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
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
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?