As American Horror Story: Delicate Part 2 Premieres, Did the Long Hiatus Kill the Suspense?

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American Horror Story: Delicate is finally back.

Six months after the Part 1 finale, we learned Anna's response to the horrible news about Babette and whether she took Siobhan's call.

The premiere was as creepy and confusing as ever, but did it pack the same punch it would have if the series hadn't been interrupted by the writer's strike?

The Creepy Lady Who Won't Die - American Horror Story

Many shows are in the same boat -- they were delayed for half a year or more because of the WGA writers' strike and SGA-AFTRA actors' strike.

By the time most scripted series returned, viewers had memory gaps about what had happened, and the shock and awe of season-ending cliffhangers had long ago worn off.

What Does Mrs. Preech Want? - American Horror Story

This was a problem for everyone, but more so for a psychological thriller/horror series like Delicate.

The point of American Horror Story is to keep viewers on their edge throughout every episode with bizarre twists that make them wonder what the hell is going on, making it harder to maintain interest over a long break.

Lack of American Horror Story Spoilers Was a Mixed Bag

Typically, when there is a long break, there is a risk of spoilers leaking for things that are still far off, ultimately killing the suspense. Days of Our Lives often has this problem because it films so far in advance -- fans know who's leaving the series and can often guess surprise twists as a result.

This wasn't much of an issue during the strike, though. Since writers weren't writing, there was nothing to report and no one to report it.

Talia Shows Her True Feelings - American Horror Story

Since the story is based on a novel, there has been speculation since the beginning of the season about how closely it will follow the book and whether certain events in the story will happen on air, but there is little confirmation from anyone involved in the show about whether they will.

This is generally good news. Half the fun of American Horror Story is trying to figure out what's happening and tuning in to determine if you were right.

However, when there's a long hiatus, no spoilers mean nothing to talk about, and that can seriously hamper interest when the series finally returns.

Did Reading the Novel Ruin The Suspense?

Siobhan Won't Let Anna Quit - American Horror Story

Some viewers might have picked up the book while waiting for the series to return, which could have spoiled their experience. I haven't read the book yet, so I can't say for sure whether it would ruin the suspense to do so.

However, viewers who read the book while waiting for the series to return might have learned about potential future events in the story so that they don't experience as many plot twists that make their heads spin.

Readers tend to view the on-air version of their favorite stories differently than those without experience. They often anticipate how their favorite events from the novel will play out on-screen and are disappointed or angry if the two are different.

I'd think reading the book could be a double-edged sword. While it could destroy the suspense of having no idea what happens next, it could create another kind of suspense as readers speculate about how the series will or won't follow the novel's plotline.

Memories of a book's details also fade over time -- I've reread books that I read a long time ago and had little memory of the plot -- so reading at the beginning of the hiatus probably wouldn't have ruined the suspense as much.

Coldhearted Siobhan - American Horror Story

Hopefully, no one read it right before Delicate Part 2's premiere. Reading a book too close to experiencing the on-screen version WILL ruin the experience because you won't be able to resist comparing the two in your mind and getting upset by every deviation.

That said, one of the primary driving forces of American Horror Story is not knowing who is gaslighting Anna and who doesn't believe her claims.

This is especially true of Dex -- there's an almost Hitchcockian element of suspense here, making it hard to tell if he's purposely lying about things happening that Anna doesn't remember.

Sometimes, Dex seems like an abusive husband and other times, he seems concerned that his wife is losing her grip on reality, keeping viewers guessing about his true intentions.

As Anna and Dex get further embroiled in the mysterious goings-on, will they have a split for the sake of drama, or is it in Anna's best interest to be as far away from Dex as possible?

Nicolette Holds Baby Anna - American Horror Story

Reading the book might have given Dex's true character away, making the series far less suspenseful and impactful.

Did The Opening of the Premiere Help or Hurt Suspense?

If viewers were eager to find out how Anna would respond to Siobhan's call after learning about Babette's death, they might have been disappointed. Part 2 got to it after a few minutes, but the cold open jumped into the past first.

The series often does that, starting with a sequence that seems bizarre and disconnected from everything, so it wasn't off-brand. However, after a long hiatus, this might not have been the best choice.

Viewers who vaguely remembered the cliffhanger needed a reminder of what had happened, while those who had waited forever for the resolution might have been frustrated with the apparent disconnect.

Nicolette Brings in Fresh Towels - American Horror Story

The flashback ended with a compelling twist -- I wanted to know more about who Nicolette really is and why she doesn't appear to have aged since Anna was a baby! Still, I'm not sure starting with a different story thread was a good idea after such a long wait.

Streaming Is a Gamechanger Here

Although the long hiatus could have made American Horror Story fade from viewers' minds a bit (though really, who could forget the gorier aspects of Part 1?), Delicate Part 1's availability on Hulu could have helped that.

All five episodes of the first part are available to stream, so viewers who need a reminder of what happened could easily review American Horror Story Season 12 Episode 5.

Is Anna Hallucinating? - American Horror Story

Availability on streaming could also hook new viewers. Binging the first part of the series takes about four hours in total.

It can be overwhelming to watch all at once because of all the horror, gore, and confusing twists, and most people don't have four hours free at once. However, binge-watching the series for over a few days can get people caught up easily and make them eager for more.

Once they've caught up, each new episode will be available a week after the last, so they won't have to wait so long to find out what happens next.

What do you think, American Horror Story fanatics?

Trying to Avoid Attention - American Horror Story

Did the hiatus ruin your suspense?

Did you read the book while you were waiting?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

American Horror Story airs on FX on Wednesdays at 10/9c. New episodes drop on Hulu the day after they air.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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