The first three episodes of American Horror Story: Delicate put much into play in the creepy world of budding actress and presumably expectant mother Anna Victoria Alcott. She has a husband who doesn’t seem exactly the most trustworthy. A publicist she confides in as a friend, but is also full steam ahead with her career despite the traumatic things Anna has been through. The creepy ladies Anna spots either watch her or warn her not to trust people. And oh, let’s not forget a small door in the basement complete with changing and a baby that has snapped back to life.
If that feels like a lot, well, it is. “Vanishing Twin” provides more historical context to what’s happening and starts providing a clearer picture of the (most likely evil) phenomenon. Besides this story’s overall Rosemary’s Baby vibes, there is an equal theme about stardom and motherhood and whether one could genuinely obtain both. It feels that Anna wants a family even more so than the accolades, but she is being pushed in that direction by a cavalcade of people working behind the scenes.
The question of the identities of the Women In Black is answered in a flashback in 1555 in England, where Queen Mary I is giving birth to a demon of some sort. This newborn has waited over 6,000 years to see the word, and Ashley and Ashleigh (Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd) arrive to take the baby to wherever it needs to be. The baby’s birth is in exchange for power (something that would ordain her the famous nickname Bloody Mary). Mary’s half-sister, Elizabeth, is cursed with a barren womb, so the Ashleys have a certain amount of power. It’s not surprising to see Siobhan and the Ashleys working in tandem with each other, and it might provide another explanation for that B-12 shot Siobhan whips out for Anna to drink.
Anna needs some stability, so how about a possibly immortal crisis team complete with a feminist-style commercial? Queen Mary willingly made the pact for power, whereas Anna is being led in a shady manner – going from one thing to another. Everything is orchestrated to a tee – Siobhan’s transitional trysts with Hamish provide more information that even the story of The Auteur was set up in Anna’s favor. So, it feels as though Ms. Preecher and Ivy are trying to work in tandem not to let this chain of events happen.
Dexter has his own interests at heart, especially concerning his co-worker Sonia (the picture change at the end of the episode hints at a possible tie to his ex-wife). Could the surprise look in Doctor Hill’s office be a ploy? It’s more than likely. His mother, Virginia (Debra Monk), is frosty about Anna, wondering why she would want a baby in the first place. Then, her sudden visit takes a more sinister form. Virginia has been recovering some of her lucid memories through therapy and has allegedly been the subject of Satanic ritual abuse from Dexter’s father. Intriguingly, Dexter asks his mother if she even wants to have him in the first place, and her reply is, “She didn’t have a choice.” Dexter is reluctant to believe Virginia’s story as he is with Anna’s. Now, Virginia looks as if she’s well off, but could Dexter be an offspring of the same pact we saw at the beginning of the episode and is now trying to continue the cycle?
Vanishing twin syndrome could be a tool for Dr. Hill to explain away how Anna’s baby has suddenly awoken from the dead. It doesn’t feel like he knows much at all – just a mode of smoke and mirrors. The dead raccoon serves as a metaphor for Anna’s experiences with her baby and perhaps a specific offering to whatever is growing inside her. Bleeding gums, the lesion on her chin, and the gross dead animal pregnancy cravings timed to her Golden Globe nomination are all specific to this experience.
Delicate has been mostly Anna being whiplashed to difficult situations after difficult ones. What “Vanishing Twin does better than previous episodes is provide more content about other characters related to this plot. We kept hearing how great The Auteur was; now there’s intrigue on where it came from. It’s not just Dexter being weird and possibly adulterous for half of these episodes; he has a family history that possibly ties into everything. Siobhan is not just extremely steadfast in making Anna a star, she’s been instrumental in this the entire time. While this is just part one of Delicate, it provides a runway to end on an enjoyable note until actors are paid fairly to start Part 2.