American Horror Story: Asylum "Nor'easter" Review: Thar She Blows (PHOTO RECAP)

By Price Peterson

Nov 02, 2012

American Horror Story S02E03: "Nor'easter"

Too soon! Ryan Murphy, shame on you for capitalizing on the tragic disaster of Hurricane Sandy just to score a few ratings points!!! How craven and tasteless! Some terrible things should NOT be exploited for entertainment's sake, Ryan Murphy! But of all things, Sandy? Don't you know all the destruction, terror, and heartache that otherworldly storm has left in its wake? How dare you create an entire episode set during a terrible northeastern storm? How dare you. Haha just kidding guys, I know how television works, this episode of American Horror Story was filmed months ago. But I will admit that "Nor'easter"—a terrific episode!—made me feel even more scared and anxious due to the news and images coming out of the Eastern Seaboard these days. Like, yeah, the storm in this episode was merely a backdrop for some other insanely terrifying things, but the pounding rain and lightning added this extra layer of claustrophobia and tension to situations that were already hecka terrifying on their own. Plus, now I am pretty sure that Hurricane Sandy MIGHT have been caused by aliens? Hear me out. Aliens might have caused Hurricane Sandy. Let's debate about it later, but for now, let's talk about "Nor'easter!"

Three's a pattern! For the third week in a row the cold open was about that modern-day horny couple getting terrorized by Bloody Face. After stabbing one-armed Adam Levine a ton, Bloody Face busted down the door and came after the lady from Step Up 1: Not Yet 2 the Streets.

Fortunately, one-armed Adam Levine not only DIDN'T die from his stab wounds, he was strong enough to get up (with one arm, which isn't easy, guys!) and charge at Bloody Face and, I don't know, squirt him in the eye with his bloody stump? It worked!

So that's when Channing Tatum's boo stabbed Bloody Face A LOT and then picked up one-armed Adam Levine and tried to escape.

Except, whoops! They immediately encountered not one, but TWO MORE Bloody Faces!

And they were much lazier! One just straight-up murdered them with a handgun. R.I.P. Horny Recognizable Guest Stars.

Obviously the other two Bloody Faces were a couple of teenage boys, but they were clearly in some kind of Bloody Face cult? Or just copycats? I don't know. Also, they claimed that they were just getting revenge on the girl for having stabbed "Joey." So yeah, cool circle of friends.

Except then the first Bloody Face came out and charged at them and his mask was MUCH better than theirs and the guys definitely didn't seem to think this was "Joey" at all, and they got all scared! You live and you learn, Bloody Face copycats. Anyway, I don't know what is going on in this plotline AT ALL. It just got so complicated!

So anyway, back in 1964, Sister Mary Eunice, who was definitely a demon now, delivered the morning mail and newspaper to Sister Jude. Except, the newspaper was from 15 years ago?

Sister Jude was NOT happy about this! Personally I was curious as to how a 15-year-old newspaper could be in such good condition, but that's me, someone who has NOT accidentally murdered a bicyclist and evidently covered up said murder before joining a nunnery. No, Sister Jude was mostly upset about the residual guilt-type stuff.

So anyway, as we learned during a very weird and sexy scene in which Sister Jude kneaded dough in front of Dr. Thredson, A BIG STORM WAS COMING. We could tell that Sister Jude was already pretty rattled about the newspaper incident because when Dr. Thredson was coming at her with accusations of doing a bad job of running the asylum, she mostly took it well and assured him that she's a nice lady and to prove it she was throwing a movie night for all the patients. The idea was that a frightening Christian horror film called Sign of the Cross would distract everyone from the lightning.

When Sister Eunice made the announcement that there'd be a movie night, a character who in the credits is listed only as The Mexican immediately began accusing her of certain things in Spanish. Certain VERY TRUE things.

Oh, this is probably a good time to mention that Lily Rabe was SO GOOD in this episode. Every scene she had was amazing. I liked that the demon was 1,000 percent more interesting and charismatic than Sister Eunice. Honestly, I am against demons in general, but if this demon wanted to stick around for a while I would not be mad.

It was great when she busted out firetruck-red lipstick and tried to get Sister Jude to drink sacramental wine knowing full well that Sister Jude had been on the wagon ever since she ran over that young girl.

It also made me laugh when Sister Jude forcibly wiped the lipstick off of Sister Eunice's mouth like some kind of angry suburban mom. 1960s nuns, they're just like us!

Meanwhile Dr. Arden was still all curious about the literal bug that had come out of Kit's neck, believing it must be the work of the CIA or the Stasi or the KGB. I'm not sure how he could hold those theories while ALSO believing that Kit was a serial killer, but whatever. Not a lot of people on this show are really thinking things through in general.

But yeah, so much neck poking! Ugh, terrible. Sorry Kit.

Meanwhile, the Spanish-language yammerings of a legally committed patient were just too much for Sister Demon to handle, so she went and took care of business!

Oops, sorry, The Mexican. You did not deserve that.

But in a typical lemonade-from-lemons situation, Sister Demon suddenly had some new eatin's for the backyard monsters!

