Tricks and Treats (American Horror Story)

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"Tricks and Treats"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 2
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by James Wong
Featured music
Production code 2ATS02
Original air date October 24, 2012 (2012-10-24)
Running time 44 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Welcome to Briarcliff"
Next →
American Horror Story: Asylum
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Tricks and Treats" is the second episode of the second season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on October 24, 2012 on the cable network FX. It is written by James Wong and directed by Bradley Buecker.

The episode mainly focuses on an exorcism performed on a teenaged boy (Devon Graye) and three patients' escape attempt. Chloë Sevigny guest stars as Shelley. This episode is rated TV-MA (LSV).



Teresa (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) runs from Bloody Face, trying to save Leo (Adam Levine), but winds up back in the room where Leo had gotten his arm ripped off. Through the door slot, she watches as Bloody Face repeatedly stabs Leo, then begins pounding on the door.


Wendy (Clea DuVall), regretful of her decision to sign her partner, Lana (Sarah Paulson), over to the Briarcliff Manor Sanitarium, resolves to recant her signature and free Lana. Before she can, Bloody Face kills her in her own home.

At Briarcliff, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) takes Lana's secret notes about the asylum. Lana retorts that she can still remember what has happened to her, prompting Sister Jude to ask Dr. Arden (James Cromwell) to give Lana electroshock treatment. Asked to assist in administering the electroshock, Sister Jude is disturbed by the violence of the resulting treatment. In the woods, Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) asks Dr. Arden to tell her the identity of the creatures in the woods who savagely eat the meat she prepares for them. Later, Shelley (Chloë Sevigny) offers herself to Dr. Arden in return for fifteen minutes outside. He rebuffs her, calling her a slut and a whore, leading Shelley to argue that women face a double standard with their sexuality, and that she was committed by her promiscuous husband who hypocritically forbade her from engaging in extramarital sex.

Lana continues to secretly document her experiences, now doing so because her memory is impaired by the electroshock. Lana develops a sexual attraction to Grace (Lizzie Brocheré) and reveals to her that she knows of an escape route: the secret tunnel she first entered the asylum through. Grace agrees to assist her on the sole condition that Kit (Evan Peters) be taken with them, which Lana refuses, stating that she cannot allow a serial murderer like Kit to go free.

At his home, Dr. Arden hires a prostitute (Jenny Wade) to dine with him, sternly demanding that she behave docile and ladylike. He then demands that she change into a nun's habit. While she is changing, she discovers a box containing photographs of bound and mutilated women. Dr. Arden finds her with the photos and menacingly blocks her escape from the room. She manages to escape by attacking him and flees.

Kit is evaluated by a state psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto), to determine if he is insane or fit to stand trial. Kit reiterates that he is sane and believes the aliens to have killed those women, and that the third decapitated and skinned body is not Alma. He believes she is still alive because he saw her while he was being examined by the aliens. Dr. Thredson diagnoses Kit as insane, and before leaving, speaks to Sister Jude about the horrendous conditions at the asylum that he has witnessed during his visit. She rebuffs him and goes to attend to a family who has brought their son to the sanitarium. Dr. Thredson bursts into her office, offering his assistance to the parents as a professional psychiatrist, much to Sister Jude's displeasure.

Their son Jed (Devon Graye) has begun exhibiting violent behavior, speaking in tongues and disemboweling their livestock, but then is unable to remember what he has done. Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) and Father Malachi (John Aylward) arrive to perform an exorcism on Jed, and Dr. Thredson is shocked at the idea, informing him that he will report the sanitarium to the proper authorities. Monsignor Howard instead asks Dr. Thredson to join them, as an exorcism requires the presence of a certified doctor.

The exorcism begins, and Sister Jude is dismissively told to leave the room, for "it is no place for a woman", much to her displeasure. Father Malachi is flung against a wall and Jed begins screaming in Latin. The possessed boy reveals personal details about each of the participants' lives and flings objects around the room. Jed secretly taunts Sister Jude, revealing that she was previously a promiscuous, drunken bar singer by the name of Judy who hit a young girl (Chelsey Valentine) while driving one night, and never reported the crime. We also learn that she slept with 53 men and secretly thinks about Monsignor Howard when masturbating. The chaos of the exorcism causes the power to fail and Lana and Grace make their escape. Grace refuses to leave without Kit, and they both run to find their own way out. Lana screams for the guards, sabotaging all of their chances at escaping.

The possessed Jed goes into cardiac arrest. Before he dies, he stares directly at Sister Mary Eunice. She is flung backwards, knocking her unconscious. The next day, Dr. Arden visits her, concerned, though he eyes her scantily-clothed body. When she awakens, he tells her he is embarrassed seeing her out of her habit. She apologizes and covers up with a sheet, saying that she feels comfortable around him. When he leaves, she throws the blanket off, mysteriously shaking a crucifix on the wall.

Lana is brought into Sister Jude's office. Sister Jude tells her that she understands the sacrifice Lana took to sabotage Kit and Grace, and as a reward, allows her to watch the two receive a caning for their escape attempt. Lana is disturbed by the spectacle and apologizes to Grace, who angrily rebuffs her. Before Grace can be caned, Kit offers to accept both of their punishments instead (20 caning for each of them). Sister Jude taunts him but accepts his request.


Rotten Tomatoes reports a 100% approval rating, based on 10 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "AHS: Asylum's characters become more fully formed in an episode that refuses to contain its gleeful insanity and wandering plot."[1] The episode garnered praise from CraveOnline and The Washington Post.[2][3] ScreenRant commented that the story line for season two was more cohesive, but that "it simply cannot decide what it wants to be" and it's aware that "it wants to be everything at once".[4]


  1. ^ "Tricks and Treats – American Horror Story: Asylum, Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ "AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM 2.02 'Tricks and Treats'". CraveOnline. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Chaney, Jen (October 25, 2012). "'American Horror Story: Asylum': 10 questions about 'Tricks and Treats'". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "'American Horror Story: Asylum' Episode 2: 'Tricks and Treats' Recap". ScreenRant. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 

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