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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

An eerie take on motherhood: Episode 1 of ‘American Horror Story: Delicate’

The new season’s debut episode “Multiply Thy Pain” shows the potentially dark sides of motherhood and the lengths that some women will go to become mothers.
Promotional poster for “American Horror Story: Delicate,” which is now streaming on Hulu. (Photo courtesy @ahsfx on Instagram)

“Unto the woman he said, ‘I will multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children…’” 

                              — Genesis 3:16

This excerpt from Genesis serves as the thematic thesis for the new season of “American Horror Story,” setting the tone for what’s about to come for viewers. Vanderbilt students can watch “AHS: Delicate” on Hulu for a discounted price.

“American Horror Story: Delicate” is a revolutionary season within the AHS universe for a few reasons. This season is the first without Ryan Murphy as showrunnerHalley Feiffer has come to take his place. Additionally, it’s based on the novel “Delicate Condition” by Danielle Valentine, making “Delicate” the first ever season of the program to be based on outside source material.

These choices make for an interesting tone within the season. As “Delicate” focuses on motherhood and fertility struggles, perhaps it’s more appropriate that the creative team consists of more women this time around than men. 

“Multiply Thy Pain,” the first episode of this new season, acts as a bit of a slow burn but definitely shows what’s in store for viewers in the coming weeks. We meet actress Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), a woman who’s undergoing her third round of IVF, hoping it will go as planned this time around. As she navigates her anxieties around fertility issues, she’s also navigating her acting career with the help of her spunky publicist and friend, Siobhan (Kim Kardashian). 

I will say, I was nervous about the Queen of Skims making her acting debut. Would it be another Kaia Gerber situation? Never fear, I was pleasantly surprised; that being said, Kim was playing a role she knows well: publicist and manager. Sounds just like Kris to me. Perhaps she’s good at her role because she’s lived it herself. 

The episode sets the scene with Anna’s fertility issues, and she continues to see questionable figures that her husband gaslights her into thinking are not real (cliche, I know). The whole episode is a cycle of these jump scares and gruesome hallucinations until Anna’s calendar is hacked. Someone moves her doctor’s appointments, breaks into her home and follows her. The episode concludes with a lipstick-inscribed phrase on her bedroom mirror, “Don’t do it, Anna.” 

“American Horror Story: Delicate” is off to a strong start. The past few seasons (“NYC,” “Double Feature Part 1” and “Cult”) have taken more realistic events and struggles of everyday life and personified them into horror figures or amplified them to a horrific point. I think this strategy has worked well because it allows for the program to continue easily and naturally. However, the fact that the show now features adapted material instead of original storylines concerns me a bitis this the end of “American Horror Story”? Doubtful, but something to think about.

Regardless, I’m eager to see where Feiffer leads this season in her newfound place as showrunner. 

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About the Contributor
Blythe Bouza
Blythe Bouza, Deputy Life Editor
Blythe Bouza (‘25) is from New Orleans, La., and is double majoring in communication of science and technology and English with a minor in theater. When not writing and editing for The Hustler, you can find her waiting in line for coffee, making niche Spotify playlists or talking about Bret Easton Ellis. You can reach her at [email protected].
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