‘AHS: Double Feature’ Star Lily Rabe on Why Doris Made That Black Pill Choice and If She Can Come Back From It

·4 min read

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Wednesday’s episode of “American Horror Story: Double Feature.”)

The first half of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Double Feature” season, a.k.a. “Red Tide,” comes to a close next week with a finale that will see what becomes of the Gardener Family now that Doris (Lily Rabe) has turned into a Pale Person after taking the black pill and not being talented enough to benefit from its gift-amplifying properties.

Doris made the choice to swallow the medicine that either turns you into a mindless bloodsucking creature or a genius bloodsucking creature toward the end of the episode, titled “Gaslight,” which began with her giving birth to her and Harry’s (Finn Wittrock) still unnamed infant son, and then moved back into the house in Provincetown she desperately wanted to escape.

Doris takes the pill because her and writer Harry’s little girl, violin prodigy Alma (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), asked her mother to take it, telling her she had faith Doris was a talented enough interior designer to have the same positive results Harry and Alma experienced, after days of being drugged and gaslit by Harry, Alma and Harry’s agent Ursula (Leslie Grossman) into thinking no one around here is sucking blood from any babies.

And Rabe says she does not believe this was an “inevitable” outcome for Doris, who was the “last person” who would ever take the pill, and had first refused it when Alma tried to trick her into taking it earlier in the hour.

“For Doris, when she takes the pill and throws it across the room, yes, whatever she’s got in her system that they’ve been putting her through, she is absolutely being taken to the limit by people that she loves, people that she trusts,” the “AHS: Double Feature” star told TheWrap. “And her entire sense of reality is being thrown upside down. She cannot trust the ground beneath her. But in that moment, she could take it then, and she’s desperate then and she does not take it. And she gets her baby and she runs barefoot out into the street.

“Does she have a great plan? Not necessarily. But I think her plan is to do anything and everything to get away from taking the pill and to try and get out to where she is hoping there is some kind of oxygen and some kind of sanity and some kind of possibility for her and for the baby. And that quickly disappears. And I think it is, ultimately, only Alma who would have been able to get her to take the pill. I think if the same scene had happened with Harry — at that point, she loves Harry and she’s wildly devoted to him, as we know by this point, but I think it is only her child, it is only her heart that is going to be able to look her in the eye and say, ‘I believe in you. There is hope. There is hope in this pill.'”

Rabe continued: “I think what actually happens for her in that moment is just a flicker of a possible better outcome than what she’s been faced with. It’s so brief and it’s just like this little crack of light that gets in. But I think it gets in because she’s looking into the eyes of someone she loves more than anyone else in the world, besides the baby, because everyone loves all their children equally.

“So I think it was not inevitable for her. But I think, in that moment, there is actually the possibility of not only hope for saving her family — and what I mean is actually saving her family as a unit, being able to just stay with them, to stay together in some way — but also, there is the hope, this fear that everyone has, that she would become a Pale Person, not that she has the knowledge of exactly how it all works, but her own fear of her own talent and viability outside of her family and her own identity and her own self worth. I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts it more than Doris. So I think in that moment, of course, there is not only maybe, ‘Can I save my family in this moment,’ but, ‘Maybe I am worth more than I think I am. Maybe I have something that I don’t think I have, but maybe, maybe, maybe I do.'”

The episode ends with Doris, now a Pale Person, sucking the blood from an animal in a graveyard as Alma and Ursula walk by on their way to see The Chemist (Angelica Ross) in hopes of procuring more black pills for Ursula to use to start a very unique talent agency.

We asked Rabe if there is a chance that The Chemist might have a way to bring Doris back from being a Pale Person on next week’s finale, a question she obviously refused to answer.

“Oh, gosh, you know I can’t answer that! But like Doris has, I think it’s always good to have some hope,” Rabe said. “You’ve got to have hope until you can’t have it anymore, which is never, you can always have some hope. That’s all I can say.”

A new episode of “American Horror Story: Double Feature,” which is the finale of Part 1, “Red Tide,” airs next Wednesday at 10/9c on FX.

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