American Horror Story hasn’t been afraid to go dark in the past, and the episode ‘Gaslighting’ isn’t the darkest it’s ever gone, but it’s damned close. Starting out with Doris giving birth to the newest member of the Gardner household, a little boy that they name Eli kicks off another bout of insanity as Harry, who’s already deep into the effects of the pills made by the Chemist, has to control himself when he sees the bloody towels that are left by his wife’s difficult labor, as well as the blood that comes welling up when he cuts his son’s umbilical cord. In true AHS style, this episode gets downright bloody as Harry, needing to feed obviously, drains the towels when no one’s looking and has a drink before heading back to his wife and their child. Oh yes, it gets a little disturbing, but not nearly as much as when Doris wakes to find herself back in the home that she’s been attempting to leave, with none other than Harry’s agent, Ursula, ready and willing to feed her a story of how much Harry has been writing, how it’s best to let him finish before moving out of the area and to deliver her a bowl of soup that might continue to blur the edges of Doris’ vision.
Add to that the sight that awaits Doris when she wakes to the crying of her baby, only to realize that he’s not in his bassinet, but is in the bathroom where she finds Alma feeding upon Eli. Thankfully, Alma doesn’t drain her little brother entirely, but it’s safe to say that this didn’t please Harry in the least. Apparently, the reason that Belle Noir feeds on children, as she admits to Tuberculosis Karen, is the same reason that Alma did. The blood is pure, untainted by chemicals and other things that we accumulate as we grow older, and is in a sense capable of nourishing those that need it so much more. That’s a frightening thought, that the blood of children is far more valuable than anything. But it does make a macabre sort of sense.
The attempt to make Doris believe that this was just a dream doesn’t work, however, and as Harry, Ursula, and Alma attempt to figure out a way to deal with Doris, Alma decides to give her mother a pill, telling Doris that she does have the kind of talent needed to make it work. A little while later though, it’s discovered, sadly, that Doris is not possessed of the same talent that Harry and Alma, which is made apparent when first vomits all over her work and bed, and then discovers that her hair is falling out. Not long after that Harry and Alma have to cut her loose to terrorize the town with the rest of the pale folk, who are still lurking about, but won’t come near those that are taking the pill. On another note, Mickey, whose fortunes improved greatly after taking the pill, and who has no qualms about sucking the life from another human being, is on his way up and wants to take Karen with him. Unfortunately, she has no desire.
Karen has already been playing a modern-day sort of Renfield to Belle Noir, who threatens Karen with death at the hands of the pale folk if she doesn’t bring her Gardner child. It’s a sign that things in Provincetown are headed for a serious clash, no matter that it will be back to business as usual if Belle were to get what she wanted. There wasn’t even a mention of Austin this time around, but it’s fair to think that the next episode might make this happen, as Belle and Austin have already decided that Harry and his daughter are too much of a liability. That clash is yet to come but watching the fallout between Karen and Mickey, whose lofty ambitions blinded him to the reality of what he was involved in making it easy for Karen to rip his throat out before feeding on Mickey to fuel what would be her final painting before she slit both wrists and walked into the sea. One could easily assume that no matter her commitment to survival, she did this as a form of release for her, and possibly for Mickey.
It’s kind of a poetic end to the stories of at least two of the characters given that Karen had no desire to be damned for taking the pill, and the lives that would be required later to feed her habit. Whether Doris’s part in all of this is over or not at this point is hard to say, but it’s a hope that she’ll play at least a small role in what’s to come since it would appear that the Gardner’s are going to need to remain alert.