AHS: Death Valley. An Out of this World Second Half
Written by: The Bat
Disclaimer: For those of you who didn’t know, or haven’t read my post on American Horror Story: Red Tide, Writer Ryan Murphy chose to split Season 10 into two completely independent halves. These halves are their own independent stories, so I am reviewing them that way. Ok, now you can read on.
This 4 episode arc starts out looking like Pleasantville, which then quickly morphs into a 50’s alien invasion movie. Don’t worry, however, readers, it is nowhere as corny or as tame as an actual 50’s movie (think exploding heads).
After this strong start, the story begins to move back and forth between the past and present-day. The writer, Ryan Murphy separates them by using black and white for the past and color for the present. It weaves back and forth between telling the story of the alien invasion of earth and the results of that action today.
The historical parts will “explain” away some of the greatest mysteries of American history, such as the death of a famous starlet and a president. It will include at least one unsung first lady, giving her a much bigger part than she was actually known to play. But most importantly, it will tell the story of a government that hid a dark secret for 60 years. While a bit unrealistic, the idea that some outside force could be behind so many unknown mysteries can be a bit unsettling…
The modern section takes some average American grad students and places the 4 of them, in a situation none of them would have ever expected. You guessed it, alien abduction, but with very unexpected consequences. No spoilers here, but their journey will mess with your heads.
A lot happens in this very short time span, but they do not scrimp on the characters or the details. You will feel like you know a lot more about the secrets behind our country’s history, but remember, this is a show. Or is it?
You choose whether to suspend disbelief and let the potential implications of alien influence creep into your mind. But no matter what, it is definitely a well-built story.
The part set in the present is as much of a mind-bender as the past. It is both incredibly unrealistic and completely possible simultaneously. The Grad Students, as shallowly as they are introduced, develop a depth that puts them in the role of the everyday American. We are faced with the scenario of, “Could this happen to us?” While the answer is most likely no, it still allows you to lose yourself in the story entirely.
The worst I could find in this one was that, to the credulous viewer, it is going to be a big stretch to imagine this could ever happen right under our noses. Think Men in Black but with violent intentions. Imagine a government that is allowing its people to be kidnapped and experimented on. Some of you will say, not likely, and not like it because of that.
Dragon: Wait, is this a true story or fiction? Oh right aliens.
Also, historical purists will definitely have an issue with the liberties Ryan Murphy has taken with our past.
You have to let your imagination go wild for this section to fully sink its tentacles into you, but if you do, it’s a messed-up fun ride. The effects and makeup are awesome, especially on the alien doctor character. She was both beautiful and creepifying to look at, all at the same time! And the alien babies are a perfect combination of what alien movies have taught us to expect and at the same time something new and almost cute….. Which is scary to me in itself.
As a whole season, this would not have worked. While in my opinion, Murphy has tried to fit too many conflicting ideas into some past seasons (think Asylum), splitting this one into two let him tell both stories without the mishmash and confusion. I loved it!