Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Mid-Western Assassin

Written by Todd Kubrak
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Sally (to Ally, re Kai): "He needs to be stopped."

Keeping with bringing in some past players in one-off guest roles, this week was the turn of Mare Winningham to pop up in the series as an unfortunately short lived antagonist to Kai. Sally Keffler had everything on paper to really bring Kai's cult to an end, so of course she had to die horribly but if we're lucky then perhaps Winningham will be back next season in a bigger role.

Here though, Sally directly challenged Kai's manipulation of people's growing fears and decided to run against him and if that wasn't enough of a potential threat to him, there was also the fact that she didn't even question Ally's claims about Kai having his own cult of murderers in the mix but unfortunately when the chips were down, Ally was still rather useless to have around.

First of all, she hid in the bathroom while Kai and his gang arranged for Sally to be killed and make it look like a suicide. I liked that Sally openly defied Kai and had his number before she was murdered but her death was one of two victories for Kai in this episode.

The other one came courtesy of Meadow, who was actually playing a long con with Ally. Her devotion to Kai led her to getting Ally to rescue her from Harrison and Jack while at the same time telling Ally everything about the cult and taking some temporary sanctuary at Rudy's office before a public event lead to a shooting of Kai, Meadow's suicide and Ally being arrested.

In terms of long cons, it seemed a little obvious in retrospect as Kai seemed a little too adept at winning over Meadow's resistance but it played out rather well, even if Ally was a little too suckered into things. Then again, along with Ally's gullibility, this episode also really went to town on how much Ivy actually hates her wife. Maybe not enough to kill her but definitely enough to gaslight the hell out of her as she confessed to Kai that her inability to give birth drove a wedge between the two of them.

I do like that there's some conflict with Ivy but the way in which she's driven Ally to the brink of insanity and the fact that she wants to take Oz off her doesn't do a lot to make me sympathise with her either. On the other hand, with Ally now in the know and hopefully not confined to prison for too long, I am hoping she comes out stronger now.

- This episode was edited in light of the recent tragedy that happened in Las Vegas. I still thought the scenes were pretty effective though.
- Jack is literally the only cult member whose backstory we know nothing about. I assume we will soon though. Kai also offered Winter to Ivy.
- Both Sally and Ally likened Kai to Charles Manson, David Koresh, Jim Jones etc and we all know by now we'll be seeing Evan Peters playing those roles in future episodes.
- Chronology: April 2017 but also November/December 2016 flashbacks and a flashback to Oz's birth as well.

An absolutely brilliant episode. Mid-Western Assassin might have been obvious in the way it played out Ally's downfall but it was fantastically done with some genuinely gripping moments as Kai just showed the lengths he really will go to get what he wants. As for next week's episode, there's one guest star I'm looking forward to and another I'm really not but hopefully the upward swing with this season continues though.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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