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American Horror Story: Double Feature premiered Aug. 25 on FX. (Photo provided via @ahsfx on Instagram)

TV Review: ‘American Horror Story: Double Feature’ has potential for one of the best seasons yet

Though there have been some classic seasons of American Horror Story, including but not limited to Murder House and Coven, the 10th installment of the anthology series is shaping up to be on par with the best of them. 

The first two episodes of American Horror Story: Double Feature, appropriately premiering back to back Wednesday, Aug. 25, certainly grabbed the attention of audiences. 

Following the Gardner family, the first half of Double Feature, called “Red Tide,“ takes the audience to the sleepy seaside town, Providence. The father, Harry (Finn Wittrock), mother, Doris (Lily Rabe) and daughter, Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) are excited for the new opportunities that await them in Providence. For Harry, it’s writing a hit television show; for Doris it’s completely redesigning the house they’re staying in; and for Alma, it’s continuing her peaceful practice on the road to a violin virtuoso. 

That is, until Doris and Alma are chased down and almost brutally attacked by a strange looking man – who, side note, represents a more modern and realistic looking Nosferatu. 

After this happens, the family considers leaving – especially when the strange men begin to multiply and stalk the Gardner house, eventually breaking in and attacking Harry. However, Harry quickly gets sucked in by the fame and success of fellow town-goers Austin Summers (Evan Peters) and Belle Noir (Frances Conroy). They introduce him to a pill that opens up his mind and enhances his artistic abilities, but in exchange for taking it and receiving such high praise, he must feed on human blood. 

Though he doesn’t know about the catch before taking the pill, he soon realizes he doesn’t want to go without it. Then, upon seeing her father take the pill and reach success, Alma decides to take a pill and instantly is able to play better than ever before. 

In terms of side plot, Sarah Paulson as Tuberculosis Karen and AHS newcomer Macaulay Culkin as Mickey are facing some of their own issues, including drugs, a back-and-forth struggle with taking the “muse” pill that Harry took and more. Summers explained it best when referencing Tuberculosis Karen: 

“Good lord, it’s like a modern Les Mis over there,” Summers said.

Without spoiling more, the first two episodes are extremely promising. The strongest asset is the duo of Rabe and Wittrock, with Peters and Conroy’s eccentric duo coming in a close second. There’s even a fantastic vocal duet between Peters and Conroy that just about makes the entire show. 

Additionally, it’s rare we see Paulson in a role that isn’t glamorous or heroine-esque. Her performance is already heartbreaking and terrifying, so it’ll be exciting to see what else she does during the show. Culkin’s performance is also fantastic and very different from anything we’ve ever seen before.

The vibe of the show is almost more of a movie style and more professional-seeming than any other season so far. Not only are there incredible acting and technical moments, but the writing seems more polished and original than the more recent seasons of the show – especially the fresh take on a vampire plot. There’s a lot of hope for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk to make this season fantastic. 

American Horror Story: Double Feature airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. 


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