This was the episode in which we finally got to see more of what they looked like, and the answer was... they looked like very dirty humans! Kinda disappointing, right?

Oh, and then this happened:

Umm okay! Hey by the way, if you aren't bothered by violence against women, staged or otherwise, this was probably a good episode for you! For me though, I was kinda upset about these elements. I don't know, call me a prude. I like being scared, but some of this stuff really unsettled me. Just being honest!

So then Lana approached Dr. Thredson in the common room and tried to get his help in exonerating her.

She gave him the name and address of her illicit lesbian lover, who as we all know was either super dead or, because she was played a recognizable actress, not dead and will pop up later in a surprising manner. Who's to say? Either way, it looked like Dr. Thredson was one of the good guys. Which means he probably isn't, but still. Lana was stoked!

At this point Sister Jude's downward spiral really got the gentle nudge it needed to get going. First it began with a ghostly phone call from the little dead girl herself!

But then Sister Jude found a pair of busted glasses on her desk and really fell apart. Who had put them there? Were they imagined? Or did Sister Demon arrange all this? Tons of questions, in other words, but only one answer: DRINKIN'!

Oh man. So then a scene happened that was SO GOOD it basically guaranteed Jessica Lange another Emmy. Sad, over-the-top, manic, scary, florid, and straight-up bizarre, Sister Jude introduced the movie night looking a hot mess and wobbling all over the place.

Just crying and laughing, and holding people's faces while they gave each other the side-eye. And then at the end she walked off nattering something like, "Now I'm gonna go find that goddamn Mexican." WHAT ON EARTH? I was laughing, sorry. I watched this scene several times in a row, it was THAT GOOD.

Oh, and p.s., I loved how a theater full of insane people reminded me of my experiences at movie theaters in real life. Just a lot of senseless yammering. SORRY SO GRUMPY. But seriously, be quiet at the movies, everyone.

Anyway, these people were yammering on about whatever. Haha just kidding, they were talking about how Dr. Thredson paid Clea Duvall a visit and found a tiny blood stain and therefore knew with certainty that not only had she definitely been murdered, but it was definitely by Bloody Face.

My first thought was, "LIKELY STORY, BLOODY FACE." Because come on, Dr. Thredson is now the #1 candidate for being Bloody Face, right? But either way, Lana was now suddenly VERY regretful of having pinned everything on Kit. In fact, she seemed even more bothered about having been wrong than the fact that her girlfriend might have been skinned alive? Must be an ego thing.

Anyway, now that everyone was distracted by storms, movies, or booze, it was time for our four favorite patients to make ANOTHER escape attempt!

Their escape was immediately cut off by an orderly, so that's when Shelley (who is the best) offered to "distract" the orderly so the other three could escape. Total hero move, seriously.

Meanwhile Dr. Arden was having an interesting evening:

Yeah, I don't know either. Just muttering something about "whoo-ers" and blaspheming and all that.

While still hot on the trail of "that goddamn Mexican," Sister Wino was having an interesting evening of her own. After following a shadowy figure that looked distinctively inhuman and partly slimy, she suddenly came face to face with one of Kit's old besties!

Dang! Guess Kit DIDN'T hallucinate them aliens. But also, I loved the implication that aliens had caused the thunderstorm as this huge distraction so they could somehow rescue Kit from the asylum? It all suggested this much more elaborate master plan on the aliens' part. I love this show so much!

So in sort of an effed-up Shawshank Redemption situation, our heroes made it out of the death tunnel and into the rainy wilderness. But their jubilation was short-lived!

BECAUSE MONSTERS!!!!

So yeah, these things were definitely just humanoid cannibals. I don't know why I was hoping for some Resident Evil-style abominations, but whatever. Still pretty scary! No wonder Kit, Grace, and Lana ran directly back into the asylum.

Oh, and just FYI:

The More You Know! [shooting star] But yeah, Pepper is amazing. In this part she asked to go to the bathroom by pleading "PEPPER PEE!"

So then Sister Eunice found Sister Jude passed out in a drunken stupor and woke her up to deal with the possible escape attempts.

It made me laugh that this demon probably chose the wrong asylum to haunt. I bet it was all bummed to not be the star horror attraction at this place. Demons are nothing if not spotlight-hogging drama queens, you know?

Before Sister Jude arrived to shut off the movie projector, Kit, Lana, and Grace were back in their seats sopping wet, just like everyone else, and it was not suspicious AT ALL. But yeah, now the only three suspected escapees were Shelley, Pepper, and The Mexican.

As for Shelley, she was having a pretty rough evening. After re-enacting a key scene from The Brown Bunny on an orderly, she had a run-in with Dr. Arden and he was somewhat less fun to be around.

Yeah, hard to watch. Shelley did eventually break away long enough to laugh at Dr. Arden's tiny penis, but then he knocked her out with a paperweight and I was back to being bummed/disturbed. And then THIS happened:

Poor Shelley! That is truly horrible and despicable! The strangest part about this show is that half the time its over-the-top horrors verge on comedy, but the other half of the time its horrors are so upsetting and off-putting that it makes you feel genuinely bad. This was one of those parts. Still though, overall this episode was a real treat. Scary, surprising, and unrelentingly insane, I'm amazed and elated at how much more I like this season with every new episode. So far so good and I mean SO GOOD.


