It's allll happening again. The crassness. The perversion. The contempt for the laws of God and nature. And that's just Adam Levine in the first five minutes. Yes, Our Show is back, and nobody's the same. It's 1964 in New England, and Kit Walker (played by Season 1's mopey undead teen Evan Peters) is working at a gas station and surreptitiously married to an African American girl. One night, she heads for the kitchen for some post-coital munchies, and while she's gone, aliens descend and the lights get bright and gravity inverts and probe-ables get probed.
Meanwhile, at Briarcliff Manor for the criminally insane, Jessica Lange is the morally rigid, sadistic Sister Jude; Lily Rabe her quivering understudy Sister Mary Eunice; Joseph Fiennes the kindly Monsignor Howard; and James Cromwell the man of science Dr. Arden. And since this is American Horror Story and the show's motto is still "Show everything, all at once," no time is wasted on speculation. Might Sister Jude hold a torch for Monsignor Howard? Her heavy-breathed fantasies of straddling him in red lingerie say YES. Think Sister Eunice might have a dark side? Well, she's into getting whipped and secretly in cahoots with Dr. Arden, who -- and I know you were wondering -- is absolutely experimenting on patients and removing their brains in order to study the nature of human evil. No more questions? Good.
So into this madness steps Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters, inquisitive reporter (with a secret lesbian partner at home, played by Clea DuVall) ostensibly writing a story on Briarcliff's dual role as sanitarium AND successful bakery (!!), but really she's there to get the goods on a newly-arriving patient who is said to have murdered three women, wearing their skin on his face, and thus earning the moniker "Bloodyface." When Bloodyface is led into Briarcliff in shackles, we see it's our alien-abducted friend Kit! Kit maintains his innocence (it was the aliens, man!), not that Sister Jude believes him, and he's introduced to the rogue's gallery of inmates, including Chloe Sevigny as "Shelly the Nymphomaniac," Mark Consuelos as the aggressively unpleasant Spivey, and Lizzie Brocheré as the seemingly kind and helpful Grace. (All this, and we don't even see top-billed Zachary Quinto in this episode at all, by the way.)
So Dr. Arden abducts Kit from his room on his first night and intends to experiment on his brain, while at the same time Lana gets Sister Eunice to sneak her into the asylum so she can find Kit and get her story. Lana gets attacked by... something, while Dr. Arden discovers an implanted microchip in Kit's neck... which proceeds to sprout arachnid-like legs and scurry away, so there's THAT running loose in this hellhole now. The next morning, Lana wakes up strapped to a bed, and Sister Jude informs her that rather than let her leave and report what she's seen, she went and threatened her live-in ladyfriend with exposure (she's a schoolteacher) unless she signed the papers to commit Lana for treatment of her unnatural inclinations. So Lana will be staying for a while.
Oh, and there's also a framing story in the present day, where Adam Levine and Mrs. Channing Tatum are taking a sex-and-horror honeymoon tour of sites of famous atrocities, so obviously they're in the ruins of Briarcliff. You know how this goes: they have sex on an operating table, they find a secret door, something tears off Adam's arm, and as Mrs. Channing runs down the corridor, she comes face-to-face with the flesh-mask-wearing Bloodyface!
Featuring Doubt, as performed by Jessica Lange and Lily Rabe; the Multiple Miggs scene from The Silence of the Lambs, as performed by Mark Consuelos, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe; and selections from the Beasts of the Southern Wild score for no goddamned reason.
Previously on American Horror Story: A whole other story entirely that will have no bearing on Season 2, but just know that it was BANANAS.
Currently: Despite everything we may have heard about this season taking place in the 1960s, we begin in the present day with a pair of Lovers played by the self-satisfied cheekbones of Adam Levine and incredibly fortunate Jenna Dewan-Tatum. They're wandering around the trash-strewn brambles surrounding some sort of condemned building, though the camerawork is so tight that we can never get a good look at the place. Still, there's an abandoned baby doll hanging from a tree in the woods, so you tell me what kind of place it is. Adam -- or "Leo," I guess -- is taking Jenna's (Teresa's) photo and being all, "Oh babe, you're so sexy." He exposits that they're on the last stop of their "Haunted Honeymoon Tour," so we know this is an infamous locale of some renown. As happens to most happy couples in stories such as these, the danger gets them horny and Teresa beckons him inside, as he starts singing "Here comes the bride," because she's his bride and he's about to make her come. With his penis and stuff.
Inside, Leo and Teresa explore and mack and deliver some much-needed exposition. Seems Briarcliff started out as the premier tuberculosis ward on the East Coast. 46,000 died within its walls. "They shuttled the bodies out via an underground tunnel called the death chute," Theresa says, before making Leo promise to do her in the death chute. Um... so to speak. More kissing, more exploring, more expositing. The Catholic Church bought it in '62 and turned it to a sanitarium for the criminally insane, earning a reputation for not letting anyone out. Its most famous resident was a serial killer named "Bloody Face," and what a coincidence, the lovers pass a crude graffiti of Bloody Face. They're both so glib about it! If only something harrowing would happen to them! Leo finds an operating room of some kind -- judging by the restraints on the gurney and the equipment in the room (still), this was where the electro-shock was administered. Theresa immediately wants to be strapped down to the chair and that's where they start doing it. I can happily say I've now seen Adam Levine lick his fingers as a lubricating strategy, so thanks for that. She stops him mid-thrust, because she hears a noise and she's getting off on the thrills even more than she is on him at the moment, so she wants to go see what it was. Maybe it's Bloody Face! She's so insanely horny by the spookiness of it all that she excitedly tells Leo she'll totally let him put it in her ass. You guys, I have missed this disgusting show. They come upon a door that's locked, but there's a mail slot, and she calls him a pussy until he sticks his arm inside to investigate. He pretends something's grabbing at him to get her to jump, which of course sets her engine revving all over again. She decides the sensible thing is for him to reach inside with his phone, to get a better look around and while he does that, she will offer moral support in the form of a blowjob. (Yes, yes, "oral support," fine.) And so they do, in one of the best ideas anyone can have while in a haunted asylum. Alas, we'll never find out if Adam Levine is a screamer or not (he is, come on), because something reaches out for him from inside the room and grabs ahold of his arm. He screams, she screams, the camera gets really hyperactive, and in one rather exhilarating flourish, whatever it is rips Leo's arm clean off. Theresa screams her way into our opening credits! Yay!