American Horror Story, Asylum (2012): A Showcase of Really Good Acting

Having been blown away by the first season, I immediately started on the second season.

And also I saw that Zachary Quinto was one of the main characters and I got really excited.

Set in the 1960s, the second season takes place in a mental institution known as Briarcliff, hence the very descriptive name, that has sketchy origins and sketchy staff and sketchy people and also the Devil for most of the part.

Asylum traces the stories of Kit Walker (Evan Peters), a man accused of killing his own wife as well as killing and skinning several other girls, Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), a journalist who stuck her nose too far in the asylum business became imprisoned in it, as well as Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto), the psychiatrist initially assigned to Kit Walker to determine his sanity. The story of Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) as well as the very sketchy Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) is also revealed slowly throughout the series.

It definitely had a darker feel to it then Murder House and it definitely did not disappoint.

Also, I really like the concept of having this anthology-type show where each season starts fresh with new plot and new characters. Not just because it’s able to explore so much more topic-wise, but it also allows for different characters to portray.

As a whole, I truly enjoyed watching Asylum. It had a captivating plot that kept me somewhat on the edge and interesting characters that I became invested in.

But, maybe because it’s the second season, it didn’t leave as much of an impression on me like Murder House did. I mean, I still got excited while watching it and it creeped me out at certain points, which is a good thing.

I just don’t think about it as much as Murder House.

However, this second season of American Horror Story has made me seriously appreciate acting.

I’m not in the show biz (seriously, the closest thing I’ve come to acting was the elementary school plays we were forced to do—one year, I was a flower), so I don’t really know much about it. But I can tell that these are talented actors, because suddenly, I got to see a different facet of how they can act.

I admit, I was not quite as impressed as others when it came to Jessica Langdon’s performance of Constance Langdon. I mean, it was a great performance, I was just not as taken with her as I was with the other characters (*cough, cough* Tate Langdon).

Well, I’ve changed my mind. Jessica Lange is pretty freaking awesome. Her portrayal of Sister Jude was so different from Constance and yet it was still…it was really, really good.

Amazing character development. And an amazing portrayal that Jessica Lange did.

And I still really like Evan Peters. That hasn’t changed.

And still attractive.

Kit Walker is a decidedly less dark character than Peters’ previous role of Tate Langdon, but it’s still morbid. He is accused of killing his wife and when he tries to tell them it was the aliens that came to his house, he got sent to Briarcliff, where his sanity was to be determined.

This put Kit in a bit of a dilemma: if declared sane, he would be sent straight to the electric chair and if declared insane, he would be locked up at Briarcliff where the head beats misbehaving patients with a cane for the rest of his life.

Then in comes the fascinating psychiatrist, wonderfully shown by the awesome Zachary Quinto.

I actually started watching “Heroes” because of Zachary Quinto. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first season.

Dr. Oliver Thredson is a wonderfully dark character and the kind of sane insanity he possesses is carefully crafted by Quinto, resulting in a character that captures the audience in a trance.

And also Zachary Quinto is just pretty awesome.

Not only does Asylum reveal well-developed characters, the plot line is also intriguing, with many jumps between time that at some times do get a little difficult to keep track of exactly what year it is, but that’s also not quite as important. Particularly interesting are the jumps to present-day, including some creepy events that happened in the now abandoned Briarcliff as well as a child with dark relations to Briarcliff and one of its patients.

Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) is also an important character, but I was less interested by her story, although that’s just personal preference. However, I can appreciate the intricacy of the plot she was put in as well as the good characterization of this journalist turned asylum patient turned writer turned reporter.

They also pronounce her name, like, three different ways throughout the entire season.

Conclusion: Truly a good showcase of good acting as several returning actors like Lily Rabe, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and more reveal a completely different character just as well-portrayed as the previous season. American Horror Story, Asylum captivates the chilling feel of a sketchy mental institution as both the insane and the sane rot behind the cold walls of Briarcliff. Bonus points for the marvelous performances of Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, and of course, Evan Peters. 9/10.


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