‘American Horror Story: Delicate’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Who Is Anna Alcott?


The popular horror anthology series American Horror Story is back with its twelfth season, and unlike the other seasons, the plot this time is not an original creation. Instead, the season, titled Delicate, is adapted from Danielle Valentine’s novel Delicate Condition and is centered around actress and model Anna Alcott, who goes through some unexplainable horrors before her pregnancy. The show stars Emma Roberts in the lead role while also bringing to screen Kim Kardashian, and so far, the first episode has succeeded in building interest.

Spoiler Alert

Who Is Anna Alcott, And What Is She Going Through?

The first episode of American Horror Story: Delicate gives a brief glimpse of what is to come, as it begins with the protagonist, Anna, sleeping peacefully in her room one night. A hand slinks onto her body from behind, and believing it to be that of her husband, Dexter, Anna holds the hand before waking up and realizing that she is alone in the house. As soon as she gets up and turns to the back, a dark-hooded figure jumps out of bed and tilts its head to one side. Anna immediately gives the figure a chase and drives it out of the apartment. Locking the open main door behind her, she returns to her room and frantically calls the police. However, Anna suddenly notices that her hands and abdomen are all bloody, as it seems like the embryo growing in her body has been forcibly removed. A photograph of the embryo, which always stayed beside her bed, has also been torn apart and left on the floor as a sort of message.

We are then taken back to one week earlier, when Anna receives a call from Dexter one morning, reminding her of a doctor’s appointment coming up very soon. Although Anna is sure that the appointment is at nine in the morning, around two hours away from the present time, Dexter states that it is actually at eight, and so it is only an hour away. The woman quickly leaves her house and immediately notices a strange woman creepily looking at something on the ground before walking away. When Anna goes to check what the stranger has been looking at, she sees a bird’s nest with a dead baby bird inside. Not giving this too much thought, she reaches the doctor’s clinic, which happens to be an infertility treatment center, and meets up with Dexter.

Anna Alcott is a famous model as well as an actress, having recently starred in a horror film. The woman is enjoying a rising popularity but is also troubled by a problem in her personal life—she is unable to have children with her husband naturally. It is revealed that she has already tried IVF twice, but none of the times could she get pregnant. Anna is clearly quite tired and dejected by this situation, and it is Dexter who seems to be encouraging her towards more attempts. The exact reason for the pair’s infertility is also not known, but as Dexter stresses, this is not very uncommon, as 30% of couples face similar difficulties. After the third IVF procedure, though, the doctor, Andrew Hill, gives assurance to the couple that things are looking much more positive this time around. He informs them that he has been able to retrieve nine egg cells from Anna’s body, which will now be developed into embryos. Dr. Hill is so confident of success this time that he prescribes Anna some special progesterone suppositories, which are supposed to prepare her body for the upcoming pregnancy period.

Despite the procedure having gone smoothly, Anna immediately complains of extreme pain when she is being taken out of the clinic in a wheelchair. The accompanying nurse assures her that there is nothing to worry about, but a different kind of discomfort soon comes the protagonist’s way. As she waits in the reception area while Dexter books a ride home, an elderly woman walks into the clinic. This woman, soon identified as Ms. Preecher by the workers at the clinic, approaches Anna and tells her that she knows who she is. Anna immediately assumes that the woman must have seen her in one of her works and thanks her for watching her film. However, Ms. Preecher makes it clear that she is not talking about Anna’s identity as a public figure, and she seems to suggest that Anna is someone else altogether. Although the elderly woman seems rather confident in her belief, the workers at the clinic take her away, and she seems quite deranged to Anna. But before Anna can leave the clinic, Ms. Preecher manages to take a few photos of the actress on her phone.

Stepping out of the clinic, Anna spots another mysterious person standing in the corner of the road and directly looking at her. In fact, this person is the same woman who she had earlier seen staring at the dead baby bird opposite her apartment building. Alarmed by the strange woman’s presence, Anna assumes that she must be some stalker or follower of hers who has been tailing her for this long. Although slightly scared by the matter, Anna is calmed by Dexter, and the couple takes their minds off the subject once again.

Who is Siobhan Corbyn?

Next, Anna is seen visiting the office of her publicist, Siobhan Corbyn (played by Kim Kardashian) As the two women sit down for a chat, more about the publicist is revealed. Firstly, just like Anna, Siobhan had also received IVF and infertility treatment for some time, presumably not very long ago, but she ultimately could not be helped by any medical procedure. Siobhan remains childless, and for this reason, Anna is initially unsure about whether she should give the publicist updates about her own treatment. Clearly, the actress does not want to seem insensitive, but when Siobhan states that she will only be happy hearing about Anna’s progress, the latter continues.

