American Horror Story: Take Me to Your Leader
October 1, 2021 7:09 AM - Season 10, Episode 7 - Subscribe

It's 1954, and Action President Dwight Eisenhower is on the case! When mysterious aliens appear to the faint strains of Portishead, Ike takes charge. Part 1 of Death Valley.
posted by kittens for breakfast (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
As with Red Tide, the stark sense of open landscapes and loneliness creates an eerie atmosphere, and it's one that isn't made any more comforting when you realize the reason there aren't any crowd scenes is covid.

I want to preface this by saying I don't hate young people. I really don't! I don't envy them their ability to stumble out of bed effortlessly hot, or their power to have sixty erections a day, or the way the media seems to think their every utterance, however banal, is impossibly interesting. For an old guy, I like to think I'm pretty cool! Right? Right. But I don't think this show (based on its deformed alien baby, American Horror Stories) handles young characters especially well; they're written in a shallow way, as if no one involved has any personal experience of what it is to be 20 in 2021, and it doesn't help that the actors...I mean, I think Kaia Gerber is much better here than she was in "Rubber(Wo)Man" and "Game Over," but she isn't going to steal any Emmys away from Sarah Paulson. I'm interested to see how the 2021 story develops, but I don't really care what happens to any of these people...horribly, I find that I mostly hope whatever happens to them is gross and cool to watch. That's a legit horror feeling, but it's not one I normally associate with this show, which almost always makes you care about the people even when the story sucks or doesn't make much sense.

By contrast, the 1954 story looks great, and Neal McDonough! I don't know a damn thing about the IRL Eisenhower, but the AHS version gets my vote. I hope there's a lot more of this stuff.

Angelica Ross is in the credits, but we haven't seen her yet. My guess is she's playing her character from Red Tide...We Shall See.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:31 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I would of been all for this half of the series to be all black and white and set in the 50's.

The modern "kids" do seem like stereo typed to the point where I was surprised they survived the episode since they felt like the characters who get killed off in the opening few minutes of a, say, Friday the 13th movie. Though like was said above I also have zero attachment to them and am looking forward to what will have to be pretty gory alien pregnancy's all around.

I have no idea where they are going other than Ike likely made some x-files like deal with the aliens to let them abduct the occasional human in exchange for not....exploding the heads of the rest?
posted by Captain_Science at 10:54 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I agree Captain_Science. I was expecting them all to die and also hoping they would as I had very little interest in them at all.

The aliens gave us technology for some nefarious purpose is the same premise as the final installment of the Cornetto trilogy, World's End, but with characters I was actually interested in. Not as promising a start as Red Tide.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:21 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


kittens, I'm fairly certain the portrayal of Teh Yuthes is a denouncement of Instagram culture and the social Darwinsim of superficiality. As it has ever been in every society with economic surplus.

The presentation and the specifics spells, to me, "rich and disconnected kids." Definitely not reflective of the majority of young adults in America. Ok, not just rich, but the spoiled scions of the 0.0001% rich.

But point taken, the writing for this is atrocious unless its deliberate. But it's not actually clever enough to be entertaining. Yet?

There's definitely a bimodal distribution when it comes to conventional physical attractiveness of these gits irl; less spread for women and skews further downfield.

I'm digging the premise though - looking forward to what they do with all this. But, agreed, none of the actors have particularly impressed so far. This is no 'Mars Attacks!'
posted by porpoise at 12:25 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


But point taken, the writing for this is atrocious unless its deliberate. But it's not actually clever enough to be entertaining. Yet?

It's really not. I see the stab at social commentary, but I don't think it's that insightful to be like, "The kids today, they're always on their phones!" These characters make very little impression as people, which (again) was one of the major problems I had with American Horror Stories, which similarly featured mostly college-aged protagonists who seemed devoid of deep thoughts and inner lives. It's hard for me to say whether the issue is a paucity of writing, an abbreviated time to tell a story, a cast that isn't especially good, or all of the above. I do think, though, that Death Valley was probably originally meant for American Horror Stories, and got beefed up to four episodes for AHS, much as I suspect Red Tide was originally meant to run an entire season.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:33 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Mulling over this on/ off, I think you have an interesting point there. AHS feels kind of like 'The New Yorker' or NYT or something, in that there's a pattern of high handedness and social snobbery. Aside from that it has always wanted to be a prestige show, to demonstrate that the horror genre doesn't have to be pulp. The success of the endeavour is uneven, but historically (to me) has hit some really decent highs. Of the failures (and in this example) I still can't tell if it's more poseur-manship or actual snobishness.

The glittery kids are meant as a kind of caricature. Whether something to despise (and thus the audience derives schadenfreude from) or something to remind the audience of themselves - but with fatal flaws (a la True Scotsman) - from which to derive horror (this could happen to me!), I can't really tell.

So in this postulated scenario, I feel that the writers are aiming less for social commentary than for an emotional hook.

But I did bounce hard off of 'American Horror Stories' - I simply didn't feel invested in the characters/ stories, and there wasn't gratifying episodic payoff, so didn't even give it the 3 ep treatment (because the episodes were standalone? so not even a potential for promise - which historical AHS kept me watching through the less-good seasons).
posted by porpoise at 7:39 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


AHStories is...yeah. I would definitely recommend watching episode 6, "Feral," which is completely standalone. I would not be surprised to see its premise expanded into a season of AHS.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:49 PM on October 3


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