‘American Horror Story’: In which the plot to a 90s movie is lifted whole cloth

American Horror Story: Cult
“Mid-Western Assassin”
October 10, 2017

A flag. Bodies crumpled on the ground, people running, screaming, or frozen in terror, voices yelling at someone to “drop the gun.” America the beautiful.

When the cops arrive, it’s a horrified, terrified Ally who is holding the gun, Kai collapsed on the political rally stage behind her.

So I guess we’re done here!

It’s been fun?

fin the end

Except, of course, no. We flashback to when Meadow told Ally that everyone is in a cult, including Ivy, before being dragged away. Ally hangs up on Ivy and bolts the windows and doors when she suddenly receives a phone call from Dr. Cheyenne Jackson. Ivy had called him to report that Ally was “in a state of agitation,” WHICH SHE MOST DEFINITELY IS, BOB. Ally tries to tell him that she’s been targeted and that Ivy is in on it, and all Dr. Cheyenne Jackson suggests is that she try to get some sleep. Very good doctoring. A+++ doctoring.

Instead, Ally grabs a can of mace and a knife and sneaks into Billy Eichner’s house, where he is too busy making the sex with Detective Abercrombie to notice her crawling around stealing his keys. Ally finds Mary Cherry tied up and blindfolded in the garage and manages to free her, hooray! But then Mary Cherry grabs her purse, and knocks something heavy and loud over, alerting Billy Eichner and Detective Abercrombie to the rescue effort, boo. Chase chase chase, some mace in the face and Ally and Mary Cherry are able to drive away to freedom.

Ally takes Mary Cherry to The Butchery because they only have so many sets ??? Mary Cherry begs Ally to get her out of state, or the country even, it’s the only way they’ll be safe, but Ally is all, “NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER, er … SON!” Instead, she wants to know more about this “cult” business and how Ivy is supposedly involved, please and thank you.

Mary Cherry insists that Ivy is a member: how else does Ally suppose they got into her house and microwaved rodents in her kitchen? Ivy intends to drive Ally crazy because she voted Jill Stein and helped elect Donald Fucktard Trump.

fair enough obama reasonable.gif

Mary Cherry adds that Ally is just one of many projects the cult is working on: the biggest goal being to make people scared and paranoid so as to soften them up for the “takeover.”

Ally insists that Ivy isn’t a joiner, she doesn’t believe in anything. But Mary Cherry counters that’s how it starts: if Ivy believed in something, there wouldn’t have been room for Him:

kai american horror story in yuor face.gif

(Oh, and we also learn some other details: 1. the chemical trucks were only spraying water, 2. they poisoned birdfeeders to collect all those dead birds and 3. the protestors were paid, they weren’t members of the cult because becoming a member of the cult is a highly selective process.)

December 2016

Mary Cherry explains that though she loved Billy Eichner since she was a child, she never knew love until she met Kai. He paid her some positive attention, feeding her some bullshit lines about how the “bee larva must shed its skin to become queen” that “the dark must prevail to bring forth the light” and she “burns brighter than anyone.”

carole call bullshit on that rhony

But Mary Cherry ate it up and the two of them had a sexual relationship which made her feel special and freed her from both “feminist expectations” and the pressure to be the perfect housewife with 2.5 kids.

OK, Ryan Murphy, that’s enough.

But then one day she overheard Kai giving Ivy the same line about the bee larva and burning brighter and yadda yadda yadda, and she became jealous. She called Billy Eichner and Detective Abercrombie idiots, pointing out that they aren’t going to change the world FROM A CITY COUNCIL SEAT of a PODUNK TOWN and packed a bag. But Kai wasn’t so eager to let her go and instructed Billy Eichner to call the police: something terrible just happened to his wife.

The men then hogtied Mary Cherry and dragged her into the garage, where Kai told her she’s nothing and worthless, before asking Billy Eichner and Detective Abercrombie to leave him alone with her.

