Thursday, October 25, 2012

'American Horror Story' recap: 'Tricks and Treats'


This weeks episode revealed secrets, saw friendships form and crumble, and featured two grisly murders. What really caught my interest this week was the way the show paid homage to one of the best horror movies of all time. There was an exorcism, in the true style of The Exorcist.

We open with the newlyweds, Leo (Adam Levine) and Theresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum). After meeting Bloody Face in the tunnel last week, Theresa fruitlessly searches for a way and out turns to the injured Leo for help. Unfortunately, Bloody Face turns on Leo and stabs him multiple times, leaving us all to assume he is dead. Theresa hides in the room with the metal door, leaving Bloody Face trying to grab her. I admit, I am a bit saddened by Leo’s quick exit, he was great eye candy while it lasted.

Moving on the 1964, we meet Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto). He arrives to perform a mental evaluation on Kit (Even Peters), the accused serial killer. In what was probably not the wisest move for someone who claims to be totally sane, Kit claims that his wife is not really dead, but was abducted by aliens. Dr. Thredson’s diagnosis: Acute clinical insanity. It looks like Kit will be hanging out at Briarcliff a little bit longer.

Dr. Thredson finds himself butting heads with Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) regarding the conditions and treatments at Briarcliff. The rift becomes even more evident when they disagree on the treatment of Jed, a teenager brought to Briarcliff by his parents after his father finds him munching on the heart of a prize cow and speaking in tongues. Thredson recommends medication, but Sister Jude has another treatment in mind - exorcism. She claims to have "great success in curbing the chronic masturbator." Bring in the priest. Actually, it's technically a Monsignor, Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes).

Lucky for us, the demon living inside Jed knows all about Sister Jude and her nefarious past (and present?). It’s no surprise that she wasn’t always living the pious life. In her past she drank, danced, and even (gasp!) had sex. As if the red lingerie from last week didn’t clue us in. The most interesting tidbit the demon reveals is how Sister Jude hit and killed a young girl with her car on the road after a night of drinking.

When Jed is finally subdued, he is dead. The demon is not defeated, however, and finds Sister Mary to be its next worthy soul. During the last scene of the episode, she lays innocently in bed while Dr. Arden watches. Now that a demon lives within, I don’t think the innocent act will hold up much longer.

Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) also has a few secret exposed this week. After hearing Shelly’s (Chloe Sevigny) story of how she ended up at Briarcliff as a nyphomaniac, the doctor turns down her offer of sex in return for "just five minutes of fresh air" by calling her a whore and walking away. Apparently a whore wasn’t his type, but a hooker was. He hires one that looks eerily similar to good Sister Mary. After serving the hooker a dinner of a giant slab of meat, he gets down to business and asks her to take off her makeup and change into a nuns habit. Do you think he went to Catholic school?

While she is changing, the hooker finds a box of photographs of women in various scary positions that would be sure to freak anyone out (but right up the alley of Bloody Face?). Dr. Arden catches her snooping and tries to corner her on the bed, but she bites him and applies a swift kick to his manhood and is able to get away. Lucky for her, she won’t be the next slab of meat being served on his table.

Lana, the reporter, finds herself under Sister Jude’s watchful eye during a regular search of the patient rooms. When an orderly finds her notes, Sister Jude determines that perhaps a little electro-shock therapy would be the way to take care of Lana’s memory. Despite the therapy, Lana holds on to her memories of the outside, and of the lover who betrayed her. Coincidentally, her lover, Wendy (Clea Duvall) has become the latest victim of Bloody Face while getting into the shower. I had so hoped for a scene reminiscent of the Psycho shower scene, but no such luck.

Lana befriends Grace and the two of them hatch a plan to escape Briarcliff through the underground tunnel. Grace insists on bringing Kit with them in the escape, but Lana is reluctant to allow a serial killer to come with them. When the power flickers off during the exorcism, the patient’s room doors all swing open and they have the chance to make their escape. Lana sees that Grace has brought Kit with her and decides to call the whole thing off. She screams for the guards who quickly foil the escape plan. Her reward for blowing the whistle is that she doesn't get punished by Sister Jude and gets to watch Grace and Kit accept their caning. Lana tries to apologize to Grace, but Grace calls her a "Judas Bitch" and wants nothing to do with her. Can you blame her?

Bloody Face appeared twice in this episode, and both times to commit a murder. Yet, we still don’t really know anything about his story.

Since Kit is safely locked behind the walls of Briarcliff, we know that the killer is not really him. So, who do you think it is?

The next American Horror Story: Asylum airs Halloween night, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m. on FX.