[TV] 5 Reasons Why “American Horror Story: Asylum” ROCKS (Hint: Jessica Lange!)

American Horror Story Asylum Episode 02.01

I’m a little late to the party… my excuse is that I was abducted. Yeah, that’s it!

Wednesday night FX premiered American Horror Story: Asylum, their second season of “American Horror Story” that’s set at an East Coast asylum for the criminally insane in 1964. The upcoming season revolves around Jessica Lange’s new character — a nun — and her boss at the institution, played by James Cromwell.

Episode 02.01, “Welcome to Briarcliff”, takes the viewer inside Briarcliff Manor, a notorious insane asylum home to the deranged serial killer, Bloody Face. Lurking in the shadows of this “sanctuary of healing” are terrifying evils that blur the boundaries between reality and insanity.

Much like I did with the season premiere of “The Walking Dead,” I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight everything Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk did right with the premiere. Unlike “Walking Dead,” the only way “American Horror Story” can go is down. Major spoilers follow.

1: “ASYLUM,” really?! The biggest cliché in horror is the ol’ haunted asylum logline, where a group of teens are picked off one by one by a ghostly presence. There have to be literally hundreds of these in production, if not already completed. Much like they did with the horror cliches in the first season, “AHS: Asylum” approaches everything from a different perspective, mostly highlighted by the fact that they can spend the time showing the viewer how the asylum became haunted in the first place.

2: It’s a period piece, mostly. While they use a sex-fueled couple as a device to tap into the mythos of the asylum, the audience is transported back to the 1960s where ignorance is the name of the game. The series brings it on THICK as they touch on themes of racism, sexuality and religion. There’s a plethora of social commentary trickling through the first episode, most of which piques my curiosity about how theses themes relate to the season’s overall arc.

3: JESSICA LANGE WINS ALL! Most of the Season 1 cast has returned, but none so important as Lange who, this time around, plays a super bitch nun with an East Coast accent. She’s an old dominatrix who’s a strong lead that’s both manipulating and incredibly sexual. It’s astounding to see such an empowering role reversal, which is something that’s never been done before on TV. The most interest aspect of her character is that, since Cromwell is obviously the villain, Lange could secretly be the anti-hero.

4: There’s motherfuckin’ aliens! While we already knew such a spoiler, nobody expected it to be such an integral part to the story. There’s some frightening shit in there that could only be compared to the infamous Fire in the Sky. This leads me to the final important thing about “Asylum”…

5: “AHS: Asylum” presents only questions. There are literally zero answers. The best television leaves you hanging. “Asylum” opens the door to an enormous amount of content that’s only been touched on, and unlike “Lost,” we’re sure to get everything answered by the season finale. If Bloody Face popping up with a skin mask didn’t leave you in a state of shock, I don’t know what will.

“American Horror Story: Asylum,” which (as of this writing) is the best horror show on television, returns next Wednesday with some tricks and treats. Talk back below and tell us what you thought of the premiere!

  • Joe-Banger

    That was one bad-ass (and yes I mean that hot young nun bending over the desk) season premier!! I watched it both times that it came on back to back! Wow! 1964? I thought the story took place in 1974. Oh and Cromwell is not her boss, he’s a coworker. Father something or other is the main man.

  • John Marrone

    Same reason S01 was so good. Lange is incredible, and borderlines that sicko element that makes her so convincing (see her on talk shows). Bloody Face looks sick, the death chute has my interest piqued, and that alien shit blew me up. The show is great. I dont think its going to get worse, I think after testing the waters from last season they know what theyre going for this one. We’re so lucky to have this typa stuff now. Addams Family and The Munsters only got so good.

  • Andrea Price

    This show is awesome. I’m so excited for next Wednesday. This season may be better than the last. You can never go wrong with a haunted insane asylum anyway, right?

  • djblack1313

    Mr.D, how can you say that the show can only go down?! WTF?!

    this ep was excellent. i’m so happy i had no idea about the alien thing in this. i was totally surprised to see it and it was awesome and deftly handled. the alien deal actually fits in perfectly with the 60′s and how society dealt with those who claimed to see aliens.

    also being gay myself and being out and not ashamed about it what the lesbian couple/Clea’s character dealt with was especially scary/effective to me. it made me very happy this is 2012 and not 1964.

    and Jessica Lange…….FUCKING PERFECTION. Mr.D, i agree w/ everything you said about her and i LOVE the idea of her being an anti-hero. i definitely thought her character means well unlike Cromwell’s character.

    and Evan Peters’s ass…..yummmmmmmmm. :)

    • Aaron Emery

      Consigned.

      I was trying to read Jessica Langes character throughout the whole thing and that’s the vibe I was getting, she doesn’t seem evil in the typical sense. She believes in what she is preaching and therefore believes she is dong good for the patients.

      • Aaron Emery

        ***and Evan Peters’s ass.

        • djblack1313

          Aaron, right?! LOL.

        • Milk

          oh what a lovely sight

  • Taboo

    Loved Jessica, she’s a total badass. Now I want to see more Quintos.

  • Milk

    I think you mean.. Hint: EVAN PETERS. girl crush girl crush girl crush.

  • MachetAY

    I like the show but don’t love it. Its way to cliche for me. Plus when everything is over the top… “over the top” loses its edge.

    The acting from everyone involved is top notch though. Lange is outstanding and Even Peters looks like he was ripped right out of A Clockwork Orange. Its uncanny.

  • Jer

    In just one episode I already like Jessica Lange’s performance far more than in season 1. Just an incredible actor.

    I didn’t care for the alien abduction scenario though. Right now I think it might be a little too much to work in, but I’ll keep an open mind in the hopes that it all fits together better later on.

    A shot of Adam Levine’s ass would have been nice too. Just sayin’.

  • BelaManiac

    Loved the episode. Jessica Lange is amazing. I’m so excited for the next episode.
    Also, Adam Levine and Evan Peters, Hello!

  • Joe-Banger

    When all of you who say Evan Peters ass, I hope you mean that hot young blonde nun! Im straight, no hate intended torward the gay community. And sister Jude (Jessica Lange) was a total hypacrite control freak bitch! Also a sinner. Dont be fooled by her, Jessica is just that good! : )

  • NashDash

    When Kit arrives at the asylum, the violin sample is very similar to Metropolis theme. When Kit is sedated you can hear the sound of the tripod from Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.

  • deandean1990

    Lange as a past dominatrix, ummm sign me up.