‘AHS: Cult’ Guide, Week 7: Every Question Before “Winter of Our Discontent”
Like a tweet sent at 4 a.m. by the president, American Horror Story usually leaves us with far more questions than answers. Each week, we’re going to take a deeper look into every question the anthology gore-a-palooza needs to A.
Oh man, if you’re the type of person (see: me) who enjoys when American Horror Story puts its Important Commentary on the backburner and just cranks the crazy levels up to maximum cocaine, then boy howdy was “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag” an episode for you (see: me). Living wonder Frances Conroy showed up wearing the wig from V For Vendetta as a character named Bebe Babbitt to casually break the news that the Zodiac Killer was actually a fringe group of radical feminists led by Valerie Solanas, a woman who for real once tried to murder Andy Warhol. Evan Peters played Warhol but just sort of acted like Evan Peters, Lena Dunham put in a wonderfully manic performance as Solanas that was 90% screaming and 10% slipping in and out of an accent, and in the end it all maybe probably doesn’t matter because it turns out Bebe was working with Kai Anderson the entire time. And Billy Eichner got his head chopped off. How lucky we are to be alive right now.
Naturally, we have questions:
Is Kai Aware His Own Cult Is Planning to Kill Him?
Well, he definitely is now, seeing as how Beverly, Winter, and Ivy chainsaw’d Harrison into several pieces and then Beverly went on TV to basically make jerk off motions toward Kai about it. But based on the fact Bebe is sitting next to him smoking cigarettes and spouting some truly nonsensical one-liners, it appears this entire thing—Bebe’s appearance, the Solanas story, the mutiny—was all Part Of The Plan.
Which would be…sort of lame? Well, okay I’m never going to fully commit to calling Frances Conroy as a two-timing chain-smoking cult member “lame.” But there’s not much that’s less interesting than an antagonist who is always right and never not pulling the strings, sense and reason be damned. The clown murders seem supernatural? Nope, Kai is just really, really good at being spooky. Both the person Kai is replacing and the woman who ran against him died mysteriously? No one seems to care. Kai gets assassinated at the podium? His idea! Donald Trump Jr. retweets for everyone!
The wildcard in this scenario is Winter. If the sheer force of subtlety that is next week’s episode title slipped over your head, Winter is feeling discontent; if anyone is going to actually get the old allegiance switcheroo over on Kai, it’s going to be his own sister. Because the title is also a Shakespeare reference, and if it’s anything Shakespeare liked more than making up nonsense words and writing jokes about farts it’s powerful men brought down due to their unshakeable confidence that nobody could possibly bring them down.
Was SCUM Actually the Zodiac Killer?
I’m not asking, like, in real life. I’m relatively sure it’s real life canon that Twisty the Clown was the Zodiac Killer.
But I am asking whether Bebe was telling the truth or simply spinning a yarn just batshit bananas enough to send the female contingent of Kai’s cult into a murderous rage. I mean, this is a very persuadable group of people. They dressed up like clowns and stabbed people in their homes because a guy with blue hair pointed out society was bad now. A story about a woman working to destroy the patriarchy by shotgunning young couples in their cars hits all the right notes; it has a little kernel of truth about social injustice buried deep, deep under a blanket of insanity. A blanket of insanity, of course, being the technical filmmaking term for the wig Lena Dunham wore in her final scene of this episode.
What Does Ally Want from Kai?
“You have something that I want,” Ally tells Kai in the preview for Episode 8, probably the first time in history someone has said that so earnestly to a city councilman in rural Michigan. But what does she want, exactly? For Ally—a woman with roughly twelve phobias whose wife joined a death cult—the list of possibilities stretches long. For one, there is the aforementioned wife, Ivy, who orchestrated an elaborate plan to drive Ally insane but did also spare her life last week at Sally Keffler’s house. There’s also Ally’s general reputation as someone who is not a gun-wielding crazy person, something that Kai seems able to spin either way quite easily. Or maybe Ally just wants in on that sweet, sweet cult action, which involves stabbing men in gimp suits but does appear to bring some peace of mind.
Or maybe it’s Oz. Remember Oz? Ally and Ivy’s son? Of course you don’t remember Oz. The show sure doesn’t. Remember when Winter was showing Oz all that murder on the dark web? What was that all about? Totally thought that kid was going to be the antichrist. Now I’m just wondering who’s watching him while his mothers have nervous breakdowns and kill the host of Billy on the Street.