While an exorcism is attempted on a disturbed teenager, Lana, Grace and Kit attempt to escape Briarcliff.
The horrors in the first season of American Horror Story were mostly of the ghostly variety (although it did include spree killing, miscarriage, adultery and—worst of all for Daily Mail readers—negative equity). In the second season, the horrors seem more real world, with the scene where Lana (Sarah Paulson) is subjected to electroshock therapy perhaps more terrifying than anything the masked killer ‘Bloody Face’ does (and he scores two victims, one in the present and one in 1964, right at the top of this episode).
The exorcism of teenage Jed hits all the expected notes, recreating the high points of William Friedkin’s movie (except for the pea soup vomit). It’s great to see E.R.’s John Aylward introduced as Father Malachi, but he seems to disappear from the action just as quickly. The demon possessing Jed interrogates Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude, leading to a flashback revealing something of her wanton past. As Jed dies, however, it seems the demonic presence may have found a new home in Sister Eunice. She also appears to be the object of obsession for demented Dr Arden (James Cromwell), given his taste in prostitutes.
Finally, Zachary Quinto arrives this episode, as a psychiatrist who is required to evaluate Kit Walker’s mental state. Given the conditions he finds at the institution, he may have more than just the one patient to contemplate. His outrage seems odd, however, given his past Nazi connections set to be revealed in a future episode…
Verdict: A solid second entry, with a plot that moves forward at a fast pace…
Episode 2 ‘Tricks and Treats’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb