(This article contains spoilers for “American Horror Story: Double Feature” through the episode that aired Sept. 22)
The first five episodes of “AHS: Double Feature” were really, really great, and the fans couldn’t get enough. The season was shaping up to be maybe the best season of “AHS” ever, and certainly the best in a long time. But this week, the finale episode of “Red Tide” — the first half of the titular double feature — had a lot of folks changing their tune.
Before this week, “Double Feature” had been surprisingly serious and not really the insane camp-fests that the last few seasons had been. That shift toward a more serious tone paid off — even I, somebody who would have given up on this show a long time ago if I didn’t cover it for work, was having a great time with it.
The “Red Tide” finale episode, dubbed “Winter Kills,” carries a much sillier tone and rushes through the end of the story that had to this point been a slow burn. The main character (Finn Whitrock) was dead by the midway point — eaten by Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), who gets away in the end. And then the story moves to LA for what amounts to an extended jokey postscript in which the Chemist (Angelica Ross) and Ursula (Leslie Grossman) try to sell the black pills to up-and-coming writers in Hollywood. The joke being that the pill doesn’t work for any of them, and the city ends up wrecked.
I didn’t hate this episode. I’m all about that Ryan Murphy craziness as long as the story stays mostly coherent, and it did manage that. Mostly. It’s weird that they would introduce that new cop and have her declare that she’s going to avenge the Chief (Adina Porter), and then never show up again. But that declaration is what sparks the massacre at Belle Noir’s house, so it does make plot sense. It’s just weird to introduce a character like that and then not follow up.
But I might be an outlier on this one, because the responses from fans on Twitter have not been pretty. You can catch a sampling below.
There was also a recurring sentiment — that maybe last week’s episode would have been a better finale than what we ended up with. Or, to put it slightly differently, it might have been better to not have an ending than to have an ending like this one.
“AHS: Double Feature” isn’t done just yet, of course, because we still have the second half of that double feature starting off next week. My assumption, based on the teasers, is that what we’re going to get next is a prequel to “Red Tide” — you don’t really think it’ll be unrelated, right? — about the origin of the black pills. But I’m probably completely wrong.