'American Horror Story: Double Feature': Macaulay Culkin makes series debut in risqué role

If you could take a magic pill and become a creative genius, would you? What if that magic pill came at a horrific cost?

"American Horror Story," the long-running anthology series from executive producer Ryan Murphy, returned to FX Wednesday night to tackle those very questions, in two back-to-back episodes.

And the highly-anticipated tenth season, aptly titled "American Horror Story: Double Feature," seems ready to make up for lost time, with two storylines instead of just one. FX chairman John Landgraf told Deadline earlier this month the season will be split between two stories, with the first taking up the first six episodes and the second spanning the remaining four.

It's a structure fitting for fans who've patiently waited for the return of  "AHS," which hasn't had a new season since 2019's "1984." Many of the show's fan-favorite cast members, like Evan Peters and Lily Rabe, returned, along with some new additions, like Macaulay Culkin.

Here's everything that went down during the season's chaotic first two episodes.

Sarah Paulson returns to "American Horror Story: Double Feature" as a homeless woman, known in town as Tuberculosis Karen.

Sarah Paulson delivers ominous warning as homeless woman

The season began like many scary stories do: with an unsuspecting family moving into a creepy house despite all the obvious red flags.

After passing several pieces of roadkill on the drive, struggling screenwriter Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock), his pregnant wife Doris (Rabe) and their young daughter arrive at their new abode for the next three months in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The couple is hopeful about their new place, but the ominous background music begs to differ.

Later in the local grocery store, Gardner has a jarring run-in with a homeless woman (Sarah Paulson), who delivers a clear message, just in case the roadkill wasn't worrisome enough: "Get the (expletive) out of here!"

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But, in true scary story fashion, Gardner brushes off the omen. Instead, he returns home to work on his pilot script, but it's clear he's got a bad case of writer's block. Meanwhile, Doris and their daughter take a casual stroll through the town cemetery, where they run into a bald, sharp-toothed monster in a long black cloak. He chases them home and tries to break in, but Gardner and Doris lock the doors just in time.

The couple report the incident to a police officer (Adina Porter), who brushes it off as a prank. But Gardner later walks along the beach and stumbles upon another frightening sight: corpses with their entrails ripped out. He also reports this to the cops who, once again, don't take it seriously, chalking it up to a great white shark. Sigh.

Macaulay Culkin is a new addition to the cast of "American Horror Story" for the tenth season.

Macaulay Culkin gets flirty as Mickey

And what do you know! The creepy town also has a creepy bar, where Gardner goes to blow off some steam. After getting hit on by drug addict Mickey (Culkin), Gardner strikes up a conversation with two fellow writers: successful romance novelist Belle Noir (Frances Conroy) and an award-winning playwright  Austin (Peters). Just as they're exchanging pleasantries, the homeless woman from earlier returns with another startling message: “You stay away from all these bloodsucking (expletives)! I’m warning you!"

Later that night, Gardner gets attacked at home by the monster from earlier, who tries sucking the writer's blood. Luckily, he smashes in the intruder's skull and kills him. But surprise, surprise — the cops don't take this incident seriously either. Just some thief trying to steal a stereo, they say.

Gardner and Doris have finally had it with this town and are ready to move out. But the next day, the playwright invites Gardner over and offers him something he can't refuse: the cure to his writer's block, in the form of mysterious black pills. Gardner initially refuses them, but, after an angry call from one of his higher-ups, he downs one at home. What could be the harm, right?

Finn Witrock is struggling screenwriter Harry Gardner in "American Horror Story: Double Feature."

Finn Wittrock embraces thirst for blood as Harry Gardner

And lo and behold: The pills work. Gardner types away on his masterpiece pilot script. He works non-stop and lashes out at his wife and daughter. Eventually, he gets hungry and stops by the grocery store. He feels drawn to the raw meat section. You probably know where this is going.

At home, Gardner grinds the raw meat in a blender and drinks it. Later, when his wife accidentally cuts herself chopping vegetables, he grabs her finger and sucks up the blood from the cut. Gardner confronts Austin to find out what's in those magic pills.

And it turns out, those pills do come at a hefty price. They unlock creativity most people can only dream of — but they also deplete minerals in the blood that can only be replenished by drinking the blood of humans. They also only work if you have talent, Austin says. So if someone who's just a wannabe takes a pill, then they turn into one of those bald monsters that stalks around the town.

And there's another catch: Once you take a pill, you can never do your art again without it. So Gardner is doomed to writer's block unless he keeps taking them.

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Gardner is still determined to leave Provincetown — and the pills — behind, but a call from his agent changes his mind: His pilot has been greenlit, Joaquin Phoenix signed onto it, and he's scored a deal with Netflix. So much for no more pills.

Gardner joins Noir and Austin for a hunting trip, where they kill and feed off a young man. Gardner even gets his teeth filed down by a dentist who's also on the pills (Billie Lourd), and hunts another young man under the dock in town.

And the pills prove tempting for others as well. Frustrated with her violin practice, Gardner's daughter takes a pill after seeing the effect they've had on her father. She plays the violin like a prodigy... and the episode ends with Doris finding her daughter sucking the blood from an animal in the cemetery.

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