American Horror Story: “Winter Kills” Review

Following an episode that saw a tragic fate for Doris and Harry losing the last semblance of humanity, the finale of the “Red Tide” half of AHS: Double Feature went all out to conclude its story.  Or at least that’s what it attempted to do while haphazardly abandoning storylines that went nowhere.

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned

Grim Discovery
As a fishing boat goes out to see, it discovers the decomposing body of the police chief that Alma killed several episodes ago.  This causes an already pretentious HOA in Provincetown to be interrupted by a police officer who vows to get to the bottom of this murder.

It’s clear that the town has always been aware of the pill situation, but overlooks it for the prestige it brings to their reputation.  But what’s really frustrating about this scene is that it seems to go nowhere.  It sets up what could have been an interesting plot point, but abandons it.  And that seems to be the theme in this “finale”.

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There was no point to devoting a chunk of this episode’s runtime to a plotline that wasn’t going anywhere.


Final Showdown
After much back and forth, Belle finally takes Harry’s newborn son hostage in an attempt to mitigate all the damage and visibility that he and Alma have brought to their town. And while it’s a tense moment when Nick first discovers the ransom note, the resolution is faster than expected.

Ursula devises an admittedly brilliant plan to use the monstrous untalented vampires against Belle, and it works.  The scene itself is brutal and bloody, enough for any bloodthirsty horror fan.  But with that plotline over and settled, there’s still 30 minutes in this episode and not much left to tell.

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It’s definitely the best sequence of the season overall.


Epilogue
The entire second half of “Winter Kills” deals with Ursula, the chemist, and Alma back in Los Angeles as the pills are pushed on Hollywood itself (after turning on Harry for trying to stop taking the pills).  It drives home the Ayn Rand inspired theme that only some are talented and the rest are inferior.

To be fair, this season was clearly critical of the morality of this idea, but it certainly rewards those who did evil things in the name of self-proclaimed greatness.  Ironically the most cold hearted of all of them, Ursula, is someone who very likely wouldn’t be talented enough to benefit from the pill itself.

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Truth be told, Hollywood agents are bigger bloodsuckers than vampires!


Given that this “finale” is tied as the shortest episode of the series, why wasn’t this entire Hollywood epilogue its own full episode?  The whole point of Double Feature was to tell two compelling stories.

And while this story was certainly interesting, it felt like it was trying to cram the usual amount of material that a 12 episode season has into just half that runtime.  It abandons storylines, leaves characters without any real resolution or conclusion (we’re looking at your TB Karen).

It just begs the question if the two halves of a season were warranted.  Between this and American Horror Stories, it seems that this series is trying to move away from longer form stories.

There were certainly times that the older season dragged, but they always ended with a poignancy that was only achieved by giving us characters we really connected with and followed through everything.  “Red Tide” just never really got going enough to do that, despite being a legitimately cool storyline and premise.

What was your favorite part of this episode?  What did you think of Red Tide overall?  Let us know in the comments!

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