For its first nine seasons, American Horror Story has been a seasonal anthology series. Even when there’s a significant twist in the series (looking at you, 1984), the story each season tells is a single thread, following the same group of characters. But after Season 10 was delayed an entire year due to the 2020 filming shutdown, creator Ryan Murphy announced it would be a two-part affair. American Horror Story: Double Feature’s first six episodes are dedicated to one story, called “Red Tide,” and the back six to another, titled “Death Valley.” But will AHS “Red Tide” and “Death Valley” connect? It’s not an impossible scenario.
Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story Season 10, Episodes 1 and 2 follow. From the posters, fans knew that one of the two stories would be about aliens and the other would be about what looked to be vampires. The alien motif dominated most of the pre-release images, along with early footage of oceans and beaches.
The latter, it turned out, was part of “Red Tide,” although the “vampires” the story hinted at weren’t exactly your traditional bloodsuckers. Instead, the series is about creative artists who hit a mental block and turn to a strange drug, a black pill that unlocks their creativity. Unfortunately, side effects include a desperate need to drink the blood of innocents, as creatives feed off the lifeblood of other’s experiences — metaphorical vampires, if you will. Meanwhile, those who take the drug and do not have the spark of creativity are turned into zombie husks, trying to feed off humans, but less because it feeds their imagination and more because they are desperate to live again.
How on Earth will that relate back to aliens, especially in what is very obviously a 1950s era period piece? It’s hard to know, but the thing about AHS is that, despite the outer appearance of different stories every season, there are tons of connections. For instance, the first season, Murder House, has come back and back again over the last nine seasons and even was a significant thread in AHS’s first spinoff, American Horror Stories.
It’s an easy thing to do, mainly because Murphy reuses the same stable of actors over and over throughout the seasons. He’s doing it again with Season 10. The cast of the second half includes Sarah Paulson, Neal McDonough, Kaia Gerber, Nico Greetham, Rachel Hilson, Lily Rabe, Rebecca Dayan, Angelica Ross, Leslie Grossman, and Cody Fern. Paulson, Rabe, Grossman, and Ross are all part of the “Red Tide” cast, with Ross playing the pivotal role of the chemist who created these little black pills. With the poster showing the vampire slipping a black pill to the aliens, could her role be a crossover?
American Horror Story: Double Feature continues with weekly episodes arriving every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX.