American Horror Story: Asylum Season 2 “Welcome To Briarcliff” Review – “Mental Illness is the Fashionable Explanation for Sin.”

While this is the first episode of season 2 of American Horror Story can I just say that we should hand Jessica Lange an Emmy right now? The woman is just flawless and terrifying as Sister Jude, the tyrannical runner of Briarcliff asylum.

Season 2 of American Horror Story takes place in a mental asylum, and similar to season 1 has several scenes flashing between present day and 1964. “Welcome to Briarcliff” opens with a couple making their way inside the dilapidated and abandoned hospital. From their dialogue, you know that they’re on their honeymoon, and have already hit several of the other “most haunted” places in America.

Adam Levine plays Leo, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by his acting. While his screen time was basically him attempting to have all the sex with his wife, it wasn’t a cringe worthy performance that it could have been when a musician turns actor. And let’s be honest here, Levine is eye candy and I would not mind watching the opening five minutes of this episode again. And again.

I digress. Anyway, as the couple makes their way around the hospital, Teresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) gives us a little back story about the place – a murder named “Bloody Face” called Briarcliff home for a while, and the place also earned a bad reputation for missing patients, and other strange things. So, being the sex hungry newlyweds that they are, the pair quickly decide to go at it on an old examination table (because it wouldn’t be American Horror Story without some weird crap in the first episode), but hear a strange noise… long story short, it does NOT end well for poor Leo.

Cut to 1964 where Kit (Evan Peters) has a close encounter of the third kind and is committed into Briarcliff, as the Bloody Face killer, even though he maintains his innocence. It’s implied (through Kit’s memories) that he was abducted by aliens, but nothing concrete yet on that front.

Right away when we’re introduced to Sister Jude (Lange) it’s clear that she is not someone to cross. She uses caning as a punishment for both wards of the hospital and on Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe)… but Eunice actually seems to enjoy it and gives Jude a larger cane to use on her.

I don’t get it, either.

Anyway, Jude runs a really tight ship and has a no nonsense approach to healing her wards. It’s unclear if she really wants these people to get better, of if she just likes being a sadist and is using the hospital as a cover. She does commit Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), a reporter that was caught snooping around Briarcliff for a story of Bloody Face, and is now going to attempt to cure her of being a lesbian.

It’s just craziness around here! But honestly, I would expect nothing less from American Horror Story, and just hope that season 2 is as fantastic as season 1. Judging by the twists, turns, and flat out scares (um… those last three seconds are going to haunt me for a couple of weeks) of this first episode, fans are in for a wild ride.

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