Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched the season finale of American Horror Story Asylum yet, I advise that you first, keep your expectations low, and second, stop reading this right now.
Let me preface this by saying I’m big fan of Ryan Murphy. I remember watching his first television endeavor, Popular, back in 1999 on the WB. I loved Nip/Tuck with all my heart, and in recent times I’ve become obsessed with Glee and an occasional watcher of The New Normal. Of his more recent projects, the one that I was the most excited about was American Horror Story.
As a project, American Horror Story was a departure from the saccharine Ryan Murphy the world was getting all to familiar with through Glee, and was instead more in the vein of the gritty, twisted Nip/Tuck. The first season of American Horror Story was amazing–twists and turns every episode that left you wanting more and with character development that made you feel personally invested in their fates. I could hardly contain my excitement when the second season of the series, Asylum, was announced. Unfortunately, after watching the season’s last episode, Madness Ends, the other day, it’s with a heavy heart that I must tell you how disappointed I was. …It sucked.
The second season of American Horror Story is a classic example of too many story lines and too many ideas with no possible way of satisfactorily resolving everything in 13 episodes. Our trip into Briarcliff Manor and its conclusion delivers exactly the madness it promises, but not in a good way. What’s more, all the crazy stuff going on had no connecting thread other than the characters–which is a recipe for disaster. Characters are unstable to viewers (especially in a show set in a mental institution), and in order to really grasp the message a television series is trying to send, there needs to be a clear theme. Rather than just one, I’ve identified ten separate issues Ryan Murphy saw fit to undertake in Asylum:
- Adam Levine’s nonexistent acting skills
- Alien abductions
- The devil and possession
- A damning critique of Christianity through Monsignor Timothy O’Hara
- A serial killer and the fallout from impregnating a lesbian former asylum inmate-turned famous journalist/reporter
- The consequences of ambition
- The journey of the nun formerly in charge of Briarcliff Manor
- An exploration into the kind of Nazi experiments completed during WWII by one of the characters
- The fine line between innocence and debauchery
- Mommy issues, mommy issues, mommy issues
See the problem? We’ve got enough material for about 20 different shows right here. I don’t even know where to begin.
If you’re going to have alien abductions in a show, by the season finale I expect to know what the hell was going on. With American Horror Story, I didn’t get that. How can you end the season of a show without explaining something that a major impact on the show–Kit Walker got abducted, and both of his love interests who were thought to be dead were really on some spaceship gestating together. When these women return to earth, and essentially come back from the dead, they keep saying how their children are destined for great things. So I was expecting something amazing, like world-changing! …In Madness Ends we find out one’s a neurosurgeon and the other is a lawyer. Ryan Murphy, was that supposed be satirical?
Also in this season of AHS, we see a nice nun possessed by the devil, become super slutty, and then get killed. Then the Nazi doctor, whose story line is explored and then thrown away, decides to burn himself alive when he’s cremating her body because the innocent girl he loved was gone. And then there’s Sister Jude, who somehow got rescued twice by both Lana and Kit–or did I miss something?
Who surprisingly became the most important characters of the show were Lana, Bloody Face, and Bloody Face Jr. In Madness Ends, we find out Lana’s this famous reporter famous for exposing Briarcliff and ruining the reputation of Cardinal (formerly Monsignor) Timothy O’Hara, another one of the former higher ups at Briarcliff. In a sudden twist, the incredibly guilty and arguably the most sinister and delusional character of the show slits his wrists in the bathtub. …And why? Well, because Lana Banana ambushed him and bombarded him with accusations in a parking lot stairwell with a camera on Easter Sunday. Is anyone else confused by how unrealistic that is?
Then there’s the love child of Lana and Bloody Face, who Lana shoots right in the head. Um, Lana, with all the mommy issues going on in this show, he wasn’t going to kill you. He probably just wanted to breastfeed some more. Also, killing your own son? This bitch is heartless!
The one redeeming moment of Madness Ends turned out to be a disappointment like everything else. There was a flashback segment where they showed Lana’s first trip to Briarcliff and for a brief second I thought it was going to be revealed that Lana somehow orchestrated this whole thing to get her story and fame–and my mind was going to be BLOWN–instead the screen just faded to black Sopranos-style with that damn French music playing.
Oh, but how could I forget, one thing did get resolved in the finale of American Horror Story Asylum: what happens to Adam Levine. Yes, that’s right, the one storyline no one cared about came full circle. Said storyline went a lot like this: “Here’s Adam Levine and Mrs. Channing Tatum. They’re hot. They’re having sex, now they’re getting hurt, and we’re going to make you wait until the season finale to make you understand what the hell is going on, even though you’re not remotely attached to these characters because they’ve had all of 25 minutes of screen time across the entire season.” Bravo.
So, no, I wasn’t at all impressed with the finale of the second season American Horror Story. I’m hoping the third season gets back to basics and recaptures the clear sense of perspective the first season had. Remember the Rubber Man!? That was great stuff.
…I will miss that catchy asylum French music, though.