American Horror Story, Season 2

Coming Soon to American Horror Story: Ian McShane, Eric Stonestreet, and More
Talking television.
Oct. 18 2012 1:22 PM

American Horror Story, Season 2

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Reponses to “Welcome to Briarcliff” from across the Web.

Jessica Lange in American Horror Story.
Jessica Lange in American Horror Story

Photograph by Frank Ockenfels/FX.

The TV Club comments and recaps around the Web suggest that the premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum kept viewers up all night, if not with bad dreams, then definitely with nagging questions.

Both commenters and professional recappers agreed that the aliens—or at least what we think are aliens—that attacked Kit clash a bit with the tone of the rest of the show. Commenter ACslaterX called the alien thing “strange” and offered this alternative theory: “I thought for sure when we saw the flashing lights of the aliens as they probed Kit, it was going to flash back to the asylum while Kit was getting electroshock therapy ... but I guess it's just aliens; for now anyways.” I had a similar thought, though as Jenna Mullins pointed out over at E!, there’s still that pesky, Matrix-like neck implant to deal with.

A number of commenters reacted to our discussion of the muted (twisted?) streak of feminism running through the show via Sister Jude. Commenter TheDude disagreed with my reading of the “don’t call yourself stupid” comment as a moment of sisterhood, pointing out rightly that Lange had “just finished calling her stupid in the same scene, so I doubt she was linking arms in some kind of solidarity.” Wrote TheDude: “She is the very definition of a sadist. Referring to her as a heroine is like referring to the lunatic doctor as a hero. She is a great character (so far), but has not been shown in any way to be a hero.”

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Fair enough, Dude; I’ll admit that my unadulterated love of Jessica Lange may have clouded my judgment, but I still maintain that she’s a little more morally complicated that her collection of spanking implements would suggest.

The Internet also seems to agree with our dislike of the 2012 story starring Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan Tatum. Katy and I both found it unnecessary and boring, and Jen Chaney of the Washington Post echoed our feelings by rhetorically asking whether that whole scenario wasn’t just the worst. For those of you who agree with our wish to eliminate The Voice host, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, show creator Ryan Murphy noted that, while we’ll be spared the Leo and Teresa storyline in some episodes, the show will continue to explore 2012 Briarcliff via Levine’s smoldering eyes and remaining limbs for the rest of the season.

Speaking of actors, the EW interview contains a whole list of people, including Ian McShane, Frances Conroy, and Eric Stonestreet, who will be making appearances in future episodes, mimicking the trend of the first season in which “Murder House” grew increasingly crowded as time went on. And! If you’re missing the dearly-departed Harmon family in the far less cozy confines of Briarcliff, news just broke yesterday that Dylan McDermott will be returning to the show with his “blank virility” at some undisclosed point in the future. Something tells me Chloë Sevigny’s nymphomaniac character will be all over that.  

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.