The evolution of the human race concluded on Wednesday with the breathtaking finale of American Horror Story: Double Feature, an hour as rich in gore and twists as in stunning, timeless caftans. And if that’s not this entire franchise in a nutshell, then what is?
The fourth and final episode “Death Valley” began in 1972, with Nixon’s presidency in ruins as the American people demanded an end to the Vietnam War. The president’s loyal adviser, Valiant Thor, reminded him that the war was just a temporary distraction to keep the public from noticing how many Americans were kidnapped. “Distractions can come in many forms,” he explained, promising that he has a “full menu of distractions” planned ahead of the first successful alien-human hybrid, expected to be born in 2021.
Eager to remove Nixon from office and keep him quiet — but not looking to tarnish their hands with a messy murder — Mamie and Valiant conspire to have him deposed, with Ike’s widow passing on some Watergate information to a young reporter named Bob Woodward under the alias Deep Keel. (“It’s from that filthy movie,” she told Valiant. “I thought it was the last name everyone would believe I would take.”) But even the threat of a lawsuit wasn’t enough to make Nixon back down, so Valiant intervened by giving the president a “simple medical procedure.” You or I may have used the word “probe,” but who are we to question the alien’s mysterious ways?
Mamie managed to get Nixon to step down, but her ultimate mission was far from over – and we’re not talking about her passion project to make Evacuation Day possible. “It’s time for another dignified exit from the stage,” she announced, coming seven years later as news of her “death” was reported nationwide. In reality, she would live on in the bowels of Area 51, where she would celebrate the next 42 birthdays with her new bestie Calico.
Then came 2021 and everything changed. After Cal and Troy’s brutal death at the hands (and tentacles) of Cal’s alien spawn, Kendall and Jamie were told that An of their babies was destined to be the perfect one. Like the most exciting game show in the universe, both contestants — er, moms-to-be — went into labor immediately, with Jamie and her baby… getting the chop. Kendall’s baby, on the other hand, was the big winner. “This child is the creation!” Angelica Ross’s character (apparently named Theta) cried out at birth. Unfortunately, Theta did not hold such a high regard for the child’s mother, especially when she began to paraphrase Shakespeare about her. So Theta made a simple IT request to remove Kendall’s head, making her nothing more than the “perfect breeding machine.”
News of Kendall’s messiah with the eyes of the bugs quickly spread through Area 51, as did concerns about the aliens’ plans for their now obsolete ships. And Theta did nothing to allay Mamie’s concerns by revealing that the aliens planned to wipe out the remnants of the human race in order to restore balance. As for the “other” alien race, the reptiles Ike had talked about before he died, Valiant explained that they plan to share the planet with them; despite being “cold-blooded and hideous”, at least the reptiles have the technology and resources they need, rendering humans practically useless.
Desperate to prevent Valiant’s plan from coming true, Mamie turned to Calico for a risky revolution, thinking they had Theta’s blessing in killing Kendall’s baby. “An immoral act becomes moral when it is done in the service of all humanity,” Mamie – sorry, make that “Mamie Goddamnit Eisenhower!” – she said to herself as she lowered the scalpel. That’s when Theta dropped the act, froze Mamie in place, read her to filth with a talk about how people are too selfish to share, and her brain splashed across the wall.
The episode then came to a curiously abrupt end when Calico helped Theta deliver the next perfect copy. And we like that for her.