|American Horror Story: Double Feature|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Original release||August 25 –|
October 20, 2021
American Horror Story: Double Feature is the tenth season of the FX horror anthology television series American Horror Story, created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Originally scheduled to premiere in late 2020, its production was delayed as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The season premiered on August 25, 2021. The season is divided into two parts: Red Tide, which takes place "by the sea", and Death Valley, which takes place "by the sand".
Returning cast members from previous seasons include Frances Conroy, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Adina Porter, Lily Rabe, Angelica Ross, Finn Wittrock, Denis O'Hare, Robin Weigert, Dot-Marie Jones and Cody Fern, along with new cast members Macaulay Culkin, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Neal McDonough, Kaia Gerber, Nico Greetham, Rachel Hilson, and Rebecca Dayan.
Critics for Double Feature were extremely positive about this season during its onset, with some declaring it as a return to form; and others praising it as the best season since Asylum. However, the finale of Red Tide received extremely negative reviews for its rushed, and abrupt ending; and Death Valley received mixed to negative reviews throughout, for its inconsistent storytelling, poor writing, and inconclusive ending.
Main article: List of American Horror Story cast members
See also: List of American Horror Story episodes
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|Part 1: Red Tide |
|104||1||"Cape Fear"||John J. Gray||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk||August 25, 2021||AATS01||0.93|
|Harry Gardner, his pregnant wife Doris, and their daughter Alma travel from New York City to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a three-month trip. Doris and Alma go on a walk and are stalked by a pale man in a trenchcoat. Chief Burleson assures the Gardners that Provincetown is a safe place and that they were likely rushed by an opioid addict. One night, Harry goes out to a local bar named the Muse where he meets Belle Noir and Austin Sommers, a famous erotica novelist and a playwright, respectively. Harry is delighted to speak with the two about art and inspiration, as he is spending his time in Provincetown reworking a pilot. Harry returns home and the pale man attacks him. Harry kills the man in self-defense. The next day, the Gardners plan to leave Provincetown for good, but before they go, Harry receives a call from Austin promising him a "cure" for his writer's block. Austin gives Harry a plastic baggie of black pills, also named the Muse. Harry is hesitant to take them, but downs one in front of Alma after a phone call with his agent encouraging him to stay in Provincetown and finish the pilot.|
|105||2||"Pale"||Loni Peristere||Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy||August 25, 2021||AATS02||0.58|
|The effects of the pill are immediate on Harry and he ravenously finishes the pilot in four hours. Harry's agent Ursula notifies him that his show has been bought by Netflix and Joaquin Phoenix wants to star in it for free. Soon after, Harry begins to develop a taste for blood and sucks on Doris's finger after she accidentally slices it open. Austin explains to him that the pill, which he has named The Muse, has the side effects of turning the "talentless" into monstrous pale creatures and creating a thirst for blood in people with talent so long as they keep taking it. A prostitute named Mickey with dreams of screenwriting debates taking the Muse, but a woman nicknamed Tuberculosis Karen by other Provincetown locals desperately advises him against it. Despite Karen's pleas, Mickey takes one. Alma, wanting to master a difficult piece on the violin, takes a pill from Harry's baggie. Alma later cruelly belittles Doris, accusing her of wanting to leave Provincetown because she's jealous of her and Harry's talent. Doris grounds Alma but later discovers Harry has allowed her to go on a walk by herself. Doris frantically searches for Alma and finds her in a graveyard devouring an animal.|
|106||3||"Thirst"||Loni Peristere||Brad Falchuk||September 1, 2021||AATS03||0.70|
|Ursula arrives in Provincetown to check on Harry. At the Muse, she insults Belle and Austin's performance. The next day, Mickey implores Ursula to read his scripts. Ursula is dumbfounded by Mickey's talent and he tells her about the pills. Mickey sneaks into Belle's house to steal some for her. Meanwhile, Belle and Austin discover Alma has taken the pill and threaten Harry at gunpoint. Belle orders Mickey to murder Ursula but instead he takes her to a meeting with the Chemist, the creator of the pills, to discuss wide-distribution of them. Later, the Chemist instructs Belle and Austin to kill Ursula, Mickey, Harry, Alma, and Doris for causing too much trouble. Harry discovers Alma has killed Chief Burleson and Ursula is aware of it.|
|107||4||"Blood Buffet"||Axelle Carolyn||Brad Falchuk||September 8, 2021||AATS04||0.61|
