American Horror Story Review: "Nor'easter" (Episode 2.03)
Is it possible that American Horror Story wants to send me to the asylum? Perhaps. Because the show is making me crazy.
American Horror Story: Asylum is a completely wackadoodle series. This we know. But even when I accept this premise, the drama still sends me over the edge with its utter ridiculousness. Everything was completely over-the-top in “Nor’easter.” (The storm-centric episode aired as the northeast recovers from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. What does executive producer Ryan Murphy know about the weather that we don’t?)
Now possessed by the Devil, Sister Mary Eunice sets about torturing Sister Jude. She brings her a newspaper dated June 28, 1949 that features the little girl Sister Jude hit with her car more than a decade ago. Lily Rabe, who was so terrific as the timid nun who liked to be spanked, is equally good as the devious, sinister nun. It’s easy to see why actors love working on this show. They’re never going to get bored performing the same material week in and week out.
Sister Mary Eunice’s actions completely unravel Sister Jude. She gets drunk on holy wine, sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and nearly confesses her sins to a roomful of patients. I was disappointed that Sister Jude cracked so easily. The series spent two episodes establishing a strong character only to have her quickly become undone. Plus she saw a giant-headed alien. I kept hoping the show would let go of its alien angle, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
It is clear that the not-so-good Dr. Arden has a Madonna/whore complex—the man makes his prostitutes dress up as nuns. But in case viewers didn’t pick up on this absolutely not subtle fact, Dr. Arden takes red lipstick to a statue of Madonna and then smashes the statue while screaming “whore.” As I’ve said before, “subtle” isn’t a word the show is familiar with. Melodramatic scenes such as that make me want to throttle my TV.
Lana asks Dr. Thredson to get a message to her girlfriend Wendy. When Dr. Thredson goes to their home, he finds blood and no Wendy. This leads him to conclude that Wendy is the victim of Bloody Face. (Perhaps Dr. Thredson should be on an episode of Columbo because that seemed like a pretty big conclusion to make.) He tells Lana that the police are “so invested in the idea that they’ve already caught the maniac” that they aren’t worried about Wendy. Strangely, this is all Lana, who has consistently doubted Kit’s innocence, needs to hear. She now believes Bloody Face is still out there.
While Sister Jude is facing her demons, Lana, Grace, Kit and Shelley plan another escape while the inmates watch the 1932 film The Sign of the Cross. (A completely out-there film that I’m sure the show was thrilled to find a way to include). Shelley distracts a guard in her Shelley-like way, only to be caught by Dr. Arden. Dr. Arden attempts to rape Shelley but is unable to. Maybe Shelley really is crazy because instead of running and screaming from the room, she proceeds to mock the size of Dr. Arden’s male member.
Once they’ve escaped, Lana, Grace and Kit run into the creatures who are in the woods. They promptly run right back into Briarcliff. This is the second time in as many episodes that their escape plan was thwarted. The show needs to find something else for them to do next week.
Once again, viewers were treated to honeymooning couple at the beginning of the episode. They are shot to death by two teens wearing Bloody Face masks (a shout-out to Scream, perhaps?) Those teens then encounter the real Bloody Face, so the show will eventually return to this story. That is unfortunate because it remains an unnecessary framing device.