‘AHS: Delicate’ – Episode 1 Recap & Character Guide

‘AHS: Delicate’ – Episode 1 Recap & Character Guide

The first episode of the long-awaited season 12 of American Horror Story premiered on September 20, 2023, and what a pleasant surprise it was. Episode one, titled “Multiply Thy Pain,” set up what we can expect to be an extremely creepy (and crawly) season to come. Here’s the AHS: Delicate episode 1 recap you need to stay in the know.

For a general overview of the new season, check this post out.


Before diving into the recap, let’s get a gist of the characters in the first episode.

  • Emma Roberts as Anna Victoria Alcott, the newly famous actress attempting to get pregnant
  • Matt Czurchry as Dex, her cold and slightly demeaning husband
  • Julia White as Io Preecher, a dark clad, mysterious woman
  • Annabelle Dexter-Jones as Sonia Shawcross, the beautiful artist debuting a new collection with the help of Dex
  • Juliana Canfield as Talia, friend of Dex and his deceased first wife, Adeline
  • Dennis Hare as the condescending and very creepy Dr. Andrew Hill
  • Kim Kardashian as Siobhan Corbyn, Anna’s new publicist, friend and confidante

There are a few more characters we didn’t see in episode one, including Cara Delevingne and Zachary Quinto, although if you watch the episode closely, you may catch a glimpse of them.


The question everyone has been dying to know was finally answered in this episode: can Kim K act? And while many people were skeptical, the Kardashian proved people wrong with her performance in the episode.

While some of her lines came out slightly canned, she actually played the pushy yet well-meaning, type-A publicist quite well.

In fact, it almost seemed as if she was emulating her mother / mom-ager, Kris Jenner. Thanks mom!

And it’s lucky for viewers she didn’t disappoint, as it looks like her character will be getting a good amount of screen time.

Now, let’s get into the episode.


This has spoilers from American Horror Story: Delicate episode one.

The episode starts with Emma Roberts, who plays Anna Victoria Alcott, soundly sleeping in her bed. That is, until she wakes up to a dark cloaked, womanly-looking figure with their arms wrapped around her. In a scene that indicates things are already starting to go wrong for Anna, the intruder escapes and the police are absolutely no help.

Oh, and she’s completely covered in blood from her waist down. Is it real? A hallucination? Or foreshadowing for something even worse to come?

Flash back to one week earlier, in which the rest of the episode takes place, Anna is late for her IVF treatment, much to the dismay of her seemingly cold husband, Dex. That doesn’t stop her from first, noticing a suspicious woman watching her outside her apartment and second, stopping to snap a pic of her face on a giant billboard in NYC.

Anna’s two trips to the IVF clinic that week are anything but normal. For one, she sees the suspicious woman again outside of the clinic. Despite Dex basically telling her she’s overreacting, Anna, and the audience, can tell something isn’t right.

Then, she is bombarded by an old woman in all black, Io Preecher, in the waiting room. “I know you,” Io whispers creepily. And it doesn’t seem like she’s much of a fan.

The scenes of Anna in the operation room are some of the creepiest of the whole episode. Anna’s doctor, Dr. Hill (played by another AHS veteran, Dennis Hare) has a cold, dismissive demeaner, which isn’t the best for bed-side manner. Not to mention he and his staff are all dressed in deep red garb. Against the backdrop of an all-white room, it doesn’t make for a very inviting atmosphere.

In typical American Horror Story fashion, one scene in the operating room is extremely strange, but we can’t be sure if it was real, a vision, a dream or something else. The mysterious Io Preecher somehow ends up in the operating room dressed as a nurse, where she extends a long, black tongue from her mouth and proceeds to kiss Anna on the mouth.

And yes, it was chilling as it sounds.

Apart from all that, Anna’s life is seemingly on the up and up. Her publicist / friend / confidant, Siobhan Corbyn, played by the one and only Kim Kardashian, books her on Andy Cohen’s late-night show, Dr. Hill is optimistic about her upcoming embryo transfer (although a bird’s nest in the middle of the sidewalk with a cracked egg inside, embryo spewing out, makes the audience wonder if that’s true) and her and her husband are doing well for themselves.

Though, it does seem like Dex has some unresolved feelings about his gorgeous, talented and now dead wife, Adeline. Not to mention, Talia, a friend and coworker of Dex’s, can’t stop mentioning Adeline whenever Anna is around. Seriously?

The episode ends with Anna covered in red lipstick(?) after the intruder escaped. The same red lipstick, we think, that Talia gave to her earlier in the episode. She also sees the photo of her precious embryo, given to her by Dr. Hill, ripped up, also covered in lipstick.

If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also a cryptic note left for her, presumably from the intruder, written in bright red on her bathroom mirror. “Don’t do it, Anna,” it reads. Do what? Call the police? Have a baby? Only next week’s episode can give the answers fans are already desperately waiting for.


As some fans may know, this season of American Horror Story is the first to be explicitly based on the book “Delicate Condition,” written by Danielle Valentine. From the first episode of season 12, it’s obvious that the season will follow a similar storyline to the book, with a few fundamental changes.

If you haven’t read the book, you’ll never be able to tell, but for those who have, the differences are stark. Here are a few of the main changes:


Kim plays the well-meaning yet demanding publicist, who is insistent on Anna winning an Oscar for her indie film. In the book, this character was called Emily, while Siobhan Walsh was a close friend and confidante of Anna’s. From the looks of it, the showrunners decided to combine these characters into one fabulous publicist. It seems like she can do it all! Only time will tell if that’s true, though.


In the novel, Dr. Hill is Dr. Carla Hill, a female doctor who continually takes Dex’s side in matters, gaslighting Anna despite their supposed womanly comradery. In the show, Dennis Hare plays the part. Not a big deal now, but it will be interesting to see how that character’s role progresses throughout the season.


The novel had tons of spooky imagery around pregnancy, eggs, sinister figures and so on, which is true in the show, too. One huge difference, however, is the sheer number of spiders included in the episode. From one in Anna’s hair to tons of them crawling around in the always horrifying AHS credit scene, that is one thing this fan could do without.


There you have it; the first episode of AHS season 12 has made it to our TV screens, and so far, the response has been generally positive. If you want to find out for yourself, you can watch the first episode with your DIRECTV subscription now, and the rest of the episodes live on FX when they premiere.

The next episode is titled “Rockabye” and will premiere on FX (channel 248) on September 27, 2023, at 10pm ET.

Check out the trailer for the next episode here:

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