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10 WTF AHS Double Feature Moments: Does Anyone Survive ‘Red Tide’ Finale?

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Part 1 of “American Horror Story: Double Feature” draws to a bloody close with a … moral message?

After a great start, a cohesive story, a straightforward narrative and decent performances from most of our players, “American Horror Story: Double Feature” went predictably off the rails with its bloody “Red Tide” finale.

The first half of this season’s two-story gimmick came to a screeching halt and it was as if we were suddenly dealing with a whole different story. Gone was the sinister and moody undertones of previous installments, and instead we get Alma delivering one of the worst groaners we could have imagined.

The humor was pushed heavily in the opening moments, with the Council of Provincetown mocking its own citizenry and ruthlessly shutting down petty requests like changing shingles or property easements. It’s all a power trip, but it was handled cartoonishly.

There’s always a bit of camp in horror, but this was the first season of “AHS” that didn’t feel like it was leaning too far into that territory — until now.

We got a little hopeful when “Glee” star Dot-Marie Jones showed up as a no-nonsense state trooper looking to investigate the brutal death of the town’s sheriff, uncovered by a fisherman in the ocean, as well as her ongoing investigation into all the other P-Town murders.

You remember the sheriff? A character that was set up like she was going to do something only to do nothing but die at Alma’s hands a few weeks ago? Sadly, as interesting as Jones was in this brief moment, where she vowed to get to the bottom of things after it was clear the haughty Council was hiding something, she clearly wasn’t important to the story as a character; instead she was just a plot device.

We never saw her again. The same proved true for Doris. She was mentioned by her daughter, who is still happy that she’s gone, but despite a random glimpse of someone around the house (another unresolved moment), she’s just gone, apparently.

Lark made a couple of appearances to sharpen teeth and dress pale people, but apparently these writers couldn’t be bothered to make her anything more than an extra in a show she was given opening credit billing in. Maybe they should consider a black pill.

At least we can speculate on some closure for Provincetown itself, though with a huge mess to clean up. And there was some heavy-handed closure for viewers as well, with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk laying their allegory about talent and hard work and success on a little too thick.

Still, it wouldn’t be “AHS” without plenty of WTF and this final “Red Tide” hour had plenty of those moments. We’ll be pondering these all week as we await the premiere of “Death Valley” as “AHS” goes aliens and we speculate if these two chapters will connect at all — maybe the black pills origin?

Council Abuses Its Citizenry

We talked about this above, but it was absolutely surreal having this episode open with the city council tearing into its own citizens over such petty things. They were all drunk with power, and none so bitchy as real estate agent Holden (Denis O’Hare).

His performance throughout has been a little campy, but he took that to the next level with this one scene. They were all so blatantly and openly corrupt, it was comical. It also pulled us right out of the well-established dark mood of the previous episodes that had us respecting that “AHS” was finally putting the horror front and center, rather than the absurd.

Dot-Marie Jones Is a Badass

The “Glee” alum did her part to add some gravity to the situation, and the biggest takeaway for us is to again recognize what an incredible performer she is, and wonder why Murphy and company haven’t been using the hell out of her already on this show? She has such a commanding presence in any scene, and she’s such a unique presence, you’d think Murphy would be throwing parts at her on this series.

Here’s to hoping that this isn’t the first and last time we see her on “AHS.” In fact, she can become a regular part of the ensemble, so far as we’re concerned. She did more in this one scene for us than Billie Lourd did in her (admittedly few) moments.

Ursula Confronts Pale People

Can we take a moment to set up this WTF moment with some background that again points out how deep into satire this episode was going. With state troopers nosing around, the Council threatened Belle (Frances Conroy) and Austin (Evan Peters) with stricter zoning ordinances if they didn’t get this situation under control.

This was a serious threat delivered by Holden, and it appears to have been taken seriously. Is it that hard to come up with ways to end the show? Hell, we could have been satisfied with the ending of the last episode as it pretty much established where we were going anyway.

Back to the point, though, in response to the threat, Belle and Austin kidnapped Baby Eli in their attempt to lure Harry and Alma to their house so they could go ahead and kill them and be done with all the chaos. From there, Ursula came up with a master plan that proved she has the biggest balls on the whole show.

