American Horror Story Season 10 Episode 4 Review: Blood Buffet

Did we really need an origin story for all of these characters we met just a few episodes ago?

American Horror Story Season 10 Episode 4 was decent, but with “Red Tide” spanning just six episodes, much of the developments could have been revealed by the characters.

I’m not a fan of chatty scenes that fill things in for the viewers, but it would have been much better when you’re working with such a small episode number.

Dark History - American Horror Story

The tricky thing about flashback episodes is that the action has to be warranted, and quite frankly, a handful of the scenes could have been used in a regular episode, set in the present, in the name of advancing the plot.

Frances Conroy and Angelica Ross continued to be the standouts in the acting front, with the pair getting a healthy amount of material to work with.

If you watch American Horror Story online, there’s been a mystery surrounding why the Chemist arrived in Provincetown, and more importantly, how the townsfolk started getting hooked on these pills that either help or hinder them creatively.

Denis O'Hare as Holden - American Horror Story

Belle is such a great character, possibly one of the best in the franchise, and this installment only made me like her more.

While the drug does have some adverse side effects, Belle getting a new lease on life was highly satisfying. She was this woman who was desperate to reach her full potential, but everyone around her was more concerned about her cutting her writing dreams loose and moving on to something new.

I have a PhD from Harvard. Meth is well below my pay grade.

The Chemist

Her husband was a real piece of work, so it was great to see her get revenge on him the moment he chanted about cheating on her and telling her their marriage was over.

Even though the thirst was taking over, had the husband been a bit more compassionate, there’s a chance she would have allowed him to reap the rewards of her new lease on life.

Angelica Ross as The Chemist - American Horror Story

But breaking free from human nature allowed Belle to reach the highs both in her career and personal than she dreamed of, and it allowed her to help other people like her. 

Knowing how long her creativity was stifled, it made sense for her to turn her attention to Austin. Evan Peters is another actor throwing it out of the park throughout this half of the season, and “Blood Buffet” was no different.

We didn’t know a lot about Austin, more so than Belle heading into this installment, but witnessing how their bond became strong made for good TV. 

Belle introducing Austin to the pill was not a surprise, but it showed that she wanted to help others in need, which is either a good or a bad thing.

Macaulay Culkin as Mickey - American Horror Story

Introducing people to this creative part of their mind that’s working overdrive thanks to the pill might seem rewarding, but when you consider the rate at which the bodies are piling up, it’s not good for the residents of this sleepy little town.

The Chemist clearly has an ulterior motive, and it might involve taking a cut of the earnings of the people she gives the pill to. Yes, it’s out there, but it would also make this episode considerably more worthwhile.

If she continues to tweak the formula, there’s a chance she could find a way to stop the bloodthirst side effects because, well, that would make it a more marketable product.

Could that be her end game? Upending the world of pharmaceuticals would get her name out there if that’s what she’s looking for, but with this show, anything is possible.

Leslie Grossman as Ursula - American Horror Story

We know “Red Tide” will have some connective tissue to “Death Valley,” and something tells me the aliens that are on their way might have a bigger connection to this formula than we’re being led to believe.

Alas, there is still so much we don’t know about this story, but I can’t shake the important scenes from “Blood Buffet” that could have been used in a regular episode as the characters explained their machinations, all while advancing the story.

I killed my last boyfriend. He could bang me pretty good, but he was boring as f–k, so I drank him dry and burned the body.

Lark

American Horror Story Season 10 is at an interesting point. The first three episodes were the best in years, and this one was just above average, which could suggest the quality will be taking a dive in the final two episodes of “Red Tide.”

The good thing about the trajectory of the story is that it’s unpredictable. Mickey declining the drug and helping The Chemist find willing participants took me by surprise.

Frances Conroy as Belle Noir - American Horror Story

I enjoyed the origin of the pale-skinned people more than the others because his story was much less predictable. There has to be an uprising from these people at some point because, thanks to the Chemist, they’ve lost everything.

Okay, TV Fanatics.

That’s all I got.

What did you think of The Chemist’s plan? Do you think there’s an ulterior motive at play?

Evan Peters as Austin Sommers - American Horror Story

Do you think the episode would have been better set in the present with flashbacks?

How do you think all of this is going to end?

Hit the comments below.

Catch new episodes of American Horror Story at 10/9c every Wednesday on CBS.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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