American Horror Story: Cult
October 3, 2017
Team Cult puts their plan into motion: Kai and the clowns commit murders, stage beatings and get their hands — somehow — on chemical trucks; Beverly reports terrifying news about murders, beatings and chemical trucks, and ends her reports urging her viewers to “lock their doors.”
However, back at the studio, Dermot Mulroney has a suspicious, noting that there are holes in her story: crime is at its lowest rate ever, she always seems to be first on the scene to these violent incidents, and why is it she keeps giving air time to this nut job with blue hair running for City Council? Beverly notes that the public really should see that video of Emma Roberts being murdered to death by murder clowns, and she knows why he’s sitting on it: because Emma Roberts’ parents are suing him. Hey, does Dermot Mulroney think Mom and Dad Roberts would be interested in learning that Dermot Mulroney had been schtupping their baby girl? Because Beverly is preeeety sure they’d be interested in learning that Dermot Mulroney had been schtupping their baby girl.
And with that, Dermot Mulroney fires her.
Which, OK, but does the news anchor do the hiring and firing at local affiliates? Isn’t that the General Manager or Production Manager’s job? Can Art Rascon just fire Tim Heller if he’s feeling particularly feisty one day?
Team Cult has a campaign meeting, where Kai reveals that awareness about him remains low — in fact, most dummies don’t even know what a special election is, much less what City Council does. Some new guy to Team Cult who we don’t know — I suppose he’s Beverly’s cameraman according to the picture above? — wonders why they are focusing on winning a city election, which earns him a firm slap across the face.
They decide that the murders just aren’t scary enough: people need to see the murder clowns, they need to see the murders being committed, maybe with a little Satanic chanting hoodoo to make it sooper scary.
As for Ally, she has a session with Dr. Cheyenne Jackson where she describes having dreams in which her neck is covered in open sores and bugs swarm out of them — your basic trypophobic nightmare. Dr. Cheyenne Jackson suggests that the holes represent emptiness in her life, maybe the spaces that Ivy and Oz once occupied. Ally notes that she’s mad at herself for being tempted by Winter and creating this whole mess, but she’s also VERY MAD AT IVY for ABANDONING HER in a house that has BEEN MARKED BY A FUCKING SERIAL KILLER and oh yeah, TURNING OFF THE CREDIT CARDS and CLEANING OUT THE BANK ACCOUNTS. It’s almost as if Ivy had been … prepared.
Dr. Cheyenne Jackson asks if there were any trouble signs in the relationship, and Ally does remember that they were having some financial pressures, and were stressed by the election, but now she’s not sure. Anyway, all she can do is focus on the things that she can control, like prepare for her supervised visit with Oz and try to win back joint custody.
The visit happens at the restaurant with Ivy watching closely. It’s awkward.
Later, Ivy and Winter are in the car driving somewhere, discussing Oz — who is at a sleepover — and how he’s been asking if Winter is going to be his third mommy. Winter wonders if Ivy is ready for what they are about to do, and Ivy assures her that she is: she hates this country, she hates what it has become, and she hates her wife for letting it happen. The only thing she loves is her son and she’s going to make the world a better place for him even if it means burning it all down.
To that end, they meet the rest of Team Cult in a parking lot, put on their clown masks, agree that the Satanic chanting will be in Latin not English because Latin is scarier, and head to Dermot Mulroney’s house.
While filming everything, the murder clowns beat Dermot Mulroney with a pipe for a bit, but he begs them to stop: if he dies, no one will take care of his attic gimp. Intrigued, the murder clowns go upstairs, where they indeed find a gimp hanging by a multitude of hooks through his flesh, which, just, Jesus Fucking Christ, Ryan Murphy, no. And then Kai stabs the attic gimp to death because murder clowns gonna murder. However, it’s all too much for Ivy who runs from the attic to go puke because Jesus Fucking Christ, Ryan Murphy.
The Murder Clowns drag Dermot Mulroney upstairs where they take turns stabbing him, with Beverly removing her mask so that he will know who delivered the death blow. Fuck you, you condescending, attic-gimp-having, nipple-pinching, nipple-hanging Dermot Mulroney!
