***Spoilers for American Horror Story: Cult through Episode 5 follow. Spoilers***
Before we get going, I’d love to acknowledge that showrunner Ryan Murphy has been making good on his pledge to “do better” and employ more women, LGBTQ and people of color as directors of his series; this hour is written and directed by women. And hot damn, did Crystal Liu, Maggie Kiley take the show next level or what? Between the Kai-mandated scarier murders (at least twice, I covered my eyes, and the mister was just as freaked out), that horrific “cutting out” of the group’s “cancer”, and the reveal of Kai’s backstory, “Holes” just became one of American Horror Story‘s most involuntarily memorable episodes in the series’ history.
Holy, Ally — of all people — it turns out, is perhaps the sanest person in town … the most reasonable, we-just-pinned-all-our-hopes-on-you-girl, person. Never mind that graphic scene she painted of her Trypophobia for Dr. Rudy (UGH); as of tonight, it’s time to cease being fed up with Ally and her phobias. It’s time to will Ally to pull herself together, and I now have a theory about how this whole season might play out.
Leading up to Cult‘s premiere, we were given the information that Ally and Kai would at some point become lovers — “a love story for the ages” — but I think Mr. Murphy might have been misleading us a little bit. At least, I hope he is. While the previous four episodes have led viewers to believe Ally and all her fears have made her ripe for the Kai-picking, the groundwork has also been laid for her to overcome those fears — in keeping with the cult motto — to be made stronger by them. And though she didn’t outwardly register (obviously not dead) Meadow’s “It’s a cult, everyone’s in it! [your wife!]”, I’m certain Ally is putting two (clowns) and two (clowns) together. She saw Detective Samuels inside the Wilton with Harrison right before finding Meadow at the bottom of a grave pit … Conversely, especially after this episode, Kai has been exposed as the frightened little boy he is underneath it all, as (surprisingly) not the master behind his own plan. So, what I believe Murphy may have up his sleeve, what I hope more than anything his own master plan will reveal, is that Ally will ostensibly fall for Kai’s machinations … will eventually become a victim of his cult, and succumb to his outward charms. Kai will think he’s achieved the ultimate victory when Ally swoons over him and looks to him to help her conquer her fears — and so will most of the audience. What Ally’s actually going to do is fake her whole indoctrination — even to the point of (if necessary) murder — and in the end she’s going to turn it all around, take down Kai (and everyone in the group, one by one, whether by convincing Kai [as Beverly did] they’re disposable, or literally getting rid of them), and I predict that by the final episode, she’ll take over as the very twisted cult leader (perhaps even a politician … running for president), herself.
That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.
As for the revelations this hour, we’re probably all still reeling from that final quarter when it was revealed how it all went wrong in Kai’s family — his father was abusive and at some point paralyzed, paranoid, and accusing Kai’s mother of messing around, which leads mom to commit murder/suicide — and how instrumental his brother, Dr. Rudy was in taking the siblings’ already terrible loss to an entirely new and demented level. Yeah, just padlock the doors and lime it up; isn’t that what every family does when parents inconveniently kill each other and remove the main sources of income?
Never mind Kai’s backstory, because this dude is too far gone to live. If not Ally, I guarantee master manipulator, Beverly will continue removing obstacles and eventually, that would include Kai. The whole Anderson house of cards is already wobbly (Ivy, Meadow), and it won’t be long before their internal cancers spread. Speaking of … jebus, that scene with the nail gun was insane — too much for me to watch — everyone else in the group has to be wondering when they’ll be determined next on the cut out list. That’s Beverly’s second directed kill of the night, following Bob who, though nobody was sorry to see go, also went in a terrifying way … following the Hellraiser-ish gimp-in-the-attic scene. I mean, if that’s not the AHS line of the century, “I’ve got a gimp in the attic”, I don’t know what is.
Though I still suspect she was the button-pusher to Mr. Guinea’s demise, Winter might be the least terrible of her siblings; there’s a longing behind her manipulations that could indicate a warmth lacking in her brothers. Is she searching for closeness with Ivy, not only to make sure Ivy is kept in line, or was the touch of her hand merely perfunctory, on Winter’s part? Of course, it’s possible we’re just being taken in by Billie Lourd’s clearly inherited, fabulous personality and acting skills.
This is clearly already one of AHS‘s best seasons; we’re five episodes in and the story hasn’t gone off the rails. In fact, despite the inherent outlandishness the series is known for, the story is pushing forward with a clear sense of logic we haven’t seen in a while. The actors are all at the top of their game, without being … over the top. Other than the intense gruesomeness, I’m really enjoying this seventh outing.
As with current events, I don’t give a fuck about sicko Kai’s sad backstory; dude has to go. I need my Ally theory to be right.
Related to the theory, I wonder if in the end, Ally and Ivy might get back together, after Kai’s gone. Ivy’s clearly on shaky ground with the cult.
Speaking of excellent acting, and everyone, everyone is so damned good this season, Adina Porter is blowing me away. Her pure joy taking down Bob; the wicked cleverness that plays across her face when she used Kai’s own methodology on him to reveal his secrets; her terrifying demeanor when she’s in clown mode, are all amazing to behold. I love her in this role so very much.
Kai to R.J.: “Good night sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (from Hamlet, uttered by Horatio)
Rudy to Kai: “They’ll naturally decompose over time; it’ll be like a mausoleum.
I don’t want to have to explain to my patients why my parents killed each other.”
Bob to Beverly: “How is it that you’re always first on the scene?”
Beverly to Bob when he fires her: “You sure you want to do that, Bob?”
Kai to group: “Latin is inherently scary.”
Beverly to Kai: “Secrets make you weak.”