American Horror Story: Double Feature (Red Tide) – Blood Buffet (Episode 4) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
American Horror Story: Red Tide blasts us into the past to see how the mysterious Chemist (Angelica Ross) came to Provincetown and turned it into a blood bath.
After last week’s episode dished out some big cliffhangers of Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) killing Chief Burleson (Adina Porter) for her blood and Belle (Frances Conroy) calling out some hits on some big characters, it’s a little strange that we suddenly get thrown back five years to see how these pills came to be. It just kind of breaks the momentum of the story and makes this episode feel like filler. However, it still provides some interesting origins that stem from the Chemist, whose name is still a mystery, arriving in Provincetown.
Unlike most of her customers, the Chemist moved to Provincetown to focus on her scientific endeavors in opening the creative parts of people’s minds. She’s just as calculated and dominant in this introduction as when we first met her last week and perhaps there is something to her own creativeness in her scientific work that that’ll make her the queen of these bloodsuckers. She’s the true centerpiece in Provincetown becoming filled with bloodsuckers and this episode delves into each person becoming a customer of hers.
Mickey (Macaulay Culkin) isn’t too far off from being the charismatic prostitute that sells his body for drug money we’ve mostly known him as, but he plays a pivotal role in the pills becoming distributed throughout Provincetown. Although he denies the Chemist’s offer of the pill, Mickey ends up being a big recruiter for the Chemist as he lures those hungering for fame and fortune and who show a little bit of possibly undiscovered talent to the small black pill. He lures faces, both familiar and new, and we get a little more backstory on Belle and Austin’s (Evan Peters) relationship as well as who these pale bloodsuckers are.
Belle has been seen as a powerful matriarch figure for Provincetown, but it’s interesting that things weren’t always that way. She was once a subservient wife in a deteriorating marriage trying to make her dreams of becoming a well-acclaimed novelist come true. Her novel of, I think, a sexy reimagining of George Washington and his wife is definitely a cringy dud, but her husband’s remarks are just plain cruel, and it makes sense that she’s so drawn to the pill since it completely empowers her. It’s actually really cool to see Belle become the calculated and devilishly devious we’ve seen her as and even bring that sense of empowerment to Austin, who is doing drag karaoke to make some cash, and bring him under her wing.
As for the pale bloodsuckers, we get to see the beginnings of their transformation through a wannabe singer (Spencer Novich). The unnamed singer, referred to the Chemist by Mickey, goes through a crazy transformation sequence that’s really amazing to watch since we have gotten much about the pale people. From seeing their aggressive behavior begin to form to them getting those big, daunting jackets from Lark (Billie Lourd), it’s really awesome to see this transformation unfold throughout the episode. The Chemist also delivers one of the hardest truth bombs ever when explaining to the first pale bloodsucker why they are changing. It’s absolutely brutal.
As a whole, there are cool parts to seeing these origins play out, but it doesn’t necessarily feel necessary. A lot of the things here felt pretty obvious, and I do question why the pale people turn if the side-effects are only temporary for those with a creative mind. Could be an irreversible side-effect of someone not worthy taking the pills, but it’s a little unclear.
Necessary or unnecessary, American Horror Story: Red Tide feels the need to explain itself as it delves into the Chemist turning Provincetown into a haven for bloodsuckers and delves into the origins of some of the characters we’ve met. It’s an origins episode that doesn’t always provide the most surprising of reveals but does have some pretty awesome moments pertaining to the origins of the pale people and Belle’s rise to power.