Some aspects of the childbirth process are extremely beautiful. The part where the husband wrings his wife’s blood out of her soiled linens and drinks it from tiny bathroom cups, however, is not one of those aspects.
Yet that’s exactly how Wednesday’s episode of American Horror Story: Double Feature begins, with the bittersweet arrival of Harry and Doris’ new
blood bag baby. “We’re more than OK,” Harry assures his extremely concerned wife. “From now on, we’re going to be great.” (Again, I cannot stress this enough — he drank her soiled linens! This is far from great!)
As expected, things only become less OK for the Gardner family. Like when Doris says she feels dead and Harry replies, “Not quite.” Or when Doris walks in on Alma sucking her baby brother’s blood from his foot. Things are aggressively not OK at this point.
But if you’re looking for remorse, don’t look to Alma. That little HBIC is merely proud of herself for how well she plays after drinking baby blood, and she couldn’t care less about freaking out her mother. “I still don’t understand why you keep her around,” Alma says. “We’re trying to be great at something, daddy. People like her just want to get through the day. We want to live deep.” (At this point, the tortured artist metaphor is the maple syrup to this show’s flapjacks — and it’s being laid on real thick.)
Ursula manages to convince Doris that she dreamt the whole ordeal — she also throws in some casual body shaming for good measure — but her plan falls apart when Doris notices teeth marks on the baby’s leg. Rather than keep Doris complacent with more lies, Alma goes rogue and tells her everything. She even offers her mother a pill, which Doris outright rejects… at first, anyway. After Holden reads Doris’ “basic Pottery Barn bulls–t” designs for filth, Alma is able to convince her that maybe taking the pill isn’t such a bad idea.
Unfortunately, Doris soon discovers that she isn’t quite as talented as her husband and daughter. Hell, that days-old infant could probably furnish a house better than her. Either way, Doris’ body soon begins the process of transforming into, as Holden would say, “one of those pale, strange homeless creatures wearing the AIDS-era couture.” And she does not wear it well.
Harry is able to stop Doris from murdering his new blood supply — sorry, I mean baby — but the damage is done. To add insult to injury, Alma even admits that she and Ursula purposely gave Doris the pill knowing that she wouldn’t be talented enough for it to work. (Seriously, that little girl is an absolute savage. I know I’m not supposed to root for her, but I’m also terrified not to.) As a way-too-smiley Harry and Alma watch Doris 2.0 wander into the streets, a smug Ursula spouts this bit of wisdom: “There is nothing more tragic, pathetic and sad than a person with no talent trying to make it in the world.” (I’m sorry, that’s the lesson we’re supposed to take away from all of this?!)
The episode ends with Ursula bringing Alma to meet with the Chemist, hoping that her little girl charms will help broker a deal. (Maybe Ursula shouldn’t mention Alma’s taste in bunnies and babies, just to be safe.) On their way, they encounter a fully zombie’d-out Doris, and it’s honestly more sad than it is scary.
Speaking of things both sad and scary, we must discuss Mickey and Karen. The episode begins with things looking up for the former, who’s now been given the responsibility of launching an entire Speed Racer cinematic universe (the dream!), but the latter has never been lower. But just to prove that things always can get worse, Belle demands that Karen retrieve the Gardners’ baby, lest she lose her only protection from the… you know… the creatures.
Karen refuses, and she even manages to convince Mickey to help her “save” the baby, but the plan goes up in smoke when they encounter Doris mid-transformation. They manage to escape, but a swarm of bloodsuckers soon surrounds poor Karen on the street. Mickey only offers to protect her if she takes the pill, ditching her when she once again refuses. “I love you, Karen,” he tells her. “You’re my muse. You’ll be the heroine in every story I ever write.” This is intended to be his final goodbye, as he leaves her to be devoured by the untalented masses — so she takes the pill!
Optimistic viewers are probably imagining a scenario where Karen fulfills her potential, traveling to Los Angeles with Mickey and taking Hollywood by storm. But long-time American Horror Story viewers are realists at this point, and we know better. So we’re only a little surprised when Karen rips out Mickey’s throat on the beach before slitting her own wrists and walking into the ocean.
To paraphrase the great Avril Lavigne, so much for their happy ending!
Your thoughts on this week’s episode? Your hopes and predictions for what little of Part 1 remains? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.