Asylum started in the present day, where a couple of horndog honeymooners (played by Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan) are getting their freak on at the site of the long-abandoned Briarcliff Manor. Alas, they make the fatal mistake of digging too deeply into the haunted institution’s dark corners, with grisly consequence.
Cut to the ordinary circa-1960s existence of filling station wonk Kit Walker (played by Evan Peters), whose return home to the embrace of loving wife Alma is interrupted by blinding lights, deafening noise, laws of physics run amok and glimpses of otherworldly beings.
We then meet Lana, a reporter arriving at the hustling, bustling Briarcliff ostensibly to do a fluff piece on their in-house bakery. In truth, she’s really there to get the skinny on their newest patient, “Bloody Face” (aka Kit!), who’s accused of wearing masks made from the skin of his decapitated murder victims — Alma included.
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Upon becoming wise to Lana’s agenda, Sister Jude gets the journo ejected from the premises. Lana later sneaks her way back inside thanks to an assist from “stupid!” Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe). But soon enough she is caught (or grabbed) again, and this time with harrowing ramifications: She is admitted, against her will, as a patient. And once Sister Jude strong-arms Lana’s lesbian lover Wendy into keeping mum, there Lana will stay, to get what can only be described as the ultimate “exclusive” on the asylum’s unorthodox ways.
Elsewhere at Briarcliff we met Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell), a scientist who performs experiments on patients that tend to… disappear. Next on his table is Kit, from whom, during his exam, he extracts a small, hard, flat object… that then sprouts legs and transforms into a robotic, Falling Skies-ish bug, which scurries away. What?
Other characters that were introduced: Monsignor Timothy Howard (played by Joseph Fiennes), of whom Sister Jude is fiercely protective and about whom she has sinful fantasies; Shelley (Chloe Sevigny), the asylum’s resident nympho fluent in “French and Greek”; and Grace (Lizzie Brocheré), a longtime patient who shows Kit the ropes upon his arrival.
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