‘American Horror Story: Delicate’ Part 1 Recap: Everything To Know Before Watching Part 2


If you’ve set your mind on giving Danielle Valentine’s Delicate Conditions a read, far be it from me to dissuade you. But as someone whose justified obsession over the freaky Murphy-Falchuk universe hasn’t budged in over a decade, I can assure you that Delicate isn’t too keen on staying true to its source material. In its 12th effort to spoil horror fans with a tour of Hell’s Darkest Corner, American Horror Story: Delicate gives a modern spin to a Rosemary’s Baby-esque story. Now that the second part is about to hit your screen on April 3rd, whether you’ve watched the first half or not, it can’t be a bad idea to have a little refresher.

Spoiler Alert

How does Anna’s third IVF trial go?

Well, it wouldn’t be a feminist tale of a woman’s fight against the world nabbing her autonomy without a plucky heroine we’d all root for. So in comes Anna Victoria Alcott, a young woman seeking to reach the pinnacle of her career as an actress while battling infertility. I wouldn’t call Anna’s relationship with her husband Dex the picture of domestic bliss, considering Dex’s indifference, which coupled with his tendency to gaslight Anna without even paying attention to what’s bugging her, makes him a rather lousy partner. Now add all that burden to Anna’s third IVF trial under the guidance of an exasperatingly mean and sexist Dr. Hill, and you’ve got a woman who’s losing her grip over her life. But that’s not all. Ever since the embryo transplant, Anna’s been ambushed with an overwhelming array of experiences that logic can’t explain. While some of Anna’s hallucinations can be chalked up to the stress and the effects of all that medication, certain things, like the woman in black following her around or the loss of time that’s been driving her nuts, do point to the possibility of something more sinister being at play. The success of Anna’s third agonizing IVF trial comes at the cost of her world being infiltrated by something seemingly supernatural. With a mysterious entity communicating to her through the calendar app and the warning scribbled over the mirror, it’s evident that Anna’s not going to have an easy gestation. 

Is Anna pregnant with something satanic?

From the inexplicable break-in at her house to being followed by a creepy Ms. Preecher to finding Summer Day dolls with nails stabbed into the stomach or a cross etched on them, all the bizarre events Anna is battling alone make her believe that someone doesn’t want her to conceive a child. Dex is as exasperatingly unhelpful through all this as you’d expect someone like him to be. Even when a mysterious nurse, Ivy’s very intentionally intrusive ultrasound, gives Anna a miscarriage and she recognizes Ivy as the woman who’s been stalking her, there’s no one around to validate Anna’s anxieties. There’s a rapid shift in Anna’s story when the basement in Dex’s friend Talia’s Hamptons house takes the shape of a satanic dungeon with dead babies in jars and Latin incantations scribbled all over the walls. It’s there that the two women, dressed all in black, drugged her and carried out what they intended. Considering the creepy circumstances surrounding Anna’s miscarriage being undone and Dr. Hill readily ascribing it to the Vanishing Twin Syndrome, Anna finding out that she’s pregnant again is both happy and a piece of bizarre news. Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but I don’t think the two black-clad women who’d been following her around only to stick a baby in her somehow did it out of the goodness of their hearts. Chances are, Anna’s either about to give birth to Satan incarnate or something demonic. Don’t believe me? Tell me what sort of pregnancy craving includes a maggot-infested raccoon carcass. 

Is Ms. Preecher trying to help Anna?

Ever since someone other than Anna has seen the odd old Ms. Preecher following her around, the question of whether she’s made of flesh and blood or something ominous has been put to rest. Anna was well within her rights to be wary of Ms. Preecher. I mean, the woman had a whole Twitter thread dedicated to trolling Anna and freakish discourses over some supernatural cult and its connection to Hollywood. But from what we’ve found out about Ms. Preecher from her exchange with Dex’s mom, I think it’s safe to say that the old woman is just trying to help them out. Now, Dex’s mom has been dealing with her own plight, with her husband having tormented her with what she claims was satanic ritual abuse. Yet that doesn’t factor into her instinct to believe Ms. Preecher’s warnings. In the 80s, Ms. Preecher made the grave mistake of making a deal with some shady individuals. While she did get the success she was promised, she hasn’t gotten over the baby she birthed and handed over to the same folks belonging to the cult. If we’re to entertain the idea that Ms. Preecher has been keeping an eye on the cult (or coven, if they turn out to be witches), it’s likely that she’s telling the truth about Dex’s family being in danger. There’s talk of defection. Dex’s former wife, Adeline, might’ve defected against her “sisterhood” and died a terrible death as a form of punishment. Considering the same cult might now be targeting Anna, Ms. Preecher can only be deemed a well-wisher who’s a tad too eccentric to come off as friendly. 

What are the Ashleys up to?

First things first, the two women covered all in black happen to be Ashley and Ashleigh, the PR team summoned by Anna’s publicist, Siobhan, to woke-wash her image. Their expertise certainly exceeds fixing Anna’s horrendous public image and polishing it to make her Oscar-worthy. The thing is, Ashley and Ashleigh are kind of immortal. They were the same two Satanic doulas snatching the monstrous baby that came out of Queen Mary I in 15th-century England. A prosperous reign in exchange for giving them a demonic baby whose arrival they’ve been awaiting for 6,000 years sounds like a solid deal, right? And considering how they steal the queen’s sister’s fertility for her having the audacity to reject their cult, Ashley and Ashleigh don’t seem like ordinary beings. They’ve likely been in the baby-stealing business for centuries. And Anna and whatever ominous being is growing inside her are likely what they’re after now. 

Is Siobhan a friend or a foe?

Trying to figure out what’s behind that enigmatic facade that Siobhan wears is a rollercoaster in itself. Sometimes, she pops up to give Anna that boost of confidence she so desperately needs, turning out to be a truly good friend. And then there’s all that sketchy stuff she does, including giving Anna vials of a strange substance that she passes off as vitamin B12. It seems as though Siobhan is a player in whatever scheme Ashley and Ashleigh are cooking up. But I’ll tell you why I’m still not ready to conclude that she’s one of them. Siobhan benefits from whatever services the cult provides. They were behind the unpredictable success of “The Auteur,” the film that turned things around for Hamish and Anna. Chances are, Siobhan made a deal with the cult in exchange for their help in skyrocketing her client’s career. But I wouldn’t be too quick to call Siobhan a friend. Whatever’s in the vials that Siobhan is handing to Anna likely plays a part in the bigger picture. Maybe, without Anna’s consent, Siobhan has pawned her womb to get her that much-sought-after Oscar nomination. Anna was justifiably peeved by Siobhan taking on Babette as a client. While Siobhan did lash out at Anna for questioning her, it hardly makes sense for a publicist to work for two actresses up for a Golden Globe in the Best Actress category. But in American Horror Story: Delicate, things are almost never what they seem on the surface. It seems that Babette was meant to be a sacrifice of sorts, although they probably could’ve gone for a less ghastly death than decapitation. Thanks to Siobhan’s penchant for backroom deals with the devil (or his worshippers), Anna’s dream of grabbing an Oscar is still intact. I guess Siobhan took the liberty of reading between the lines when Anna couldn’t pick between an Oscar and a baby–she wanted both. But after everything she’s put herself through to get pregnant, I highly doubt that she’d want to offer up her baby to Satanists in exchange for an award.

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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjee
In cinema, Lopamudra finds answers to some fundamental questions of life. And since jotting things down always makes overthinking more fun, writing is her way to give this madness a meaning.

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