Last week’s premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum left me with a lot to mull over. From Lana Winters’ institutionalization at Briarcliff Manor to Dr. Arden’s experiments on Kit Walker, there were many questions to be answered and new back stories to fill in. “Tricks and Treats” didn’t further the plot as much as delve deeper into characters introduced in the premiere and welcome some new terrifying patients to Briarcliff. We learn more about why Sister Jude is such a bitter, cruel person — she just wanted to entertain the troops! — and are introduced to psychiatrist Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto!). AHS would never need an episode entirely dedicated to Halloween, since it always is such a fright fest. Still, “Tricks and Treats” had some particularly disturbing and sadistic moments for the holiday that left me clutching my pillow for dear life (go on, laugh), which is why I am recapping this episode with the Top 5 Screamtastic Moments.
Scream 1 – The episode opens with Winters’ lover Wendy and friends worried over Lana’s institutionalization at Briarcliff Manor. She misses her dearly and says, “Nothing makes sense without her.” Aww. They’re all trying to find ways to release her from Briarcliff, but can’t seem to find a solution. However, it already appears someone is listening to their thoughts. (Hmmm…could someone be following them?) After Wendy’s friends have left and she gets out of the shower (a clever nod to Pyscho), she walks through her house only to find that Freddy-like monster from last episode lurking in her hallway. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Wendy makes it out of this episode…her students will probably have study hall all day tomorrow.
Scream 2 – The second scream worthy moment comes when Sister Jude discovers Winters is still reporting on Briarcliff Manor, now as an insider who will “have a great scoop” for her editor. Even though her notes have been confiscated, Winters has an “excellent memory” that will still document her “shocking” experience at the hospital and ruin Sister Jude. Why oh why did you have to say that, Lana? Of course, Sister Jude can’t let that happen, and she asks Dr. Arden to help her memories, which “are her worst enemy. They’re terrorizing her.” Arden, the cruel doctor he is, agrees to perform electroshock therapy on her that’s actually really graphic and painful to watch. Much of AHS is so over-the-top horror camp, but this scene just seemed like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Scream 3 – Maybe some of these are more wincetastic than screamtastic, but I’m still going to put this next scene in the category. Jedd is a troubled boy (to say the least), whom his parents initially describe as “listless and moody.” At first, Dr. Thredson wants to attribute his unusual behavior to adolescence, and assures them that teenage years “can be a time of rebellion.” Oh Dr. Thredson –– so young, so innocent. Jedd’s father recalls his disturbing son’s actions in a flashback of gruesome images of Jedd covered in animal’s blood. He was “speaking a language no one could understand” as he was bent over, naked and eating a horse’s heart. Of course, he doesn’t have a demon inside him. He just suffers from teen angst! Thanks, Dr. Thredson.
Scream 4 – It was only a matter of time before there was an exorcism scene, and Jedd is the lucky recipient. Not only do Sister Judd and Monsignor Timothy Howard force Jedd into the exorcism, but also demand that Dr. Thredson assist it, who completely opposes the archaic and inhumane ritual — “It is 1964, for god’s sake, an exorcism? You can’t be serious?!” Apparently, the church is very serious. They require a doctor to be present at the exorcism, and he’s been chosen to witness the glorious event. As Jedd is strapped to his bed, the devil in him roars and releases an ominous, evil laugh, attempting to escape the confines of the hospital bed. His mere voice thrusts the priest up against wall, and he makes obscene gestures to Sister Jude, which brings back flashbacks of her own haunted past. (Apparently she unintentionally ran over a young girl.) After much resistance, the evil spirit finally dies, but unfortunately, so does Jedd.
Scream 5 – While I always knew Dr. Arden was uber creepy, he certainly sealed the deal on this one, making him, by far, the scariest character on the show. Yes, Dr. Arden, you beat Jedd, who just had an exorcism to rid him of the devil. The mad scientist invites a prostitute over for what initially seems like a harmless, candlelit dinner. As his house guest is preparing for the evening’s events in his bedroom, she finds photos of prostitutes he tortured and realizes she will share the same fate if she doesn’t take action. When Dr. Arden tries to force himself onto her, she knees him where it hurts, bites his arm, and escapes. Yea, girl! Give it to him!
Though this episode of American Horror Story was more heavy on the tricks than treats, this show is still as addicting as a Three Musketeers bar. Will Dr. Thredson turn to the dark side now that he’s assisted in an exorcism? Is there a love triangle going on between Kit, Lana, and Grace? Who is Dr. Arden’s next victim? I’ll be anxiously waiting for next week as I try to recover my voice from so many screams.