|Five years ago, the Chemist moves to Provincetown and pays Mickey to find test subjects for the pills. Mickey's friend Vlad, an aspiring singer, takes a pill and starts to feel sick. He confronts the Chemist after losing all of his hair and she tells him he cannot handle the effects of the pill because he has no talent. After also being introduced to the pills by Mickey, Belle Noir writes and finishes a book in one night and then kills her husband. Two years later, Vlad has transformed into a monstrous pale creature. Belle watches Austin lip-sync in drag at the Muse and proceeds to offer him a pill. That night, they go to the house of a fellow drag queen, and slaughter all of them except one. The surviving drag queen goes into the woods and Vlad jumps from behind and kills her.|
|108||5||"Gaslight"||John J. Gray||Brad Falchuk & Manny Coto||September 15, 2021||AATS05||0.64|
|Doris gives birth to a boy and is kept in a drug-induced haze by Harry, Alma, and Ursula to prevent her from finding out about the pills. Alma eventually reveals the truth to Doris and convinces her to take one. She succumbs to the disastrous side effects and Harry has to lock her in the bathroom after she attempts to kill their newborn, named Eli, for his blood. Meanwhile, Belle approaches Karen and orders her to steal the Gardner's baby. Horrified by a transformed Doris, Karen abandons her mission. She flees the Gardner's house and a horde of pale people corner her. Mickey appears and offers Karen an ultimatum; take a pill or be devoured by the pale people. Mickey leaves and the pale people swarm her until she takes a pill. The next day, Harry sets Doris free, letting her loose to roam Provincetown as a pale creature. At the beach, Karen attacks and feeds on Mickey, makes a painting, and then commits suicide by slitting her wrists and walking into the sea.|
|109||6||"Winter Kills"||John J. Gray||Brad Falchuk & Manny Coto||September 22, 2021||AATS06||0.73|
|Holden Vaughn, a renowned interior designer and member of the Provincetown city council, orders Belle and Austin to take care of Harry and Alma after Chief Burleson's corpse is discovered by a fisherman. At the Gardner's house, Harry tells Alma they must both quit taking the pills for good. In the midst of an ensuing argument, Eli is kidnapped. Harry finds a threatening letter from Belle in Eli's crib. Ursula rallies a horde of pale people while Harry and Alma confront Belle and Austin. Ursula guns down the pale people after they descend upon Belle's house and kill Belle and Austin. Next, Alma kills Harry and feeds on him. Three months later, Alma lives in Los Angeles with Eli, Ursula and the Chemist. At a university, Ursula introduces the pill to a class of writing students, while Alma kills a fellow finalist for a classical orchestra after he insults her. Moments later, chaos and violence ensues as the pill is distributed to the masses. Disapproving of Ursula's behavior, the Chemist decides to leave town with Eli.|
|Part 2: Death Valley |
|110||7||"Take Me to Your Leader"||Max Winkler||Brad Falchuk & Kristen Reidel & Manny Coto||September 29, 2021||AATS07||0.69|
|In 1954 Albuquerque, New Mexico, dust devils take form after a supposed visit by UFOs. Maria Wycoff's son is taken over by a mysterious presence and tells her not to be afraid. Leaving a golf game in Palm Springs, California, President Dwight D. Eisenhower heads to the desert with a military convoy to take a look a mysterious aircraft that was shot down by the Air Force. They also discover Amelia Earhart alive, but with mysterious marks on her back. She recalls how her plane's instruments malfunctioned, and claims blood was taken from her and things put in her. Doctors recover an alien body from the wreckage, but upon studying it, are attacked by a mysterious blob that kills both of them. In present day, a group of students, Troy, Cal, Kendall and Jamie; head out to the desert. They discover a lake that has been drained and a field of dead and mutilated bovines. After an encounter with a mysterious light, they all start to feel nausea and later discover all four of them—including the males—are pregnant.|
|111||8||"Inside"||Tessa Blake||Manny Coto & Kristen Reidel & Brad Falchuk||October 6, 2021||AATS08||0.48|
|In 1963, President John F. Kennedy learns from ex-President Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower that a secret alien treaty was signed during Eisenhower's presidency, which allows for 5,000 Americans to be abducted annually in exchange for alien technology. Kennedy plans to withdraw from the treaty and make it public, but is assassinated before he can do so. In 1954, an alien tells Eisenhower their goal is to adapt their offspring to survive Earth's environment so the species can go on. The first experimental alien newborn kills its human host and several doctors before Eisenhower shoots it himself. Mamie Eisenhower urges Vice President Richard Nixon to persuade her husband to make the deal. Ike confronts Mamie, but learns that her body has been taken hostage by an alien. In present day, Troy, Cal, Kendall and Jamie view the alien babies inside them through ultrasound at an OB-GYN clinic, when they are kidnapped by men in suits. Kendall briefly awakes and talks to a masked person. They reunite in a white room and meet a woman who has been experimented on multiple times over decades but has not aged. Troy panics and is taken to the masked person, who is revealed to be a hybrid human-alien.|
