“Death Valley” Episode 1 opens with several black-and-white sequences set in the 1950s. The first sees a housewife get possessed by an alien, while another shows Dwight D. Eisenhower (Neal McDonough) interviewing a pregnant Amelia Airheart (Lily Rabe), who has apparently returned from a 20-year-long alien abduction. The episode then cuts to the present day, introducing audiences to ivy league college students Jamie (Rachel Hilson), Cal (Nico Greetham), Troy (Isaac Cole Powell), and Kendall (Kaia Gerber). As the group plans a camping trip together, Kendall reveals that she’s seeing a professor committed to a Luddite-inspired philosophy. As a result, she too has become anti-technology and encourages her friends to leave their electronic devices behind.
While unplugging for a camping trip is all well and good, Reddit user u/ms_sconesycider proposed in a discussion thread about the episode that “any college student who refuses to use email would be laughed out of their university.” The comment stands as one of the most upvoted in the entire thread, which suggests that plenty of other “American Horror Story” viewers feel the same way about the “Death Valley” detail. In response, u/Bartzff5 even questioned Kendall’s professor’s philosophy, noting that “even the oldest dustiest emeritus level profs use computers at this point.”
Presumably, Kendall’s philosophy will eventually prove to be important in some way to the plot of “American Horror Story: Death Valley.” That said, the weight of that twist (whatever it is) could be diminished in the eyes of all the viewers out there who already don’t buy Kendall’s ability to get through college without the use of technology.