‘American Horror Story: Delicate’ Is Somehow Worse Without Kim Kardashian

An entire episode of exhausting backstory robbed us of Kardashian’s tart-tongued, campy witch. Who would have guessed this is a performance we’d crave more of each week?

A photo including Kim Kardashian in the series AHS: Delicate Part 2 on FX

Last week’s long-awaited return of American Horror Story: Delicate to the airwaves was less than stellar, but at least we had Siobhan. I’ve been saying that Kim Kardashian’s character Siobhan Corbyn is AHS Season 12’s sole bright spot—often quite literally, as this season is so dimly lit it rivals any Marvel movie—since the first half of the season aired in September. Even when things were inexplicable, insipid, fright-free, or just downright dumb, there was Kardashian, ready to masterfully deliver another line about how Oscars are the only thing that matters in life, or how young actress Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts) should beg for attention with a charitable Instagram reel.

But in Episode 7, “Ave Hestia,” we got none of that. Much to my chagrin, Kardashian and Roberts were nowhere to be found. Instead, we got a heaping helping of narrative backstory to fill the canyon-sized gaps in the plot that have been weighing AHS: Delicate down from the start. While that’s nice and all, it’s a little late in the game for things to start making sense. After this week, there are only two more episodes of this season left, which means there are only two more hours to find out why Kim Kardashian has an Irish forename!

While Kardashian was absent this week, there were at least some hints as to her lineage. (These references could be total coincidences, but if showrunner and writer Halley Feiffer doesn’t capitalize on the opportunity sitting right in front of her, I’ll be ready to start breaking vases.) We now know that Siobhan is part of a coven of witches—duh—whose travels took them through the Emerald Isle back in the 13th century. Perhaps this is where the coven picked up a young Siobhan to teach her their ways? Unfortunately, that’s something that we won’t know for a bit longer, if at all.

The exposition is dealt to us hastily, with not enough dramatic tension to really creep under viewers’ skin. Though the episode did provide a couple of shocking images, it was most perturbing to experience a week of Delicate without our guiding light, Siobhan. I never thought I’d be spending a Wednesday evening, kneeling in front of my television as the minutes wound down, begging for Kim Kardashian to show up. But here we are. I can’t decide who looks more pathetic right now: me or AHS: Delicate.

A photo including Michaela Jaé Rodriguez in the series AHS: Delicate Part 2 on FXEpisode 7 opens on another flashback, this time to Western Europe in 42 A.D. Ivy (Cara Delevingne) is in labor, and jabs a blade into her stomach, fishing out two twin babies to lay on her chest. She coddles them and gives them their names: Sonia and Adeline. These are the lookalikes played by Annabelle Dexter-Jones in the present day. Adeline is Anna’s boyfriend Max’s (Matt Czuchry) late wife, who Anna has thought to be stalking her and threatening her pregnancy. As it turns out, Adeline really is dead. It’s her evil twin Sonia who has been following Anna. You can tell them apart by Sonia’s fuck-ass blunt bob.

A jump forward in time puts us back in Brooklyn, just a few years before Anna’s unraveling. It’s 2013, which explains why Adeline has a wildly successful feminist vegan restaurant in the borough’s most gentrified neighborhood, Dumbo. While giving a pep talk to her all-women staff, Adeline tells them, “We get to redefine domesticity, to be both soft and strong. This is matriarchal care with nourishment, elegance, and grace.” These sentiments echo AHS: Delicate’s hollow, scattershot messaging about motherhood thus far. It’s a gift, but also a curse. It’s the most beautiful thing a woman can go through, and also the most grotesque. It will always mean that someone needs you, and it also means you’re willing to risk the biggest loss. Yes, motherhood is all of these things. But if you’re going to make a show called American Horror Story, it’s not just enough to rub some corn syrup blood all over some empty platitudes and call them freaky. Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

We learn that Adeline keeps a secret room in her restaurant where she prays to the Greek goddess Hestia for good fortune. When she comes out, Adeline finds Sonia, who has broken into her restaurant and turned on all of the gas knobs. (Honestly, this is as scary as AHS has been all season; do you know how many times I’ve doubled back home after leaving my apartment to make sure I turned my gas off?) A little double-role action is a nice change of pace for this season, and Dexter-Jones plays both nicely, but this is very much the Siobhan show, and at this point, I’m getting antsy. The sisters have a little threatening exchange where Adeline reveals she defected from her coven, and they want her back.

Another flashback to Galway, Ireland, in 1243 takes us inside a familial spat between Ivy, Adeline, and Sonia, where Ivy chides Sonia for her insolence. There are repeated references to a god-like “Her” that these witches worship and work for, and I kept my hands folded in prayer throughout the whole hour that it would be revealed to be Siobhan by the episode’s end. Not so, or at least, not yet. I hold onto the smallest slivers of hope so tightly that they cut my palms, much like the sharp teeth that fellow witch Nicolette (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez) presents to Sonia when the episode jumps back to 2013. “Such handsome little creatures you grew in your own womb,” Nicolette tells her before Sonia flees.

This is all leading up to a big family reunion at the end of the episode, after Adeline is captured and tied up by Ivy, Nicolette, and Sonia. A veiled, fourth woman enters the room—come on, come on, Siobhan!—and Adeline demands to know who it is. After some wrong guesses and a whole lot of screaming, the veiled figure reveals herself to be Dex’s business partner, Talia (Juliana Canfield). Damn it! Well, anyway, Talia is in on it too. Now that she and Dex are opening up a gallery together, Talia is going to make sure that she guides Dex toward a wife who can carry “the purest possible product.” We know that, in a few years, that woman will be Anna.

A photo including Emma Roberts in the series AHS: Delicate Part 2 on FX

Before she can free herself, Adeline is killed by her own family. But not before Ivy cuts her stomach open, puts her hands in to feel the few-weeks-old fetus inside of Adeline’s stomach, and rubs the gore all over face. “Nothing more fruitful for the complexion than fetal fluids,” she says. This is our confirmation that this season’s semi-topical, ripped-from-3-year-old-headlines plot point is QAnon and conspiracy theories. Adrenochrome and baby’s blood to preserve youth and vitality forever. Give me a break.

Thankfully, we can soon expect the return of our dearest Siobhan, who is all over the promo for next week’s episode. She and Anna will be back, and so will their doomed Oscar campaign for Anna’s film, The Auteur. It was a rough week without both of them, and I pray that we never have to experience such an abysmal shock to the system ever again.

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