So I finished my mini-marathon of the second season of American Horror Story today, and I’m wildly confused about my feelings. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it, but I’m not entirely sure I know why.
The biggest issue I faced, as I watched all the many (and I do mean many) plot threads being tied up over the final two episodes, was the realization that I wasn’t even necessarily sure what the show was actually about. I mean, I could tell you the things that happened, but from a narrative sense, things happen are just that – things that happen. They aren’t the story itself.
Here are some things that happen in American Horror Story: Asylum:
* The staff of an asylum run by the catholic church in the 1960s commit horrifying acts against their patients.
* A doctor, who turns out to be a nazi escaped from Germany, performs hideous experiments on patients, turning them into crazed mutants.
* Following an exorcism, a nun becomes possessed by a demon or maybe even the devil.
* Space aliens are kidnapping mothers, fathers, and their babies for purposes we’re never entirely clear about (though it’s maybe to make them awesome jesus children).
* A serial killer tries to pin his crimes on an innocent man, but also kidnaps a woman and impregnates her with a child who eventually grows up to be a serial killer himself.
* A maniac dresses up as Santa, murders some folks, and then gets sent to the asylum so he can be a central part of a very special Christmas episode.
These are all things that happen. There are more things that happen. They are all crazy. There is very little consistency. Those aliens I mention? They show up a few times, then disappear forever without ever really having a reason for being there. Why are they there? I don’t know. Why was Santa killer there? I don’t know. None of these things make much sense, and none of them seem to have much to do with what the show was about.
And what was the show about, anyway?
Well, I’m still not sure I know, but looking at the final moments of the final episode, I feel like it was maybe about a woman who was ambitious – too ambitious, of course, because this type always is – and it was about how much she was willing to put herself through, how much she was willing to survive and how much she was willing to sacrifice in order to get what she wanted. This woman, who stepped through the doors of the asylum at Briarclliff Manor, in order to tell the tale of Bloody Face (the serial killer), and who got so much more. But who, in the end, got all of the fame and celebrity and money that she wanted. And who, in the end, seemed perfectly content with that trade.
That’s what I’d say it was about. But then, who knows, that’s just a guess. Your guess is as good as mine.
Crazy fun show, though.
Heavy on the crazy.