Caught Between the Sea and the Sand: AHS Double Feature


Sofia Felan

After two years of anticipation, the tenth season of American Horror Story is finally here.

Lorena Acevedo, Staff Writer

TV Show: American Horror Story: Double Feature
Release Date: August 25, 2021
Red Tide-
Finn Wittrock (Harry Gardner), Lily Rabe (Doris Gardner), Leslie Grossman (Ursula), Ryan Keiran Armstrong (Alma Gardner), Angelica Ross (The Chemist), Sarah Paulson (Tuberculosis Karen), Evan Peters (Austin Sommers), Frances Conroy (Sarah Cunningham)
Death Valley-
Neal McDonough (Dwight D. Eisenhower), Mamie Eisenhower (Sarah Paulson), Kendall Carr (Kaia Gerber), Nico Greetham (Cal Cambon), Issac Cole Powell (Troy Lord), Rachel Hilson (Jamie Howard), Leslie Grossman (Calico), Angelica Ross (Theta)

Our Rating: C-

Over the past decade, Ryan Murphy has been bringing horror to households all over the world with his hit anthology series “American Horror Story”. With every season following a different storyline (with the exception of some crossovers) fans were thrilled to hear that the tenth season “Double Feature” would tell two different stories. The first set of episodes centered around vampire-like creatures and the second set about aliens.

Red Tide:

The end of “Red Tide” was really weird, I didn’t think it was anywhere near over. It left me feeling pretty dissatisfied,

— sophomore Gabriella Regurea

The season kicked off with “Red Tide” following struggling writer Harry Gardner and his family after moving to a Massachusetts beach town during the winter. Gardner crosses paths with famous authors Austin Sommers and Sarah Cunningham, who tell him their success came from a black pill. The pill promises to enhance your natural talent and make you into a star, but the side effects include a strong craving for human blood and if used by the wrong person can lead to their zombification.

Unlike the last few seasons, “Red Tide” was very serious in comparison to its campy predecessors “1984” and “Apocalypse”. The plotline lasted for only six episodes and advanced painfully slowly. This half of the season was nothing short of predictable as viewers were left questioning when something will happen rather than what. The horror aspect was met, not because of fear of the unknown, but because the anticipation of foreshadowed events leaves the audience feeling thrilled as the season progresses.

“Red Tide” had a very promising storyline but this is all thrown away in the final episode “Winter Kills”. Although the slow-paced progression of the season is a common complaint, the finale still managed to feel rushed. Just when the story reaches its climax the resolution happens rapidly and does not give some characters’ plotlines a proper end.

Death Valley:

“Death Valley” shifts back and forth between time periods. The past is shown in black and white, depicting Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency after the United States has its first encounter with aliens. The present-day storyline follows the camping trip of four lifelong best friends that later leads to their alien abductions. The appearances of historical figures such as Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart and Marylin Monroe are what makes this storyline stand out.

Much like with “Red Tide”, the ending of “Death Valley” is underwhelming, with an ending so sudden it seems random and provides little closure. The finale leaves countless plot holes and the endings given to some characters come across as lazy. “Death Valley” was filled with surprise and suspense, but four episodes were not nearly enough time to successfully develop a story.

“I thought “Death Valley” was way better than “Red Tide” but both of them had weird rushed endings,” sophomore Anabelle Gonzalez said.

One of the most unique things about “American Horror Story” is that although every season follows a different storyline, all of them are connected. The idea of having a season focused on aliens has been a fan favorite since the release of season two “Asylum” in 2012. “Asylum” dabbled in the alien storyline but left the fans wanting more. After the announcement about a season focusing on aliens, fans were optimistic this season would finally give “Asylum” closure but were quickly disappointed.

The amazing performances from cast members such as Ryan Keiran Armstrong, Sarah Paulson and Neal McDonough were the highlights of the season. Both storylines had promising beginnings but unsatisfactory endings.