She’s also a sociopath, opportunistic, Hollywood agent monster stereotype, but that doesn’t take away from the badass moment she actually pitches to them the opportunity to kill the real enemy, those who’ve taken the pill and not turned pale.

It showed us that the pale people aren’t as lost as we thought. The could be negotiated with, they understood what they lost, and they wanted a chance to get their lives back with her promise/lie of a new pill. That makes the absence of Doris even more tragic/stupid. Missed opportunity there.

Oh, and we love the metaphor Ursula used to convince them that they could still have a second chance, sharing the story of Laurence Fishburne’s agent convincing him to turn down “Pulp Fiction” so he wouldn’t have to work with has-been John Travolta, not knowing this would revive Travolta’s career and become a classic.

Fishburne’s second chance came when he beat out Samuel L. Jackson, ironically enough, for the role in “The Matrix,” which was at least as big as “Pulp Fiction.” One mistake doesn’t have to define the rest of your career.

Belle Tries to Eat Baby Eli

Belle might think she’s magical and special, but there’s no way she could believe that Eli wouldn’t feel a thing when she ripped him open and started drinking his blood. She doesn’t have special powers, she just rips people open. That’s gotta hurt!

The scene was also an opportunity for her to address the old stereotype that screenwriting isn’t real writing, that Hollywood hacks aren’t real artists. Of course, the black pills working on Harry means that’s not true, but this must be a way to process all that insecurity.

Or maybe it’s a way for Murphy and Falchuk to slap the notion in the face and try to prove that it’s a ridiculous stereotype that has no basis in reality. It would have been a stronger argument if they’d have been able to make it in a better screenplay. But at least the message was so heavy-handed, we couldn’t miss it.

Pale People Attack

We saw it coming a mile away, but after Belle and Austin loomed menacingly at the camera (Harry and Alma) like we were in a 3-D monster movie from the 1960s, it was still exciting to see the pale people burst through the windows and attack the erotic author and playwright.

With Harry and Alma next on the menu, this would have been another opportunity for a poignant and tragic reunion between them and Doris, who could have easily been one of the pale people in the house, before Ursula burst in the door and blew them all away.

She killed all the pale people, but apparently she and Alma had set up their next kill ahead of time. Otherwise, why didn’t Ursula just take care of it in this moment?

Alma Rips Into Harry

Instead, in a seen set up so blatantly earlier in the episode we actually saw Alma looking knowingly into the camera, the little violinist told her father that only two of the family would be surviving this encounter before sinking her teeth into his neck.

Dismissing the fact he’s far stronger than her and could have ripped her off of him in that instant (we’ll assume she hit the artery and drained him in super-speed), we can’t dismiss the cringeworthy line she delivered when the Chemist and Ursula decide to frame Harry for everything that happened in Provincetown.

The camera actually cut to Alma, bloody and still sucking Harry’s neck. She turned to the women and said, “Do you mind? I don’t like people watching me while I eat.” There was no reason for this. Why did they have to hurt us like that with such a godawful line. We thought we’d have nightmares about the pale people, but it might be this line and delivery.

On top of that, we were only about halfway through the episode at this point. That means this tacked-on coda that took the story to Hollywood was so important, the writers weren’t worried about leaving P-Town’s future uncertain, Doris forgotten, Dot-Marie Jones criminally underused

Chemist Cleaning Up Dirty Cops

Instead, we got to see the Chemist using her black pills to systematically and carefully target racist cops in Los Angeles, slip them black pills and set them up to get killed by their fellow cops. We have to give credit where it’s due, it’s pretty ingenious.

It’s messy, sure, but we respect the consistency in her characterization to have a contained, controlled murderous situation once again in her new hometown. She’s proof that there are people without black pills who are still very intelligent and worthy. Apparently, science and discipline are not talents, though.

Alma Claws Her Way to Top

Sadly, by this point in the show we’d pretty much lost all interest in Alma. We thought she’d be an interesting exploration of the darkness the black pills can pull out of you. After all, she’s younger and doesn’t have as developed a moral compass (or even brain, for that matter). Instead, she became a predictable cartoon caricature of evil.

So when we saw her auditioning for a part in an orchestra, we knew exactly where it was going to go. We do respect the authenticity of the other guy she was competing against telling her they’d never choose her because they’re an orchestra, and she’d make them a novelty act at nine years old if she were the lead.

