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Why Lily Rabe Calls AHS: Double Feature Episode 5 The Most Painful

As detailed in the lead-up to its premiere, "American Horror Story" Season 10 is split into two halves: the first is titled "Red Tide," and the second "Death Valley." On September 15, the fifth episode of "Red Tide" premiered, nearing its storyline ever closer to a climax as the transition into "Death Valley" approaches.

"Red Tide" opens with screenwriter Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock) moving with his pregnant wife Doris (Lily Rabe) and daughter Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) to a fictionalized version of the real-life Provincetown, Massachusetts. He soon discovers that many of his fellow Provincetown residents are taking black pills, which provide gifted artists with seemingly boundless inspiration at the cost of the consumption of raw blood. Non-creatives who take the pills, meanwhile, turn into pale, hairless, zombie-like creatures, similarly looking to consume raw flesh but without receiving any resultant boosts in creativity.

Harry and Alma both end up actively using the black pills, the former for his screenwriting work and the latter to boost her violin skills. Episode 5, however, introduces some considerable shake-ups to the Gardner family. As it turns out, Lily Rabe described Episode 5 as a particularly harrowing experience prior to its premiere. Now that the episode is out, her reasons for that characterization are more than clear.

The tragedy of Doris

TV and movie blog CinemaBlend published an interview with Lily Rabe on the morning of September 15, hours before the premiere of "American Horror Story: Double Feature" Episode 5. In that interview, without delving into spoilers, Rabe described Episode 5 as "perhaps the most painful, terrifying episode I've shot over my time."

The episode in question opens with Doris finally giving birth. Unfortunately, that baby is entering into the household of a bloodthirsty father and daughter. Not only is the baby thus doomed from the get-go, but Doris witnesses Alma feeding on her new baby brother's leg firsthand. Harry's agent Ursula (Leslie Grossman) then attempts to persuade Doris that all instances of her family's vampirism were merely dreams. However, Doris notices that tooth marks remain on her baby's leg, shattering the illusion.

Alma and Ursula then convince Doris to take the pills herself to purportedly help with her career as an interior decorator. However, Doris turns out to be insufficiently creative, and devolves into another one of Provincetown's Pale People.

In short, then, Doris is subjected to more trauma than perhaps any other character in "American Horror Story: Double Feature" thus far, culminating in both the loss of her own autonomy and the victimization of her newborn child in Episode 5. Though "Red Tide" is wrapping up soon, Rabe will return to play a character CinemaBlend describes as "a certain female aviator who mysteriously disappeared" when Death Valley kicks off on September 29.