In fact, Anna and Siobhan got to know each other because of the latter’s infertility worries. After not being able to help her situation, the woman joined a support group, of which Anna was also a part. As Siobhan herself admits, the only good that came of the support group for her was meeting with the actress Anna, as the two immediately became friends. Siobhan then convinced her that she definitely needed a professional publicist and offered to do the job. At present, Siobhan hands Anna a specific doll, which the actress needs to sign for some of her fans. A few years ago, Anna had acted in a TV show called Summerday, and a doll had been designed based on her character. It is this doll that some fan of hers sent into Siobhan’s office, asking for the actress to give an autograph on its body. As grossed as she is at pulling up the doll’s top and putting her autograph on its belly, Anna does so at the request of Siobhan.

But certain strange events occur with regard to this doll as well, with the first one taking place during this very scene. Although Anna signs the doll and keeps it back on the table, after a couple of minutes, Siobhan notices that the doll is actually inside Anna’s handbag. It is almost as if the actor was trying to take it away with her, even though she is sure that she did not place it inside her bag. Later on in the episode, Anna has to appear on a late-night TV show, which is great progress in her career. Despite her embryo transfer procedure scheduled for that day, she decided to put her profession first and rescheduled the procedure for the next day. During this show, though, Anna spots a familiar face in the live audience and is immediately spooked by it, for she sees Ms. Preecher has come to watch the show. When the woman returns to Siobhan’s office after the shoot is over, she sees the doll once again, the same one as before, but instead of her autograph on its belly, now it has a big cross marked over the same position.

What is Dexter’s past that still bothers Anna?

The husband, Dexter, is gradually revealed to have had a certain past, which still sort of bothers Anna and makes her think about it. A professional artist and curator, Dexter was married to a different woman named Adeline Harding before he fell in love with Anna and settled with her. It was actually after the death of Adeline that Dexter and Anna met, but the protagonist still remains doubtful that her husband has not been able to get over his first wife. Despite Adeline being dead, Anna somehow has a feeling that the man still loves Adeline. She even tries to find out more about the first wife by reading about her on the internet and finds that the celebrated chef had died in a mysterious fire accident in her restaurant. What seems even more strange to Anna is that Dexter admits that he and Adeline had never tried for a baby because he felt that they were not meant to be parents.

Anna’s doubts, and moreover, her insecurities, are increased when she and Dexter go to have dinner with two friends of his. The three talk about their upcoming art exhibition, in which a German artist has been signed, and one of the friends, Talia, brings up how this new artist looked very much like Adeline. Feeling disrespected by this remark, Anna goes to the washroom, where she is soon apologized to by Talia. But before she leaves the place, though, Anna sees a particular pair of spiky shoes inside one of the stalls, as if a woman had been hiding and listening to their conversation. Later on in the episode, Anna visits the inauguration of Dexter’s art exhibition, too, where she meets the new artist, Sonia Shawcross. Absolutely dumbfounded to see it, Anna notices that Sonia is wearing the same pair of spiky shoes that she had seen inside the washroom stalls the other night.

What to expect in Episode 2?

So far, in the first episode of American Horror Story: Delicate, all the horrors of Anna Alcott have finally started to take shape. After being told by Dr. Hill that an embryo was ready to be inserted into her body, she realizes that she has completely missed appointment times in her schedule. It is almost like the woman has forgotten about multiple things, like the appointment at the clinic or Dexter having told her about his art exhibition inauguration. But Anna takes all of this to be the work of some miscreant who has hacked into her calendar and changed her schedule. As the episode progresses, she seems to hear footsteps following her on the road and also inside her house, only to find nobody there. Both Ms. Preecher and the other mysterious woman continue to haunt her in her dreams and visions. Then, finally, at the end of the episode, the same sequence as the beginning is shown, with the tilt of the head by the figure looking incredibly like the same mysterious woman who had been following Anna on the streets.

A message is also left on her phone, telling her to check the mirror in the room, on which are written the words “Don’t do it Anna,” using the same lipstick that Talia had given her at the restaurant. This is clearly a warning for Anna to not try to get pregnant, and in all of the strange occurrences, the one constant seemed to be like someone was trying to convince the woman to not have a baby. It could be that Anna is actually hallucinating all of this, or they are all part of her troubled psyche, which is due to her inability to conceive. Or, there could be many more secrets that Dexter has been hiding from his wife, and it seems like there can be a sinister plot line regarding him as well. The side characters, like Sonia Shawcross, Talia, and even Siobhan, will probably take on many shades throughout the season. Also, the identities of Ms. Preecher and the other strange woman also need to be revealed. Overall, American Horror Story: Delicate seems to have taken a good enough start and will hopefully keep the tense flavor intact.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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