When Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story series premiered back in 2011, it brought back the idea of the horror anthology series. But unlike the 1950s and ‘60s era horror shows telling a self-contained tale each episode, each AHS season told a single standalone story. So when Murphy announced that for the show’s 10th anniversary, the season would tell two stories in AHS: Double Feature, fans were suspicious. Could the first story, “Red Tide,” actually secretly tie into the second, “Death Valley”? Fans think they may have found a connection, especially if it turns out the shady and fabulous Chemist worked at Area 51 before showing up on AHS. Let’s run down the theory.
Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story Season 10, Episode 4 follow. After three installments set in the present day, Episode 4 of “Red Tide” traveled back in time to show how Belle Noir and Austin Sommers initially got hooked on the black pills that stimulate their creativity. It all started years ago, when the Chemist (Angelica Ross) moved to Provincetown. She rented a summer home, looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way spot from which to do her work.
But unlike artists who come to P-Town looking for inspiration, the Chemist was looking for a new home base for her operations. She’d just left her job (in what she called a messy divorce) at a secret government facility where she’d been hired to develop a new drug for soldiers to make them more pliant. Instead, she’d accidentally developed an occipital lobe stimulator that caused the brain’s neurons to go into creative overload. The only problem was that the brain had to be creative in the first place for it to work. In the absence of talent, the drug drained the person taking it, turning them into blood-sucking zombies.
But what was the Chemist working with in the first place that helped her synthesize such a highly effective drug for brain stimulation? Anyone who has taken an anti-anxiety or antidepressant pill knows these things are deeply hit or miss. Scientific exploration into the brain’s functions here on Earth are still in their infancy.
But that doesn’t mean other, more advanced civilizations haven’t done the legwork already. Moreover, the one thing fans know about “Death Valley” is that it includes aliens. The connection is right there to be made. Was the government facility where the Chemist worked at Area 51? Could the compounds she was working with come from alien technology? Or is the Chemist herself an alien, feeding this drug to the humans around her for study?
The cast for “Death Valley” suggests Ross’ character could be the connection, as the actor is set to appear in both halves of the season. Of course, she’s not the only one. For instance, Sarah Paulson, who plays Karen in “Red Tide,” will appear as Mamie Eisenhower in “Death Valley.” Both Lily Rabe and Leslie Grossman will also appear in both, and it’s doubtful either will be reprising their roles from “Red Tide.” But until fans know otherwise, it seems like the Chemist is a good bet to connect the two stories.
American Horror Story continues with new episodes every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX and streaming the next day on Hulu.