FX’s American Horror Story
Directed by John J. Gray
Written by Brad Falchuk & Manny Coto
* For a recap & review of 10×04, click here.
* For a recap & review of 10×06, click here.
Very, very interesting to watch Harry witnessing his wife Doris giving birth; all that blood! He gladly snips the umbilical cord, though tries to shake off the clear cravings he’s having for some of that delicious sanguine snack. He manages not to do anything crazy. Yet. When he gets the chance, after Doris passes out for a sleep and everyone’s out of the room, he rings out all that bloody linens from his wife’s delivery. Then he slurps down the blood potentially mixed with amniotic fluid and other secretions. What does it matter to a vampire? Blood’s blood, baby!
Poor Doris isn’t well after the birth. She’s home, but not well. Plus she’s got a bunch of creeps around her, including Ursula, who’s in on the black pill vampirism, and her own daughter Alma, who may or may not want to bleed and drink the baby dry. She’s not happy to realise they’re still in Provincetown, either. Rightfully so, and she doesn’t actually know the half of it. Meanwhile we see Tuberculosis Karen getting a ride with Mickey in his new car. He’s hit it big on the black pills. She wants to go painting. Mickey suggests Karen come work on his movies and they’d be a “power couple” in Hollywood. Yet she knows the “price of admission.”
At home, Doris wakes up and sees Alma having a gentle suckle on her infant sibling’s ankle. She passes out immediately, horrified. The next morning Alma gets a stern talking to from her father, upset that she had “just a sip” from her baby brother. She doesn’t seem concerned, whereas Harry makes clear there’s no feeding off family. But Alma would get rid of her own mom if it was up to her. Harry tells his daughter if anything like this goes on again she “won‘t see another pill.” Luckily everyone can gaslight Doris about what she saw, passing it off as hormones and what not, a dash of postpartum psychosis. Ursula does her part to help destroy Doris’s mental health while she keeps an eye on the artistic bloodsuckers.
Doris finds her daughter’s bite marks on the baby, so she knows what she saw was real. She actually tells Alma about the supposed “bad dream” she had, though doesn’t elaborate a whole lot. Alma delivers a handful of pills to mom, but Doris calls out to her husband, asking Harry about the black pill along with them. More accusations of hysteria from Ursula. But then Alma cuts through the bullshit, telling dad she wants mom to take a black pill and be like them, revealing everything. Harry doesn’t want his wife to do it. Alma encourages her mother, but Doris tosses it, grabbing her baby and running into the street only to find those bald creeps waiting. Harry’s right behind his wife to take her home safely, though.
At the beach Karen’s painting the landscape. She’s surprised by a visit from Belle, who’s looking for her. She gets shit on a bunch by Belle before being charged with an errand. Belle wants the Gardner baby. But Karen says she can’t do that. Then the bald creepers come out, lurking nearby, and Belle will turn them on Karen if she feels so inclined. Belle insists she’ll have a pure child to feed off, or else Karen loses both eyes. Goddamn, lady.
Back at home we see Doris grabbing a pair of scissors before heading downstairs, where Holden’s been criticising her interior design work and laughing with Harry. Everyone’s there to gaslight her together.
Karen goes back home and rages at Mickey. She doesn’t want any part of Belle’s madness. All Mickey has is an offer of pills to fix things. Karen says she wants to steal the Gardner baby, to save the child, and she wants to get clean, to take care of the baby. I mean, the kid would probably be better off, considering it’s in a house of blood-drinking maniacs.
While Doris is breastfeeding she has a talk with her daughter. Alma says that baby blood’s the best blood. Doris tells her daughter not to feed on any babies, especially not her brother. The girl agrees, saying she doesn’t want to lose their family. A change of heart? Not really. Alma just wants Doris to take the black pills and be like her. Or, maybe she does think her mom will become one of the pale creeps. “It‘s not okay to hurt people just to be good at something,” Doris says.
And still, she chooses to take a pill.
The artistry starts to flow through Doris. She’s working nonstop in bed. Except she isn’t well. She gets sick. Does she have real talent? Or is she actually just mediocre, and now those pills will make it painfully clear? Oh, man. I worry for Doris. Harry, Ursula, and Alma go for food and leave a sleeping Doris alone, unaware that Mickey and Karen are headed to break into the Gardner house. Mickey and Karen get inside and head upstairs quietly, coming upon an ill Doris, now beginning to go bald; fuck!
Karen rushes off without taking the child, winding up surrounded by a bunch of the bald creepers. She’s saved by Mickey. But he says he has to leave her to the creeps, unless she takes a pill. Karen refuses, so Mickey leaves her, in spite of his love for her. He leaves her with a pill, too. She takes the pill at the last minute, only to save herself.
The pills continue to wither Doris away. She shaves the rest of her head. After that she gets herself a knife from the kitchen. Then she heads back upstairs, ready to stab the baby, when Harry stops her. He’s shocked to see her in such a state. She’s barely able to communicate, almost fully transformed into one of those mindless creeps. She tries to rush for the baby again with the knife and Harry has to lock her out to stop her. Alma admits she told her mother to take the pill, and that Ursula helped; they knew this would happen to Doris. Very nasty stuff.
At the same time Karen’s worrying about the effects of the pills, angry at herself for taking one. She’s hungry, too. Not good. Mickey thinks they should find someone who “deserves it,” so it’s not as hard for Karen, but she doesn’t want to hurt ANYBODY. Karen’s scared she’ll become one of the bald creepers, sure that she’s cursed. Mickey tells her to paint and see what she’s capable of, then it’ll all make sense. Though not until she feeds.
Great moment when Harry reveals the way he truly feels about his family and his work. He used his “family man” life to fall back on, only because he wasn’t successful. Now that he’s successful he doesn’t quite give a shit about his family anymore. He says he’s “outgrown” Doris. He’s going to toss her out like trash because he’s getting famous and believes she would never have been able to deal with it in the first place. American Horror Story: Red Tide is certainly tackling issues that are prevalent in the entertainment industry, particularly given the horrors we’ve seen from many famous men over the past handful of years. Harry’s one of them, willing to use up and discard his wife, or any woman I’m sure, who gets in the way of his success. Tragic to watch Harry let Doris out into the street, to wander perpetually as a bald creep, feeding off random tourists.
At the beach, Karen shows Mickey her favourite view. He makes clear that if she wants her own Starry Night she has to feed. She knows that’s true. And she bites into Mickey’s neck, feeding off him rather than a stranger. Immediately after she’s done she gets to painting. When she’s finished her painting she walks towards the ocean and cuts open her veins, before she walks out further into the waves. The one character, apart from Doris, who I didn’t want to die has now been literally washed away. So sad.
Across town, Ursula and Alma are going to see the Chemist, wanting to make a deal for the pills so she can turn more people into vampires for the service of Hollywood. On their way they see Doris out feeding in the graveyard, biting into an animal.