“American Horror Story” is back for another season of absolute terror, and just in time for the Halloween season. The FX anthology series “American Horror Story” by Ryan Murphy has been going strong for over a decade as each season delves into a new nightmare. From the unsettling first season of “Murder House” to the iconic feminist season “Coven” and to the enthralling season of Double Feature, “American Horror Story” has done it all. The current twelfth season, “Delicate” (based on the book “Delicate Condition” by Danielle Valentine), embarks on a topic that is not new to the “AHS” universe but has never taken spotlight— pregnancy. While this season has only just begun, it sounds promising.
“American Horror Story” alum Emma Roberts stars as Anna Victoria Alcott, a rising A-list celebrity attempting to conceive a baby through IVF treatment. This role is much different than any role Ryan Murphy has had Emma Roberts take on before. In “AHS: Coven”, Roberts played Madison Montgomery, a snarky and bratty yet seductive teenage witch. In Murphy’s “Scream Queens”, she stars as the snobby sorority princess, Chanel Oberlin. Two of Roberts’ most iconic roles portray her as an all-time diva, but her role in “AHS: Delicate” tears her away from this image. She is not going to play the spiteful teenager this time around, but rather this beautiful, mature, and poised woman who has longed for a baby of her own.
It is impossible to bring up “AHS: Delicate” without talking about the elephant in the room, Kim Kardashian. If you are not in the social media realm, you may not have heard that Kim Kardashian is starring alongside Emma Roberts as Siobhan Corbyn, Anna’s publicist. This is not the first time that Ryan Murphy has had a celebrity play a main character role. In “AHS: Hotel,” Murphy brought on singer/songwriter Lady Gaga who played The Countess, a malicious vampire that ruled the Hotel Cortez.
While Kardashian is no stranger to being in front of the camera, this is one of the first times in media history that she plays someone other than herself. To most people’s surprise, Kardashian brings a much-needed camp to this dark season, playing into the Valley girl linguistic with her ruthless yet hilarious one-liners. Behind the reality TV star and businesswoman aspects of her life, Kim Kardashian is a delightful addition to the “American Horror Story” cast and there is no doubt that she will continue to thrive as Siobhan.
In addition to Kardashian, there are other newcomers to the cast. Matt Czurchy plays Dex Harding, Anna’s sketchy husband who seems to constantly gaslight her throughout the IVF process. Cara Delevingne plays Ivy, a woman, or an entity of a woman as some have theorized, who always lurks near Anna. Julie White plays quirky Ms. Preacher, another one of Anna’s stalkers.
As Anna starts her next round of IVF, bizarre side effects and happenings come about that become a detriment to her mental health. We begin to see a myriad of symbols and characters that play a major part in Anna’s declination.
Spider imagery is prevalent throughout all aspects of the season, starting with the iconic title sequence. There is always a ton to unpack in the minute-long introduction to each season, but “Delicate”’s is a juicy one. We see spiders twice here; the first time a spider is crawling along a web before it shatters and the web combusts. During its second appearance, a more menacing spider crawls up a woman’s pregnant body and eventually makes its way toward her eyes. Murphy is notorious for adding a bunch of symbols to his introduction that he expands on later to create a bigger symbol, and in this case, it is obvious that this season’s symbol will have some relationship with spiders.
In a freaky scene in episode one, Anna even says she thinks her baby is going to come out as a spider given how old she is and how long it is taking her to conceive. Another scene in episode one shows Anna pulling a very long white “hair” from her head, which eerily resembles spider webbing. Absolutely horrifying. We will hopefully understand more as the season progresses.
A character that fans have been theorizing about is Delevingne’s character, Ivy. Ivy presents herself as a mysterious woman who constantly creeps around Anna. She wears all-black clothing, red sunglasses, and red heels, all of which are always paired with a cigarette. In episode two, Ivy presents herself as a nurse. During an unpleasant but intense scene, Ivy prepares Anna for an ultrasound to check the safety of her baby. When removing the wand from Anna’s belly it appears to be covered in blood, and causes Anna to miscarry. Ivy mysteriously leaves the room and does not appear again, which puzzles the hospital staff who do not know of “Nurse Ivy.”
While the season is only on its third episode, it seems to be one of the better seasons of “AHS,” diving into themes of pregnancy struggles, the influence of media, mental health, and trust. Unfortunately, the season is broken up into two parts, with the next two episodes airing in the next few weeks and the rest of the season airing in early 2024. However, this should not stop you from giving it a watch. Whether you are a long-time “American Horror Story” fan or a fresh fan, you will not regret watching this deeply twisted, mind-screwing season!