Despite a fortuitous Halloween air date, American Horror Story resisted the urge to go Halloween-y. Instead, the episode saw Sister Jude struggle with psychological torture courtesy of Sister Mary Eunice. Plus, we witnessed another escape attempt from Briarcliff’s not-so-insane residents.

The Players:

  • Director: Michael Uppendahl
  • Writer: Jennifer Salt
  • Cast: Zachary Quinto, Joseph Fiennes, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Lizzie Brocheré, James Cromwell, Jessica Lange

Episode Title: “Nor’easter”

This week, Sister Jude went from domineering to cowering. Sister Mary went from nice and quiet to possessed and evil. Shelley went from being able to walk to…well, let’s just say there were a lot of changes.

The Good:

  • Sister Jude Shuts Up: Sister Jude is probably the undisputed center of gravity for Asylum. She’s been a dominating force in the series. However, she got some wind knocked out of her sails when a demon jumped into Sister Mary to wreak havoc. A newspaper following Jude’s drunken hit and run conjures up old memories and sends her on a mental witch hunt.
  • Sister Mary Possessed: After two weeks of playing the perpetual nice girl, Sister Mary let’s her inner bad girl show thanks to a demon. Possessed, she mentally terrorizes Sister Jude, plays seductress, kills a patient and can’t wait to see all the Christians killed on movie night.
  • Dr. Arden: Forget Bloody Face. Forget the aliens. Forget the zombie-like creatures. Heck, forget scary Sister Jude and Sister Mary. The real villain of AHS:Asylum is Dr. Arden, who’s so twisted he might as well be a monster – but he’s not. Dr. Crazy Pants decided to take Shelley up on her advances, even though that offer wasn’t on the table anymore. When she laughs at his… equipment, he decides to teach her a particularly brutal lesson.
  • Shelley Loses Limbs: After being knocked unconscious trying to escape Dr. Arden’s rape-attempt, Shelley awaken to a creepy speech about how Dr. Arden was forced to “clip her wings” because she tried to fly away from him. The angelic imagery is odd, considering Arden’s disdain for the “sex obsessed” Shelley, but the result is horrifying no matter how you phrase it. He amputated both of her legs.

The So-So:

  • The Lovers Meet Their End: Poor Teresa and Leo have been terrorized in the present day by Bloody Face (or the ghost or zombie of Bloody Face. How old is this guy, anyway?). When we last left the lovers, Leo was missing an arm and Teresa was cowering in a room as he was stabbed repeatedly. This week, Bloody Face abandoned Operation Stab Leo to Death and came after Teresa, only to be jumped by the unkillable Leo. Teresa stabs Bloody Face a few times for good measure and the lovers proceed to hobble out to safety – until they’re shot by another Bloody Face. At this point, the Bloody Faces unmask themselves and turn out to be two teenagers. It’s anticlimactic, until the (presumably) real Bloody Face jumps out to meet them.

Overall:

This week’s AHS went for psychological thrills over outright screams and it definitely pays off. The gore and real world terrors are well-placed. Getting in the heads of the characters will sustain the scares for a season.

Rating: 9/10

American Horror Story: Asylum airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

What did you think of this week’s episode?