American Horror Story: Double Feature (Red Tide) – Thirst (Episode 3) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
As new bloodsuckers change the power dynamics within Provincetown, American Horror Story: Red Tide sees the tide change in who’s controlling who as new personalities enter the picture.
Last week’s cliffhanger of Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) taking the pill and gnawing on rabbit for its blood sends everyone into a spiral in Provincetown and Doris (Lily Rabe) to the hospital because of all the craziness. With her being bed-ridden for the episode, Harry (Finn Wittrock) is pretty direct with Alma about taking the pill and the way their discussion goes is pretty shocking. Obviously, Alma is hooked on the success she finds from the pill and isn’t afraid to do anything to keep this success, but damn is she vicious. It’s likely that her youth and ambition make her blind to other aspects of life, but, my god, what is her deal with hating Doris like this. Once again, she says that she’s a bad mother and a terrible wife and it’s just kind of odd because there’s sort of no reason for this. Maybe this is the pill giving Alma this sense of artistic entitlement like we saw with Harry last week? Perhaps, there could also be some unresolved tension between Alma and her mother, possibly stemming from past miscarriages that Doris has had that are mentioned while we’re in the hospital.
Regardless, Alma now puts Harry in a tough spot and forces him to be a better father. Even though Harry can’t live up to going cold turkey for the sake of Alma not taking the pills anymore, he doesn’t exactly approve of Alma using the pill. Wittrock’s performance adds some genuine concern and slight fear given that he’s watching the same ego he has in Alma. This fear for Alma doesn’t change much though as his narcissism and addiction to the success is still driving him and now makes him have to protect Alma by retrieving extra blood for her. This pill has ended up costing more for Harry than a simple thirst for blood and we that play out this entire episode.
Harry legitimately runs the entire American Horror Story gauntlet this episode as he traverses escaping would-be victims that end up trying to put him in one of their snuff films as well as Belle (Frances Conroy) and Austin (Evan Peters) not trusting him anymore after they learn of Alma taking the pill. The snuff stuff is an odd staple to this series and is just as vile and horrifying as you would expect and full of sweet vengeance with Harry gaining the upper hand and spilling their blood. As for his issues with Belle and Austin, things are far from resolved and there are major power struggles that occurs as Harry’s agent Ursula (Leslie Grossman) comes to Provincetown and heavily shakes things up.
For most of her short appearances up until this point, Ursula has just been that ruthless manager-type that we’re used to seeing. However, her arrival in Provincetown shows her as something so much more and blows things completely wide open. Her uncaring and direct way of speaking ends up creating a lot of fun tension between her and Belle after she critiques Belle and Austin’s singing. She also becomes “close” with Mickey (Macaulay Culkin) after he hands her scripts her wrote that make her suspicious of what’s happening in Provincetown. It’s really amazing how one week ago it seemed like Mickey and Tuberculosis Karen (Sarah Paulson), who’s MIA is episode, were going to be leading the charge against Belle and Austin and they still might, but Mickey quickly falls back into his underling role by doing Ursula’s bidding.
Ursula’s arrival in Provincetown ends up creating greater ripples than anyone, me especially, could’ve ever thought. Although its not surprising to see her turn the pills into a business opportunity after Mickey tells her about them, it’s crazy how it sets up this bloodthirsty war we’re about to see unfold. With just one day in Provincetown, Ursula has uncovered a secret that could change her career, become a big threat to seemingly untouchable entities, and uncovered the secret chemist (Angelica Ross) behind the pill. With this Chemist, it seems like she’s the one really in charge of Belle and Austin since they need her to make their pills and it means that another change in the power dynamic has occurred. Another big change in power happens with Alma killing Chief Burleson (Adina Porter), which was a total shocker, for her blood. Burleson also seemed ready to make a stand against Belle and Austin, but in true American Horror Story fashion, she’s cut down at an unexpected time. The power in Provincetown shifts into new hands and with there being a lot of kill orders being dished out by Belle, there’s about to be a war that could end up killing a lot of heavy hitters.
Blood is about to spill all over Provincetown as the power dynamics shift as Alma’s thirst for blood makes her do something drastic to satisfy her hunger and the arrival of Ursula could spark a war that could get messy fast.