Welcome to Briarcliff (aired 10/17/12)
The Season 2 premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum finally premiered… and boy, was it insane! I like this show – it’s a lot of fun, it’s gory, it’s weird, it’s freaky, it’s wild – but I’ve said many times before that it’s a big mess. The premiere episode “Welcome to Briarcliff” was indeed, a mess. Not a bad one, just a BIG one!
The only way I can think of breaking it all down is to introduce each cast member and share their individual story. According to the opening titles (which are fun and gross, but not as creepy as last year’s) here are the main actors:
Zachary Quinto – wasn’t in the premiere episode at all… kind of weird.
Joseph Fiennes – a nice, somewhat boring priest… that Jessica Lange’s character pines after, which makes him much more interesting. That scene where she imagines herself straddling him in her red lingerie…… dzam girl!
Sarah Paulson – I like this actress, and I find her character very interesting. A closeted lesbian, and a sort of Gale Weathers-esque nosy reporter who fakes interest in writing about the bakery at the asylum, but really she’s interested in getting a glimpse of, and an interview with, Bloody Face, who seems to be Leather Face’s twin.
Evan Peters – presented as basically the male lead of the new season (or at least the episode, since you never know which way this show will go and who it will primarily focus on each week). Total opposite of his wacky character last year, he’s a nice guy who works at a gas station and is secretly married to a cute black girl. Aliens have (seemingly?) abducted him and killed (or kidnapped?) his young wife, which forces him to enter the asylum as the wrongfully accused murderer. Very interesting character/scenario, but there’s a whole lot going on there… too much for just one episode…
Lily Rabe – a young, meek, overwhelmed nun who helps Jessica Lange’s character at the asylum. She looks up to Jessica yet also seems to wish she had her own authority. We see her bare butt in the episode, but it’s weird and awkward and she wants Jessica to spank her as punishment. She feeds something in the woods… which of course, is very exciting…
Lizzie Brochere – an actress we’re not that familiar with, and a character we’re not that familiar with just yet. All we know is that she’s another patient in the asylum, but she’s not crazy, as she tells Evan’s character. We assume she’ll help try to get him, Sarah Paulson’s character, and herself out of the asylum… if they’re lucky…
James Cromwell – suuuuuper creepy doctor who runs the asylum with Jessica Lange’s character. SUPER CREEPY! that scene where he decides to do some “investigating” with Evan’s character was stressful to watch. And when he pulls that computer chip/spider out of Evan’s neck…… WTF!!!!!!! The doctor cannot be trusted by the patients or the workers… he cleans a dirty, smelly secret room in the asylum as his mysterious “storage” space, which only infuriates and scares Jessica Lange’s character more.
Jessica Lange – I smell another Golden Globe and another EMMY! Already she has put on a great performance. Her Boston accent is great, and her presence is strong and domineering. She seems to be both a villain and a hero. We see her as a monster (when she locks up the nosy reporter and threatens the reporter’s girlfriend) and as a human (she’s a sort of mother figure to the young nun, and she has a crush on the in-house priest).
And that’s only the series regulars. The show has a ton of guest stars this season… first up, we see Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan Tatum (who make a fine-looking couple, but are so annoying as the modern day honeymooners who seem to reopen the horror of the asylum… they’re dialogue feels like it was pulled right out of an awful 1980s D-grade horror movie, and their sex scenes are pretty crude). There’s also Chloe Sevigny as the slutty mental patient who has a cool accidental haircut… I thought she was going to be a series regular? She has an air about her that reminds me of the girls in “Girl, Interrupted,” which I like. I’m hoping she becomes a Ripley-like heroine who can go head to head with the bad guys. Speaking of “Girl, Interrupted,” there’s Clea DuVall in the house! Glad that actress is getting more work lately, since I always found her to be a unique talent. She plays the VERY closeted lesbian school teacher, who apparently loves teaching little kiddies so much that she signs the paper to let Jessica Lange lock up her beloved Sarah Paulson so that she can keep her job and her identity hidden. And lastly, I almost couldn’t even recognize Mark Consuelos as the creepy, douchey patient who likes to pick on Evan Peters’s character for really no reason at all. Nicely done, Mark… those Lifetime movies have taught you well!
With this first episode of Season 2, I feel like Ryan Murphy is saying “You thought last year was crazy? THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY!” There are even more flash cuts, odd angles, dark lighting, speedy movements, and bizarre actors than last year, and already there are so many storylines to keep track of! It’s a bit exhausting… BUT, I have to say: I’m hooked! I can’t wait to learn more about these crazy bitches next week, and Bloody Face is, as we see in the last few seconds, horrifying. At first I thought the Alien storyline was just way too much, but I’m kind of liking it now. BUT, we’ll see… next week, I might be totally against it. As is the case with most Ryan Murphy shows.