Later she’s thrown into the grave where Ally found her and she knows the rest. Mary Cherry insists that no one will help them, no one will listen — there’s only one way to stop Kai is to kill him.

April 3, 2017

Kai and his political opponent are at some sort of event where they are giving statements to the voters — it’s not a debate, and in fact, I have no clue what this is supposed to be, but there are a lot of people there for a city council special election event and they are REALLY enthusiastic about all the bombastic, “BE AFRAID, BE VERRRRY AFRAID!!” crap that Kai is spewing.

The only person who doesn’t seem to be buying it is Mare Motherfucking Winningham who is all, “This is all bullshit, crime is down, and you’re just trying to scare people. You’re no conservative, you’re a reactionary like Donald Trump and blah blah blah, I’m going to run against you as a write-in candidate because it just now occurred to the writers that we should probably turn your opponent into a character.”

teresa shrug rhonj no

November 9, 2016

The day following the election, Ivy FREAKS OUT on Winter that she saw the guy they kidnapped voting. WHAT IF HE GOES TO THE POLICE? But Winter calmly leads Ivy inside their house: Ivy needs to talk to her brother, he’ll fix everything.

Inside, Kai bullies Ivy into playing his pinkie game, and she admits that the thing that fills her the most with dread is not Trump, but lying in bed next to her wife because she’s jealous that Ally gave birth to their son, not her. And there was this one time when Ally called Oz “my” baby. And Ally nursed Oz until he was three. And the whole Jill Stein thing.

The only reason Ivy stays with Ally is that she’ll never receive full custody, and she’s not going to put Oz through the trauma of murdering Ally. So Kai suggests they need to come up with a plan to make sure no court ever grants Ally custody. Honestly, mentioning that she voted for Jill Stein should be reason enough.

Present, whenever the Hell that is

Ally brings Mary Cherry to Dr. Cheyenne Jackson’s office for babysitting and instructs him to have her explain everything to him while Ally runs a quick errand. She’ll be back in two hours.

BECAUSE SURE ALL OF THAT JUST MAKES SENSE.

Ally heads to a gun-wielding Mare Winningham’s house to inform her that her political opponent (or at least the one with the blue hair) is a mass-murdering clown-mask-wearing cult leader. Mare Winningham is all, “Sounds about right. After all, patriarchy.”

That’s when the Murder Clowns burst in. Ally runs and hides in the bathroom, but Mare Winningham tries to stand them down with her little handgun. She’s quickly overpowered because duh, and then she and Kai have this whole unnatural back and forth about the current state of politics and OH MY GOD SHUT UP RYAN MURPHY.

Kai posts a suicide note on Mare Winningham’s Facebook page and shoots her in the head.

R.I.P. Mare Winningham.

Meanwhile, Ivy, wearing a creepy elephant/donkey mask, wanders down the hall and finds Ally in the bathroom, and despite the mask, Ally recognizes her. But instead of alerting the rest of the group, Ivy silently closes the door and leaves.

Ally heads back over to Dr. Cheyenne Jackson’s office where she is furious to learn that Mary Cherry up and left without telling him anything.

HEY. MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED WITH HER AND MADE SURE THE WACKY CULT MEMBER TOLD HER STORY TO SOMEONE ELSE SO THAT YOU DIDN’T LOOK LIKE AN INSANE PERSON INSTEAD OF RUNNING OUT INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO YAMMER AT SOME STRANGER. BUT WHATEVER, LAZY WRITING.

Dr. Cheyenne Jackson urges Ally to check herself in to an inpatient facility before “she does something she can’t take back.” Ally is like LOL FUCK YOU NO.

And then it’s the next day? At Kai’s political rally where he’s blah blahing about truth and dangers and strength of convictions? Ally searches the crowd and spots Mary Cherry towards the front. But before Ally can get to her, Mary Cherry begins shooting into the crowd and at Kai and back into the crowd again. When Ally finally reaches Mary Cherry and grabs a hold of the fun, Mary Cherry pulls the gun towards her own head and tells Ally, “This is the face of true love,” before blowing the back of her head off.

