Meanwhile in the present, both Troy and Cal give birth to their human/alien hybrid babies -- with very different results!
While we still aren't nearly as enamored with the present day narrative on "American Horror Story: Double Feature's" alien invasion chapter, "Death Valley," this penultimate installment did at least leave us with a compelling cliffhanger.
We love a closing moment that leaves you speculating what could be about to happen next. That's one of the best things about episodic television; that tension that can exist in your own mind between episodes when you've no choice but to wait to find out what happens next.
The black-and-white era storyline didn't leave us on nearly as juicy of a note, but it hardly needs to. As an alternate history of our world where President Eisenhower signed away his soul, and the American people, to an alien species, these chapters make for far better serialized television.
We could skip the four preggo teens in the present altogether if we'd have been given a chance to dig deeper into this "What If?" scenario. And what makes it so utterly compelling is how carefully Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have crafted the story so that it could just as easily not be alternate history but rather our secret true history.
Everything from Marilyn Monroe's death to the moon landing to what's really going on at Area 51 become recontextualized through the lens of this alien invasion and the deal that Eisenhower made -- admittedly under considerable duress.
Is it better to consider that Ike sold out the American people to save his wife when he was more than willing to try and hold strong against the aliens when the offer was advanced technology. Turns out the carrot wasn't enough, so they went with the stick by threatening to blow Mamie's brains all over the wall. Then to prove they're not so bad after all, they offered the carrot anyway.
With only one episode left, and a track record we're all too familiar with, we've no doubt that many of our WTF questions will likely never be answered. But that will never stop us from asking them!
Why Did the Aliens Wait Three Years to Send Valiant Thor?
We get that aliens may well operate on an entirely different sense and scale of time than humanity -- we don't even know how long they live -- but it's still odd that after urging Ike to sign this deal where they'd get to harvest humans in exchange for technology, they'd wait three years to even begin to deliver on their side of the deal.
True, there's not much Ike or the government could have done about it, but still we're wondering what the hold-up was? Perhaps it was the creation of Valiant Thor himself. He appears to be the very technology the aliens are promising, or perhaps something else altogether.
We never really get an explanation as to why the aliens were no longer interested in just controlling human bodies to communicate. They could have easily shared their information that way rather than create this ambassador/liaison/go-between.
Did the Aliens Know Handheld Computers Would Tear Us Apart?
One of the more humorous lines came when Thor showed Ike and Nixon the "handheld computer" that's clearly a prototype of our modern-day smartphones. His line that "one day these devices will connect your world and usher in an age of peace and harmony" was so optimistically off-base, we couldn't help but laugh.
But was it intentional misdirection, or perhaps the aliens don't understand human nature. Perhaps for them, their technology did unite them, but that certainly hasn't been the human experience. We may be more divided than ever in our wired world.
If it's about misdirection and distraction, certainly having us focused on the nonsense spewing at us through our phones has us paying less attention to what's actually going on in the world.
By the end of the black-and-white segment, we were wondering this even more than before. We saw the aliens give her back to Ike after he signed the document, but we've never seen them give back any human -- they've always blown their heads up before. So is Mamie really back?
Perhaps she's a spy for the aliens now, or at least a portal they can keep open to peek in on Ike and make sure he's staying in line. We didn't get enough of a sense of her personality to see how much she may have changed as she started decorating for Halloween and seeming to be completely unaffected by the screams she and Ike could hear quite clearly through the vents.
Why Did the Door Recognize Eisenhower’s Hand Imprint?
The bunker below the White House, where the screams were coming from, wasn't supposed to be visited by Ike for a few more weeks, per Thor, but why is that? And for that matter, why did the security measures on the door he find recognize his handprint? And how did they get it?
What prep work were they hoping to do before Ike came down there? Were they going to be done with all the screaming? Also, did that just start? This was the first Ike had heard it, but we'd guess he would have before if it was happening. Thor suggested they'd been down there for awhile, so perhaps their experimentation was entering a new phase.
Why Are Aliens Really Keeping Their True Appearance Secret?
Thor said that Ike has never seen the true appearance of the aliens because they worried he might pull the plug on the whole project. But he then admitted that if Ike had balked ever, they wouldn't have gone to the Soviets; they'd have just taken it by force from him.
So again, we have to ask, why hide their true appearance? Is it possible, despite their technological advances, they weren't sure they could really take the whole country or planet by force? Maybe they don't have the raw numbers? And if we believe that Earth is toxic for them, maybe humanity could have had a chance at fighting back.
The bottom line, though, is that the aliens could have just come to Earth and taken what they wanted. So there must be some reason they preferred to work in the shadows for decades upon decades perfecting their hybrids. Was it to allow their tech to permeate society? To keep humanity peaceful until an inevitable invasion rather than face resistance during that same span of time?
What Is Valiant Thor? He’s Anatomically Correct and Has Sex?
Our assessment is that Valiant Thor is some sort of robot; after all he's admitted they'd not yet perfected their hybrids. But why build him anatomically correct and capable of performing sexually? And then why have him perform sexually with Mamie Eisenhower?
