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The Ending Of American Horror Story: Double Feature Episode 3 Explained

The Gardner family's Provincetown getaway had already begun to seriously unravel during the first two episodes of the "Red Tide" portion of "American Horror Story: Double Feature." In the third, titled "Thirst," things go from bad to worse.

At the end of the last episode, Doris (Lily Rabe) stumbled on her daughter Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) feasting on a rabbit while under the influence of a powerful creativity-enhancing drug with vampiric side-effects called The Muse. And she's not the only person who saw Alma's unusual snack. In the opening scene of "Thirst," Police Chief Burleson (Adina Porter) arrives to question Alma after witnesses reported seeing her disturbing behavior. The stress proves to be too much for pregnant Doris to handle and after collapsing on the stairs, she's rushed to a hospital a few towns over to recover.

With Doris away, Harry (Finn Wittrock) has a chance to confront his daughter about the very obvious fact that she stole one of his pills. She took them for the exact same reason he did. Young Alma is clearly an extremely gifted violinist but she needed an extra boost to take her from merely great to be "the greatest." Like her father, her ambitions are immense and she's willing to take the risk to see them through. However, Harry is rightly concerned that the pills will have a negative impact on his daughter and he strikes a deal with her that neither will use The Muse going forward.

Of course, that pact only lasts through the opening credits. And when new interested parties arrive in town, the tenuous web of secrecy surrounding The Muse becomes threatened.

Ursula comes to town and hatches a plan

We met Harry's agent Ursula (Leslie Grossman) in the premiere episodes of "Red Tide" but she existed only as a character on the other side of the phone. However, "Thirst" sees her arriving in Provincetown to check in on her favorite client. While she's in town, the unscrupulous Hollywood power player also sees an opportunity to launch a major new business venture.

After insulting Austin (Evan Peters) and Belle's (Frances Conroy) singing while drinking at the only open restaurant in town, Ursula is introduced to Mickey (Macaulay Culkin). In the previous episode, the down-on-his-luck local had revived his interest in screenwriting after taking The Muse and he manages to convince Ursula to read some of the scripts he's been working on. She's impressed by his work. So much so that she correctly surmises that it's not just the sea air that is sparking people's creativity in Provincetown.

Mickey cracks and tells her about The Muse, which gives Ursula an idea of how to capitalize on the miracle drug. "American Horror Story" is notorious for its amoral, ambitious characters and Ursula is already one for the record books. Like the rest of the players in "Red Tide," though, she's also deeply narcissistic and believes herself to be savvier than those around her. But unlike the others, she isn't driven by the bloodlust that The Muse provides. Her wheeling and dealing may pose a threat to characters like Austin and Belle but in putting herself on their radar, she has also put herself in serious danger.

Harry tries to use The Muse responsibly

Harry's promise to Alma that he'll stop taking The Muse is broken after a single morning's worth of writer's block. After an open and honest discussion over some extra-rare steaks, a détente is formed: the father and daughter duo will continue to use the drugs in a responsible, controlled manner that will allow their creativity to flourish without getting in over their heads. That idea, of course, turns out to be laughable.

Although Harry acquiesces to letting Alma take the pills, he draws the line at letting her feed on her own (you've got to set boundaries somewhere). He begins bringing thermoses to his feeds to collect blood to bring back to her. Setting aside the fact that feeding your daughter the blood of total strangers seems like a pretty risky endeavor, these feeds end up being extremely dangerous for other reasons.

On one of his outings, Harry is briefly kidnapped and almost made the star of a snuff film. And at another, Austin and Belle notice that he's taking a doggy bag home for someone and realize that their small circle of like-minded Muse users might be growing dangerously large.

While Harry's relationship with his fellow writers has always been risky, when Austin and Belle find out that Alma has been taking The Muse, it becomes downright dangerous. Even though Harry promises that he'll keep Alma off the drug, the pair decides that Harry and Alma are too much of a liability to keep around.

Harry may have been misled by how generally welcoming Austin and Belle were when they first met. While the pair seem to enjoy getting to know other talented writers, ultimately, they are both loyal only to their work and will dispose of anything and anyone that threatens their livelihood.

The Chemist makes her debut

Before she gets around to Harry, Belle first tasks Mickey with killing Ursula because "I don't like it when people criticize my singing." But Ursula isn't concerned. She knows that as an agent who can make Mickey's dreams of becoming a successful screenwriter come true, she has more leverage over him than the others. Ursula asks Mickey to take her to the home of The Chemist (Angelica Ross) so she can officially propose a business deal. She wants The Chemist to provide The Muse to Ursula's clients and in exchange, The Chemist will get a cut of the work that is produced while on the drug.

When she has the chance to pitch this plan in person, The Chemist isn't exactly jumping at the opportunity. Ursula made a potentially fatal miscalculation in hunting down the reclusive drug manufacturer as The Chemist isn't motivated by money and influence the way Ursula expects she might be.

The Chemist lives at the far end of Cape Cod because she likes the isolation and while she recaps the meeting to Austin and Belle, she explains, "I don't like strangers. I like things the way they are. I like things chill." It appears that she is happy with the size of her current operation and has no interest in expanding. That means that Ursula and the Gardners represent a major threat. After their meeting, the trio decides they all need to be eliminated.

Ursula has big dreams of using The Muse to make herself rich but it doesn't look like she's going to do it with the cooperation of the drug's manufacturer. However, it's still early in the season and we wouldn't be surprised if she tries a different and even more nefarious approach to secure a supply of The Muse.

Alma draws fresh blood

The episode ends with Harry making the misguided decision to go out and leave a neglectful Ursula to babysit Alma. While the agent naps upstairs, Chief Burleson arrives unannounced. She tells Alma she doesn't believe she's responsible for the murders but that she thinks she might know something helpful. Unfortunately for Burleson, she's only half right. Alma does know useful information but she is also more than ready to commit a murder of her own.

Alma stabs Burleson in the neck and places jugs underneath her corpse to catch the blood. When Harry comes home, he finds the body along with Alma and Ursula sitting calmly playing cards nearby waiting to chat with him about what comes next.

As the episode ends, we see that there's quite a tangled knot of interpersonal politics at play in "Red Tide." Will Ursula use her influence over Mickey and Harry to secure herself a supply of The Muse? Or will Austin and Belle shut down this outside insurrection before she's able?

And let's not forget another important character who wasn't featured in this episode: TB Karen (Sarah Paulson). Not only does she know almost everything that's going on, but she's also one of the few people not under the influence of The Muse and has a strong moral aversion to the drug and what it does to people. Could she end up being a major spoiler for the various plots that are coming together? Considering how often Ryan Murphy likes to cast Paulson as the hero of his shows, it feels plausible. But we will just have to wait and see how the rest of "Red Tide" plays out.