If only getting out were as easy as getting in for Harry. Some doors, once opened, can never be sealed. And once you’ve had a taste of true creative genius, can you discard it over something as silly and malleable as a moral code?
Perhaps that’s the point. Later in the episode, Ursula (Leslie Grossman) is giving a speech in front of a group of inspiring writers at a seminar, and she brings up a solid point. Writing isn’t so much about talent as it is about being able to ignore tedium and rejection and toil on with the very hard work of words, songs, or whatever the chosen artistic medium might be. The Muse is a shortcut to unlock all that creative potential, but what separates the Talented from the pale people is that little spark of self-flagellation that allows them to push on ahead, despite knowing just how much life it will sap from you (or how much blood you’ll need to drink).
Writers Brad Falchuk and Manny Coto hammer that point home pretty effectively, particularly in Belle’s unhinged rant and Ursula’s rabble-rousing speech in the screen-writing class. Hollywood is a place full of, in this universe, very selfish people who are willing to do anything to make it and everything to stay on top. People like Harry, who at least tries to do the right thing after he’s already made his fortune, are rare in that he has a conscience that eventually gets the better of him. Other people, like Alma, aren’t burdened. She’s the best, she knows she’s the best, and there’s no stopping her from clawing, scratching, and neck-chomping her way to the top. And when push comes to shove, anyone standing in her way, even her father, will get victimized.
In the hands of John J. Gray, Alma’s evil intentions are never in doubt. She’s clearly planning something. However, the way her plan comes to fruition—Ursula no doubt had a lot of influence in this scheme—is still shocking, even by American Horror Show standards. As it stands, it’s a twisted capper on a pretty twisted sequence, which is shot and edited very well. There’s plenty of gore and some impressive jump scares, particularly when the pale people smash through the windows of Belle’s house to get their revenge. It’s good stuff, and the graveyard sequence is shot ambiguously enough that you’re not quite sure if anyone is going to come to Harry’s aid or not.
To Ursula’s credit, it’s a great plan, and a pretty fiery speech she gives the pales. It’s matched only by the speech at the end of the episode Falchuk and Coto give her that seems to kick off a vampire apocalypse in downtown Los Angeles. If the slaughter in P-town wasn’t dramatic enough, this certainly is, with the show becoming a full-on survival horror, like if 30 Days of Night took place in a crowded city and nobody cared all that much about getting caught. It’s a short sequence, but very impactful, as it’s clear that at least part of the United States has fallen to the vampires, even as The Chemist (Angelica Ross, who looks very cool at all times in this episode) and Eli move on to a new part of the world to make a fresh start, and to work on a new pill project.