American Horror Story: Asylum – Nor’easter Review

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If there is one thing American Horror Story knows how to do, it’s keep both its characters and its audience on their toes.

This week’s opening in modern times was confusing, and that contributed to how scary it was. The couple on their honeymoon was murdered, first stabbed and then shot, by our masked murderer. Then a second masked murderer appears, and both remove their masks, revealing two young men, one clearly more sociopathic than the other. It feels like a bit of a let down that it was just two average thrill seekers who were torturing this couple. But then a third masked killer appears…and we’re left to wonder until next week.

Back in the 60s Briarcliff Manor, Sister Mary Eunice is central to this week’s episode. Clearly possessed, possibly by the devil, she wreaks all kinds of havoc this week. Murdering a patient, trying to seduce Dr. Harden, and mentally tormenting Sister Jude with remnants from her shameful secret, the hit and run accident that killed a young girl years ago. Sister Jude and Dr. Harden become unhinged as a result of her efforts.

In the wake of a horrible storm hitting, a movie night showing The Sign of the Cross is arranged as a distraction for the patients. Kit and Grace want to use it as an opportunity to escape. Shelley convinces Grace to let her join them. And Lana learns from Dr. Threadson that her lover Wendy might be a victim of the real serial killer, and she suddenly sees she was wrong about Kit and in spite of Grace’s objections, joins in their escape as well. It is another ill-fated attempt even despite a drunk and negligent Sister Jude. Lana, Kit, and Grace run into the strange,ravenous, human-like creatures living in the woods, and are forced to retreat back into the asylum. Shelley, on the other hand, suffers a far worse fate at the hands of Dr. Harden.

So many episodes of American Horror Story feel like filler episodes for a while, and then something truly shocking happens. Lulling the viewer into a false sense of hope is the great bait and switch of this show. The strong performances this season most notably from Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto, and this week especially Chloe Sevigny are so engaging that it’s easy to forget just how many plot lines are going on. But only a few episodes in, there are a lot of unanswered questions. It’s so unclear who is truly sane, who is truly good, and the questions keep piling up. We don’t feel any closer to discovering the origin of the monsters in the woods, the secret behind Kit’s alien encounter, the true identity of the serial killer, if he’s the same person as the present day masked killer, or anyone’s true intentions. With such an exorbitant number of storylines and all the twists and turns that go with them, it’s easy to get distracted, but if last season is any indication, all of these stories will most likely start coming together soon as the characters are quickly unraveling and revealing themselves. Grade: B

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