***Spoilers for American Horror Story: Cult through Episode 3 follow. Spoilers***
With a wickedly knowing wink and a little nudge into our self-made boxes, Mr. RP Murphy and his merry band of writers are having the time of their lives this season, lampooning … everyone. As promised by the showrunner round seven isn’t just for liberals, and in fact, it’s clear to anyone paying attention, this is an equal opportunity (and hilariously fun) roasting; as written by James Wong (The X-Files, Final Destination), “Neighbors from Hell” is particularly biting. You might think from the episode title, Ally and Ivy are merely victims to the machinations of those jerks across the street, but it could just as easily refer to the Mayfair-Richards, themselves.
Following a triumphant round of Feretrophobia (fear of coffins) conquering therapy with Dr. Rudy, poor Rosie (Laura Allen) and her husband (Ron Melendez) are the clowns’ next victims, leading viewers to wonder if Vincent might be part of the cult — oh, you can bet Mr. Rosie’s sweet ass he is. Listen to me carefully: Every mothereffer in town is in on this shit … well, except the unfortunately named Ozymandias, who by now is certainly scarred for many, many lives. Dr. Rudy, Detective Samuels — feeding Ally and Ivy helpful comments about Pedro’s death; “You have every right to defend yourself … Mr. Morales was already a person of interest. No surprise to me that that kind of man would be a threat to a woman alone in her house at night with a young boy. Now, does that make sense?” —
Harrison and Meadow, Winter; they’re all in on the cult. My one and only possible reservation is with Ivy, but since there are apparently lady clowns,
she could easily be one of Kai’s inductees, too. Speaking of Kai, he’s got some interesting advice (stolen from 45’s diary?) for an over-40, childless, fearful Meadow: “Everything is somebody else’s fault from now on; you understand? You want to be somebody? You want to matter? Then you make the world wrong.”
And like 45, Kai’s playing all sides against each other … as are his followers, at least one of whom kindly sends a naked dude expecting a blowjob –“I came here to get my dick sucked, so which one of you is first?” — to the Mayfair-Richards’ home.
The attacks, both physical and mental, keep on coming, breaking down Ally and Ivy’s picture perfect home. Of all the cruelty, there’s one innocent victim for whom the tolling bell rings harshest and loudest, whose quick (we hope) death might be American Horror Story‘s hardest hitting. In a terrible one-upping of Alex Forrest’s 1987 bunny boiling, um, I … can’t … even …
THEY DID NOT?!!!!
Now, other stuff did happen after The Incident, but I’m afraid my brain was so utterly damaged by Mr. Guinea’s untimely demise, I thought up a whole different ending where Ally goest to the Wilton’s home, rips those mothereffers limb from limb, and explodes each one of their body parts in a microwave. It’s the only fitting end.
Just kidding, I think. Truly, though, after Ally confronts Meadow and Harrison — and I “Go girl”-ed her all the way through her “I will kill you both” declaration — Oz discovers their home isn’t the only one marked with an ominous smiley face. One by one the carefully placed dominos begin falling onto each other, Ally’s reality crumbling along the way. A flashback reveals Kai’s setup for Meadow’s murder (IF she’s really dead — no body, yet), Harrison claims his innocence along the lines of that medicated pastor recently in headlines, Detective Samuels’ questioned Ally’s mental state, and then there’s that final nail in her own dark box … the magically recorded video of her bathtub shenanigans causes Ivy to take Oz and leave. And with that, our fair heroine is left all alone with nothing but a bloody smile on a wall for her troubles, leaving Ally ripe for the Kai-picking.
Kudos to Murphy and Falchuk for daring to have fun with liberal madness and hypocrisy — as Murphy’s mentioned in interviews, the 2016 election sent everyone scrambling and taking sides, “Everybody’s still at each others’ throats … It’s about somebody who has the wherewithal to put their finger up in the wind and see that that’s what’s happening and is using that to rise up and form power, and using people’s vulnerabilities”.
That somebody is a very clever and dangerous man, and I’m so curious to see his endgame. Kai is going to an awful lot of trouble to get to Ally — recruiting and/or killing off others along the way — but why? He’s clearly got plenty of power over his followers, some of whom he keeps around to help further his goals, and others are disposable, but he’s being quite careful with Ally, especially in their personal interactions. Does he consider it a different kind of victory if he can bring her around to his side?
