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[This story contains spoilers from the premiere of AHS: Delicate.]
Little was known about how American Horror Story would twist Danielle Valentine’s novel to fit the mold of the veteran FX anthology until it made its debut. Now, season 12 of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s hit horror series has released its first episode (and will now roll out weekly) and has revealed to its devoted audience the plot of the fertility body-horror season, along with the role Kim Kardashian will be playing alongside returning AHS star Emma Roberts.
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AHS: Delicate is the first-ever season in the franchise to be adapted from a book, Valentine’s Delicate Condition. It’s also the first to have a sole showrunner with playwright Halley Feiffer. The creative team, per usual and amid the ongoing dual Hollywood strikes, shared very little about the season ahead of time, except to say that the story is inspired by the novel which has been called a feminist update to Rosemary’s Baby and that Feiffer wrote “a fun, stylish and ultimately terrifying role especially for Kim, and this season is ambitious and unlike anything we have ever done.”
The brief season description from FX called AHS: Delicate “a gripping thriller about an actress (played by Roberts) who becomes convinced that a sinister figure is going to great lengths to make sure her pregnancy never happens.”
Indeed, the premiere, which aired Wednesday on FX and streamed on Hulu Thursday, introduced Roberts’ teen star turned A-list actress Anna Victoria Alcott in the middle of her fertility journey. Following a painful egg retrieval, she meets with her publicist Siobhan Corbyn, who is played by Kardashian. And the reality star makes quite an entrance playing a high-powered, zero-fucks publicist who represents a major Hollywood star.
“Then tell the Daniels to suck my clit. She’s not missing a press day for a fucking commercial shoot,” Siobhan (Kardashian) demands to the caller on the other side of the phone, referencing the directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert of Everything Everywhere All At Once fame. She then tells Anna, “It’s exhausting being better than everyone.”
Siobhan is working to secure Anna an Elle cover and Time 100 consideration, and booked Anna her first late-night interview — with Andy Cohen solo, “without even another Bravolebrity in the chair” — as she shares her Oscars campaign vision with her client. Anna then confides to Siobhan about her ongoing IVF journey following her visit to a world-renowned fertility doctor, played by AHS familiar face Denis O’Hare. “Focus on the good; there’s so much of it in your life right now,” Siobhan excitedly tells Anna. The pair reveal they met each other at an IVF support group, and that Siobhan’s IVF journey didn’t work. They have remained best friends.
Meanwhile, strange things are happening for Anna, as she experiences hair loss and forgetfulness on her new hormones, and starts to believe she is being stalked by a mystery woman. Her husband Dex (played by Matt Czuchry), whose first wife named Adeline died in a kitchen fire, dismisses her concerns as medication side effects. But Siobhan is a supportive ear when Anna fears that her iPhone calendar, which noted her embryo transfer appointment, has been hacked.
“Courteney Cox had some freak break into her house and steal her lingerie three times. The cops did nothing. They think if a woman’s in the public eye, she’s looking to be harassed,” says Kardashian, who can speak from personal experience, in the scene. Her character sympathizes and offers her actress friend a laugh: “But whatever you do, don’t cry; your face cannot get puffy for Andy.”
Cohen himself then makes a cameo along with the Watch What Happens Live set when Anna, with Siobhan in tow, comes on his show, and the pair land a timely Vanderpump Rules joke that Anna “fucked Tom Sandoval” to get on his late-night Bravo show. But she is stopped in her tracks when she appears to see a ghost in the audience. Her iPhone gives her an update on how many times Safari has blocked trackers from profiling her in the last week as she searches “Annihilate Anna,” a forum she came across while reading the comments on a story about her industry husband’s dead ex-wife, Adeline.
Dex’s new artist (played by Annabelle Dexter-Jones), meanwhile, has an uncanny likeness to deceased wife Adeline. Despite all of Anna’s growing concerns, she is comforted (or gaslit) by her husband as the embryo transfer appears to go well. The episode then ends with the flash-forward that opened the season — with an intruder attacking Anna and leaving her a bloody message in the mirror after confirming the hack on her phone: “Don’t do it Anna.”
Though Kardashian has acted before, this is her most high-profile gig to date. AHS has famously featured a revolving door of marquee names, beginning with Jessica Lange back in season one and Lady Gaga, whose acting credits were at the time her own music videos, in season five. Kardashian’s stunt casting appeared to pay off, as she won over the X (formerly Twitter) chatter for viewers who tuned into the AHS: Delicate premiere on Wednesday. Early reviews have similarly been praiseworthy for the star. “Kardashian is far and away the best part of AHS: Delicate,” says The Daily Beast.
THR‘s Angie Han noted in her review, “Time may tell how Kardashian fares when she’s given more intense material, since much of Siobhan’s screen time thus far is spent exposition-dumping. For now, however, her dry affect proves paradoxically perfect for delivering campy lines.”
The new season, which has been split into a two-part release amid a delay in production with the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, releases as Roberts has apologized for a transphobic comment she made to Angelica Ross, who accused her former American Horror Story: 1984 co-star of intentionally misgendering her while filming the season.
The season also stars Cara Delevingne, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Julie White, Maaz Ali, Juliana Canfield, Dominic Burgess, Zachary Quinto and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez.
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