Remember last week when we all watched the finale of “Red Tide” and made fast and loose guesses as to how it will tie in with “Death Valley”? Whatever theory I had in mind then made so much sense in comparison to me sitting here repeating the word “giardia” over and over again in my mind like I too have newly returned from being beamed into the sky and back again.
One pocket of my Uniqlo PJ pants is filled with unanswered questions from Part 1 of Double Feature, and now the other pocket is half-full after one episode of Part 2. Aliens impregnating gay youths? Bisected cows? Goddamn Amelia Earhart?! What now, Ryan Murphy? What in the living hell now??
It’s too soon to provide a concrete case one way or the other as to whether “Red Tide” will, or won’t, tie into “Death Valley.” This could end up being something that Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock) wrote in Part 1, or it could be the result of Murphy and Brad Falchuk taking ayahuasca and coming away from the experience with the decision to pay homage to episode eight of Twin Peaks: The Return via whatever this ends up being. A lot of pressure to put on four episodes, but I’m not worried one bit. Let’s just embrace the chaos. Sit back and enjoy your trip on the mothership, but keep your legs closed tight. They’re handing out alien babies up there, and no one’s in the mood for that level of responsibility right now.
Before we get into the whats, wheres, and whos of “Take Me To Your Leader,” let’s make a nice expanse of room to provide a virtual safe space for Lily Rabe. First, they have this poor lady play Doris Gardner, a piss-poor interior designer and put-upon mother who suffers a great deal and then is left bald and tragic, wandering the cemeteries of Provincetown. And now here she is, popping up right away in the first episode of “Death Valley” as a naked and afraid Amelia Earhart. I don’t know why Amelia Earhart is so funny, but she just is. I wrote a report on her in the fourth grade and have thought about her at least once a year ever since. Lily Rabe should win an award.
All right. So we enter into Part 2 with a snippet of alien music (you know the kind) which then cuts to Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” which was released a year before this segment takes place. We’re in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it’s 1954, seven years after the Roswell Incident. The set-up here is very David Lynch meets Twilight Zone meets the first half of The Wizard of Oz, with a mom named Maria (Rebecca Dayan) listening to 45s while making dinner.
As Maria glides around the house, content in her 1954 duties, her young son is outside zooming around in a toy car. A sandstorm swirls in from a distance, and the boy calls out to his mom, referring to the formations as “dust devils,” and then he gets sucked straight into the sky by unseen forces that we already know to be aliens. Mere moments later, after his mom has floated to the ceiling of the home’s interior, he waltzes in all like, “Mommy, please don’t be afraid.”
When this household’s patriarch(y) comes home, he finds everything in disarray, and there’s Maria, floating in the air with white eyes. She makes the literal scariest noise I’ve ever heard in my life and explodes her husband’s head with a wave of her hand. Later on, she explodes more noggins, left and right, floating up and down the hallways of a base in Palm Springs as if she’s been doing this her whole life. They’re doing an autopsy on one of her alien brethren inside, and she’s going to let everyone hear about it (by exploding some heads, of course).
Sarah Paulson is amid all this portraying Mamie Eisenhower, but we don’t know too much about that just yet. Based on the preview for the next episode, she’s afraid of microwaves. Shrug.
These aliens lurking about seem to be dead set on making everyone pregnant. Amelia Earhart is pregnant. In the present, four college kids on a short-lived camping trip come back mysteriously pregnant, and two of them are men. Those cut-in-half cows were probably pregnant, for all we know. Dwight D. Eisenhower (Neal McDonough) is going to get to the bottom of this. Or get his head exploded trying.
In more modern times, Kendall Carr (Kaia Gerber) is 45 percent at fault for getting her friends into this pregnancy mess as she, under the cult-y influence of a professor she’s sexing, convinces them to leave their cellphones behind when they head out on their “Luddite Summer.” Not like they would have done much to help, seeing as aliens love to do spooky stuff like deaden electronics and cause clocks to click backward. Kaia Gerber went right from the first season of American Horror Stories, where she played a love-sick ghost, to this. She’s got talent in spades and the familial eyebrows to prove it.
Kendall’s friend Jamie (Rachel Hilson) comes away from this camping trip with the most TikTok content. Not only is she allergic to her crush’s jizz and pregnant with a probable alien, but she was the only one of the four to be left wandering alone in the street post-abduction. What happened up there in the not-at-all-friendly skies? And what’s she going to do about this jism problem?
Postcards From Howland Island
• I Googled “was Mamie Eisenhower afraid of microwaves?” but was only able to glean that she had anxieties and feared that her husband was cheating on her. What husband wasn’t at that time? Especially husbands of the presidential variety.
• According to an article on Insider, one of the most common theories regarding Amelia Earhart’s disappearance after her flight to Howland Island is that she landed on the wrong island and died there. The name of the island this theory offers up is Gardner Island. Now that’s a pretty weird coincidence.