Great to see Adina Porter (we’d gotten a glimpse of her already) returning to the fold as reporter, Beverly Hope, giving a brilliant live report about Ally’s shooting of Pedro: “… a woman whose critics are calling [her] a lesbian George Zimmerman.” Dermot Mulroney also appeared in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo.
It’s hard to want to align with sanctimonious Ally (despite mad love for Sarah Paulson, who’s killing it, as always) who is as clueless about her own delusions as she is fiercely angry with everyone, but I remain fully on her team — regarding reality “Can’t you see it’s all connected?!”. Annoying as Ally is, she’s also clearly seeing what’s going on with the clown cult … the proverbial unstable person no one will believe.
Of course, if Murphy and Co. really wanted to mess with our minds, Ally could end up being completely insane, having imagined most of the storyline, and ending up in AHS: Asylum (of course, the timelines wouldn’t work, but I’m sure something could be wrangled).
Poor Oz is going to end up a serial killer, isn’t he?
This is — so far — my favorite season in years. Cult still shows no sign of going off the rails, and everyone is at the top of their game.
Great Lines (so many, I could hardly keep up):
Ally to guy in chemical suit: “Take off your goddamn mask. Who do you work for, Halliburton?”
Harrison to Ally: “What kind of Gone Girl shit are you up to?”
Ally to Dr. Rudy: “I know that I am supposed to be responsible for all the positive and negative energies that come into my life … ”
Rudy: “Who told you that?”
Ally: “Well, I don’t know, Instagram?”
“After the election and everything that’s happened, I just don’t have the buffering capacity to handle this.”
“They think I’m a racist. Everybody thinks I’m a racist. Do you understand the specific pain of someone like me being accused of that?”
Oz: “His name is Mr. Guinea.”
Ally: “Sweetie, come on. You know we don’t like cisnormative pet names.”
Winter: “Why do you have rules about pet names if you never have pets?”
Ally: “It’s the principle.”
Oz: “But, he’s a boy.”
Ivy to Ally: “You’re having an affair with the babysitter?”
Ivy: “She was fingering you in the tub.”
Ally: “Those people are psychopaths. They know that it was an accident! I’m the least racist person they’ve ever met!”
Harrison: “That boy needs a man in his life, and some diversity. He’s drowning in white privilege and estrogen over there … it’s fine to have two moms, but at least get him a manny.”
Meadow: “Hello, lez. I think you’re a horrible racist.”
Ally: “Stop! I am a citizen of the United States and I demand to see your permit!”
Kai to Ally: “I just want to tell you how incredibly brave I think you are. There’s a lot of admirable traits one can possess, but courage, that has to be the most rare. You didn’t do anything wrong You were protecting herself and your family. Mob outside Butchery on Main. Just keep living your truth, and please, have a nice day.”
Kai to Meadow: “Stop anesthetizing yourself. Know your pain … Now tell me, are you afraid that you’re 40 and childless? Are you afraid that you will die unloved? Are you afraid that you will never be penetrated by a man again?”
Meadow: “Yes, all of it. I’m afraid the man I love is turning against me.”
Kai: “He is. I would. You’re so fucking irritating.”
Harrison to Ally: “How does it feel to exercise your white privilege and execute people of color with impunity? I gave you a gun to protect yourself, and you used it to commit murder? You make me feel dirty.”
Ally to the Wiltons: “Why are you wearing sombreros?”
Wiltons to Ally: “Why? Because this is obviously how you see people of latin descent.” “Hey, did you know that I did 23 and me and that I’m ten percent Mexican? That make you want to kill me? I want my gun back.”
Meadow: “You saw a beautiful brown face and immediately thought: “home invader”. You’re no progressive.”
Ally: “You people are insane.”
Harrison: “Oh yeah? You want to know what’s insane? Do you like Taco Bell? Here, why don’t you take these coupons and you can wallow in your white appropriation of hispanic culture.”
Meadow: “You don’t belong here. We want racists out of our neighborhood.”
Ally: “Your neighborhood? We were here first!”
Meadow: “Tell that to the Native Americans.”