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Last Night’s American Horror Story Was Straight Out of The X-Files

Photo: FOX, FX

We expect American Horror Story to pull from all kinds of sources. It’s a genre satire as much as it’s a genre piece, and Ryan Murphy never met anything he didn’t want to put his own stamp on. But last night’s episode, I Am Anne Frank Pt. 2, didn’t just tip its hat to the obvious horror movies and sixties films — it was straight out of The X-Files. One X-File in particular: Season three’s “Paper Clip.”

Was the episode “Paper Clip,” as in Operation Paperclip, name-dropped on AHS last night? Indeed, yes. On The X-Files, the Lone Gunmen tell Mulder and Scully about the U.S. government program that brought Nazi scientists to the States because there’s an old photo of Mulder’s (deceased) father standing with series villains Cigarette Smoking Man, other shadowy dudes, and an infamous Nazi scientist. On AHS, Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude learns about it when she tries to hire a freelance Nazi hunter to investigate her evil coworker Dr. Arden, whom she suspects of being a former SS officer. Ominous! The only thing more foreboding than a regular Nazi is a secret Nazi.

Oh sure, The X-Files and American Horror Story are probably not the only shows to make reference to Operation Paperclip. But how many shows include both Nazis and aliens in one episode? Mulder and Scully discover in “Paper Clip” that the Nazi scientist and Papa Mulder were involved in creating a human-alien hybrid race, and we see vague images of the aliens for brief moments in the episode. Guess what? They look just like the aliens on AHS: blindingly, brightly light from behind, visible only as wobbly humanoid silhouettes with big heads and elongated limbs. (Yes, this is also how aliens pretty much always look on TV.) So far Dr. Arden on Horror Story doesn’t seem to know all that much about the aliens that seemingly implanted a robo-chip in Kit’s neck — speaking of which, Scully also totally had a computer chip implanted in her neck.

All we need now is for a flukeman to be lurking in Briarcliff Manor’s sewers, and we’ll consider the crossover complete.

Nazis and Aliens: How AHS Channeled The X-Files