The message here is that the world isn’t black-and-white, it isn’t always fair. Sometimes being the best isn’t enough because there are other factors to consider, nuances in real life. That’s a concept that obviously would escape a caricature, which is why Alma preditably killed him.

How she was able to do so and have him die down the stairs and without getting any blood on her is a mystery. Did she lure him from the room? Gain superhuman strength? We also don’t learn if there were any consequences for this murder, if she got the part or was still rejected? Apparently, those answers weren’t interesting. Hearing the guy’s speech to her about why being the best isn’t enough was the point of this scene. In fact, we never see Alma again.

Ursula Sowing Seeds of Mediocrity

Ursula’s final scene is even more chaotic evil as she joins up with a screenwriting instructor to hawk the black pills to him and all of his students. Apparently, handing them out to anyone writing a screenplay at Starbucks wasn’t enough.

But here’s where we get a little confused. Ursula’s motivation seemed to be making money and being the best agent in Hollywood. But with these moves, she is instead orchestrating total anarchy onto the streets. How is that beneficial to her? What does she gain from this?

Even her closing monologue, delivered over the cacophony of death on the streets as new pale people were slaughtering everyone, offered no clarity. Instead, it was another thinly-veiled statement about success.

Apparently, the pale people represent those people who are envious of the successful people out there, unaware that it takes actual hard work to achieve success, pushing through failure. As a metaphor it’s a bit of a mess, but that went with the visuals.

“Spit or Swallow”

Perhaps the more compelling metaphor, and we can’t imagine it was a mistake, was when Ursula handed out all those pills in that screenwriting class and told the students that success is one swallow away. “Spit or swallow, the choice is yours.”

This couldn’t help but evoke #MeToo and all those decades that the casting couch dominated Hollywood. What price would you pay to have your dreams come true? How far would you go? What are you willing to do?

Harry made the comment that he wanted to try and get back her soul earlier in the hour, but Ursula told him it doesn’t work that way. She also tried to argue that being without a conscience or moral compass is a good thing. It makes those choices easier to make — and live with.

Certainly those seem to be personality traits that do very well in our cut-throat capitalist society, in Hollywood and beyond. So long as you believe as Alma does that the non-talented people don’t really matter, then you can achieve all of your dreams. If you instead try to have a conscience or do the right thing, well you’ll probably get devoured.

In the end, The Chemist appears to have abandoned both Ursula and Alma to their fates in Hollywood, heading off with Eli with the promise of a new city and a new pill. Will she keep Ursula and Alma supplied with black pills? Does she care? Do we? The story certainly doesn’t. It’s over.

“American Horror Story: Double Feature” continues next week with the premiere of Part 2, “Death Valley,” Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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Big Brother Blowout: Veto Winner Determines Final Three — Who Grabs All the Power?

Published: (Updated: ) in Celebrity News by .

There’s a surprising amount of attitude and tears in the House as panic starts to set in ahead of the final Veto competition of the season.

With the end so close, and a heightened prize of $750,000 on this season of “Big Brother,” the Final Four showed a lot of surprising emotion bouncing from paranoia to remorse to a whole lot of unnecessary attitude.

It gets very hard to keep your cool when the game is this close to the end — next Wednesday is the finale! — but it’s also absolutely essential. All of the power this week resides with the Veto holder.

Xavier is already Head of Household, so if he wins the Veto he gets to decide not only who is on the Block, but who gets to cast the vote. It’s actually the least powerful potential outcome because Xavier can’t necessarily control how that person will vote.

If anyone else wins Veto, they automatically secure their safety, put the other two non-Xavier Houseguests on the Block and get to decide which of them goes home. So for Xavier, it’s ultimate influence, for anyone else, it’s ultimate power.

As such, even though Azah and Kyland are both on the Block right now, it doesn’t really mean all that much as so much comes down to this final Veto competition of the season. You can never relax on the Block, but maybe don’t cop attitude with the person who might have all the power.

We’ve been seeing hints of it all season long, that Kyland has an arrogance about him in this game, and possibly more than that if you’ve been watching the Live Feeds. Anyone who watches “Big Brother” knows that you tell people in power what they need to hear.

At this point, Derek F has all the power. If nominations stay the same, he’ll be the one to decide who goes home. So why on earth would Kyland cop an attitude with Derek F when he comes to him for assurance of their Week 2 Final Two deal. Just tell him you’re good and be done with it.

