I was so ready for this episode after reading great things from people who had already seen it. I got a large bowl of ice cream, plopped down next to my cat, and pressed play. And, boy, was I not disappointed. "Tricks and Treats" hit all the right notes, save for the opening scene (I still don't care about The Lovers), and it also featured the scariest scenes, for me, of the entire series so far. The episode had three separate but strong plots, so let's break this down.
Exorcising The Past
Two worried parents bring in their son after the father finds him in their barn, munching on the heart of one of their beloved cows, practically bathing in its blood and guts (too vivid?). When the son, Jedd, turns around and kind of growl/hisses at the father, I was just like, "You know ... maybe I should turn the lights on." I had finished my ice cream at this point, so I had absolutely no comfort besides my cat, who won't even look at me.
Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto!!!), a psychiatrist, is brought in to assess the psychotic state of Kit (Evan Peters). Kit claims that the body he was found with was not in fact his wife, Alma, and that the aliens took her alive. If you're being mentally evaluated, you should probably leave the alien chit chat on the side lines ("Diagnosis: acute clinical insanity." Well, you tried, Kit.).
After seeing Jedd in person, Oliver says that Jedd needs to be medicated immediately, and Sister Jude simply replies, "No, doctor, that's not what this boy needs." Welp, let's bring in the exorcist! Now, demons are on my list of top-five fears. I'm not religious in the slightest, yet the idea of them terrifies me. Watching Jedd contort and voice other people's secrets was utterly unnerving. Chills ran down my body the entire time, especially when he focused on Sister Jude and her impure past.
As it turns out, Sister Jude isn't as saintly as she'd have you believe. She'd sing in bars, meet random men, and hope that they'd take her home. She was notorious for her ... escapades. One night, no one would take her up on her offer, so she drank away her sorrows. On her way home, she runs over and kills a little girl. "Oh, my God" is right, Jude. What that girl was doing out so late at night and in the middle of the road is beyond me. She completely freaks out and goes on a slapping spree all over Jedd, showing how deeply troubled Jude actually is. In the end, Jedd dies from cardiac arrest and the demon inside him flies on over to Sister Mary (Lily Rabe). Like I said, demons scare me beyond belief, but having Sister Mary possessed might be a really great, fun thing. I'm excited to see what Lily Rabe brings to it.
Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) decides that maybe all Lana needs to soothe her mind is some electroshock therapy, because why not? Watching Sarah Paulson get zapped was even worse than watching Claire Dane's get the treatment in "Homeland" last season. Last season of "American Horror Story" didn't give Paulson a lot of range, so I'm ecstatic that she can go all out this year, because she can really deliver.
Kit goes to Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) with the idea of escaping Briarcliff, but she quickly shuts down the idea. Lana overhears and later tells Grace that she knows of a tunnel underneath the hospital that leads outside. Grace wants to bring Kit with them, but Lana still thinks he's the notorious serial killer Bloody Face (who actually killed her girlfriend at the beginning on the episode, so ... sorry). Right before Jedd dies, the power in the building is shut off, opening all the cell doors. This gives Lana and Grace the perfect opportunity to escape, but Grace would rather go with Kit. Lana gets all jealous and yells "Help! They're escaping!" Way harsh, Lana. "Screw you, Judas bitch," snaps Grace after Lana tries to apologize. Good luck rebuilding that bridge.
An Uncomfortable Dinner Date
Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) gives Shelley (Chloë Sevigny) shit when she comes onto him, calling her a "slut" and a "whore." She, in return, reveals how she ended up at Briarcliff:
"So I ran away from home, met some jazz musicians, real free thinkers. I fell in love with the bass player. Big mistake. As soon as he put a ring on my finger, I was his property. He could screw every Betty in town, and I had to stay home and scrub his dirty drawers. So, come Fleet Week, he gets home and finds me in bed with two Navy guys, and I told him, 'It's not for self, but for country!' He decked me flat out, threw me in the car, and locked me in a nuthouse. And the sickest part is they let him. Because I like sex. That's my crime."
Sevigny is always bringing her A-game to every role she takes on. She was great as Nicki Grant in "Big Love," and now seeing her playing the exact opposite is really awesome. I hope Shelley gets a more concrete role in the whole scheme of things, or she could be killed off next week. It's anyone's guess.
After this confrontation, Arden goes home and invites a prostitute over for a dinner date. It's becoming ever so evident that every single character has a hidden secret, another life that they keep under wraps from others and sometimes even themselves. After talking about classical music and fine wines, Arden has the girl take off her makeup and throw on some nun garbs. This reflects his, um, unholy desire for Sister Mary, and that infatuation might just end up being the demise of him in the long run.
While in his bedroom, the prostitute does some snooping and discovers pictures of women in bondage, bloodied, and even faceless. Arden comes in and sees what she's found, telling her to get on the bed. Once he attempts to have sex with her, she bites him and runs off. Cromwell does a fantastic job of playing a despicable, unjustifiable character. He's the scariest person on this show in my eyes, and Bloody Face has nothing on him.
I was totally swaying and snapping my fingers to Dusty Springfield's "Wishin' and Hopin'." And then Bloody Face had to show up and ruin my moment.
In Sister Jude's flashback, she looked relatively the same age, which means two things: 1. Congrats on her still being able to hook a young guy in, and 2. It had to happen recently, so this change she undertook didn't happen too long ago. If that means anything important, we'll see.
When Arden offered Mary the candy apple, I immediately thought of "Snow White" when the witch gives Snow the poisoned apple. Deliberate reference? Either way, it works on so many levels.
It's clear now that the "creatures" have nothing to do with Bloody Face, something that I was deliberating about last week. What are your theories? I'm thinking zombie-esque with a side of "The Hills Have Eyes."
"I've had great success in curbing the chronic masturbator." - classy Sister Jude
"I don't have any candy." - Wendy says as she cries into a tissue, directly reflecting my life.
I know we're only two episode in, but this season feels very "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," only supernatural, and that's probably the best compliment I could give the show.
Leo (the armless half of The Lovers) is definitely dead after Bloody Face stabbed him repeatedly, right? BUT WHO WILL BE ON ADAM'S TEAM NOW?
"American Horror Story: Asylum" airs Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET on FX.
Follow Joey DeAngelis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joeydeangelis