Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - 11/9

Written by John J. Gray
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Kai (to Harrison): "To live is to suffer."

Holy shit, we finally hit the jackpot! One day I will probably do a list of some of the best episodes of American Horror Story and guaranteed, this episode will be somewhere on the list because it's one of those episodes that truly captured how incredible the show can be when it cuts through the bullshit and gets to the actual goal of the season itself.

Eschewing Ally and her hysteria for one week, the focus was more on Kai and his formation of a cult that we have yet to properly see engage in action. I sort of get the feeling that the clowns may be part of something else but I could be wrong with that too. On the other hand, the way Kai manipulated certain people and situations was nothing short of disturbing and breathtaking in one go.

First of all, there was Harrison who we got to see as a personal trainer at the gym bonding with Kai while at the same time being ritually humiliated by his boss Vinny into cleaning the showers after guys had masturbated in them. Now, Harrison could've just quit his job and worked somewhere but between Meadow making him homeless and Kai truly getting into his head, Vinny soon ended up a dead body that Harrison had to hack away.

I kind of got the impression that while Kai sought out Harrison, Meadow was somewhat collateral damage along the way. Kai did praise her talent for drawing clown masks and the like but at the same time, it didn't seem like Kai was as interested in getting Meadow on side as he was with Harrison and two other members this week.

The second member pulled into Kai's craziness was reporter Beverly Hope. I loved Adina Porter last season and I'm really glad they got her back this year because she's arguably going to be even better. We got see Beverly's breakdown over those "grab them by the pussy" morons ruining her segments (I had no problem with her beating the shit out of one of them) while at the same time having to deal with anchorman Bob's (Dermot Mulroney) misogyny and up and coming reporter Serina Belinda (Emma Roberts) also taking delight in undermining her at every turn.

It's no wonder then that Beverly talked to Kai about her rage and how he was able to use it to hook her into his way of thinking. That scene with them was particularly chilling while Serina herself soon came afoul to a bunch of stab happy clowns in broad daylight. On the plus side, at least the adorable puppy she was holding at the time survived.

Then there was Gary Longstreet himself. Briefly seen in the first episode, we got to see a rather unpleasant side to Gary at a protest where he literally grabbed Ivy and Winter ended up being her knight in shining armor. Putting aside that Winter and Ivy have prior history with each other before the Election, there was also the fact that they kidnapped Gary and Kai manipulated the latter in cutting his own hand off in order to go and vote.

As for Ally, the decision to relegate her to a handful of scenes this week was for the best. Not only did it give Evan Peters the moment to truly shine as Kai while at the same time fleshing out Harrison, Meadow, Beverly and Gary as characters along with that Winter/Ivy reveal but the bits we saw of Ally were actually of her at her most engaging. The fact that she openly challenged the idea of Hillary being entitled to be president was a nice move along with her Trump comments pre-Election mirroring my own. Can we please have this Ally for the rest of the season?

- Another new character to watch out for was James Morosini's cameraman, RJ. He must be important as they gave him a character poster.
- Kai spun lines about being a computer programmer and being in the army during his recruitment scenes with Harrison and Beverly. Meadow is also possibly the ball gag clown.
- We got to see who various characters voted except for Rudy for some reason.
- Chronology: November and December 2016, both pre/during/post Election Night.

11/9 was easily the best episode we've had this season and hopefully it's the start of an upward swing for this current season. The fact that it was largely flashback heavy worked in it's favour and again, relegating Ally to a handful of scenes worked in it's favour but it's time to see what the cult are really up to now.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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