‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Guide, Week 10: Every Question We Have Before ‘Great Again’
For anyone like me who was unsure of the direction American Horror Story: Cult might be heading in, last night’s episode helpfully explained that Kai Anderson’s rise to Michigan City Councilman was actually orchestrated by his anger management counselor Bebe Babbitt—who also may or may not have helped organize the Zodiac Killer murders in the 1960s at the behest of the woman who tried to shoot Andy Warhol in the head—because Bebe sees in Kai the potential to unleash the pent up feminine rage that has been building in America for centuries, which, in fairness, Kai does, but he takes things slightly too far by murdering people while dressed as a clown and assembling a cult made up of angry virgin Red Pill vloggers with nicknames like Tripod and Heart Attack who still can’t stop protesters from nailing Kai with piss-filled protest balloons, leading the blue-haired Senator hopeful down a spiral of paranoia in which the hallucination a vision of Charles Manson urges him to kill his sister, who is not actually the mole in Kai’s cult because the mole in Kai’s cult is a man named Speed Wagon who one week ago gleefully offered to cut off his own dick in service to the cause.
So, yeah, that’s all pretty much cleared up. Still, we have a few questions:
Dude, I don’t know. The problem with crafting about five episodes’ worth of story and then focusing on the 1 million topical references you’re going to fit into the script is that somewhere around episode eight or nine everything ceases to matter. “Charles (Manson) In Charles” concluded with Kai brutally choking Winter to death and I watched it like it was Mike Huckabee doing a one man show of his Tweets. It’s watered down nothingness. It’s a white noise machine that also toasts unbuttered bread. It’s just guts in a blender going whrrrrrrrrr until it’s a boring, bloody soup. The last death on this show that meant anything beyond “it is time for the violence now” was that guy in the gimp suit. Winter’s character motivation was all over the place. My dude in the gimp suit was just trying to hang from the ceiling in a gimp suit.
It’s a shame, really, because the cast of this show is a straight-up delight. Kai’s Manson-induced freak out was a thing of manic beauty, and Sarah Paulson’s giddy flash-back turn as Manson Family member Susan Atkins was one of the most genuinely unnerving performances in recent memory. Hell, even Chaz goddamn Bono is out here tugging on the heartstrings before Gary Longstreet got gutted outside an abortion clinic. It’s too bad these performers are going balls to the absolute wall for a season of television way more interested in tapping every modern day talking point lightly on the nose than it is in having a firm point to make or at least, like, some kind of internal logic.
Speaking of a total disregard for judgement and reasoning…
Again, for the Third Week in a Row, What Is Ally’s Play Here?
Dude, I don’t know. At first, I was under the impression that Ally infiltrated Kai’s cult in order to safely extract Oz, and that I understand. But then she entered into this Punisher-style revenge quest, which, again, I understand. Your wife cheats on you with the babysitter and then joins a cult you’re allowed to feed her poisoned spaghetti. That’s in most wedding vows. But even if Ally’s new John Wick mindset extends to taking down Kai as well, homegirl is making it extraordinarily hard for herself for no reason. She watched Bebe Babbitt point a gun at Kai’s head and stopped her from pulling the trigger, because I guess the “convince the Divine Ruler he has conceived a Messiah Baby” long-con is more effective than…letting Kai get shot in the face.
Okay, so Ally wants the satisfaction of Kai’s downfall to herself. I hate telling TV writers exactly how to tell their stories, but Cult shot itself in the foot by explaining, in the very first words of “Drink The Kool-Aid,” the real-life fact that police raided Marshall Applewhite’s Heaven’s Gate community because of an anonymous tip. Ally is going through all this trouble when all she has to do is discreetly record one of the several dozen atrocities that take place under Kai’s roof daily.
Okay, so Kai is obsessively searching for the mole in his community, and wearing a wire is dangerous. But, again, “Charles (Manson) In Charge” makes it clear that he not only kills the wrong person, but the actual informant could have gotten away. Speed Wagon was in that car with his recorder for a good 45 seconds before Ally stopped him. It is endlessly hilarious to me that all the guy named Speed Wagon—Speed. Wagon.— had to do was step on the gas. You were so close, Speed Wagon!
Who Are We Rooting for in the Finale?
Dude, I don’t know. Once upon a time Ally was the main character and driving force of this show, so I guess she’s the answer by default. But her goals are so unclear, and her most humanizing element—the desire to save her son, Oz—doesn’t seem as commendable when Oz keeps getting left home alone for entire episodes at a time while his mother takes part in clown-cult murder rituals. What am I rooting for her to do, exactly? Kill the cult leader she could have already killed? Save her son that she could have already saved? I straight up chuckled during the finale’s preview, when Beverly tells Ally, “This’ll be your only shot.”
That is alarmingly false. There have been so many shots. The last three episodes have been practically nothing but shots.
So Wait, Were Valerie Solanas and SCUM Actually the Zodiac Killer or Was That a Lie?
Dude, I don’t know, and at this point I don’t think we’re ever going to learn.