And of course, Beverly is the first to report on the story — this time with very disturbing — and impossible to turn away from — video!
Later, Kai and Beverly discuss the project, its positives and negatives, including Ivy’s unexpected squeamishness and they agree that they need to remove the weak link in the group. It seems that when they did the coffin murders five weeks earlier, Camera Guy and Mary Cherry were both concerned that the murders were a little too extreme, only to be told that they were being little bitches, that the extremeness was the point. Because of this, Beverly and Kai decide that “he” is a cancer that needs to be cut out.
Back over at Ally’s house, she does a little Rear Windowing on Billy Eichner, noticing that he’s dragging something heavy through the garage and then grabbing some tools — maybe shovels. Unable to contain her curiosity, Ally goes across the street, sneaking into their backyard where she finds Mary Cherry alive at the bottom of a fresh grave, begging for help. Instead, Ally hurries back across the street because EEEP!
Ally tries to call 911, only to get bounced because of high call volumes, so she calls Ivy, and tries to tell her that Billy Eichner has put Mary Cherry “in a hole,” and that he’s going to kill her. That’s when someone begins banging on the front door, which moves to the window — it’s Mary Cherry — who somehow managed to claw her way out of the grave, don’t worry about it — begging Ally for help: it’s a sick cult that everyone is in on, the police, Billy Eichner, Winter, Ivy … THEY’RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER.
And that’s when someone throws a bag over Mary Cherry’s head and drags her off.
Back at Team Cult’s HQ, Ivy is beginning to have her own doubts about this murder clown business, while Kai announces that he’s gone up in the polls! Good news! However, bad news, he’s detecting some dissension in the ranks. To win they must be strong and vigilant, and they are only as strong as their weakest link, which is why he has Camera Guy tied up in the other room.
Kai pulls out a nail gun and explains that they are going to do this together, like a summer camp bonding exercise, and he hands Ivy the gun first. Horrified, but knowing that she’ll be next if she doesn’t play along, Ivy apologizes and pops a nail into Camera Guy’s temple.
Jesus Fucking Christ, Ryan Murphy.
Then they all pass the nail gun around, delivering their own nails into Camera Guy’s head until Kai finally places one in the medulla oblongata, putting Camera Guy out of his misery once and for all.
Later, Beverly and Kia have a little pinkie time, where Beverly demands to know what Kai’s real deal is. Don’t give her this “whatever you want me to be” bullshit, she wants to know the truth … tell Beverly about your mom and dad, Kai …
And with that, Kai opens up. His parents died three years ago. Before that, his father had been a successful attorney until he had a terrible motorcycle accident that left him in a wheelchair. Of course, not having use of one’s legs does not exempt one from practicing the law, but OK, do go on. After the accident, his father became cruel, belligerent and abusive, particularly towards their mother.
One day, while Kai was scrolling through The Red Pill (obviously), a gunshot rang out from upstairs. He arrived at his parents’ bedroom just in time to see his mother shoot herself in the head, having just killed his father.
But instead of calling the cops, Kai called his brother … Dr. Cheyenne Jackson.
Instead of reporting the murder-suicide, Dr. Cheyenne Jackson insisted that they place their parents’ bodies in their bed, and cover them with lye to keep the sweet sweet cash flowing in. If they report their deaths, they’ll have to sell the house, they’ll lose their dad’s disability checks and they’ll have to fork over a ton in taxes. Furthermore, Dr. Cheyenne Jackson just started his practice and he does NOT NEED the bad publicity of his parents’ murder-suicide endangering his business. PINKIE SWEAR.
And that’s where they remain, decomposing today. Kai visits them occasionally to tell his mother that he’s going to make her proud of him one day, and to tell his father to FUCK OFF. Oh, and Winter knows all about this, too, because that would be a hard thing to hide from her. The end.
And then Kai cries and cries, and it would seem our girl Beverly just got the upper pinkie.
We’re going to keep this brief with a few quick thoughts:
The dynamic between Kai and Beverly is a fascinating one: they profess to be equals, but that is rarely how cults operate. Cults usually focus on one dominant personality, with the rest of the members subsuming their own needs and desires into the leader’s. The “equal” power between Kai and Beverly will probably have to eventually give way to one assuming dominance over the other, and most likely in the death of the loser, but it is too early to say which of these two that will be. Beverly, being in the media, serves as the infective force behind the operation, spreading the virus of fear which feeds the group power, but it is Kai who holds the followers in his thrall.