|112||9||"Blue Moon"||Laura Belsey & John J. Gray||Kristen Reidel & Manny Coto & Reilly Smith||October 13, 2021||AATS09||0.58|
|In 1954, Eisenhower struggles with the consequences of the signed treaty with the aliens. Three years later, more than 298 incursions have been observed, but no contact from the aliens has been communicated. They send a liaison, an android named Valiant Thor, to the White House, where he introduces a futuristic handheld computer. Some time later, Eisenhower discovers alien hybrids being stored in the basement of the White House, and later signs an executive order to have them moved to a facility in Nevada. Six years later, Eisenhower and Nixon accompany President Lyndon B. Johnson to the facility, where they meet Thor and shown a warehouse full of preserved hybrids. In present day, Troy successfully gives birth to a hybrid baby, but it is then killed by the aliens because it did not meet the correct specifications. He rejoins his friends a week later, and helps Cal with giving birth to his hybrid baby, without observation by Theta. Though successful, the newborn leaps up and starts chewing Cal's face.|
|113||10||"The Future Perfect"||Axelle Carolyn||Brad Falchuk & Manny Coto & Kristen Reidel & Reilly Smith||October 20, 2021||AATS10||0.58|
|In 1972, Nixon, now President, expresses frustration alongside Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about Thor's timetable lasting up to fifty years. Thor reassures them they have a lot of diversions planned to distract the public. Three years earlier, Eisenhower is on his death bed with Mamie by his side. He is offered immortality by Thor, but declines and is intent on dying. Mamie on the other hand, accepts Thor's offer. By 1979, she has faked her death and settled in Area 51, where she meets Calico. In present day, armed security enter Area 51 in search of Troy and Cal, who are both found dead. Cal's newborn attacks a soldier and they subdue it, but are in turn executed by Theta's team for their excessive force against the newborn. Jamie and Kendall search for Troy and Cal, but both go spontaneously into labor, and are restrained by Theta. After they both give birth, Theta has them killed, Jamie by her throat being sliced and Kendall beheaded, with her head being replaced by a mechanical device. Kendall's child was deemed to be the perfect hybrid and so her body will be used to birth more perfect hybrids; Theta reveals plans to clone Kendall's body and to shorten the gestation period to allow more hybrids to be born in less time. Mamie learns from Thor the extraterrestrial's plan to cause mass human genocide and take over the earth. Together with Calico, she attempts to stop Theta, but Calico betrays her as she is rewarded to become the hybrid's spiritual mother by Theta. In turn, Theta kills Mamie by exploding her head. Calico and Theta then deliver another "perfect" newborn.|
On August 3, 2018, the series was renewed for a 10th season, set to air in 2020. On May 26, 2020, it was announced that season 10 would be pushed back to 2021 due to production being stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the interruption, series co-creator Ryan Murphy told in an interview with TheWrap that the delay could potentially change the season's theme, since his initial idea needed to be filmed during the warmer months of the year. The following month, Murphy unveiled a promotional poster for the season via his Instagram account; the image features a wide-open mouth with razor-sharp teeth while a hand is tattooing "AHS 10" on the tongue. The tenth season has received an estimated amount of $48 million in tax credits under the California Film Association's "Program 2.0" initiative.[a] On March 19, 2021, Murphy revealed the seasons's title to be Double Feature; it will encompass two different stories, "one by the sea, one by the sand." Later, on Instagram, Murphy referred to "Double Feature" as "Two seasons for the fans airing in one calendar year[...] So double the viewing pleasure. One set by the sea (this cast has already been announced). A second by the sand (that cast announcement coming)." On June 24, 2021, FX released the first promotional poster for the season, depicting a female humanoid creature french kissing an alien with a black pill resting on her tongue. On July 6, 2021, FX unveiled a promotional video, disclosing new footage from their upcoming slate of television. The promotional video unveiled footage of the characters portrayed by Sarah Paulson, Leslie Grossman, Lily Rabe, Finn Wittrock, Frances Conroy, and Evan Peters, respectively. On July 27, 2021, the first official teaser was released on social media, confirming the titles of the two parts as Red Tide and Death Valley, respectively. Red Tide spanned over the first six episodes and Death Valley over the last four episodes. On August 13, 2021, the official trailer for Red Tide was released.
