Returning back to election night, “11/9” starts with a rundown of election night, and how all the main characters voted. No surprises as to who voted for who, nor that Winter (Billie Lourd) snapped a selfie of her voting. In the opening, we also finally meet Emma Robert’s character this season, Serena, a reporter who voted for Trump.
The day after the election, Kai (Evan Peters) finds himself at the gym where he hires Harrison (Billy Eichner) as his personal trainer. When Kai reveals that he has a genius IQ, it’s perhaps the least shocking reveal to date on this show following the election results. Weeks pass and Meadow (Leslie Grossman) reveals that her and Harrison’s house is getting foreclosed on. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or at least Harrison’s.
Kai convinces Harrison to stand up to his boss, after creepily drawing the smiley symbol on a steamed up mirror, which results in Harrison killing said boss. Needless to say, Harrison freaks out. Luckily, Kai is there to solve Harrison’s problems and cover up the murder. After all, Kai has been watching Harrison for a while, and he chose him to help big something “bigger”. When Meadow to her motel room that night, she finds Kai coaching Harrison on how to dismember a body, and miraculously doesn’t not have a totally freak out.
Flashing forward to December, Reporter Beverly (Idina Porter) is sent to a landfill to report on a headless body being found, while Serena reports from a spa. At home, Kai replays Beverly’s segment over and over, intent on finding out the woman’s backstory. He learns that after several men came up to her during segments yelling “grab her in the pussy,” Beverly finally broke down and attacked one of the men.
After a frustrating conversation with the news anchor Bob (Durmot Mulroney) and Serena, Beverly slashes Bob’s tires. Mid-slash, Kai finds Beverly and takes her out for a drink. Kai gives Beverly a speech about fear, and how it can be weaponized behind a great prophet. He needs Beverly’s rage and he offers her equal power. Beverly is initially skeptical, unable to believe in anyone, not even herself, but Kai doesn’t give up on her.
Shortly after Kai approaches Beverly, Serena is murdered while filming a segment about dog adoption by three clowns in masks. The identity of the masked killers is quickly revealed to be Kai, Meadow and Harrison and that the masks were designed by Meadow herself. After seeing the footage of the murder, Beverly seeks Kai out to ask if it was him. Kai admits to the murder, and that he did it for Beverly. She now finally believes in him and the equal power he will provide her.
At the end of the episode, we flash back to the day before the election. Ivy attends a rally alone where she attempts to reasonably argue with the Trump supporters. When she is sexually assaulted, however, Winter steps in and chases the perpetrator off. Ivy and Winter then leave the rally to get lunch together. They bond instantly. Winter admits that she wants to be next to a powerful person, pushing them to justice.
At the grocery store, Gary (Chaz Bono), the one armed grocery clerk, runs into Winter while closing up. At this point, he still has his arm. Together, Winter and Ivy tie him up. They demand for him to “get woke” and understand that the future is now female, despite what he and his fellow Trump followers believe.
Leaving Gary behind, Winter returns home. Kai immediately knows that something is up with his sister and she admits to what she’s done. Later, Kai finds Gary where he’s been tied up. In order to free him so that he can get to the voting booth on time, Kai convinces Gary to cut his own arm off. Anything for Trump, right?
The biggest question I asked myself while watching this week’s episode: why is this episode four and not episode two? With a character so enigmatic and interesting to watch as Kai (and Evan Peters as any character), it is a wonder why it took so long to truly see the heart of this season’s story.
While Sarah Paulson has brought heart to every other season of American Horror Story, “The Ally Show,” aka the first three episodes of this season, just haven’t held the viewer as well as other seasons have.
This episode, however, was a complete about-face. With Ally in the episode for less than five minutes, it was like a different show. There was no mystery, just explanation. American Horror Story works best when it remains character focused, particularly when the character in question is so interesting. Moving from mystery to character-based with this episode gives me hope for the rest of the season.