QUESTIONS:

... Okay, so WHAT is happening with the modern-day Bloody Faces?

... Are you more sympathetic toward Sister Jude now that she has Issues?

... Is Dr. Arden the most repellent character on television?

... Is Pepper the sexiest character on television?

  • Comments (55)
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  • marcusj1973 Apr 29, 2014

    "I liked that the demon was 1,000 percent more interesting and charismatic than Sister Eunice. Honestly, I am against demons in general, but if this demon wanted to stick around for a while I would not be mad."

    Every time Evil Eunice shows up I smile...cause she's AWESOME! I'm convinced that she is the best character in this season, until...

    "Oh man. So then a scene happened that was SO GOOD it basically guaranteed Jessica Lange another Emmy. Sad, over-the-top, manic, scary, florid, and straight-up bizarre, Sister Jude introduced the movie night looking a hot mess and wobbling all over the place."

    ...Jessica Lange shows up and says, "Not so fast young whipper snapper!". Frankly, I don't care which/who is better...they're both beyond fantastic.

    "My first thought was, "LIKELY STORY, BLOODY FACE." Because come on, Dr. Thredson is now the #1 candidate for being Bloody Face, right?"

    He the unobvious choice so it's obviously him. But if it is, I'll point back to this scene as one of those that really bug me about the "surprise" reveals. If Thredson is Bloody Face, there's ZERO reason for him to go back to the house since he knows exactly what happened already. This isn't quite a Carrie and Saul level of cheating...but cheating none the less

    "So in sort of an effed-up Shawshank Redemption situation, our heroes made it out of the death tunnel and into the rainy wilderness."

    Since they didn't even pretend like this wasn't an "homage" to Shawshank, should I presume that all the scenes and themes they've flat out stolen are also an "homage"?

    "The strangest part about this show is that half the time its over-the-top horrors verge on comedy, but the other half of the time its horrors are so upsetting and off-putting that it makes you feel genuinely bad."

    AHS in a nutshell

  • cacay21 Nov 13, 2012

    not fear but interest... the first most interesting episode of the season so far

  • MightyMad Nov 10, 2012

    Seriously, Pepper being hot in real life... so disturbing.

    You did it again, Murphy.

  • smorbie Nov 03, 2012

    I just remembered something I wanted to say about last week's show. Remember when BK was about to kill Lana's love, the school teacher? She said, "no, the children will never understand"! I have to say I taught college for many years and worrying about my students when I'm being threatened with being skinned alive is the last thing I would do. I actually thought that was kind of funny. Anyone else?

  • ty3211 Nov 04, 2012

    I agree. I'd have to assume that nothing could be said to sway a serial killer, but at least she tried? lol

  • threewishes000 Nov 03, 2012

    So,with the Storm of the Century heading straight toward them,am I to understand, Monsignor. "Not only am I going to be the Pope,I'm going to have the most famous .best, gosh darn nuthut in the world!" Howard isn't on duty! A violent Nor'easter is about to slam them and He decided to take the night off, call in a sick day?..leaving 2 Nuns in charge??...I find his absence suspicious...I'm wondering if he's BloodyFace? And Dr.Alden/Mengele just does his dirty work (mask making etc..).He just seems a little to calm about a Mad Scientist working for him,he definitely shut Sister Jude down quick when she tried to voice a complaint! ....

  • ty3211 Nov 04, 2012

    That's a good working theory. If appearances are anything, I almost doubt he could be behind it? I'd love to be wrong. Actually, I really want to be surprised... I feel like this season is doing an amazing job of that for me.

  • dref22 Nov 03, 2012

    All I know is, I will never be able to watch Babe again.

  • LeahSpring Nov 03, 2012

    Could be totally off base, but I friend and I reached the conclusion that the "monsters" are Frankensteins made by Dr. Arden. That being said, we believe Bloody Face to be one of those Frankensteins and still alive terrorizing people in modern day (it's been 50 years, so even younger characters like Kit could still be alive in modern day and who's to say how ageing/life span works for Frankensteins). This would also, of course, make Shelley's name a nod to Mary and Percy Shelley.

  • coutterhill Nov 03, 2012

    I thought you would have written stumped on Shelley's leg pic. oh well. You are the best Price. Love the show, the alien angle is throwing my off, but we shall see.

  • lonea Nov 03, 2012

    I don't really like this season yet. I loved season one. It is not really scary, at least not in the same way season one was scary. Remember the infantata? I am not really thrilled about aliens and demons either. I get that it is sort of a completely new show, this season, but it haven't caught my interest the way the first season did. Yet.

  • 2muchbadTV Nov 03, 2012

    It's got my interest, but I agree, for some reason this season does not scare me/freak me out like last season. It could be because after last season where I'd never really seen "freaky" done so well, I'm harder to freak out now, or it could be because this season just isn't as scary.

  • Tjsmooth0 Nov 03, 2012

    Price, no mention about how there were NO BUTTS in this episode? At all? Whats that about?

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