"American Horror Story: Asylum" got off to a very slow start, but over the past two weeks, the story has picked up its pace and deeper character connections are finally being made. The glances into the past lives of the characters have revealed some incredible acting talent within the cast. Last season, the most exceptional performances came from Jessica Lange as Constance and Evan Peters as Tate. This season, while Lange and Peters are as brilliant as ever, there is some new, mind-blowing talent rising to the surface. Here are three stars who have produced amazing performances this season.
Lily RabeProbably the most surprising talent to emerge from "American Horror Story: Asylum" is Lily Rabe. Last year, she played murder house resident Nora Montgomery. Her role was relatively small, but she has taken the lead in a big way this time around.
Playing Sister Mary Eunice, she began as a timid, rule-abiding nun. Her shyness led to some comedy moments that drew her into the hearts of fans. However, she then became possessed by a demon, and since then, she has been even more fun to watch. What makes Rabe stand out is that she is sort of playing two roles in one. She has very subtle nuances, and you can sometimes see a glimmer of her former self in her eyes. She is fast becoming the one to watch, and it will be exciting to see how this character progresses.
Sarah PaulsonLast year, Sarah Paulson was quite the con artist, playing Constance's medium, Billie Dean Howard. In a complete switch from her first character, she now plays Lana Winters, a journalist who was initially sent to the asylum for being gay. When we first saw her, she was a sparky, full-of-life reporter who intended to "out" Briarcliff as the cruel, sick place it is. However, she was committed instead, and although the life was slowly sucked out of her, she still managed to keep hold of the belief that she would get out and write her story. She really came into her own after she was kidnapped by Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto). Like Lily Rabe, Paulson can express the slightest change in emotion without giving it all away, and her portrayal of fear has been one of the best of all the actors on the show.
Zachary QuintoDuring last season, Quinto was one of the former residents of the murder house, who went on to haunt the place with his boyfriend. He later became obsessed with taking Vivian Harmon's (Connie Britton) demon child and tormenting the Harmon family mercilessly. This year, Quinto plays the deeply disturbed Oliver Thredson. He came to the asylum as a psychiatrist, easily gaining the trust of the patients with his caring, mild-mannered ways. However, he held onto a dark secret. After sneaking Lana out of Briarcliff, she quickly deducted he wasn't as pleasant as he seemed, and he then revealed a lifetime of mommy issues had turned him into a murderer.
What's brilliant about Quinto is that there wasn't even a moment when it was obvious who he really was. Not until the last second. Once that switch was flipped, Quinto showed both sides of Thredson's personality in such a way that it was hard to know whether to pity him or be terrified. We choose the latter.
One thing the creators of "American Horror Story" always do well is casting. They have once again got it spot on. Along with the always amazing Jessica Lange, these three stars have been the ones to watch so far.