Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: American Horror Story: Asylum "Tricks and Treats"

Non Spoiler Review:
As Lana attempts to plan an escape from her situation, Sister Jude has other ideas to keep what she's seen secret. Court psychiatrist Oliver Thredson has his own opinions of her management skills when he visits Kit to ascertain his sanity to stand trial. Dr. Arden reveals some of his own particular tastes in women. And the asylum gets a new patient in desperate need for an exorcism, just in time for Halloween.

Another full plate this week, offering some great insights into the assortment of characters, more questions about Bloody Face, and a decent take on the exorcism that serves to advance some other character story lines down the road. Zachary Quinto is a welcome addition (with his own set of secrets too, it seems), and he looks like he fits perfectly in the 1964 setting.

Spoilers Now!
Teresa flees Bloody Face back to Leo and attempts to drag him to safety, but he reaches her. She flees inside a cell while he proceeds to cut up Leo.

Back in 1964 Wendy is distraught and wants to recant her testimony, but that might be tough given it's a sworn statement. She vows to get Lana out of Briarcliff, so takes the evening to compose herself with a hot shower. When she emerges she comes face to face with Bloody Face.

At the asylum, the inmates are woken up in the middle of the night for a room search. Jude finds some of Lana's notes hidden in her cell. She claims she has an excellent memory, so doesn't need them. "We'll see about that," Jude muses.

The nun goes to see Arden, suggesting Lana's memories are what are impeding her repentance, so he could perhaps help to erase some of them with electro-shock therapy. She adds that she's prayed about it and come around to seeing it as another of the Lord's tools. Arden goes to work on Lana and he offers Jude the opportunity to assist. Jude does so, but appears to show a hint of sympathy when she sees her pain, though the procedure goes forward anyway.

In the common room, Kit is brought to Dr. Oliver Thredson, the psychiatrist sent from the court to see if he's crazy. Kit protests that he isn't crazy and killed no one. He's starting to remember what happened. Alma was alive when they took her. Oliver decides he's insane. He speaks with Jude and wishes to talk about the appalling conditions he's seen in the asylum. She suggests he do his job and she do hers. 

Arden finds Eunice in the woods, who asks what the creatures are. But he's more concerned she's said nothing to Sister Jude about her chores. So he gives her a candy apple as a token of his gratitude. Despite sweets leading to sin, she takes a bite. Shelley watches them from the window.

Lana tries to keep notes so she won't forget. She sees Kit come into the common room and sit with Grace and listens to their conversation as they discuss a way out of the asylum. 

Jude is visited by a couple who are having trouble with their son, but Thredson interrupts and introduces himself. They want his opinion as well, much to Jude's chagrin. Their son Jed is 17 and hears voices. They found him speaking a strange language and eating the heart of their cow. They go to see the boy, but not before Jude warns Thredson again not to wear out his welcome. Jed is doing his best Exorcist impression.

It's bath time for Lana and Grace. Grace warns her there is no way to escape, but Lana seems to think her knowledge of the tunnels might be a way, and needs her help. Grace wants to take Kit, but Lana is adamant that he doesn't get out, believing he's a killer. She has trust issues given what Wendy did to her.

Shelley attempts to seduce Arden so she can get outside in the sun, but he won't hear of it. She recounts her story of how she was thrown in the asylum because her husband found her in bed with some navy guys. He's disgusted by her and leaves her.

Thredson thinks the county hospital is better equipped to help Jed, but the parents have already opted for an exorcism. Jude brings in Timothy, who listens to the doctor's concern, but asks him to assist. The church requires a licensed physician present. The exorcist, Father Malachi, is an old man in a wheelchair.

In the common room Grace wants to know where the tunnel is before Lana forgets. Kit takes the piece of paper she's written on just as the guards send everyone to bed (due to the exorcism). Kit reads it when he's in his cell.

Jed is strapped down. The exorcist gives Thredson the usual spiel about not listening to what it says, and sends Jude away. It's no place for a woman. The exorcism proves quite intense as Jed tosses Malachi across the room and seems to know things about Thredson being adopted. Timothy tells Jude he has to go deliver last rites, so gets Jude to watch him from the door. She goes in when he starts screaming and begging for help. Jed taunts her that she has no real power because she's a woman, and she became a whore because of it. 

She flashes back to when she was a singer during the war, entertaining the soldiers at her bar. Jed asks her about the girl in blue—the girl Jude hit with her car when she was driving home drunk. She never even got out of the car to see to her. Jed calls her a murderer so she proceeds to hit him. Timothy and Thredson run in. 

While Arden may find Shelley a whore, he isn't above hiring one...entertaining a girl in his office with a nice dinner. Though she's not as classy as he would hope and can't appreciate the wine or meal he's prepared. When he finds his fantasy date unfulfilled, he threatens her.

Timothy attempts to finish the exorcism but Thredson tries to sedate him. The lights go out in the asylum, waking up Lana who sees her door suddenly open up, along with everyone else's. She thinks it's her chance and grabs Grace.

Eunice runs to Jude to tell her about the problem in the ward while Jed goes into cardiac arrest. Kit catches up with Grace and Lana, but she forbids him to come. Kit says he's not a killer and Grace won't leave without him. She goes off with Kit and makes a run for the door, but Lana starts screaming that the killer is escaping, and the guards are on the two of them, beating on Kit. Grace shoots her a look.

Jed sits up in bed, staring at Eunice, then drops dead as Timothy gives last rites. The lights come back on. Eunice falls backward.

Back at Dr. Arden's office, his hooker is now dressing as a nun for him as he's instructed, but as she gets ready in his bedroom, she finds a box in his drawer full of pictures of women tied up and starts to freak out. He comes in and tells her she's not going anywhere and is about to rape her, but she bites his shoulder and flees.

In the morning Arden comes in to see Eunice as she's sleeping. He heard about her fainting spell and she had asked for him. He instructs her to rest and relax. Eunice is concerned about the creatures, but he's disturbed to see her out of her nun attire and tells her to get rest. After he leaves it's apparent that Eunice is possessed.

Lana is summoned to see Jude. Until last night, Jude had considered her an opportunist, and knows what it took to call the orderlies, so she deserves something special. She has Lana open the door and see her treat. Kit is brought in with Grace. Her reward is that she will not be punished while the two of them will, and she gets to chose which canes to use on each. Lana apologizes to Grace as Jude is about to begin, but Kit rises and tells her he's the only guilty one. That makes twice the lashes for him, Jude says, and proceeds to beat him.

The Verdict:
Asylum delivers an entertaining exorcism, one that allows us some insight into the past of Jude and Oliver, and sets up an exciting storyline for Eunice. I had been under the impression in early interviews for season two that there wouldn't be supernatural aspects to Asylum, but there was definitely something demonic going on with Jed.

It was good to see the various characters interact, and Lana's decision to ensure Kit doesn't escape at her expense was an interesting twist. She's certainly not the eager reporter willing to do anything to get what she wants. It's apparent Bloody Face is not Kit (now with killing Wendy and the appearance in the present day).

Zachary Quinto looks great in this setting. For the moment he seems to be the angel in the midst of the darkness of Briarcliff. But this is American Horror Story, and he's got to have some bad stuff in his past to muddy the waters.

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