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American Horror Story: Double Feature Episode 5 Ending Explained

Contains spoilers for the "American Horror Story: Double Feature" episode "Gaslight"

In last week's episode, "American Horror Story: Double Feature" took us into the past to illuminate the history of many of the main players of "Red Tide." In this week's penultimate episode, "Gaslight," we lurched forward, bringing several main character arcs to an end and setting the story up for a grand and no doubt bloody finale.

The episode begins with Doris (Lily Rabe) giving birth. It's a potentially joyous occasion that turns sour when she wakes up after leaving the hospital and finds that she's back at the house in Provincetown, where Harry (Finn Wittrock) tells her they will be remaining until she has recovered. Things go from bad to worse when Doris sees Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) feeding on the newborn baby. Although Ursula (Leslie Grossman) tries to convince Doris that it was all a bad dream, Doris knows that there is something seriously wrong.

While Alma using her little brother as a feed bag was a shock to Doris, it didn't come as a surprise to the viewers. We've seen how comfortable the girl is with killing others in exchange for creative success. And we've also heard her express how much she would like for her mother to be out of the picture. Harry has been trying to curb his daughter's vicious instincts and keep his family together, but he is rapidly losing his grip on the situation.

And speaking of people losing their grip, Karen (Sarah Paulson) is feeling hers slip away, as well. She can sense the walls closing in as she sees fewer opportunities to rebut Belle's (Frances Conroy) sadistic demands while also keeping herself safe. It doesn't help that her main ally Mickey (Macaulay Culkin) has found massive overnight success as a Hollywood screenwriter thanks to The Muse.

Here's how everything played out in "Gaslight."

Doris succumbs Alma's scheming

In a season full of morally reprehensible characters, young Alma has proved to be one of the worst. Since taking The Muse, she has repeatedly tried to get Harry to get rid of Doris, who she sees as a drain on their ambitions. "Gaslight" saw her finally bringing her desires to fruition.

When Doris gets home from the hospital, Alma tries to slip her a Muse along with the rest of her mother's postnatal medications. Harry intervenes, which prompts Alma to ask, "You don't think she's good enough, daddy?" This is a cruel bit of manipulation. Throughout the season, Doris has expressed insecurity about her burgeoning interior design career and feelings of inferiority compared to Harry and Alma's talents. Alma knows what taking The Muse will do to her mother and knows what she needs to say to get Doris to down one of the pills.

Eventually, Alma's plan is successful. Doris is exhausted following her birth and terrified about what will happen to her family now that she has learned the truth about The Muse. Alma comes to her with a solution: if Doris takes one of the pills, she will be able to join Harry and Alma on their journey. She doubles down on her manipulations, telling her mother, "I don't think daddy thinks you're good enough. That's why he doesn't want you to take the pill ... but I believe in you, mommy."

Even though Doris insists that "it's not okay to hurt people just to be good at something," she takes one of the pills anyway. It ends up being a decision that costs her everything.

Harry loses control of his family

Throughout much of the season, Harry has been caught between two dueling desires. There is a part of him that craves success and a part of him that wants to protect his family. Instead of making a decisive choice, Harry has done nothing but waffle. He's chosen to believe that his problems will resolve themselves even as it becomes increasingly clear that they will not.

After taking The Muse, Doris predictably begins to turn into a pale person. Harry is horrified when he realizes after catching her standing over the baby with a knife ready to feed. But he quickly rationalizes the situation away. Alma may be wicked for wanting to get rid of her mother in service of her ambition, but at least she came right out and said it. After locking Doris in the bathroom while she finishes her transformation, Harry reveals that despite proclaiming that he wants to protect Doris and keep their family strong, he was always going to choose fame in the end.

As Doris writhes on the floor, he explains that even if she wasn't in the process of going pale, he would have had to abandon her eventually for his career. He tells her that she would be heartbroken at having to watch him rise to fame and concludes, "maybe this way, in some ways, is less painful for you."

It's a horrifically cruel moment but a thematically fitting one. Harry has tried throughout the season to use The Muse responsibly so he and Alma can enjoy the positive effects without letting it destroy their lives. However, it's foolish to believe you can control a powerful drug like The Muse (or success). Little did Harry realize, but the moment he popped his first black pill was the moment he destroyed his family.

Karen creates her masterpiece

Like Harry, Karen has struggled to balance her desires with her morality. But what separates the two is the fact that Karen has the courage to actually put her foot down and take a stand.

After Belle threatens grievous bodily harm unless Karen brings her the Gardner's baby to feed on, Karen decides to save the child by stealing it and raising it on her own. This is an impractical plan for a number of reasons and after a failed break-in at the Gardner's house, the entire thing goes up in smoke.

Back on the street, Karen finds herself surrounded by the pale people. Mickey arrives and tells her that she can have protection, but only if she takes The Muse. He reiterates what he's been saying all season: she is one of the talented ones and with The Muse, they can both enjoy unfettered success. For Karen, though, there's no amount of success that is worth what The Muse requires one to do. "I don't care if I'm good enough," she tells him. "I don't want to be like you."

Mickey leaves her with The Muse and in a moment of weakness, she takes the pill to avoid being fed on. It's a mistake she soon rectifies. The next day, she and Mickey go to one of her favorite spots to paint. He tells her that once she feeds, she'll be able to create her masterpiece. Karen agrees, but instead of murdering the drifter they can see at the far end of the beach, Karen rips out Mickey's throat, using his own blood to fuel her painting. When she's done, she slits her wrists and walks into the ocean, her blood washing onto the shore in a red tide.

With her options for escape dried up, Karen chose death as opposed to killing more innocents to feed The Muse.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Will Ursula's plan come to fruition?

"Gaslight" ends with Ursula and Alma heading off to meet The Chemist (they also see Doris, who the family released onto the streets of Provincetown, feeding on a rabbit). Ursula hopes The Chemist (Angelica Ross) will supply her with all The Muse she needs to establish her empire of highly successful writers and artists to manage. While Ursula hasn't been central to many of the emotional arcs in "Red Tide," she has emerged as one of the main power players of the story and its central villain. While Austin (Evan Peters) and Belle are certainly terrible people, neither appears to have much interest in capitalizing off the drug outside of their own use. The threat they pose is only to the citizens of Cape Cod. If Ursula gets her way, however, she'll be bringing The Muse and its deadly side effects to the wider world.

Ursula seems certain that she'll be able to convince The Chemist to help her, but we know that the mysterious woman has no interest in fame or publicity and already has plans to kill Ursula and the Gardners to maintain her lowkey way of life. A showdown between the two women seems inevitable and how it turns out will depend on a number of variables. Will Austin and Belle back The Chemist all the way, or could their own lust for success find them swayed by Ursula? Is Harry going to continue to go along with his manager's plan, or will his conscience finally get the better of him? And could Karen, Mickey, or Doris have some kind of final say in how everything plays out? The pendulum could swing any number of ways on this one and it should make for an exciting finale.