On another note, the reveal of Dr. Cheyenne Jackson’s relationship to Kai and Winter was a doozy, one that I did not see coming. However, I do not think this means that Dr. Vincent has anything to do with the cult — if anything, it seems to suggest that Kai is specifically targeting his brother and his patients. Kai might be seeking a form of revenge against his brother for what he made him do with their parents. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we later see in a flashback sometime between 2014 and 2016 that Kai was suffering after his parents’ deaths, and Dr. Cheyenne Jackson maybe tried to help treat him with therapy, only to have it fail spectacularly.
Of course, that whole backstory could be another of Kai’s lies. Beverly tells us that he gave the followers different stories (Although, to be honest with you, I didn’t realize that those stories in the previous episode were supposed to contradict each other. There’s no reason why he couldn’t have been a young genius who served in the military, went to Yale, double majored in women’s studies and poly-sci and became an app developer. Sure, that’s a lot, but none of those things are mutually exclusive.), so why couldn’t he be lying now? Personally, I’m going to take the backstory at face value: it explains the rose on the door in the first episode; it offers an explanation as to where the parents are; it is revealed during a pinkie swear which Kai seems to regard as a sacred act of sorts; and most importantly, at some point the writers have to give us some piece of truth that we can rely on, especially in a show that has so many twists and surprise reveals. Otherwise, the story becomes unreliable and nothing that we are shown should be believed or trusted.
Along that particular line of thought, I’ve had some trouble with this season because the timeline is so screwy. They give us a few concrete dates: Election night, and the day before and after, for instance, but they aren’t showing us events in the order in which they happened. So I made myself a timeline to try to keep track of everything that we know. I don’t have dates or even months for the events in 2017 — the American Horror Story Wiki suggested that they happen sometime after March, for some reason they don’t explain — but I do believe the events took place in this particular order. Hope this helps.
Kai, Winter and Dr. Vincent’s’ parents die in a murder-suicide; the children stash their parents’ bodies
Winter works on the Clinton campaign in Florida
Ally and Ivy have financial and relationship issues
November 7, 2016:
Ivy meets Winter at a pro-Clinton rally
Gary assaults Ivy
Ivy and Winter kidnap Gary
November 8, 2016:
Kai frees Gary
Everyone votes for President
Trump wins; Ally melts down
November 9, 2016:
Kai meets Harrison at the gym
Sometime in November after the Election:
Beverly is harassed by on-camera assholes, goes to a 30-day inpatient facility
Sometime in December 2016:
Beverly is released from treatment
Harrison and Meadow lose their home in foreclosure
Kai and Harrison kill the trainer dude
Kai meets Meadow
Beverly reports on the discovery of the body of the trainer in a landfill
Kai introduces himself to Beverly
Kai, Harrison and Meadow kill Serena; this is the first appearance of the clowns
Beverly joins Kai as an equal power
Sometime in 2017:
Ally tells Dr. Vincent about her increasing phobias
Ally is menaced by clowns in the grocery store
Ally and Ivy hire Winter
The Changs are murdered
Kai provokes the beating from the Hispanic workers
Kai announces he is running for City Council
Meadow and Harrison move into the Chang’s house
Robert is murdered at the restaurant
Winter makes a move on Ally
Pedro is murdered by Ally
The cult perform the coffin murders
The cult drives fogging trucks down Ally’s street
The smiley faces appear on both Ally and Ivy’s house and Meadow and Harrison’s
Oz discovers the tape of Ally and Winter, and Ivy leaves Ally
Meadow goes missing
Bob tries to fire Beverly
The cult murders Bob
Kai’s polling numbers improve
Ally finds Meadow in a shallow grave and tells Ivy that Harrison is trying to kill Meadow
Meadow briefly escapes and tells Ally about the cult, including that Ivy is a member
The cult murders R.J.
Kai reveals his story to Beverly
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 9/10 p.m. on FX.