This is another reason we wonder if Mamie really is free of alien influence. Ultimately, though, there is no reason for her to sleep with Thor that we can see that's beneficial to either the aliens or their control/relationship with humanity.
On the logistical side, we can perhaps understand why he'd have the equipment if the aliens were trying to make Thor a perfect replica of a human being, but what is the value in it working? Mamie also suggested he liked her fudge -- which was either shockingly inappropriate innuendo, or he also eats. Does he function in all ways humans do? Why?
Did Marilyn Monroe Really See an Alien When She Was Attacked?
In the moment after Richard Nixon put out a hit on Marilyn Monroe for spouting off about the aliens, exposing what JFK had shared with her, we saw the men come into the room to fake her death by overdose.
But we also saw a brief moment when she was first touched and she was looking at the classic alien abduction alien. Was this just in her imagination or was this really there? We don't see it again, but we did see something similar earlier on the operating table.
We're told humans don't know what the aliens really look like, so what are these things? Are they creations of the aliens to pacify humanity? Are they how human minds see the aliens, even though their true visage may be even more alien and horrifying? Are they real at all?
After Troy gives birth to his baby alien hybrid, Theta tells him that it's one of the most viable specimens they've had yet, breathing and healthy, but still with those physical anomalies. It does have the same large eyes she has (well, she has one), but otherwise looks fairly human.
Perhaps that's the problem. The aliens quickly killed it, to Troy's horror.
But that raises the question of how Theta is even alive? An even earlier hybrid with clear physical anomalies, how was she not killed? The decision appears to be made within seconds of delivery. And if Theta is alive, are there others like her? How many hybrids have been allowed to survive birth, and by what criteria were they kept alive?
This one didn't make sense even after Calico explained it to the four pregnant young adults in the present. If the moon landing was to prep Americans for the coming technological boom, why did they fake it? Didn't they realize that when the Russians got there, they might realize there was no flag?
Why not just go there for real? Is it perhaps that going there might reveal something? Humans have no idea where the aliens came from or where they're hanging out during all of this work on Earth to create hybrids.
Are they all in Area 51 after Ike signed it over to them to get them out of the White House, or are they living in the ships they use to abduct people, or are they perhaps hanging out on the dark side of the moon?
How Many People Have Been Given to Aliens by the U.S. Government?
Back to how sloppy this whole operation is being run, Calico shared that she learned of the faked moon landing because Buzz Aldrin and Neal Armstrong were drinking in the bar she was selling herself out of when they were supposed to be in space.
How does the U.S. Government and advanced aliens allow that to happen? For all their vaunted technology, they don't seem to have a basic grasp of security. Perhaps they misunderstand both our divisive nature as humans and our basic curiosity.
In the end, it was the government that abducted Calico because she knew too much about the moon landing being faked and gave her to the aliens. She's been pumping out two to three babies a year ever since. So if that's a possibility, why are the aliens abducting people their way? It's far more visible. Is that how Steve Jobs got there? He learned too much?
Why not just have the government disappear people and basically give them to the aliens for experimentation. Perhaps they do know something of humans, after all, as if given control, you know the government would pick and choose who goes from dissidents to political rivals or anyone who threatens their power. It would definitely not be randomized.
Why Are Patients Given Free Reign to Moon Landing Set?
After Calico took the kids to the moon landing set, we had to wonder why they're allowed free reign to go there? Are they free to wander all around the facility? Are there other places like this they can go? And why even keep that set so complete and intact after all these years?
Do they think they might need to us it again and need to keep it as it was? If so, they probably shouldn't just let anyone go and hang out there -- or maybe try to secretly deliver their boyfriend's baby. Again, world-changing technology, terrible security!
Is Cal’s Baby the Actual End Goal?
Earlier, Troy's baby was apparently close to the type of hybrid the aliens are looking for, but it mostly looked like a mutated human. Cal's baby, however, was something altogether different. We were worried he was going to bleed out after Troy cut him open and pulled the baby out, but that doesn't appear that it will be a problem.
Unlike all of the hybrids we've seen in tanks to this point, or even Theta herself, this baby's bottom half appears much more like a monstrous squid or octopus, complete with teeth and mouth and the strengh and will to launch itself at its father like an "Alien" face hugger.
We were pointedly told humans have never seen the aliens. We're guessing the bottom half of Cal's baby is much closer to what they actually look like. So is this the end goal? They keep saying they're making hybrids to ensure the survival of their species, but clearly they're demanding a very specific type of hybrid. Why? Does it matter which of their traits carry foward?
Are they looking to ensure that their hybrid babies have the ability to annihilate humanity in a way that they daren't until they no longer had a use for them as baby makers? Perhaps the goal of this whole experiment is to unleash the perfect hybrids to take over the planet altogether.
Wouldn't it have been easier to maybe terraform the planet or change it's atmospheric makeup so that the aliens could survive there? Even once these hybrids are born and taking over (if that's the plan), what about the pureblood aliens? They're still not able to live here, presumably, so are they just going to willingly die?
How many questions will "American Horror Story: Double Feature" care enough to answer by the end of "Death Valley"? We'll find out in next week's season finale, Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on FX.