And that’s when the cops arrive and find Ally holding the gun.

A Couple Days Before This? Sure, a Couple Days Before This, Let’s Go With That

After dismissing Billy Eichner and Detective Abercrombie from the garage, Kai tells Mary Cherry that she is “nothing … in the eyes of the unenlightened world.” He then cuts her free, tells her that she is everything to him, and that he agrees with her: they have to think bigger. As he has sex with her, Kai explains the details: he has to be assassinated, and she has to be the one to do it. Mary Cherry protests that she can’t kill him, but he explains that she’ll try and fail, and he’ll resurrect. But to pull this off, they need a witness, which is why she is going to tell Ally everything, the whole truth. After all, who is going to believe a crazy woman? It will be their eternal secret of their everlasting love, get it?

And seeing that she blew the back of her head off, it appears that Mary Cherry got it just fine.

mary cherry popular serial killer career match.gif

Ally is arrested, and Kai is loaded up into the ambulance for his leg wound, smiling.

HEY, RYAN MURPHY, BOB ROBERTS CALLED AND WANTS ITS ENTIRE PLOT BACK, PLEASE.

what the hell ryan murphy
methinks I will get plenty of use out of this particular gif

For my friends who were born while I was in college, Bob Roberts was an indie film made by actor Tim Robbins. The titular character was a right-wing senatorial candidate and folk singer who amassed a cult-like following. One day as he is leaving a public appearance, he is supposedly shot by a journalist that had been investigating him¬†and is apparently paralyzed from the waist down. (SPOILER ALERT: He’s not.) The journalist proves he couldn’t have shot the gun, as the hand the gun would have had to be in was palsied. But this does not prevent Roberts’ crazed followers from murdering the journalist, and Roberts goes on to win the election.

SOUND FAMILIAR AT ALL?

bob roberts if you cheat plagarize get away look out.gif

Anyway, you should try to get your hands on this movie if only because Snape is in it, too, and I know how you Millenials are about Harry Potter.

I suppose I should say something one way or another about the appropriateness of airing this episode a little more than a week after the worst mass shooting in American history, but honestly I don’t know that I have strong feelings about it.

I was very very very angry at American Horror Story in the first season for doing a mass shooting plotline — the one in which Tate turned out to be the ghost of a kid who committed a Columbine-esque school shooting. But I was angry with that subplot because it was romanticising a violent criminal. Tate was a romantic hero to a lot of young women in real life, and though the show went out of its way to remind us that he was a raping, murderous fiend, he was also drawn as this misunderstood loner – which a lot of the audience identified with – and this fantasy of a teenage boyfriend. It was gross and negligent.

This story is different — while Mary Cherry believes she is committing the shooting out of “love,” she is actually doing it because she has been manipulated by this cult leader, which is an organic growth of the story that is already being told. As for the timing, it’s unfortunate, but not surprising. The sad, infuriating fact of the matter is, if American Horror Story were to delay this episode until there wasn’t a mass shooting somewhere in this country, it would never air. The most recent mass shooting was right here in Houston two days ago. One could argue that mass shootings maybe shouldn’t be portrayed in media at all, both out of respect for the victims and to avoid glamorizing the act. But to do so would be to ignore a very real fact of American life. In the end, our mass shootings and our unwillingness to do anything to stop them is the ultimate American horror story.

Timeline:

2014:

Kai, Winter and Dr. Vincent’s’ parents die in a murder-suicide; the children stash their parents’ bodies

2016:

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
Winter introduces Ivy to Kai

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 Early 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

April 3, 2017:

Sally Keffler announces her intention to run against Kai

Sometime After April 3, 2017:

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
Meadow threatens to leave the cult
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
Ally rescues Meadow and learns the truth about the cult
The cult murders Sally Keffler
Meadow shoots Kai and several other people at a political rally before killing herself
Kai is taken to the hospital for his leg wound
Ally is arrested for the mass shooting

American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 9/10 p.m. on FX.

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