I finally finished watching Season Two of FX’s series American Horror Story. I’d been watching it on Netflix ever since I got rid of cable tv. I will admit that when I started watching season two I couldn’t really get into it. I think that that’s because I was still attached to the characters and storylines of season one. I think that’s more of a testament to the great acting and writing of season one rather than a slam against season two. So, I ended up taking a break from the show and when I returned I found myself emerged into it once more.
I love the idea of the series being an anthology style show with each season being a compleltely seperate storyline but using the same actors in different roles. When I was growing up in the 80’s a lot of shows like Tales From The Crypt and Outer Limits were my favorites, which were also anthology styled programs.
In season two the setting is Briarcliff, an asylum run by the Roman Catholic church somewhere in Maine. I was glad that the writers decided to break away from the archetypes of horror in this season. Although the whole haunted house idea was handled in a unique way in season one, I think the series would burn out quick if each season was yet another archetype.
What really drove this season is the characters and their internal and external conflicts. In this season the character t hat really stood out to me was Sister Jude, played by Jessica Lang. At the start of the season we meet Sister Jude when she’s in charge of the asylum’s daily operations. She runs Briarcliff with an iron fist, dolling out corporal punishment with an dominatrix’s dream choice of crops and rods. Her sadistic side is fully displayed when she catches Lana Winters, a journalist obsessed with the serial killer Bloody Face, trespassing in the asylum and incarcerates her in Briarcliff against her will. Sister Jude even goes so far as to blackmail Lana Winter’s lover into signing documents to secure her at the asylum and subjecting Lana to electroshock therapy. Despite her cold as ice demeanor Sister Jude does has a softer side, albeit one more on par with lust of a carnal and power nature, which is displayed when she has dinner with the spineless worm of a man who’s the monseigneur of Briarcliff.
With that all being said Sister Jude is the kind of character I’d you usually love to hate and would expect to be killed off by another character during the climax of the story. Yet that is not what happens with her. I love the fact that the writers went in a different direction with her character. Instead she was subjected to having the tables turned on her and ending up a patient at the asylum and subjected to the cruelty she often doled out on the patients. That may have been enough just deserts for most characters, but instead Sister Jude ends up redeeming herself by aiding in Lana Winters escape, the journalist who ends up ending Bloody Face’s reign of terror as well as exposing Briarcliff’s corruption to the public and getting it closed. Toward the end of her life she ends up helpping to raise two young children of a former patient as well.
Sister Jude’s story is a great story of redemption and is just one of the many plot lines in season two, but for me it is the one that really stood out.