I'm excited for him to be in my world because I think... I'm gonna want to do a lot of things with him if he wants to work, because I think he's fascinating and interesting, and I think he has a soul. There's both a lightness and a darkness with Macaulay Culkin that I'm attracted to.
—Murphy on Macaulay Culkin's casting
In November 2019, Murphy announced that some cast members from the first three seasons may return for the upcoming tenth season, saying, "[T]he people who helped build this show into what it is, who believed in it from the beginning, have been contacted and are interested. So, if you look at the iconography of the first three seasons, you can figure who I've gone to and who might be coming back." He also said that the tenth season would be "about reuniting fan-favorite actors to come back." Later that day, Paulson confirmed that she would be returning to the series for its 10th season in a lead role. On February 26, 2020, Murphy published a video in his Instagram account revealing that Grossman, Peters, Rabe, Wittrock, along with Kathy Bates, Billie Lourd, Adina Porter, Angelica Ross, and series newcomer Macaulay Culkin were cast in the 10th season. In a May 2020 interview with E! Online, Murphy revealed that Culkin accepted his role after Murphy told him the character's personality over the phone. He affirmed, "I told him he has crazy, erotic sex with Kathy Bates and does other things. And he paused and he goes, 'This sounds like the role I was born to play.' So, he signed up right then and there." On November 18, 2020, Murphy announced the casting of Spencer Novich. On February 5, 2021, Conroy was confirmed to return in season 10, replacing the role Kathy Bates was to play. On March 20, 2021, Murphy confirmed via Instagram that former series regular Denis O'Hare would return for the first time since Roanoke. On June 15, 2021, Neal McDonough joined the cast as a series regular.
It was initially reported that production was scheduled to resume filming in October 2020; however, Rabe confirmed to Digital Spy that filming for the season would start on December 2, 2020. On July 20, 2021, it was reported that production has been temporarily halted due to a positive COVID-19 case and potential exposure to the illness.
The season premiered on August 25, 2021.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 80% approval rating, based on 61 reviews for the season. The site's critical consensus reads: "Though its second tale is still a mystery, the first half of Double Feature proves a spine-tingling good time with terrific performances -- especially from the spectacular Leslie Grossman."
Liz Shannon Miller of Collider gave a positive review, writing, "For 10 seasons now, American Horror Story has represented the wildest excesses of the Ryan Murphy brand — incredible casts, deliberately outlandish premises and plots, and experiments in form which explode the ideas of what's possible on television." The Post complimented the season, claiming, "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." IGN rated the season 7 out of 10, stating, "The first two episodes of the first half of American Horror Story: Double Feature start slow, but then amplify the intrigue with an interesting spin on vampires." Den of Geek rated the season 3 out of 5 stars, saying, "There are some very clever transitions between scenes, and the episode has good flow without getting slowed down during exposition dumps. The effects are used as appropriate punchlines, and American Horror Story is never shy about blood and gore when necessary. It (the half-season, not the episode) just felt a little too rushed, with too many ideas and not quite enough development."
In its tenth season, the series has been nominated for 2 awards, winning one.
|2021||Writers Guild of America Awards||Long Form – Original||Manny Coto, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Kristen Reidel, Reilly Smith||Nominated|
|2022||Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Commercials and Music Videos: Best Makeup||Kerry Herta, Christina Kortum, Alex Perrone||Won|
|1||"Cape Fear"||August 25, 2021||0.4||0.93||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|2||"Pale"||August 25, 2021||0.2||0.58||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|3||"Thirst"||September 1, 2021||0.3||0.70||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|4||"Blood Buffet"||September 8, 2021||0.2||0.61||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|5||"Gaslight"||September 15, 2021||0.2||0.64||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|6||"Winter Kills"||September 22, 2021||0.3||0.73||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|7||"Take Me to Your Leader"||September 29, 2021||0.3||0.69||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|8||"Inside"||October 6, 2021||0.2||0.48||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|9||"Blue Moon"||October 13, 2021||0.2||0.58||0.2||0.59||0.4||1.17|
|10||"The Future Perfect"||October 20, 2021||0.2||0.58||0.2||0.64||0.4||1.22|