- Release Date: 10/24/2012
- Directed By: Bradley Buecker
- Starring: Zachary Quinto, Joseph Fiennes, Lizzie Brocheré, James Cromwell, Jessica Lange
One of the reasons I love American Horror Story is because it embraces all horror genres, often within a single episode. This one picks up with our present day newlyweds as the glowing new wife is chased by Bloody Face down a corridor of Briarcliff, which could be a scene from almost any slasher. She runs back to Mr. Maroon 5, who is barely conscious, and tries to move him but hides behind a door when Bloody Face catches up with her. She has to watch the man she loves being stabbed by a vicious serial killer. Bloody face then turns his attention to her and starts to break down the door that separates them, which I’m pretty sure is what “She Will Be Loved” was about. And with that, the opening credits!!!
Can we talk about the credits briefly? I think AHS has some of the best and most unique theme music for any television show. It gives me shivers and puts me in the perfect mindset for this show. Honestly though, I think you could put this music over the opening of Friends and I would expect Ross to take them all out (come on, you know it’d totally be Ross).
We then flash back to 1964, with Lana’s lover Wendy deciding to recant her statement the next day and vowing to get Lana out of Briarcliff. Before bed she takes a shower, turns off the lights in her house, notices an open window, and closes it only to turn around and be confronted by Bloody Face. She pleads for her life, saying she’s a teacher. But Bloody Face cares not for teachers! He then proceeds to go as mental as Mrs. Bates does when you get too much water on the bathroom floor.
Back at Briarcliff we’ve got our assortment of inmates: there’s Lana, the sane one; Grace, the French one; Chloë Sevigny, the hot one; and Pepper, the … um… pre-makeover one. In any case all these women are hiding things. Pepper’s hiding food in her cell and Lana’s hiding notes for an article which of course Sister Jude finds, making Lana a perfect candidate for some electro-shock therapy. You know, the same kind of therapy I’ll be attending after I finish this post.
Then we meet the court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto at his Spock-iest), who believes in healing rather than punishing, coming into direct conflict with Sister Jude’s philosophy. Meanwhile, the eeeeevil Dr. Arden is still keeping the secret of what it is Sister Mary Eunice is feeding at night. While he offers her an apple, she demurely declines, bringing to light an illicit flirtation between the two. Dr. Arden then employs an, ahem, woman of the night, whom he forces to act like Sister Mary Eunice. All goes according to plan until she gets left alone and discovers a series of disturbing photographs which hints at Dr. Arden’s Nazism and potential Bloody Face-ism.
The episode comes to a head when a young man named Jed is brought to Briarcliff by his parents. Dr. Thredson see this as the perfect opportunity to prove his theories correct, while Sister Jude and Monsignor Timothy decide they ain’t afraid of no ghosts and call an exorcist. Quite frankly, I’d be on Sister Jude’s team for this treatment, Jed could teach Regan a thing or two about messing with people’s heads. During the climatic exorcism, Sister Jude is left alone with Jed, who reveals Jude’s own past as a woman of the night who is guilty of a hit and run incident several years ago. As Sister Jude is about to go Biblical on what was once Jed, the spirit leaves Jed’s body, killing him and, unbeknownst to anyone, enters Sister Mary Eunice.
During all this, the power goes out at Briarcliff, opening all the cell doors. Lana attempts to escape with Grace the way she came in the fateful night she entered the asylum. But Grace insists that they bring Kit with them. Lana refuses because she still believes Kit is Bloody Face and while Grace and Kit make a run for it, Lana calls for the guards who catch and subdue them.
Lana is brought before Sister Jude and her reward for helping them catch Kit and Grace is to choose the instrument of their punishment. She refuses and Kit says he should bear the blunt of the punishment. He does and we fade to black as the episode ends.
I think in our second episode we’re hitting the red herring portion of the season. It would be far too easy for Dr. Ardent to be Bloody Face at this stage and to have Maroon 5 die outright all seems a bit too clever and easy. If we’ve learned anything from from the first season of AHS, it’s that nothing is as it appears. I have no doubt this will all pay off in the end, but this second episode was a case of fits and starts. With all the divergent story arcs, we’ll need some merging to make sense of all the gruesome tidbits we’ve already collected.