Saturday, November 3, 2012

Review: American Horror Story: Asylum "Nor'Easter"

Non Spoiler Review:
Briarcliff Asylum is about to be hit by a wicked nor'easter, prompting Jude to borrow a movie projector to keep the patients occupied during the night. Satan Sister Eunice is busy manipulating Jude and Arden while Lana enlists Dr. Thredson's help to get a message out to Wendy. Grace and Kit want to make good on their escape with the storm as cover. In both 1964 and the flashforward, Bloody Face's confusing identity grows more convoluted.

Some great performances this week, with Jessica Lange coming into her character with her best scene of the season (so far). Eunice is starting to shine now that she's got Satan on board, and watching her begin to manipulate everyone around her is pretty fun stuff. 

So much was thrown at the screen this week, it's a lot to digest, but Nor'Easter was definitely the best of the three so far—an even mix of fun, scares and disturbing moments.

Spoilers Now!
Bloody Face breaks into Teresa's cell, but Leo isn't finished off yet and manages to bring him down and allow her a moment to stab him multiple times with an awl. She tries to carry him out, finding her phone on the way. Then she runs into another Bloody Face who shoots them both in the head. There's two of them, and they take off their masks and appear to have been playing their own game in the asylum, and one named Cooper thinks has gone too far. They notice Leo's arm has been ripped off, just as the other Bloody Face appears and walks towards them.

In 1964, Satan Eunice brings the mail to Jude, warning her of a storm coming. The newspaper she brought is from 1949 and has an article about a missing girl (the one Jude hit with her car). Jude is unnerved and promptly has flashbacks to the night. Dr. Thredson comes in, suggesting she stop her corporal punishment policy. She dismisses his claims and explains she borrowed a movie projector to take the patients' minds off the storm. Thredson asks for Jed's autopsy report for his files and thinks it will say he died of natural causes. He also suggests her veneer is a defence to protect her own guilty conscience. She immediately asks if it was him who got the newspaper, but realizes he didn't. She wants him gone in two weeks.

Meanwhile, Kit and Grace continue to plot their escape, and he even forgives Lana for turning him in as he would have done the same if he weren't innocent. This time Shelley wants in on their next attempt. Eunice addresses the patients in the common room to advise them of the coming storm and Friday's movie night of Sign of the Cross. One of their charges, an old woman called the Mexican, seems to sense who she is and can see her demonic eyes.

Eunice returns to Jude with news someone has been drinking the communion wine and wants her to taste it, claiming it's been watered down. Jude is shocked to see her wearing lipstick and demands she hand it over and wash it off. Eunice adds Dr. Arden said red was Jude's favorite colour and she'll understand why he wants her to have it.

Arden is analyzing the alien implant, finding that it reassembles itself. He shows the device to Kit, and notices it appears to want to get back into him. Arden accuses Kit of working for someone, like the East Germans or KGB (as well as making an offhand comment about the Jews). He proceeds to start searching for more implants by cutting into him.

Eunice visits the Mexican in her room. The woman is terrified so Eunice demands she get on her knees and prey. She stabs her in the neck with scissors, then takes her into the woods as food for the creatures. Eunice then goes to see Arden, saying she's worried about how the creatures will survive the cold. They only need to get through the winter, he says. Then she proceeds to try to seduce him in a display of sexuality that shocks and outrages Arden. He slaps her and demands she leave. 

As Thredson oversees the set up of the theatre, Lana asks for a word in private. He's not authorized to discuss her treatment, he says, but she realizes he's not one of them. She needs to get a message to Wendy as she hasn't heard from her. If she could just see her she could straighten out her predicament. Thredson takes the message for her.

Jude comes to see Arden, who is sleeping in his office due to the storm. She wants to know about the lipstick Eunice gave her. Arden claims the asylum has corrupted Eunice, while Jude blames him for scheming to replace her. He suggests she take a leave of absence.

Jude then gets a phone call from her dead girl accusing her of leaving her on the road, and finds the girl's broken glasses on her desk. It proves too much for her so she indulges in the communion wine Eunice had left for her and stumbles out into the common room where everyone is assembled. She introduces the movie as Thredson sits down with Lana and implies he delivered her message. Jude proceeds to deliver a warm and erratic speech of encouragement that the storm will bring a golden sky in the morning, then breaks down. She gets a hold of herself and goes off to find the Mexican, who is now missing. 

Thredson explains he couldn't get a hold of Wendy, so went to check on her himself. When he let himself in to her house, he found similarities between her disappearance and other victims of Bloody Face, and something terrible might have happened. However, the police won't entertain the notion that they might have the wrong man, but Thredson isn't sure Kit is the killer.

Grace excuses herself to go to the bathroom. Lana notices and leaves, as well. She meets up with Grace, Kit and Shelley, but Grace is not about to take her with them. Lana admits she was wrong about him, and Kit believes her. Shelley opts to distract the guard and takes him away, allowing the others to make their escape and later wait for her to rejoin them at the door to the tunnels. Jude sees something is going on and goes after.

Arden takes the lipstick and paints up a statue of the Virgin Mary. He calls it a whore and pushes it over. Jude hears that and turns around to see an alien. After knocking out the guard, Shelley runs into Arden instead.

The others can't wait any longer for Shelley but Lana vows to expose the place and get her out. They run outside into the storm to find the road. Grace stumbles over the remains of the Mexican in the woods, and Kit sees one of the creatures who takes pursuit after them. They run into more of the man-creatures and have to flee back into the tunnels.

In the common room Thredson gets suspicious of the absences and asks the guard on the projector if he's noticed patients are missing. Arden takes Shelley to his lab to have his way with her, even though she doesn't want him. He proceeds to try to rape her but finds he can't and when she laughs at him he knocks her out.

Eunice finds Sister Jude passed out in her room. She wants to know if Eunice saw it too. Jude returns and berates the guard that three patients are missing. She shuts down the movie and declares no more privileges due to the three who abused her good will. But Kit, Grace and Lana are in their seats and Jude is actually referring to the Mexican, the pinhead (who got up to go to the bathroom) and Shelley.

Shelley wakes up on Arden's table, and he informs her they all think she's run away. She promises not to tell them anything but he explains he had to clip her wings so she wouldn't fly away. He's cut off her legs at the knee.

The Verdict:
Definitely the best and wildest of the season so far, with a drunk Sister Jude just the icing on the cake. I was laughing out loud at her speech to the patients before the movie. There was a lot to take in with Nor'Easter and it didn't let up until the end.

It seems obvious now that Arden is a Nazi, what with his paranoia about the KGB and his quip about the Jews, so that means we have an interesting mix of aliens, demonic possession and Nazis—quite a genre mash up going on. Poor Shelley seems to be on a path to becoming one of Dr. Arden's creations.

I'm glad that Kit is behaving in a sane manner (but that, too, could be a ruse). He forgives Lana for her betrayal and is quite the white knight when it comes to Grace. But I have a suspicion Grace is not as benign as she seems, either, and could be playing everyone.

As for Dr. Thredson—could he be Bloody Face? His Mr. Spock delivery of what he saw in Wendy's house was pretty stoic. He's my leading suspect at least as far as this week goes. In the present, Bloody Face's identity becomes even more confusing as we now have too psychopathic cosplayers facing down what could be the real serial killer, as well.

Of note is the radio report Arden is listening to during the storm referring to sightings of lights in the sky (with the implant in the jar jumping around). Did the alien do anything to Jude and does she remember the encounter? What is their interest in the asylum, or have they come for Kit?

Next week...Anne Frank!

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