American Horror Story: Asylum “Welcome to Briarcliff” Review

American Horror Story Asylum title card
Spoilers for American Horror Story below

I felt that the first season of American Horror Story walked a fine line between goofy and disturbing. I mean, Dylan Mcdermott was in it, how serious could it be? I couldn’t decide whether I like the show or not until I finished the last episode, I did like it, but there was something about it that left me unsure for so long. At the very least, I was intrigued enough to watch the entire season and ended up enjoying it. Asylum seemed to be an interesting proposition, since it is a completely new storyline with all new characters.

Just as with the first season, I have no idea how I really feel about Asylum. “Welcome to Briarcliff” starts off in the present day with Adam Levine, frontman of Maroon 5, and Channing Tatum’s wife romping around Briarcliff Asylum on their honeymoon. It turns out that some people get off on going to the most haunted places, getting aroused and banging it out like rabbits. This season’s Mcdermott is Levine, I just can’t take them seriously and they make me laugh for absolutely no reason beyond their faces. That is the reason. They have humorous faces.

The real plot of the episode and, I assume, the season takes place in the asylum during 1964. Evan Peters, back after playing school shooter Tate in the last season, is Kit, a gas station attendant turned into the violent serial killer Bloodyface. We don’t actually get to see his transformation, only an event that I’ll get to in a moment and then his incarceration at the asylum for the murders. Briarcliff is run by Sister Jude, played by the same actress who was Tate’s mother, Jessica Lange.

 

Taking Bloodyface to jail
Oooooh, it’s Bloodyface, so terrifying

So in between meeting Kit’s sexy, controversially black wife and his incarceration there’s a huge event. I’m finding it hard to explain and justify, okay there’s fucking aliens. Seriously, Kit thinks the assholes that torment him because of his wife are there to do it more and nope, it’s aliens. They reverse the gravity and abduct him. I thought maybe it was some sort of hallucination or something that concealed his madness, but then he gets operated on by the asylum’s doctor and he pulls out a microchip that sprouts legs and runs off. GOD. DAMN. ALIENS.

I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this. Not only are there aliens, but it seems like the doctor is making weird creature experiments, or there are weird creatures somewhere in the asylum. Sister Jude’s underling seems to have a weird punishment fetish. There’s also lesbians and the reporter one is kidnapped and forced into the asylum. It’s all quite surreal and disturbing. Oh, and Adam Levine gets his arm ripped off while getting a blowjob, because sex and violence.

The direction of this season feels strange. It’s not that American Horror Story: Asylum started off weak, but it was all set up. There are far too many things going on for me to make sense of any of them. Perhaps they will all pay off down the line, but right now they just seem strange and disjointed. Just as with the first season, I have no idea if I like this season. Hopefully next week’s episode will shed some light on what the hell is going on.