Wednesday, November 08, 2017

My Review of American Horror Story: Cult - Charles (Manson) In Charge

Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Bebe (to Kai): "For thousands of years mankind has built civilization with a single intention: to keep women contained."

And if Kai's misogyny wasn't apparent all season long, then this episode and the trailer for the finale really cemented it all the more. For a penultimate episode, this was pretty strong going as Kai has seemingly escalated into full on paranoia and further members of his dwindling cult ended up being killed in this episode.

Before we get into that - all season long the show has been hyping about Evan Peters playing Charles Manson and after previous episodes going to town with him as Warhol, Jones, Koresh, Applewhite and even Jesus, this was the chance for Peters to shine and to be honest, I thought his take on Charles was merely okay. Not bad but out of all the cult leaders he's portrayed this season, I still think Warhol was the one that he got right.

As Charles, he did a serviceable enough job and I did somewhat like that Charles was a manifestation to highlight Kai's growing madness as he couldn't get solace from seeing Vincent and ended the episode fully convinced that Winter was the mole and as a result, Kai killed his sister in front of his remaining members, falling into Ally's little gaslighting plan of her own.

I can't admit to feeling bad that Winter actually died in this episode, even if her desire to want Kai to see sense about everything was genuine. Ally was right about Winter never taking responsibility for anything and Winter played her role in Kai's dangerous cult being a thing. I get that this episode she tried to amend things with Beverly but it was a case of being too little, too late.

As for Ally, she's gotten better at this game. I'm surprised there wasn't any further continuity with her deception over Oz being Kai's "son" but I did love how she fed into his paranoia and now that she knows Speedwagon was the actual mole, she's got another advantage in her slow burning quest to take down Kai next week.

As for the rest of the episode - it was sad to see Beverly broken but she's also as complicit as Winter, so again my sympathy for her is rather limited while Gary himself ended up getting butchered inside a planned parenthood clinic. The more interesting thing was the fact that Bebe was revealed to be the one to have actually masterminded Kai's cult in the first as well as being his anger management therapist. However she was also another death, this time by Ally who saved Kai from being killed by the OG feminist. Again, another nice twist for the episode.

- The episode opened with an October 2016 flashback where Kai slapped one of Winter's friends and met Bebe in therapy.
- Sarah Paulson, Leslie Grossman, Billy Eichner and Billie Lourd played Manson's acolytes Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles "Tex" Watson and Linda Kasabian respectively. Paulson especially needs to play a villain next season. Rachel Roberts however was Sharon Tate.
- Ally now has directly murdered two people that she didn't have to.
- Chronology: Not long since the previous episode left off.

Charles (Manson) In Charge was a good penultimate episode. The flashbacks weren't quite as long as previous flashback episodes have been but they certainly were as effective though. With Kai's cult shrinking, his paranoia growing, it really should be a home stretch for Ally to complete her vengeance.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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