Saturday, January 19, 2013

Where did 'American Horror Story' go wrong?

With the second season of ‘American Horror Story’ coming to a close Wednesday, I can’t help but wonder what could have been.

The ‘Asylum’ arc started out so strong. There was a solid mystery at the center of the show, the asylum itself could have been its own character and the demented factor was strong but not over-the-top.

You can’t say that anymore.

The show has been floundering for the past few weeks, but the past two episodes have been almost painful to watch.

Forget how anti-climatic Lana’s escape from the asylum was, what was up with the boring death scene for Dr. Thredson? I know I, as a fan, wanted so much more – and that was before I had to watch a grown man breastfeed with a prostitute.

Then, this week, I can’t even fathom what the writers were thinking when they crafted the episode. Each section of the episode encompassed one story – but no section felt complete.

Kit’s a sudden polygamist (without any indication of how he explained that to Alma), Lana went from hero to pathological liar, Jude may actually be crazy – and the demented adult that thinks he’s the offspring of Bloodyface and Lana is running around trying to find the book she wrote. Huh?

So where did ‘American Horror Story’ go wrong? Let’s take a look:

5. Wasting Joseph Fiennes: Unless they have some humongous reveal in the finale – that shows Monsignor Timothy Howard was somehow behind the whole thing and involved in more of the stories than we’ve initially seen – the entire story surrounding Howard was a complete and total let down. Fiennes may not be his brother, but he’s still a solid actor, and he was completely wasted this entire season. What story did he have of his own? His character growth also seemed so out of character, I could never get a real feel for what he was and what his motivations were. Is he just a simple man that got caught up in protecting his own reputation? Or is he a sociopath? The sad thing is, I have a feeling we’ll never find out.

4. Killing off characters too soon: While Asylum had some issues, the best characters this season (aside from Jude, Lana and Kit, of course) were the devilish nun, Dr. Arden and nymphomaniac Shelley. Shelley was so underused it was criminal – and there was absolutely no fallout from her disfigurement or death. Are you telling me, even then, a woman being mutilated and dumped at the school wasn’t a big story in the media? Sister Mary Eunice was one of the bright spots of the entire season. Her delicious devil was all kinds of fun – even when deflowering the monsignor. While Dr. Arden “riding” her body into the crematorium was powerful, it was also abrupt – and the narrative for the season was disrupted by losing the duo so soon before the end of the season.

3. Dropped stories: Show creator Ryan Murphy is the master of dropped storylines, but this season AHS seemed to have more than usual. The biggest, of course, is the monsters in the woods. They were a big deal in those first two episodes – and then they began to taper off. Let’s forget, for a second, what a waste it was to bring someone of Chloe Sevigny’s talent onto the show and then give her so little to do, but what happened to the rest of the monsters? Were all of them tracked down and killed? How did no one else ever see them? The other dropped storylines I was curious about revolved around Anne Frank. What happened after her lobotomy? What did she remember? There was so much more they could have done with that story. Then there was the murderous little kid and the murderous Santa Claus. Where was the follow-through on those stories? 

2. The Angel of Death: I love Francis Conroy. I have loved her from the minute I saw her on ‘Six Feet Under.’ I think she’s a tremendous actress with a tremendous likeability factor. Her angel of death, though, was not only forced but ludicrous. I was intrigued to see Conroy in last week’s episode – thinking there had to be something to the character that I missed and now they were going to reveal it. Nope. Turns out that the “new” inmate was just in Jude’s mind. I get that the battle between the ultimate good and evil was being waged in the asylum, but the angel of death was developed in such a cheesy fashion that I couldn’t help but laugh each time she was on screen. Just awful.

1. The Aliens: When I first saw the aliens, I thought that something so horrible had happened that Kit couldn’t accept it so he made up the aliens in his mind. I didn’t think there would actually be aliens. Since that time, the aliens have saved Kit from certain death, resurrected Grace, brought two strange babies into the world and then stood by while Alma killed Grace and then either committed suicide or was murdered herself in the asylum. The asylum arc had a lot of promise – introducing aliens seemed to actually detract from the central story of the asylum. Of course, we could find out that this entire thing has been some demented nightmare – but if the story stands, and the aliens are actually real, I think they make the season more laughable than anything else.

What do you think? Where did ‘American Horror Story’ go wrong this season?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i totally agree with what was said here

January 20, 2013 at 2:33 PM 

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