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American Horror Story recap: Let the gaslighting games begin

Lily Rabe on the set of AHS
Lily Rabe stars as Doris Gardner, as seen in Episode 5 of American Horror Story: Double Feature. Pic credit: FX

This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Double Feature returns to the present day after a delicious — but bloody — detour back to find out how the black pills were created in Episode 4.

Along the way, the backstory for Belle Noir (Frances Conroy) and Austin Somers (Evan Peters) was also explored.

Now, let’s head straight back in to find out what is happening with the Gardners since the events that unfolded in Episode 3.

Doris gives birth — cue the celebratory shots

The episode opens with Doris Gardner (Lily Rabe) in labor. A healthy boy is born, but Harry (Finn Wittrock) struggles with all that glorious blood surrounding him.

Not to worry, once the baby is born, he can sneak the used rags into the bathroom and squeeze them dry for the bloodiest line of shots ever. *Gags.*

Seriously, the grossest thing ever. (And that’s saying something as horror is my favorite genre.)

Things are weird at home

Doris wakes up, and she’s at home, but things are all a little… off. Ursula (Leslie Grossman) is there to “help out,” as Harry puts it.

Doris is confused as to why they are at home and not in the hospital — or back in New York, for that matter.

The official story is that she is at severe risk of post-partum hemorrhaging, so they’re just going to hang in P-Town for a few weeks longer. But, let’s face it, each episode has had Doris wanting to leave; she needs to realize they are stuck there for the long haul.

Honestly, though, when she finds Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) sucking the blood out of her baby brother later on, perhaps she should have just been firmer all those weeks ago when they first rocked up in Provincetown. But, it’s too late for all that now.

Later, Harry loses his mind after discovering his daughter has been feasting on his son.

Alma literally has zero f**ks to give though and compares baby blood with the effects of the black pill. She then goes on to say that they don’t even need Doris around anymore either because she is just the worst kind of sociopath.

Let the gaslighting being

Ursula then steps in and starts gaslighting Doris about all her strange dreams of late, especially the one about Alma eating her brother.

And, boy, does she really let it all hang out. I mean, it’s what Ursula does best, after all. But, really, does she need to give Doris wifely advice along with telling her to drop the baby weight as soon as possible?

Doris is very quickly starting to unravel and gets truly unhinged once sweet dear little Alma brings her daily pills because mixed among them is a black one.

And, she’s seen them before. Calling Harry, she insists that Alma is trying to poison her. And, seriously, no lies are detected here.

So, the gaslighting continues until Alma admits she did it on purpose.

While she may have been all for killing off her mom, Alma now reveals all and tells Doris to take the pill so that she can be just like them. I mean, Doris is talented, right?

Well, we don’t know yet because Doris throws the pills and runs out into the street with the baby.

She is immediately confronted by a group of crick-boned vampires ready to drink her blood and Harry can easily convince her to come back inside where it’s “safe.”

Alma changes tactics

With Doris refusing to take the pill, Alma totally shifts things up by playing the sweet little daughter, and I don’t buy it for a minute.

However, she works her charm on her mother and points out all the wonderful things that are available should Doris take the pill. Doris digs her heels in, though, riding the moral high ground.

Alma won’t be swayed, though, and Doris ends up taking the pill.

Harry, Ursula, and Alma then step out for a literal bite to eat. And, didn’t I just know it? Alma is back to her mommy-hating ways.

Need a ride?

Things are looking up for Mickey (Macaulay Culkin) now that he’s popped the black pill and become a successful screenwriter. So, he offers to give TB Karen (Sarah Paulson) a lift in his impressive new ride.

“You look really ridiculous, Mickey,” says the woman who likely hasn’t bathed since 1984.

She still takes the ride, though.

Mickey offers her a job, but she doesn’t want to pay the admission price and asks him to pull over. Honestly, though, she’s a gifted artist, she could have taken the job without popping the pills, surely?

Belle puts the hard word on TB Karen

To make herself feel better, Karen takes to the beach to do some paintings. Belle, however, turns up and totally puts a further damper on Karen’s mood because she wants the Gardner’s baby, and she wants it now.

Once the cricky-boned ones turn up, she has no choice in the matter, it seems.

But, no, she decides she is going to rescue that little baby and keep it safe from Belle.

It’s baby-snatching time!

Karen finally convinces Mickey to help her steal the baby, which is a good thing because I’m pretty sure now that Doris has taken a pill too, things are about to get super-dangerous in the Gardner house.

Doris hears them break-in, and, oh, isn’t she feeling super sick. It doesn’t stop her from getting out of bed to protect the baby, though.

When Doris confronts Mickey and Karen, though, that’s when the true horror is revealed — Doris is becoming one of the cricky-boned vampires. And, didn’t I just suspect this was Alama’s plan all along?

Karen gets so strung out when she realizes this that she takes off running, not even caring about the baby now. If she really wants to protect the infant, this would have been the perfect opportunity, but, no, she takes off running.

Which is hard when you have lung disease.

The nasty vampires smell her out and close in, but Mickey shows up just in the nick of time.

Nope, just kidding. It’s Mickey’s hard sell on the black pill.

Karen still says no, and he leaves her there to be devoured by the vampires. However, Karen takes the pill at the last minute and they quickly disappear.

Doris is very suddenly anti-baby

Now that Doris is transforming into a talentless vampire, she has an eye to do in her own baby.

However, Harry returns just at the right moment to stop her from actually stabbing her child to death.

He is horrified and shocked to see what has happened to Doris, but he gets his head together soon enough to lock her in the bathroom before he totally loses his s**t.

However, he doesn’t have time for that because Alma and Ursula are there ‘fessing up that it was all entirely their plan. Just like I thought, they wanted to get rid of Doris all along.

It also doesn’t take Harry that long to get on the same page as them. Finally, they put a jacket on Doris and sent her outside to roam with all the other ghouls like her.

Karen is having a really bad day

Now that TB Karen has taken the pill, she is back at Mickey’s freaking out. Mickey manages to talk her down, though.

Then, they head to the beach where Karen can paint her masterpiece.

Except Karen has different plans. Yes, she’s going to create that masterpiece, but, first, she’s going to kill Mickey and drink his blood.

Once she is done, she sets about painting. When finished, she slits her wrists and walks into the ocean. And, I wonder if this is how American Horror Story will somehow segue from vampires to aliens?

Ursula has a plan

Ursula still has big plans to create an empire and heads off to The Chemist’s (Angelina Ross) house with Alma in order to set this plan in motion.

I’m not so sure The Chemist is going to be up with this plan as back in Episode 3, she wanted all of these new complications arising involving Harry and his friends dealt with in the most permanent way.

But, viewers won’t be able to find out — or what happened to Baby Gardner — unless they tune in to next week’s episode of American Horror Story, which is set to be the culmination of Part 1 of Double Feature.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

Rachel is an avid watcher of television and a reader of all things related to binge-worthy TV shows. In addition to her TV addiction, she also likes to research the Viking Age and has written...read more

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