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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.

Straddling the line between personal and public image: Episode 2 of ‘American Horror Story: Delicate’

“Rockabye” drives the television show’s new season through even more dramatic plot twists and nail-biting moments.
American Horror Story FX
Promotional poster for “American Horror Story: Delicate,” which is now streaming on Hulu. (Photo courtesy of @ahsfx on Instagram)

While episode 1 of “American Horror Story: Delicate” felt a little slow and riddled with exposition, episode 2 packs a punch. Consisting of celebrity awards shows, weirdly meta quotes from Kim K’s character and a classic horror-themed cliffhanger, “Rockabye” is sure to rock viewers’ worlds (excuse the pun). Vanderbilt students can watch “AHS: Delicate” on Hulu for a discounted price

The episode opens up with Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts) sitting in a stereotypical crime investigation room with her husband and a policeman. As she files a police report regarding her home invasion from the previous episode, the two men in the room belittle Anna’s claims, saying she probably made up a lot of the invasion “because of her progesterone medication.” Additionally, the cop compliments Anna’s husband’s pink beanie excessively (because he’s a man “bold enough to wear pink”), and the whole exchange pushes Anna’s needs to the side. Neither man seems to want to truly validate her shock from someone allegedly breaking into her bedroom while she was alone.

Serving as the opening scene for this episode, I think it’s thematically clear that a lot of this season will revolve around the silencing of women. It’s a tale as old as time that women are often told that they can be “overly emotional,” and I think that’s what’s happening here with Anna.

To emphasize this point, “Rockabye” proceeds with a meeting between Anna and publicist Siobhan (Kim Kardashian). Siobhan tells Anna that they need to start campaigning for Oscars season now, so despite Anna’s being pregnant (the IVF was successful, hooray), she needs to buckle down and start thinking about her road to victory. Here, not only is Anna asked to straddle the line between her personal and professional self, but she’s told to tone down her emotions.

With these few serious opening sequences comes a little bit of comedy that I think the writers definitely had to add themselves. It seemed to not come from the original source material. 

As Anna prepares for the Gotham Awards (on her Oscars roadmap), she wears a dress that, in the fictional universe of the episode, is Madonna’s. It brought me back to the Kim K/Met Gala/Marilyn Monroe dress scandal in 2022. What a time. I also feel like the creative team would be self-aware enough to do that as a little joke.

Unfortunately, Anna has another questioning-reality episode while accepting the Gotham Award for Best Actress in a Film. When going to the bathroom at the event, she gets into an argument with an obsessive fan. Anna pushes the woman out of her way, and she cracks her head open on the bathroom sink. It’s ambiguous as to whether or not the woman is real or a figment of Anna’s imagination, and it disturbs her so much during her award acceptance that she passes out. Embarrassed by this situation and worried it has ruined her chances at an Oscar, Anna looks to Siobhan for reassurance. Her publicist says that “There’s no such thing as bad press” (what a Kardashian thing to say), and Anna should also “lowkey gaslight the press because…you know…sexism.”

How poignant. 

The episode concludes with Anna and her husband retreating to the Hamptons for a little paparazzi-free getaway. Everything seems like it’s going to plan until Anna has a medical emergency and is rushed to the hospital. A nurse named Ivy (Cara Delevingne) performs a rather gruesome ultrasound. After a bloody dream post-ultrasound, Anna is awoken by a doctor. He tells her that she’s lost her baby, and he’s going to perform a final ultrasound to make sure, since she hasn’t had one since going to her regular doctor in NYC. 

This, then, raises the question of who is Ivy? She clearly gave Anna some sort of ultrasound, so she must exist, but according to the doctor, there’s no nurse at the small-town hospital of that name. From here, the episode ends, fade to black.

“Rockabye” felt incredibly reminiscent of older seasons of “American Horror Story,” almost leaning into old “American Horror Story: Murder House” tropes in terms of pregnancy dealings. I also appreciate the deeper themes about what it means to be a woman who’s expected to act one way at home and another way in the public eye. It adds a deeper element to the program aside from the thrilling and gory aspects. I also really enjoyed the fast-paced nature of this episode. While the cliffhanger is a simple and mysterious one, it’s guaranteed to have viewers coming back for more. 

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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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