Instead, in two different conversations, Kyland gets all pissy and refuses to give a straight answer and then dares to feel offended that Derek F is asking him this from a position of power. Uh yeah, that’s how this works. He has the power. You have to grovel or manipulate or do whatever you have to do.

Is this too much pride?

It’s honestly inexplicable behavior from Kyland, who’s played a pretty solid strategic game to this point. This is just one part of it, and yet he sits there and insults Derek’s part in the game — effectively telling him he’s had none — and won’t affirm their working relationship, even if we know it’s a lie.

Kyland wants to honor his Final 2 with Xavier, but boo, you gotta get there first!

Easily one of the most challenging competitions, this one required great memory, math under pressure and physical balance and care as the Houseguests had to transport balls back and forth to a giant paddle on the other end of a fulcrum.

This was do or die for everyone in the House, as all the power rested in this competition. It was also a lesson for future Houseguests. Don’t just memorize the competitions and game-related big moments. If you set the kitchen on fire, maybe remember that, too.

That was the only day they struggled with. Beyond that, it was just getting through it and balance. Based on the edit, it looked like Kyland was over-eager, as he was moving too quickly and knocking his balls loose, forcing him to start over.

If he’d have been a little more steady, he might have won. Instead, he shockingly went out first. He was followed by Azah, who’d come in first and second in the first three rounds, but came in third in the next two.

Once again, as we’ve seen in recent competitions, Derek F was so close on this one through most of it. Xavier was burning in the final round, but Derek F had another strong showing, proving that he’s so close to winning something this season — if there’s time.

Ultimately, though, Xavier gave himself the victory.

Then, in the ultimate irony, Kyland got all pissy with Xavier for not giving him the assurances about their Final Two that he was looking for. We’re pretty sure that he has no clue this is the exact scenario that played out between him and Derek F, only with the roles reversed.

Now, Xavier has secondary power to keep Kyland on the Block, but he won’t be the one casting the vote. And yet, Kyland is pleading his case to Xavier instead of Derek F or Azah. Has he dismissed them entirely?

Xavier has an interesting choice ahead of him. In order to honor his side of his Final Three deal with the guys, and his Final Two with Kyland, but also get Kyland out of the House, he needs Derek F to take the shot. The problem is, it’s not certain that he would.

Azah would certainly do it, but Xavier is thinking of Jury management with this decision. We didn’t get to see if he used the Power of Veto yet, so it’s going to be a lot of conversations with Derek F to see if Xavier can be confident he’ll take Kyland out of the game while allowing Xavier to save face.

Xavier Prather (27) just about has this game all tied up in a bow. He’s surging with comps at just the right time, and if he orchestrates the removal of Kyland — who’s rubbed a lot of people wrong — he’ll pretty much assure himself a victory if he can get to the end, and he’ll be setting himself up with the best chance of getting there at the same time. Grade: A+

Derek Frazier (29) is so close to making the right decision to give himself the best shot at making it to Final Two. Xavier would probably honor their deal if he cuts Kyland from the game, and he’s seen already what Kyland thinks of him in this game. He needs to make the bold decision to cut Kyland now. Yes, it’s a betrayal of the alliance, but it’s the only way to give himself the best chance to get to the end. Grade: B

Azah Awasum (30) will hopefully be safe this week, if Derek F can make the move he needs to make … or if Xavier decides to put Big D on the Block and let Azah take the shot. Beyond this, though, it’ll be up to her to carry herself into the Final Two. There is the slightest chance that Big D could take her if he wins final HOH as both are playing an emotional game and it would be better odds for both of them, but one of them has to win that final HOH first. Wouldn’t that be a shocking finale twist. Grade: C-

Kyland Young (30) is starting to realize the trouble he’s in. Xavier is in a position to not betray his alliance at all, but rather have someone else do it. If they take the shot, Kyland is done. If for some reason, they don’t, Xavier’s hands are still clean. It’s a masterful position. But we have a feeling Big D or Azah is about to take the shot. He needed to win, or at least be more gracious with his back against the wall, and he was capable of neither. Grade: D

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Tyra Banks Says She’s Channeling Saweetie With Her Laid Baby Hairs

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Tyra Banks

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