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American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Review- Welcome to Briarcliff

Posted on the 24 October 2012 by Floydian42 @Floydian42
American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Review- Welcome to BriarcliffI imagine that I'm not alone in being horrified by the horribly vast amount of horror fans who hyped up how incredible and undeniably fantastic American Horror story was last year. It was nearly unbearable. In every friend circle I heard something of it's excellence. But alas, as I often do, I put off watching it until it's over, and I don't watch it because there's other things I have to watch and put off. Usually the way it works is the show comes back for the second season, and I don't want to watch it because I have way too much catching up to do. Lucky for me, American Horror Story rebooted itself this season with a completely different storyline that I can go into with no prior explanation required! So the question is, can season 2 of American Horror Story live up to the expectation produced from the hype surrounding season 1?
Simply put, the answer is, I doubt it. It's really a shame, because I was quite excited to see it. Not only was it co-created by Ryan Murphy (who did some fantastic work early on in Glee, if you ask me), but this premier episode was written by Tim Minear, which any browncoat should know worked with Joss Whedon on both Angel and Firefly. Dude wrote my favorite episode of Firefly, Out of Gas. That episode displayed a mastery sense of pacing, which led even more to my surprise when "Welcome to Briarcliff" was so jumpy and all over the place.
But, just as I do with The Walking Dead, I suppose it makes the most sense to break the episode into things I liked, and then things I didn't. Thus being said, let's jump into it:

American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Review- Welcome to Briarcliff

That face is a horror story, OHHHH BURNNNNN!!!!

Aliens, ooh:  And this time, they're probably not just some hallucination of a crazy dude! The lab guy, Dr. Arden (portrayed by James Cromwell) pulled that weird spider-chip out of Kit Walker's neck! So, there's a point against crazy. Escaping the ghost haunting thing is a nice move, and playing on other conventions is nice. There's this whole mentality surrounding a lot of reviewers that any use of convention is a bad thing, but that's just wrong. Being able to create something new within a form is a special skill, and beyond that, conventions can help explain something about characters so that the writers don't have to waste time saying. For instance, why does Dr. Arden keep brains in a jar and kill random patients? Because he's a totally bat-shit insane scientist, that's why. We got that. All we need to figure out is where it's going.
Hey (sister) Jude, don't let me down: This character is definitely promising. I hear Jessica Lange did great in the first season, and in the second season, I can totally tell she's going to be. Her presence immediately is intimidating, and I can tell she's totally up to some sacrilegious scandals even before she tortures bloody-face-mc-alien-dude. The way she plays the journalist's wife is great and totally convincing in the period, although, I'm not exactly sure where they were. The only thing that bothers me is her lust that she has for Chad, just because it adds this selfish shallow layer to her that I think distracts from her deep-seeded menace. I don't know much about this Chad, other than that he wants to be the pope, so I can't tell where it's going yet. Otherwise, a great set-up for a potentially interesting character:
Now, onto somethings I didn't like so much:
Everyone's socially progressive: Apparently, the only thing the writers could come up with to make us feel for the characters is by having them do socially unaccepted things in the 50's that are (more) acceptable now. Kit married an African-American, and the journalist Lana marries a woman. Now, yes, these are both good things, and it achieved the objective of making me like the characters, or at least believe that they are good people. But especially after Ryan Murphy did Glee, this whole thing sort of feels like a bit of a clutch. There are surely more interesting ways to make a character likeable, that would reveal something different about their character.

American Horror Story: Asylum Episode Review- Welcome to Briarcliff

What the frak? His face aint bloody!

5 Bloody Maroon Fingers left for Adam Levine: I hope this plot dies quickly, maybe even just disappears entirely. I understand it prefaces the viewer for some horrifying menace that lives in Briarcliff, but meh, neither of the lovers has anything going for them. I don't care about them, you know? And maybe that's really my problem with the whole episode. We're watching people no one cares about doing interesting things. Without that character connection, what's the point? The shows not really that scary, so if we don't care about the characters, all we want are answers. Who knows, maybe by the end of the season I'll grow an attachment and that'll change my review of this episode in retrospect, but that really at the end of my day is what I don't like.
But anyway, this has been a shorter reviewer because I'm pressed for time, but I wanted to post this before tonights episode. From here on out I'll be posting about them regularly the day after. Also, hopefully before too long I'll post some more stuff about music, coz' you know, that's what this blogs suppose to be for. But anyway, what did you think? Oh, and here's just a fun polling question, what do you like more? American Horror Story or The Walking Dead? Let me know!

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