American Horror Story: Cult
“Winter of Our Discontent”
October 24, 2017
Kai and Winter’s big brother, Dr. Cheyenne Jackson, swings by the family homestead to congratulate baby brother on his big political win, and try to express his pride in how Kai has really made something of himself. Kai notes that Dr. Big Brother didn’t visit him in the hospital: could it be he felt guilty one of his patients tried to murder him? Dr. Cheyenne Jackson agrees that Ally is a sick woman, before offering to help Kai with his movement. Maybe he could help him film a viral video or something? Put something on Snapchat with one of those kooky filters that all the kids like? Maybe makes some gifs — or stickers? Stickers are big now, right? Kai agrees, but as he hugs his brother goodbye, he demands that Dr. Cheyenne Jackson call him “Councilman” from here on out.
Dr. Cheyenne Jackson, you in danger, girl.
Over at The Butchery, Winter, Beverly, and Ivy — who just last week were waging war on the male race — are serving Kai’s dudebros healthy meals on Kai’s orders.
We’re supposed to believe that Kai terrified them during an appearance at city hall when he threatened the other members of city council into voting for a measure to hire private security — his dudebros — to help police their community. Which, I mean, OK, but I don’t know how a city council vote is scarier than his actual convincing all of them TO MURDER PEOPLE WITH HIM.
The point is, Beverly is not intimidated by municipal shenanigans and is ready to kill her some Kai. Cut off the head of the snake and the army will fall. Winter, however, isn’t ready to give up on her big brother, convinced that he can be changed. Winter then tells Ivy and Beverly the story of what made Kai snap, because apparently being forced by his older brother to keep the mummified corpses of his parents wasn’t it.
Winter and Kai spent their free time trolling people on the internets with some straight-up Pepe bullshit, which earned them a private invitation from someone named Pastor Rick Springfield to visit something called “Judgment House: Where People Who Spell Judgment with Two ‘E’s Receive the Eternal Punishment They Deserve.”
Basically, it’s a Hell House — one of those “haunted” houses that Christian fundamentalists put on to scare kids off of soul-destroying activities like smoking or premarital sex. Except once inside, Kai and Winter quickly realize that the “bad people” — the girl seeking an abortion, the junkie, the homosexual — they aren’t actors. Instead, Pastor Rick Springfield has abducted people and put them into actual torturous situations. Outraged, Kai and Winter save the woman in the abortion scene, the junkie in the OD scene and the guy in the sodomite scene who warns that if they don’t free him immediately, a bunch of knives are going to burst through his chest — he saw it happen to the guy before him.
Kai and Winter then manage to knock Pastor Rick Springfield out and strap him down to the knife chair where they explain to him that his abortion-seeker was actually just at Planned Parenthood to be treated for a UTI; the junkie was in rehab getting clean; and the sodomite was actually just a guy volunteering his time at an AIDS clinic. Of course, it doesn’t fucking matter if the woman really was getting an abortion, or if the junkie was actually using or if the volunteer was actually gay — THEY DIDN’T DESERVE THIS TREATMENT REGARDLESS — but I digress.
Anyway, they kill Pastor Rick Springfield with the knife chair, the end.
After, Kai was different: began using more Adderall, began sinking deeper into the Dark Net. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t save everyone, so instead, he decided he should burn it all down and build a new world. And now here they all are, trapped in this clown cult, feeding salads to dudebros.
Beverly, unimpressed, gives Winter a week to convince Kai to quit acting like an asshole, or she’s coming for him.
Winter approaches Kai about the women’s dissatisfaction, but he’s not interested in that, making her do pinky time instead and pledge her loyalty to him. After she does, he explains the next stage of his big plan: Winter and Kai’s messiah baby that they are going to make with an assist from Detective Abercrombie.
Towards this end, everyone puts on silly robes, Kai plays All-4-One’s “I Swear,” and smears some oil on Winter’s head before ordering Detective Abercrombie to “mount her.” However, when Detective Abercrombie struggles to perform with a woman, and Winter protests that she feels like she’s being raped, the whole weird ceremony is called off. Kai has a tantrum and threatens Winter that she is not above punishment.
For said punishment, Winter is forced to don an orange jumpsuit, a dunce cap, and re-litter — put garbage back out onto public spaces. At some point, Detective Abercrombie arrives to deliver her mid-day gruel and tell her his backstory:
He first met Kai when he busted him for selling drugs. But instead of arresting him, Det. Abercrombie blackmailed him into sharing his profits. When Kai stopped by Det. Abercrombie’s apartment one night, he walked into a whole thing with Det. Abercrombie and some girl who claimed he tried to strangle her when he couldn’t get it up. Kai convinces him that the problem is that Detective Abercrombie is allowing women to take his power from him. The solution to this problem is to lean into his masculinity: i.e., have sex with Kai. Which doesn’t make Det. Abercrombie gay! It just makes him more manly. Or something.
