In the latest season of American Horror Story, an author moves to a small town in order to clear his mind and finish a book he’s writing. He finds inspiration through a pill, but this pill is no ordinary drug. It allows those who are gifted to optimize their full potential but there’s a catch. Once you take the pill, it alters your body creating a dependency on human blood in order to survive.
Throughout the season you are introduced to various characters, singers, songwriters, and playwrights, who have taken the pill and you learn what lead them to do so. It’s also revealed that those who take the pill that do not have a talent turn into zombie-like monsters that inhabit the town. Would you take the gamble to be great?
To play devil’s advocate, if you were to take a pill what would you be great at and how do you define greatness? Have you dreamed of becoming an artist or an influencer? Perhaps your ambitions involve business or educational pursuits, really anything that requires talent could excel after taking the pill. Do you think you’re good enough to be great or would you turn into the pale, bald headed zombie-like monsters wandering around town searching for fresh blood to feast on? Taking the pill, regardless of outcome makes your reliant on human’s blood for life. Once you take the pill, you would have to create a plan or find ways to drink human blood.
For me, greatness goes beyond excelling at one task it’s about the overall character of an individual. Greatness requires perseverance, empathy, and integrity. Ethically, there would be a conflict of interest needing to thirst on human blood. There’s really no ethical way to drink blood, something the show highlights through gorey scenes of people becoming prey.
I think that’s the point though. When you take the pill, you trade your humanity for greatness. The show offers different insight from characters pursuing greatness in varying scenarios, showing how far people are willing to go to achieve greatness, or what happens when people are pushed to their limits in attempt to survive or feel accepted among the elite.
Most of the characters who took the pill murdered innocent people, including children, in order to feed their inspiration. They didn’t care who they hurt or how violent their actions were. Their selfishness ultimately lead to chaos and that’s how the first part of the two-part season ends, people risking their humanity in hopes to be great.