TV Review: American Horror Story: Delicate- Episode 1: ‘Multiply Thy Pain’


After a year’s long hiatus, American Horror Story has returned to Disney+ this week, dropping the first episode of the twelfth season of the show titled American Horror Story Delicate. This is the first season of the show to be adapted directly from a book, as this season is adapted from the book ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Rollins.

This season has already gained a lot of hype, not only due to the return of Emma Roberts in the leading role, but mainly because of the controversial casting of Kim Kardashian in the supporting role to Emma Roberts’ character. I’ve been so excited about this season because of the casting announcements, but how has the first episode lived up to my expectations?


After years of trying, Anna Alcott (Emma Roberts) and her husband, Dex (Matt Czuchry) begin their third attempt of IVF to try and have a baby. Although their doctor, Andrew Hill (Dennis O’ Hare) is optimistic, the couple still fear the worse- but when strange things start happening that Anna can’t explain, she realises she can’t trust anyone, not even her best friend, Siobhan (Kim Kardashian).



The story of this episode focuses on Anna Alcott, who is trying to balance her life between being a successful movie star and struggling to become a mother. Throughout the episode, weird things start happening, for example, she forgets that her husband is at a launch for his career when he claims to have told her about it, things just start appearing in strange places, a strange elderly woman approached Anna and began yelling “you are her”, someone hacked into Anna’s phone’s calendar and changed some important plans, and another strange mysterious woman (Cara Delevingne) is seen to be following Anna wherever she goes.

The plot is clearly trying to suggest that either Anna is losing her mind, or that there is some kind of plot against her. The only problem I have with this episode’s plot is that it was very slow moving, and it didn’t really feel like American Horror Story. There wasn’t as many horror aspects as usual, but Ryan Murphy did promise this season would be completely different to the others.

Casting and Acting

When I first saw that Kim Kardashian had been cast in a leading role this season, I was sceptical. I didn’t know much about her other that her being a reality TV star. This casting choice has even caused controversy and mixed opinions between former actors on the show, as Patti LuPone has shared her strong disapproval of the casting, claiming it to have taken a job away from a real trained actor, where other former American Horror Story star, Zachary Quinto was impressed for her having been given the role, describing her as professional and talented.

However, in all honestly, after just watching the first episode alone, it seems that Kim just seems to be playing a version of herself on the show. Her character is powerful, has many connections, wears up-brand clothing. It’s obvious why she was given the role.

As well as this, the episode marks the return of Emma Roberts after a four-year hiatus, and to be honest, she didn’t disappoint. She appeared in every scene of the first episode, so this was clearly a lot of work, but it just makes the character feel so much more developed than other main characters from previous seasons. The only issue is that this kind of limited the impact of the supporting characters around her.

This episode also featured the return of Denis O’Hare in a main role, however, in the first episode, he was only seen to be Anna’s fertility doctor, so not much is known about his character yet, but to be honest, it feels that his return to the show was overshadowed by the casting of Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne.

Unfortunately, mainstays of the show such as Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Billie Lourd, or Leslie Grossman do not have main roles this season. Fans understand that as each season tells a different story, it is common for the show to gain new cast members and lose old ones, but after nine seasons starring Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, without them it just doesn’t feel like American Horror Story, and it feels like there’s a big gap that needs to be filled.


To summarise, the first episode of American Horror Story: Delicate successfully brought back Emma Roberts in a leading role, alongside reality TV star, Kim Kardashian. The acting this episode was okay, Emma’s performance was great, but it just felt that all the other actors didn’t have enough to do.

The storyline itself seems quite solid, but there isn’t as much horror for a horror series as you’d expect. And if I’m honest I have no idea how they plan to drag this story into nine episodes, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of the story goes and hopefully the pacing will speed up.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay

Recommendation: Yes

If you like American Horror Story, check out our ranking of all the characters played by Sarah Paulson in American Horror Story here.