Winter is like, “Dude, you’re totally gay.” This infuriates Det. Abercrombie who announces he’s going to prove to her that he’s not by impregnating her here and now, so she grabs his gun and shoots him in the head.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cheyenne Jackson pays a visit to Ally where he explains that Kai is his brother, Winter is his sister, he now believes everything Ally has been trying to tell him for the past six months or whatever — and he’s going to help her get her life back by committing Kai. “WELL, FUCKING GREAT,” says Ally. Basically.
So Ally invites Kai over for some Manwich where she offers him a deal: if he helps her get her son back, she’ll give him some information that he would be very interested in. Kai agrees and she reveals that Dr. Big Brother is planning on trying to get him committed. Kai notes that Ally seems different and she explains that, yes, in fact, she is. Kai managed to do what his brother and her wife weren’t able to: cure her of her fears.
Finally, Kai hosts a ceremony in his basement with the clowns and the dudebros where they bring in two “betrayers”: Dr. Cheyenne Jackson and Beverly. Kai invites Dr. Cheyenne Jackson to do pinky power, only to chop off his brother’s finger. He then stabs Dr. Cheyenne Jackson in the throat, so I guess it’s time to finally trash any of your remaining Dr. Vincent theories.
As for Beverly, apparently Winter told Kai that she killed Detective Abercrombie, with the warning that Kai was next. Beverly announces that all of this is bullshit, believing in him was bullshit, BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT HE’S A PHONY AND BULLSHIT. Kai insists she was his favorite, but death is too good for her, he wants her to suffer. Off to the “isolation chamber” with her!
As Beverly is dragged away, Kai announces to his clowns and dudebros that loyalty must be absolute, without it, they are noting. And now to another bit of business, everyone meet our newest clown: Ally! In the most predictable event of this entire series so far!
So a few questions:
- What was the deal with the Hell House? Was Pastor Rick Springfield going to make Kai and Winter his next victims? Was he trying to convert them? They received the invitation because they were posting things that a crazed fundie would agree with, so why would he want to kill them or feel the need to convert them if they were already aligned with his line of thought? I don’t understand this entire subplot.
- So, wait, what was the point of Kai infecting the women with all sorts of radical feminist nonsense in the previous episode, only to make them be submissive in this one? It would make sense if he was planning on setting them up to take the fall for the many clown murders, but … instead … he’s just using them as free labor? And at the cost of one of his most loyal followers? I don’t get it or see where this is going.
- WAIT, IS BEBE BABBIT (Frances Conroy’s character who was not in this episode) THE SNOW QUEEN? Remember in the beginning of the season there was a theory that there were some references in this season to the Hans Christen Andersen fairy tale, “The Snow Queen” in which a young boy named Kai is bewitched by an evil queen and his childhood best friend rescues him? Could it be that Bebe Babbitt is actually the one controlling Kai and that he will be “saved” in some form by Winter (possibly Ally)? I would argue this theory more forcefully if I hadn’t seen 6 previous seasons of this batshit show and knew better. In conclusion, who knows.
“I don’t understand this entire subplot,” and “I don’t get it or see where this is going,” and “who knows,” could literally summarize every episode of every season of this show, by the way.
Valerie Solanas writes the SCUM Manifesto and creates the SCUM cult
Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol; she is arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital
The first Zodiac murders are committed by SCUM
The Zodiac murders continue, someone takes credit for the killings in letters to the police and newspapers
Solanas, reunited with her cult, discovers it was a male member who sent the letters, kills him. She eventually becomes increasingly insane and loses her followers
Valerie Solanas dies
Kai, Winter and Dr. Vincent’s’ parents die in a murder-suicide; the children stash their parents’ bodies
Kai and Winter visit the Judgment House, kill Pastor Charles; Kai changes.
Kai is blackmailed by Detective Samuels, begins a relationship with him
Winter works on the Clinton campaign in Florida
Ally and Ivy have financial and relationship issues
Ivy meets Winter at a pro-Clinton rally
Gary assaults Ivy
Ivy and Winter kidnap Gary
Kai frees Gary
Everyone votes for President
Trump wins; Ally melts down
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
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
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
Kai wins a seat on city council and amasses a following of young men
Beverly meets Bebe Babbitt and has her share her story about Valerie Solanas with the other women
Beverly, Winter, and Ivy kill Harrison
Three Weeks After the Election:
Dr. Vincent tells Ally he is going to get Kai committed
Ally reveals this to Kai
Plan Messiah Baby fails
Winter kills Detective Samuels
Kai kills Dr. Vincent
Kia has Beverly put into isolation
Ally joins the cult
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 9/10 p.m. on FX.