walter White & Jesse Pinkman sing and dance to Soulja Boy while cooking Blue Sky? Or the androids from “Westworld” started malfunctioning performing “Now Watch Me Whip, Now Watch Me Nae Nae?”
Episode 23 – Split Milk
Lana finally escapes the asylum and spills the beans regarding the cruelty Arden’s human experimentation and mistreating patients. Something she should’ve done in Episode 14. Lana fatally shoots Thresdon.
Grace gives birth to a healthy baby. She and Kit leave the asylum. Only to reunite with Kit’s wife and kid.
Episode 24 – Continuum
Kit moves on in a polygamy relationship with Grace & Alma while raising his two kids. Suddenly… Alma murders Grace.
Judy fakes her death renamed as Betty Drake.
In 1966, Pepper dies. This isn’t the last time we see her. Again, she shows up in Freak Show.
Lana publishes her book about her unpleasant experiences at the asylum.
Episode 25 – Madness Ends
Stable: Lana mentioned Heath Ledger’s Joker. “The Dark Knight Rises” came out in 2012 four years after Heath’s untimely death.
Lana revisits the asylum to help the patients. Meanwhile, she confronts her long lost son Johnny. She shoots him in the head.
In 1971, The Angel of Death kisses Judy. Dying peacefully as a surrogate grandmother at Kit’s home. Meaning, she redeems herself for her misdeeds. Thus, her long-suffering pain since the Season Premiere concludes.
Unstable: Kit dies offscreen. We never get a glimpse of him and how The Aliens captured him. Gutterball!
The Final Verdict: C-
Asylum is a huge disappointment. Too bad The Aliens were underplayed never given an expanded role. As a fan of AHS, I have to give Ryan Murphy tough love. It gets better with Freak Show and Hotel. Both of them are my personal favorites.