TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode 8, 'Unholy Night'

The second season of the popular horror series, created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, is scheduled to air it's next episode Wednesday December 12th, exclusively on FX.

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Set in 1964, American Horror Story: Asylum takes us into a Church-run haven for the criminally insane, ruled with an iron fist by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange), a nun with a troubled past. Inside this locked down facility, danger lurks around every corner. From Nazis and serial killers, to mutants and aliens, no one is safe inside these walls.

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If you had issues with last season's American Horror Story Christmas episode, I assure you that Asylum has rectified that mishap. Ian McShane guest stars in what may be one of the most memorable episodes yet for the FX series by playing a psychopath dressed up like Santa Claus. From the very opening moments when we're treated to McShane tying up a couple in front of their Christmas tree and threatening to rape the husband -- you know you're in for a good time. McShane put on one of his best television performances ever and this is a man renowned for his work on HBO's Deadwood.

While Santa Claus is busy murdering people in flashbacks and the present day of course, Sister Mary (Lily Rabe) continues to do the devil's work. She's truly taken hold of not only the Asylum itself, but the entire show. You can't help but appreciate this character because although the motives are never clear, the fans are always in for a blast when the devil shines. There's a phenomenal scene where Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) gives Mary a Christmas Present and then tells her how the earrings belonged to a Jew in his death camp. He found that she'd swallowed the jewelry and then picked them out through her feces not before the earrings internally damaged her, eventually killing the prisoner from the inside. It's a disturbing tale and the first real conversation that Arden has had embracing his Nazi past.

The Bloody Face subplot has taken an intriguing turn now that Zachary Quinto's serial killer is being held hostage within the Asylum. Not sure how that's possible or can work in any way, but since everything in that place is chaos -- sure why not. After all it is run by a demonic nun and Nazi scientist with mutants in the basement and aliens in the attic. Speaking of aliens, what the hell are they doing? It's been eight episodes and we still manage to only see flashes of them as they strobe light their way into a scene and confuse us all by abducting someone.

But forget all of that -- Ian McShane is in the house and because Sister Mary is evil, she lets him don the Santa outfit one more time and lets the evil bastard loose on Christmas. There's a hilarious line that McShane says to another female patient sitting on his lap where he says, "Let's go ravage some elves and then suck on each other." Classic. It just might be my favorite episode of the season and that's because of McShane's infamous performance that I have no doubts will be talked about for a long time.

5 Stars

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange as “Sister Jude”, Sarah Paulson as “Lana Winters”, James Cromwell as “Dr. Arthur Arden,” Evan Peters as “Kit Walker,” Lily Rabe as “Sister Mary Eunice,” Lizzie Brocheré as “Grace,” Zachary Quinto as “Dr. Oliver Thredson,” and Joseph Fiennes as “Monsignor Timothy Howard.” Guest stars for the miniseries will include Frances Conroy, Chloe Sevigny, Adam Levine and Mark Consuelos. The series airs Wednesday nights exclusively on FX.