Past and present collide as the alternate history of an America that made a deal with the devil — ahem, that is, alien species — finally culminates in the creation of the perfect hybrid! So what comes next?
The strangest experiment yet in the history of “American Horror Story” came to a conclusion as the second part of Season 10’s “Double Feature” event concluded Wednesday night.
Timelines converged as we connected the black-and-white chapters set in the early decades of America’s deal with the aliens to the surreal present-day storyline about four kids being held by aliens after getting impregnated by them as part of their hybrid theory.
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That connection was made via a through character, namely Sarah Paulson’s Mamie Eisenhower. Her story came full circle by the end, in a way, as she became the beating heart of the whole four-part saga, and perhaps came to represent humanity in its entirety.
It quickly became clear that this half-season has been about the power of distraction to derail humanity’s positive potential. Faking the moon landing was about distraction from what the aliens have been doing for decades, as was the Vietnam war and even our smartphones.
We were a nation of dreamers, looking to the stars, and we threw it all away to share memes, as Jamie (Rachel Hilson) laments on the fake moon landing site. We allow ourselves to get distracted by petty squabbles and minor issues while the big picture flies right over our heads.
It’s a pretty heavy-handed message, drilled home repeatedly throughout this final episode, with the conclusion being that we’re just not that impressive a species, on the intergalactic scale. Sure, the aliens have had us beat in technology for generations, but it’s how we treat each other that really sticks in their craw.
We won’t open our doors for our human neighbors in need, Cody Fern’s Valiant Thor tells Mamie at one point, so why should they believe we’d ever welcome them. It’s probably true. We’d shoot first and ask questions never.
With this being the final episode, we suppose there are no chances that any of our questions will be answered, so we’ll instead focus on those WTF moments that we’re still thinking about. One of them is why this season was even run as a “Double Feature.”
Fans have been anticipating some connection between “Death Valley” and the earlier “Red Tide” since this format was announced, but it truly played out like a double feature at the theater, just two separate stories that happened to run back-to-back.
Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health via AP
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Jump onto social media on any given day and you’ll see people wondering what we’re being distracted from paying attention to with every new gadget, every new sensationalized news story (a la Gabby Petito). The theory is that this is our government’s way of pulling some shady stuff off while we’re looking the other way.
Murphy and Falchuk lean into this, suggesting that the Vietnam War and the moon landing were just two of the first in a long list of distractions designed to keep humans not paying attention to the large number of abductions happening as they try to create the perfect hybrid, and babymaking machine.
Valiant Thor certainly benefited from his relationship with Mamie Eisenhower. When Richard Nixon became reluctant to allow the war to destroy his presidency, he set up a wire tap on Thor’s office in the Watergate Hotel.
This new twist on the Watergate scandal had Mamie emerge from the parking garage as the infamous Deep Throat to sow a story of lies about the Democrats. Then, all it took was an alien probing to convince Nixon to resign and keep his mouth shut, if not his dignity or his legacy. Honestly, was there any point the aliens weren’t in full control?
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We know Murphy and Falchuk like to throw random things into their “AHS” soup each season, but nothing is more random than the inclusion of a second species of aliens. We’d been wondering what Valiant Thor was, as he appears to be human but clearly isn’t. Is he more like a pod person?
Well, apparently not, though for no reason whatsoever, there are pod people on the planet and Henry Kissinger is one of them. The fact that the writers did absolutely nothing with this except have Thor at the end declare, oh no, they’re cool, we can co-exist, made their inclusion even more flummoxing.
We learned nothing about them or why they’re on the planet. What kind of deal did they make with the bug-eyed aliens? Why are they on Earth? And still, what is Valiant Thor? He doesn’t age, and yet he has no alien qualities that we can tell. Is he a robot? Well, we’ll never know.
The Immortal Mamie Eisenhower
We already know the aliens have the ability to effectively retard aging and create human immortality. We’ve seen it with Calico’s story, and this week with our through-line character as Mamie shows up in the breeding facility all adorned in pink. She’s been awarded special immortality in exchange for living there.
There’s a sentimentality in allowing her to live there, but not have to be a breeder, and yet it appears that her relationship with Thor soured over the years. So how did they keep her alive forever? Is she still strictly human until the end? Is she like a pet to them?
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Apparently, the face-hugger nod in last week’s episode was a regression, suggesting that this is closer to what the aliens look like in truth. Theta explained that they’d not seen that particular hybrid variation for two cycles. And yet, she was so confident that they were close to the perfect hybrid? How, if they were going backwards?
Maybe because they were running out of time as this was the last episode. Regardless, her confidence was clearly at an all time high because after Jamie delivered one close to what they’re looking for, Theta went ahead and killed her.
If one birth can tell her that that particular human will never deliver the perfect hybrid, then how and why are Calico and the rest of the humans still alive? Killing Jamie made no sense in the context of what they’re doing.
Even more disturbing, though, is what happened after Kendall did deliver the first-ever perfect hybrid — which just looked like a human with bug-eyes. Her head was lopped off altogether, but then a giant silver ball with a tentacle chord replaced it, keeping her physically alive so she can pump out more babies forever.
Honestly, at this point with the kitsch factor through the roof, they should have just gone ahead and made it a disco ball.
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Ike was right all along. We’re not sure why Mamie was so on board with the whole alien thing to begin with, they’ve been creepy and controlling and demanding since they showed up, basically forcing Ike to sign the treaty or lose his wife.
Maybe Thor is just that good in the sack.
Finally, with the first hybrid born, he went ahead and told her the real plan, which is to wipe out humanity and replace them with these new hybrids so the alien species can carry on. Of course, it’s not the true alien species, either, as it’s a hybrid between them and humans. So in a way, both species are being wiped out to be replaced by this new one.
Oh, and they’ll share the Earth with the lizard aliens in human skin like Kissinger because why not throw in a pointless second alien species (as we covered above).
Realizing that she’d been tricked into betraying her own species (how did the aliens know how to make Thor so good in bed?), Mamie suddenly decided to turn hero and possible savior of humankind, with a harebrained scheme to try and buy them some time.
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The Final Twist of the Knife
Mamie pulled Calico into her scheme, and appealed to Theta’s human half after discovering that they hadn’t bothered to tell the doctor that they were wiping out humanity, either. Her plan was to kill the hybrid baby and Kendall’s body, thus setting back the project.
If they could then find a way to go public, maybe humanity could fight back. Of course, there are all those cat memes, so who really has the time to fight, you know? Like, what’s even the point.
It didn’t matter anyway, though, as Theta had the double-cross ready. She let Mamie get right over they hybrid with a knife before freezing her with a snap and laying that message at her doorstep about how humans don’t even help other suffering humans, so we’d never agree to share our planet (she’s right, though).
She then offers Calico the chance to be the mother to all the hybrids in exchange for all the babies she lost and Mamie’s cause was lost … right before her head exploded in all the same horrific glory of those early head explosions from the first couple of episodes.
And that’s how humanity’s reign ended. Not with a bang or a whimper, but with distraction and malaise.